Tip of the Day: Capturing Birds in Flight

• Start with larger, slower birds. Look for larger, slower-moving species, such as gulls and herons, before you try smaller, faster-moving birds. Buy a fast-focusing digital SLR camera body and pay for the best glass (lens) you can. Go for a small, lightweight lens, such as a 400mm f/5.6.

Renown nature photographer Richard Ettlinger proivdes tips on capturing birds in flight on TakeGreatPictures.com. Here are a few highlights, click here to read the full article

Start with larger, slower birds. Look for larger, slower-moving species, such as gulls and herons, before you try smaller, faster-moving birds. Buy a fast-focusing digital SLR camera body and pay for the best glass (lens) you can. Go for a small, lightweight lens, such as a 400mm f/5.6.

• Assume the right position. Before pushing the shutter button, do the following:

1) Shoot with the camera hand-held instead of using a tripod to capture consistently good images; a shoulder stock can help steady the lens.

2) Spread your feet at least shoulder width apart to allow for freedom of movement while you follow your subject in the viewfinder.

3) Don’t hold the camera and lens too tightly; maintain a firm, relaxed grip.

4) While panning to follow your subject, keep it smooth and avoid sudden, erratic movements; don’t stop when the shutter releases.

5) Eye-hand coordination is key; follow the bird’s flight pattern with your eye—not in the viewfinder—for better transfer from spotting to tracking your subject.

6) Aim slightly ahead of the subject, depending on the subject’s speed.

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