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Thread: Flying Bird shot help!

  1. #1
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    Default Flying Bird shot help!

    Ok, so heres what I am trying to do.

    My buddy and I go out hunting a lot. I am trying to get some shots of birds decoying in and flying by.

    The problem - No matter what I seem to do my shots of the birds come out blurry - Like the bird is moving to fast?

    I want to get those clean crisp shots of the birds like other guys seem to get where they are frozen in air.

    Heres what I am using for my setup.

    Nikon D40
    Lens: Nikon 70-300mm VR (newest version)


    I typically shoot in P mode...

    Do I need to increase my shutter speed? I tried that but my pictures came out pretty dark....

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    Lead em and follow through!!
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    Do that plenty well with my shottie..

    But does that hold true for the birds?

    Like their wings and pretty much their whole shape come out somewhat blurry...if not really blurry...

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    Member EricL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneLunG View Post
    Ok, so heres what I am trying to do.

    My buddy and I go out hunting a lot. I am trying to get some shots of birds decoying in and flying by.

    The problem - No matter what I seem to do my shots of the birds come out blurry - Like the bird is moving to fast?

    I want to get those clean crisp shots of the birds like other guys seem to get where they are frozen in air.

    Heres what I am using for my setup.

    Nikon D40
    Lens: Nikon 70-300mm VR (newest version)


    I typically shoot in P mode...

    Do I need to increase my shutter speed? I tried that but my pictures came out pretty dark....
    Now, I am not a Nikon man but I will try to get the ball rolling for you. The faster the lens the better. Somewhere around f/2.8 or f/4 I would thing would be ideal. Set your ISO to 800 or faster. Set your AF to the center focal point. You might try Tv mode (or whatever it is on Nikon that is shutter speed priority). Now back to the lens. Do you have IS (image stabilization)? If so you may have the option of "scanning mode". You would really want this feature turned on. Take many many shots and keep the best!! I don't recall seeing alot of game bird flying shots, but never really thought about it!!

    Some of the shots I see of say, eagles soaring, are caught as the birds are on updrafts or headed into a strong wind where they are basically not moving. AAhhh, tricks to everything!

    Maybe Jim or Cory will chime in here...
    EricL

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    Here are some examples of what I am trying to get...






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    And I do have IS...

    I believe my lens is a F4.5-5.6....Didnt have the coin for a SUPER high end one...

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    From reading its looking like I'm going to need to up my shutter speed to at least 1/500 or up to 1/1000.....

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    http://www.michaelfurtman.com./

    Here is a site that has a lot of great shots of flying ducks, and info.

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    Higher shutter speed is probably the fix you are looking for. Since your lens is f/5.6 at the long end, that probably means using a high ISO in inclement weather. Using the "sunny 16 rule" of exposure as a guide you should be able to use ISO 100 to get to 1/1000 in bright sunny conditions, but in cloudy weather you will need ISO 400, and in heavy overcast more like ISO 800 or 1600 to get the same shutter speed.

    Note that using P (Program) mode may reduce your aperture instead of increasing your shutter speed this much. Which is not what you want. So I would suggest switching to either A (Aperture Priority) and selecting f/5.6, or switching to S (Tv on Canon) (Shutter Priority) and selecting a high shutter speed. Personally, I would go for the A(Av) mode so you know the camera is always selecting the highest shutter it can and still expose correctly.

    I would think that 1/500 would be enough though. It should stop the wing movement well enough. Panning (follow through) with the bird should stop the bird's overall movement at an even slower speed, leaving only the wing flapping to consider. And I have seen a lot of bird pics that I liked with blurry wing tips. So panning with the bird could work with even slower shutter speeds if you want.

    Your lens' VR (IS) system should make shooting at those or even much slower speeds easy to hand hold.

    The other common cause of un-sharp images is not being perfectly in focus. It's pretty tough nailing the focus on a small target flying by at upwards of 60MPH. Especially if it is flying towards or away you. This is a situation for a good continuous focus system. I don't know if the D50's AF system is up to it or not, but I would switch it to continuous AF and give it a try.

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    I'm headed out again tomorrow so I will give those tips a try and post some pictures to show ya...

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    I came across this thread at birdforum.net. Might be of some help.

    http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....hlight=weather
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    I am strictly a novice at this but I set out on the same venture last year. My guess is the f-stop on your particular lens (5.6 when zoomed) is limiting your success. It is restricting the speed you are able to shoot at. My understanding is the lower the f-stop the faster the shutter speed you can use in the same light conditions. These were taken off hand on full auto with a f-2.8 70-200 zoom lens with an image stabilizer.




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    Step one, turn to Av mode with apeture set to its widest opening, step two set iso to ~400 step 3 use the moving focus mode (not sure what nikon calls it AI Servio on canon), step 4 set camera to shutter burst mode step 5 hold down shutter while following birds...

    This was manually focused at 400 mm


    This is at 300 mm using the above steps


    basically I think your shutter speed is not high enough, and 300 mm doesn't really give you enough reach unless you are real lucky, try going to rotary park for duck shots, thats about as close as you have to be.

    Edited to add: NEVER use P mode unless you are doing on camera flash and want the flash to light the scene instead of just fill it...
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    heres a couple more of my best



    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    last one
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    last one
    Sweet picture man. Love the water...

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    Thanks man, I just wish the bird was in focus and not the water... Too shallow of DOF...
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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