Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Speed Demon

Swallows are speedy and tiny, and are very hard to photograph. These little guys hang out at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware. They zip in and out of their bird houses, swoop and dive at breakneck speed, and challenge even the most patient photographer. But they are adorable, graceful, and brilliantly colored.

The best way to get a shot is to hang out at their bird house. And wait. And wait some more. Then suddenly out of nowhere one might swoop in quickly, taunting you to get the camera up to your eye, focus and shoot. And then it's gone. So you wait for a return visit. And wait.

To photograph birds, whether large or small, a fast shutter speed is mandatory. A shutter speed of 1/1250 sec is the minimum necessary to get sharp shots. Even though this bird was standing on a post, notice that it was chirping. When birds chirp they often move their heads and flip their wings, and this guy did both of those things very quickly. So the fast shutter speed was necessary to freeze the action. And I was handholding the camera, as I usually do, making a fast shutter speed even more necessary.

I find that I can shoot faster and change positions much quickly when not tethered to a tripod for bird and wildlife photography. 

1/1600 sec at f/10, ISO 800. Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens with Canon 1.4X extender for a focal length of 560mm on Canon 7D Mark II body. Handheld.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song."  --Chinese proverb

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