You are here
Home > Issue 8 > BIRDS IN FLIGHT



Birds in Flight are one of the toughest to photograph. You have to understand the various key settings of the camera and also have a good understanding on what each does to get the image you want..!

1. Focusing Mode – You need to be in AI Servo (Canon) or AF-C (Nikon) so that you can continuously track the subject.

2. Focusing points – This is a tough one…depending on the size of the subject in the frame, you may have to choose a single focusing point, or a zone of focusing points or may be use all focusing points.

3. Your exposure has to be spot on as the lighting / background may change if the bird flies from light to shade or vice versa.

4. I normally recommend evaluative metering or manual metering and set the exposure compensation accordingly.

5. Shutter Speed – As a photographer you need to decide if you want to freeze the action or have the panning effect.. you need to set the shutter speed based on that. For a raptor in flight,  a shutter speed of 1/1000 or more is good to freeze the flight.

6. Composition – This is the tricky part…depending on the flight direction, you will have to move the focusing point around and also decide about vertical or horizontal composition. In this case I shot this horizontally and kept the vertical dimension as it is and cropped it vertically.

Canon 1D Mark III + Canon EF 800mm f5.6 L IS, ISO 320, f9 @ 1/2500, Evaluative Metering -1 1/13 Stop, WB at 6000K, Aperture Priority. This one was shot handheld from a moving boat at Kabini, Nagarhole Tiger Reserve.


About the Author:

Screenshot-1Sudhir Shivaram
Founder & Director
Sudhir Shivaram Photography Private Limited
Sudhir holds photography workshops and Wildlife photo tours to mentor both beginners and advanced photographers enhance their skills and understanding of nature and wildlife photography. He has also launched online video tutorials to learn photography and post processing. All this can be accessed on his website

With Love & Passion
 © Smile Art Beats 2016

Smile Art Beats
Beats of Artistic Hearts. A Magazine from Dinesh Dinu & SMILE ART Creations team, which recognizes the hidden talents in the field of Arts & Photography.