Longer shutter speeds in bird photography

LöfflerA beautifully sharp image of a bird in flight can fascinating. But if you want to show the enormous load-bearing capacity of the wings of a bird taking off or landing, you should consider longer shutter speeds in bird photography. This kind of photography also allows the dynamics of the flight to be emphasized. The interplay of background design and lighting with a targeted motion blur leads to photographic “paintings” that convey the actual impression, the character, of these animals. There is a weightless dynamic. Details and color nuances that these aerial acrobats create with their wings, like a painter with a brush, only become really visible with longer shutter speeds. This recording technique is mostly associated with dragging the camera, and so I usually use the ProMediaGear GKJr. Katana Junior head to achieve a smooth movement of the camera-telephoto lens system. An EF 600mm 1: 4L IS II USM can also be directed effortlessly with the lens of a Canon EOS 1D X or a EOS 1 DX Mark III.

Since the background changes quickly with such recordings, you should consider switching to manual mode. To do this, set the aperture to f / 8 and switch to a longer shutter speed (i.e. from 1/320 sec. upwards) and limit the ISO number in auto ISO mode. All to avoid unexpected overexposure or underexposure. The optimal shutter speed to achieve the right degree of motion blur depends to a large extent on the type of bird (the larger the bird, the slower the flaps of its wings), the distance between the camera and the bird (the further away, the less noticeable the blurring) and of course from the direction of flight. The exact setting of one of the autofocus fields to the desired head position in the image section helps to achieve better sharpness of the eyes. And that sets the impression of sharpness for the viewer.

Longer shutter speeds can also be used very successfully in high-contrast light. In situations in which a photo with “frozen” movement would appear too rich in contrast, the blurred wings draw very nice lines of color against the blurred background.

Bird-lens is a website that aims to meet the growing demand for high-quality images, especially of birds in the Western Palearctic. In order to be able to satisfy the demand for top shots of rare bird species worldwide, Bird–Lens.com has also undertaken targeted trips to distant places such as Asia, Africa or South America. Trips to remote locations to snap pictures of rare birds of the Western Palearctic have been very successful. This beautiful picture of the blog is only a first impression, which you can find very soon in the gallery in the “Picture Shop”. Otherwise, just have a look at the gallery. Just leave a message if bird-lens.com can serve with a picture.

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