One of my most popular posts, Gulls in Flight – A Photography Learning Experience was when I was really learning to photograph birds in flight. Read on for three tips I since learned to make the shots you see here.
That post has been read over 5000 times, so many people must like “seagulls”. Not as popular as some of my garden posts being viewed over 12,000 times (a new one coming this Wednesday Walks), but that is pretty good for a post on a common bird. Maybe the attraction to seagulls is that which is found in the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
Other popular bird posts:
In the story, Jonathan finds himself bored with his life as a flock gull and imagines more for himself. He has a desire to soar and fly to places his flock mates have never been, and for this, becomes an outcast for his unwillingness to conform to the will of the flock. He challenges himself to learn new aerial feats to achieve inner peace and happiness.
Jonathan finds a new community of gulls accepting of his differences, willing to teach him things he only had dreamed.
It makes the reader want to challenge oneself to achieve a higher level of proficiency in some endeavor.
Since that post in November 2011, I have strove to get better at photographing flying birds. Like Jonathan, I learned from others, but also from myself with practice.
Joining a bird watching group, I learned of new birds and where to find them. Gulls have quite a few different species though, 27 species of gull and 18 species of tern. That is a common tern above.
I guess if I had the initiative and enthusiasm of Jonathan, I could buckle down and learn these birds since I do like photographing them. All the gulls in this post are Ring-billed gulls.
This post is entitled Winging It, but that is furthest from the truth when shooting moving subjects. Gulls in Flight – A Photography Learning Experience discussed getting them in the frame for favorable composition. I finally nailed that aspect, no tail shots in this post.
Here, I will tell you three important things that will assure you overall success. Remember though success is relative, in that not all birds will fly as close to you as gulls.
I still find when in the field, hawks remain a challenge. In my garden, they are like photographing gulls, close and convenient. Honestly though, a nicer photograph is had if shooting them in their natural habitat.
Tip one. Use auto-focus with a center focus point. It will be much easier to keep them in the frame and in focus. Let the camera do some of the work.
Tip three, shown below. Set your camera to Continuous. This is what was called motor drive in days of old. Now, it is where you depress the shutter on your DSLR and the camera clicks off continuously for, in my case, 6 frames per second. In a sense, this is “winging it” to a point.
When action is happening fast like in flying birds, it is sometimes hard to follow the action and make a nice composition. There just is no time. So when the camera fires off consecutive shots, you get to choose the best of the batch. Or like below, get a series of the action. You will find this point to be the most important. Not only does the camera follow the action, but it keeps it in focus as well.
Fridays Are For the Birds will have more shots of gulls. I hope you stop back for some pretty photos of this expressive bird and useful tips for shooting in snow.