Photographing Birds in Flight #3 - Acquisition Skill
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Old 08-22-2011   #1
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Default Photographing Birds in Flight #3 - Acquisition Skill

Here is what I teach people in my workshops to do to develop a skill that I call Initial Acquisition Skill. By Initial Acquisition Skill I mean putting the bif in the center of the view finder and then focusing on it for the first time.

First of all look at the subject. There is a straight line of sight between your eye and the subject. While you are looking at the subject, quickly pop your camera and lens up to your eye in shooting position, and do it so that the imaginary line running from the camera sensor down the middle of the lens barrel lines up with your line of sight to the subject. Make sure you are looking at the subject when you try this. With practice, you can put the bird right in the middle of the view finder every time. Start praticing with static subjects and work your way up to small fast moving subjects. It is possible to get to the point where you can go from a rest position to focused on a bif almost instantly. It takes lots of practice though and the difficulty increases with focal length. If you pre-focus at a similar distance the camera will focus quicker than if you are pre-focused at a very different distance than the subject.

Good Luck.

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Old 08-24-2011   #2
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Default Re: Photographing Birds in Flight #3 - Acquisition Skill

Good post Jim. Thanks for sharing your invaluable experience with us amatures
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Old 08-24-2011   #3
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Default Re: Photographing Birds in Flight #3 - Acquisition Skill

When photographing a bif (especially against the sky and when flight is erratic, as with nighthawks) I find it useful to keep both eyes open. With some practice I can position the camera so that the subject in the viewfinder overlaps that in my left eye, which has a wider field of view and makes it easier to keep tracking when the bird suddenly changes direction.
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Old 08-24-2011   #4
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Default Re: Photographing Birds in Flight #3 - Acquisition Skill

Great tip for newbie bobo.

Thanks Jim.
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Old 09-08-2011   #5
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Default Re: Photographing Birds in Flight #3 - Acquisition Skill

Thanks, Jim. As a former bird photographer, I know that such tutorials are welcome to those getting into this wonderful area of photography.
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Old 09-09-2011   #6
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Default Re: Photographing Birds in Flight #3 - Acquisition Skill

It sounds so easy, until one tries it.

Thanks Jim.

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Old 09-09-2011   #7
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Default Re: Photographing Birds in Flight #3 - Acquisition Skill

Thank you Jim for the tutorial. I have learned something new today
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Old 09-23-2011   #8
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Default Re: Photographing Birds in Flight #3 - Acquisition Skill

Been eagerly watching each tutorial as it comes out. Being new to birding, these have been great. Even joined the camel so that I could paticipate more.

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Old 10-11-2011   #9
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Default Re: Photographing Birds in Flight #3 - Acquisition Skill

I need a birding book that has photos of the birds flying away from me since that is the view I most often get.

Dave
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Old 09-29-2012   #10
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Default Re: Photographing Birds in Flight #3 - Acquisition Skill

Quote:
Originally Posted by davejann View Post
I need a birding book that has photos of the birds flying away from me since that is the view I most often get.

Dave
I beleive htere's one out htere called the anal avian identification book

J/K


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