Challenges. It’s what keeps life interesting!
As I look back over my life for at least the past 50 years, there is one characteristic trait that keeps popping up. I need to be challenged, or have a challenge in front of me in order to feel alive. The latest of those is learning to photograph birds in flight. The best way I know to learn the skill is by spending lots of time behind the lens, or as my dad is fond of saying “you learn to do it by doing it”. So for the last several months I’ve enjoyed getting up early and heading out to the lake to try to capture Heron, Geese, Ducks, Osprey and Eagles in flight in the morning light.
The first thing you learn if you’ve never done it before is it’s damn hard to find a moving target in a 600mm lens. Birds are fast, even the slower moving ones. Once you figure that one out, you then have to be able pan to keep them in view. It’s just a learnable skill that takes practice and time.
The other skill you will need to learn if you haven’t already is patience. For the image set used in this article I had to sit for roughly 1.5 hours without much of anything happening. Then very low on the horizon maybe 5 feet off the water I saw this Mallard Duck flying right at me. I found him in the lens and panned with him as he veered slightly right and began to touch down. The whole span of time for this to take place was no more than 15 seconds. This series of 3 consecutive shots happened in less than .5 seconds. So you have to have patience and you have to be ready as there are not any redos in this type of photography.
I hope you enjoyed the article and images as much as I did creating them. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them as we love hearing from you!