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Photography Question 
Lynnmarie Daley
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/2/2006
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How to shoot animals in action


 
 
Does anyone have any tips for shooting animals in action? Especially need help with birds in flight. Have a Canon Digital Rebel XT with a 70-300 mm lense. Would also appreciate a critique on the photo attached. Thanks!


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7/11/2006 11:34:57 AM

 
Tami Rook
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/26/2006
  I like the shot, Birds are fun however shoot, shoot and then shoot more, I tend to take 5 shots at a time of a bird, then I have different wing positions to choose from. Now remember I am a newbie, and do not pretend to know what I am doing.

Items required:
1) A Driver
2) French Fries
3)truck
4) camera
5) power windows on your truck
6) open beach

LOL Place the driver behind the wheel, French-fries in hand and start tossing them out the window, once you have about 6 birds start driving down the beach slow at first tossing a French frie out the window and start shooting. The faster the driver goes the better wing span you will get on the birds hahahaha yes I have done this it was great fun for hours.


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7/11/2006 4:16:06 PM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  OMG Tami!!!! I needed a good laugh and you really supplied it for me!


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7/11/2006 5:00:28 PM

 
Judyann Plante
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2005
  Sounds like fun, Tami!

Lynn, I have a Rebel XT, also. You need a really fast shutter speed to get a clear flight shot. Most of my bird shots I have taken with the camera in action mode.(feel free to check them out in my gallery) Get it focused in and then just start shooting. In this mode, you get continuous auto focus that tracks moving objects and continuous drive mode so you can get several shots off at one time. You can also set the camera to a fast shutter speed in TV mode(1000 or better) and set the camera to Servo AF. I am just learning to use this. Takes some practice to get it right. Hope this helps.

Judyann ><>


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7/11/2006 5:02:10 PM

 
Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  Lynn I do a lot of wildlife photography although I am by no means an expert. However, to add to what Judyann said; there are a few things I have learned. In addition to a fast shutter speed, I find it important to mount my camera to a tripod. I prefer a pan/tilt head, but everyone has their own favorite. Even with a fast shutter speed it is very easy to get blur and the tripod helps prevent this and gives you a sharper image. In addition, I really think it is important to study your subject and learn as much about their habits as possible. Im lucky enough to live very near (about 2 miles) a wildlife refuge where I spend far too much time! We also have a small farm with lots of willing subjects. By studying bird behavior I can tell when a heron is about to take flight or an egret is about to dive for food. This helps me to be ready for action.

I find smaller birds to be harder for fairly obvious reasons, i.e. size and fast movements. I can spend hours watching blue birds and only get a couple of usable images, but meanwhile Im learning for the next time. Another suggestion is to learn how to follow a bird with your eye and your camera and know when to push the shutter. This takes practice and probably many mistakes, but it can pay off in great images. One important thing to know is what time of day the bird you are attempting to photograph is most active. Many birds do not get really active until after the sun has been up for an hour or so. Others are most active in early evening. Knowing this will help you plan your shooting. Also it helps to know what type habitat the bird hunts and where it is most likely to nest. Knowledge is, as they say, power and in bird photography, knowledge leads to good shots.

Finally, consider shooting in shutter priority mode since this will provide you with the most control over exposure. Manual mode is also great, but sometimes when you are just learning, manual can be harder. Oh, and dont make the mistake I make: set your shutter speed higher than you might think you need. If you are shooting digital, check the image and see if your subject is sharp and adjust accordingly. I hope that this helps. You are welcome to check my gallery for some wildlife images. I also have a few of birds.


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7/11/2006 6:28:13 PM

 
Lynnmarie Daley
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/2/2006
Contact Lynnmarie
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  Thanks, Tami, for the LOL response! No kidding, I'll give the french fry tip a try...Lynn


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7/12/2006 8:54:42 AM

 
Lynnmarie Daley
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/2/2006
Contact Lynnmarie
Lynnmarie's Gallery
  Judyann...thanks for your respsonse. I've never tried the Servo AF setting but I certainly will now! Wish I had thought of that when I was at a bird sanctuary the other day. By the way your gallery is wonderful! You have a great eye. I especially liked "Soft landing" (those colors!) and "Just gliding by". You're good at tracking your subject. Just got a new tripod with a ball head and quick release. Hoping that helps. Thanks again for taking the time to give such an informative response. Lynn


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7/12/2006 9:06:43 AM

 
Lynnmarie Daley
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/2/2006
Contact Lynnmarie
Lynnmarie's Gallery
  Irene, thanks for taking the time to give such an informative and detailed response! I'm printing out all these tips because I'm determined to master this. You have a wonderful gallery with some truly breathtaking landscapes! The color in your photos is outstanding. I'm assuming that many of these were taken close to home...if so, you're one lucky lady to live in such a place. Thanks again for your tips and your time. Lynn


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7/12/2006 9:15:07 AM

 
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