Monday, June 22, 2009

Choosing the right Focal Length and Settings

Last weeks flight shot workshop was challenging! These birds lift-off and fly to the falconer.. James Cowan in a split second. I usually like a little environment around the bird, even with flight shots so with my 200-400mm lens, I was able to pull back and create a second opportunity to catch the bird in flight.

At 260mm this shot turned out nicely with an aperture setting of F4. A sutter speed of 1/2500 sec was plenty to freeze the action, but I think ISO 320 was too high. Later in the session I moved my ISO down to 200 for better details and less noise.

The D300 AF works very well, so much better since the firmware upgrade. Setting would include the turning the focus selector to AFC on the camera for moving subjects. Inside the menu, I work with 21 point, or single sensor for flight shooting., depending on the size of the bird in the frame, and relationship to the background.

Sometimes i will go to 52 point full frame sensor for the smaller fast flyer's., like the kestrel. Also, I set the focus lock to short., and I use the rear AF button for all focusing activation., the shutter button is used only to activate the shutter., since I almost never use the VR.

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  2. Hi Ray,

    Some great tips here, I still think that bird 'flight' photography is one of the most challenging aspects of capturing images.

    If you have enough light, have you ever tried ISO 100? I use ISO 100 where I can for aviation shots, and I think it makes something of a difference.

    I like the updates that the blog offers.



  3. Hi Joe., I often shoot at iso 200 with the D300, and prefer the lowest iso settings possible., the settings below iso 200 are identified as L1 L2 L3, and from what I understand, there is no increase in image quality when I go down to these settings.

    Thanks for your comments!!

  4. Is there a story behind how the handler aquired such a rare owl?

  5. Hi Anonymous

    I am sure there is., maybe one day I will write such a story, it would be interesting. thanks!


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