01 September 2017

Challenges of Small Bird in Flight Photography

Challenges of Small Bird in Flight Photography - Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens
Challenge of Small Bird in Flight Photography  Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Telephoto Lens

Objective: Fast and small bird in flight shooting with Canon EOS 7D Mark II in early morning / changing light and windy conditions (Woodbridge Island / Cape Town).


Small Birds in Flight Photography Challenges
Photographing a small, fast moving bird is in most cases quite a challenge, but indeed possible with patience and the correct camera body and lens settings. Small birds are erratic movers / flyers and when they get ready to fly / or already in flight it could result in some hit and miss captures.


For capturing this particular bird I did a fair amount of viewfinder / autofocus tracking and shot in multi-shot mode at 10 frames per second. The low light into the reeds increased my Auto-ISO to ISO 1600 which was still manageable in my Lightroom post-processing.

Canon EOS 7D Mark II Auto-ISO
With the Canon EOS 7D Mark II's quite remarkable Auto-ISO I'm shooting as such most of the time - I must add that we have reasonable to good light even in winter and the Auto-ISO almost never exceeds ISO 1600 (even at shutter speeds op to 1/5000s). More on the Canon EOS 7D Mark II's advanced Auto-ISO: Canon DLC: Article>>


AI Servo: Large / Wide Zone AF Selection

I was once again satisfied with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II's ability to track the small bird using AI Servo mode with Large / Wide Zone AF point selection. The fast AF of the Canon EOS 400mm f/5.6L USM lens assisted quite a bit for capturing two short burst of 7 images (in total) of which three were good enough for meeting my small Bird in Flight objective for creating this post. Herewith a few images of a starling I captured - as another example of a relatively small bird in flight: Starling in Flight>> Another Large / Wide Zone AF selection Birds in Flight demonstration: Red-knobbed Coot>> In further testing of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II's AF options I've added a few images captured with the Zone AF Manual Selection option.

Canon EOS 7D Mark II Large Zone AF
Canon EOS 7D Mark II Large / Wide Zone AF 

Levaillant's Cisticola Birds in Flight Images

All images were captured in Manual Mode: Multi-shot / continuous mode at 10 fps AI Servo. Post-processing done with Adobe Lightroom 6. RAW to JPG conversion with some sharpening and noise reduction applied.



Location
Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island Cape Town

Canon Gear / Memory Card

  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II camera body 
  • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens
  • Lexar Professional CompactFlash UDMA 7 32 GB
  • Exposure / Other Settings: Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens


Manual Mode

  • Aperture: f/ 6.3 
  • Auto-ISO 1600 
  • Focal Length: 400mm 
  • Shutter speed: 1/5000s 
  • AI Servo AF Case 1 / Wide-Zone
  • Lens Autofocus on
  • Handheld
(Click to Enlarge)
Challenges of Small Bird in Flight Photography - Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Small Bird in Flight  : Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens

Challenges of Small Bird in Flight Photography - Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Small Bird in Flight  : Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens

Challenges of Small Bird in Flight Photography - Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Small Bird in Flight  : Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens

Canon EOS 7D Mark II - Birds in Flight Photo Gallery

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town