01 May 2024

Canon Birds in Flight Photography Skills Development

Birds in Flight Photography Training / Skills Development Cape Town

Peregrine Falcon in Flight - Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Peregrine Falcon in Flight - Arnhem Milnerton / Woodbridge Island

Regular Birds in Flight Photography sessions at Woodbridge Island, Cape Town is without doubt the photography genre I enjoy the most. 

Not just the photographing of the more than 70 species on / around the Island, but also the research, development, and presentation of Birds in Flight Photography Private Training / Workshops around Cape Town.

I find the advances in modern Canon EOS DSLR phase-detect AF-systems fascinating and spend many hours with my Canon cameras experimenting / looking for ways for extracting the maximum value from various Canon APS-C / Full Frame bodies and telephoto lenses.

 
Pin-Tailed Whydah in flight Intaka Island Copyright Vernon Chalmers
Pin-Tailed Whydah in flight Intaka Island : Intaka Island Photography Training

Canon EOS R6 First Impressions and Sample Images (Birds / Birds in Flight Photography

Photographing Birds in Flight
Photographing Birds in Flight is a challenging genre, but the modern Canon AF System, tracking ability and excellent range of Canon EF telephoto lenses provides for a very good DSLR camera / lens combination for photographing Birds in Flight. 

Birds in Flight Photography Skills Development / How to Photograph Birds in Flight
I've had some great results over the years with various Canon EOS DSLR bodies (both personal and professional) and with Birds in Flight Photography Training during skills development sessions at Woodbridge Island, Cape Town. I have personally worked with / or have trained delegates with the following Canon EOS bodies:
  • Canon EOS 700D / EOS 750D / EOS 800D
  • Canon EOS 60D / EOS 70D / EOS 77D
  • Canon EOS 80D /  EOS 90D
  • Canon EOS 7D / EOS 7D Mark II 
  • Canon EOS 6D / EOS 6D Mark II
  • Canon EOS R / EOS RP / EOS R6 (Mirrorless)
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III /  EOS 5D Mark IV
  • Canon EOS-1D X / EOS-1D X Mark II

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town - Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Canon EOS Advanced Autofocus Training Cape Town

Starting out with Birds in Flight Photography View

Birds in Flight Workshops / Private Training Cape Town
I facilitate regular Birds in Flight Workshops in the Milnerton / Woodbridge Island Cape Town. 


From intermediate to advanced Canon Autofocus systems including all Canon EOS / EOS R bodies up to the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III and Canon EOS R6. Workshops Cape Town overview.

Birds in Flight / Action Photography Advanced Autofocus Workshop Cape Town

My Birds in Flight Canon Camera Gear / Combinations

Canon EOS 7D Mark II / Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens
Canon EOS 7D Mark II - Woodbridge Island, Cape Town

Canon EOS 7D Mark II / Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens
I predominantly capture Birds in Flight with this combination mainly for the following reasons:

Canon EOS 7D Mark II

  • Advanced AF system with multi-controller support
  • Wide Zone AF option for erratic and small birds
  • 10 fps continuous shooting and deeper buffer
  • Slightly better ISO noise improvement
  • Dual memory card slots

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens

  • Reach: 400mm x 1.6 on APS-C bodies
  • Exceptional image quality
  • Fix focal length / f/5.6 aperture
  • Built-in lens hood
  • Fast Autofocus
  • Light weight

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town with Canon EOS 7D Mark II


Canon EOS 70D / Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens
Canon EOS 70D - Woodbridge Island, Cape Town

Canon EOS 70D / Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens
Before I acquired the Canon EOS 7D Mark II I had no issues shooting birds in flight with the Canon EOS 70D and the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens combination.

Currently I use the Canon EOS 70D [aired with the super-sharp Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens for closer birds.

Canon EOS 70D
  • Responsive AF system
  • Zone AF option for erratic and small birds
  • 7 fps continuous shooting

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens

  • Reach: 300 x 1.6 on APS-C bodies
  • Exceptional image quality
  • Variable focal focal length 
  • Fast Autofocus
  • Compact

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town with Canon EOS 70D

Canon EOS 6D paired with the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens
Canon EOS 6D  - Woodbridge Island Cape Town

Canon EOS 6D / Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens
I do not use this Canon combination very often, but in my opinion the Canon EOS 6D works quite well for birds in flight (with center-AF Point selection). Many photographers don't even try as there are a few misconceptions that the 11-Point Autofocus system is not 'accurate enough' for tracking and capturing fast flying birds.

Canon EOS 6D
  • Full Frame Sensor
  • Sensitive center-point AF Point
  • 4.5 fps continuous shooting and deep buffer
  • Excellent low light shooting / ISO Management

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens

  • Reach: 300 x 1.6 on APS-C bodies
  • Exceptional image quality
  • Variable focal focal length 
  • Fast Autofocus
  • Compact

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town with Canon EOS 6D


Birds in Flight Cape Town on Instagram


Canon Equipment Reviews / Tests / Future Thoughts For Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town

Canon EOS 6D / EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens Birds in flight Test View

Birds in Flight Photography with Canon EOS 6D Full Frame DSLR View

Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens : First Impressions Cape Town View

Canon EOS 70D for Birds In Flight Photography : Paired with EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens View

Canon EOS 80D / EF 100-400mm f/4.5L IS II USM Lens : First impressions / Test Shoot Cape Town View

Two Canon EF 400mm Lens Options for Birds in Flight Photographers View

Canon EOS 7D Mark III Wish List for Birds in Flight Photography View


New Canon EOS 7D Mark III Rumors & Announcement Updates View

Introduction to Birds in Flight Photography: Camera & Lens Settings / Tips View

Long-Term Use / Discussion of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II View


Birds in Flight Photography Workshop: Supporting Document Links View

Capturing / Tracking Variables for Improved Birds in Flight Photography View


Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town - Lightroom Post-Processing

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town - Cropping & Post-Processing View


Show Active Focus Points in Adobe Lightroom 5 / 6 CC View


Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town - Social Media / Facebook Support


Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town Facebook Page View

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town Support Group View


My Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town Location

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town : Woodbridge Island View

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town : Table Bay Nature Reserve View


Birds Species at Woodbridge Island / Table Bay Nature Reserve Cape Town View

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town - Woodbridge Island Map / Directions View 


Birds in Flight Photography (Tips)

"Birds in flight photography is a captivating niche within wildlife photography. It involves capturing images of birds while they are airborne, showcasing their grace, agility, and beauty in motion. Here are some tips to help you excel in birds in flight photography:
  1. Use the Right Equipment: A camera with a fast burst rate and a long telephoto lens (300mm or longer) is essential. A lens with image stabilization can also be beneficial for capturing sharp images.

  2. Select the Right Settings: Use a fast shutter speed to freeze the motion of the birds (typically 1/1000 sec or faster). Choose a wide aperture for a shallow depth of field to isolate the bird from the background, and set the ISO to achieve proper exposure without introducing too much noise.

  3. Pre-focus on the Bird's Flight Path: Anticipate where the bird will be and pre-focus your camera on that spot to ensure you capture sharp images when the bird enters the frame.

  4. Follow the Bird's Movement: Use continuous autofocus mode and track the bird's movement through the viewfinder, keeping it in the center of the frame as much as possible.

  5. Consider the Background: Pay attention to the background when composing your shots. A clean and uncluttered background will make your subject stand out more effectively.

  6. Shoot in Burst Mode: Take advantage of your camera's burst mode to capture a series of images in quick succession. This increases your chances of getting the perfect shot with the bird in an ideal position.

  7. Practice Patience: Birds in flight photography requires patience and persistence. Spend time observing the birds' behavior to anticipate their movements and improve your chances of capturing compelling shots.

  8. Experiment with Composition: Try different compositions, such as capturing the bird in various positions within the frame or incorporating elements like leading lines or negative space to add interest to your photos.

  9. Be Mindful of Lighting: Pay attention to the direction and quality of light when shooting. Soft, diffused light is generally preferable, as harsh sunlight can create strong shadows and contrast that may detract from your images.

  10. Practice and Review: The more you practice, the better you'll become at capturing birds in flight. Review your images regularly to identify areas for improvement and refine your technique over time.
Remember, birds in flight photography can be challenging but also incredibly rewarding. Keep honing your skills, and don't forget to enjoy the experience of witnessing these magnificent creatures in action. (Source: ChatGPT 2024)


Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town
Dove in Flight - Canon EOS 7D Mark II - Woodbridge Island, Cape Town

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