01 May 2019

Canon EOS Setup and Tips For Birds in Flight Photography

Canon EOS Setup and Tips For Birds in Flight Photography
As a keen Birds in Flight photographer and trainer I spend a fair amount of time photographing and researching birds in flight (around Woodbridge Island, Cape Town).

Although this article is not a step-by-step guide for becoming more proficient in the photographing birds in flight it offers my own links to in-site resources that should assist the new / developing photographer.

Its really up to the individual photographer to take time for  researching and learning about the various settings, skills and applications to master birds in flight photography.

As with any other genre Birds in Flight Photography requires a good understanding of camera / lens settings, Autofocus settings and the many capturing and tracking variables to ultimately succeed with capturing various / fast flying birds.

Continuous experimentation, patience and practice should yield the required photography skills, Autofocus tracking and and bird(s) in flight anticipation for creating great shots. I've started my birds in flight journey with various EOS bodies; starting off with four to five frames per second continues shooting modes and the primitive (but quite effective) Canon 9-Point and 11-Point AF / AI Servo Systems (compared to the up-to 65-Point AF / AI Servo systems available today).

The professional and semi-professional APS-C / Full Frame Canon EOS bodies with their advanced AF-Systems will assist the photographer a great deal with tracking fast moving subjects (once the AF system is suitably configured), but most Canon EOS bodies with AI Servo capabilities, 4fps + continuous shooting speeds, correct exposure settings and a 70-300mm lens will achieve reasonable and sharp results.

Canon EOS Setup and Tips For Birds in Flight Photography
Canon EOS Autofocus Setting / EXIF Data
For most of of the Birds in Flight Photography posts on this website I add the Canon EOS AF / AI Servo Settings and minimum exposure EXIF Data (ISO / Aperture / Shutter Speed). Herewith most of the settings required for capturing birds in flight with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Tracking Variables for Birds in Flight Photography
The interpretation and application of the listed variables are not necessarily always going to provide for extraordinary results in every situation, but after quite a few years as a Birds in Flight photographer the following criteria are some of the most important factors / decisions (for ensuring great looking in-flight images). Tracking Variables

Two Cost-Effective Canon Lenses for Birds in Flight Photography
Canon budget lens choices for serious birds in flight photography: This is a topic I frequently discuss during my frequent Birds in Flight Photography training and workshops in Milnerton / Woodbridge Island, Cape Town. Canon Lenses

Memory Cards for Birds in Flight Photography
Although there are faster cards I have use the following Lexar and SanDisk Compact Flash (CF) and Secure Digital (SD) cards in all my Canon EOS cameras for Birds in Flight Photography (EOS 700D / EOS 70D / EOS 7D Mark II / EOS 6D) with very good results: More on Memory Cards / Card Readers
  • SanDisk Extreme 64GB 120MB/s CF Card
  • Lexar Professional 32GB 800x / 120MB/s CF Card
  • SanDisk Extreme PRO 32GB  95MB/s SD memory Card
  • SanDisk Extreme PLUS 32GB 80MB/s SD memory Card

Show Focus Points - Adobe Lightroom Plugin for Canon DSLRs
An important part of the learning is to see how the Canon AF System behaves ito your focus and AF Points lock-on (or not). Although this function is available in Canon's Digital Photo Professional (DPP) I find the Lightroom plugin with just so much more focus and camera / lens data.  As with Lightroom 5.7 and Lightroom 6, the Show Focus Points plugin will also work in Lightroom Classic CC (Ver 7.3) without any issues. Matter of fact the plugin should be part of the upgrade / migration process coming from an older version of Lightroom to Lightroom Classic CC. Go Show Focus Points Plugin

Canon EOS Setup and Tips For Birds in Flight Photography
Birds in Flight Photography Resources
A listing of various supporting documents I have used for creating my Birds in Flight Photography Workshops and Training programmes. Birds in Flight Resources

Birds in Flight Photography Training Cape Town
I offer a variety of Birds in Flight Photography / Canon EOS Autofocus training programmes in Milnerton / Woodbridge Island, Cape Town Birds in Flight Photography Training Training is also available for photographers using Adobe Lightroom post-processing. Lightroom Training Cape Town

Birds in Flight Photography Online Support
All Birds in Flight delegates are invited to join the Bird in Flight Photography Facebook Support group for posting images, discussion and questions. Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town Support

More Birds in Flight Photography Information

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

Settings  / Lightroom Post-Processing for all four Images:

Canon Camera And Lens
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens
  • Manual Mode: f/5.6 / 1/4000s
  • Auto-ISO 500 - 800
  • AI Servo / Large Zone AF / Case 1
  • Continuous Shooting Mode: 10fps
  • Handheld

Post-Processing: Lightroom Classic CC 
  • Cropping / Colour Corrections
  • Sharpening / Noise Removal
  • Lens Profile Correction
  • RAW to JPG Conversion