19 November 2019

Bird Flight - An Illustrated Study Of Birds' Aerial Mastery

Bird Flight - An Illustrated Study Of Birds' Aerial Mastery
Bird Flight  Front Cover
Bird Flight - An Illustrated Study Of Birds' Aerial Mastery
Robert Burton 1990 (hard copy)


During 2016 I received a copy of this fascinating book from one of my Birds in Flight Photography Workshop delegates. As an avid Birds in Flight photographer around Woodbridge Island, Cape Town I'm delighted for adding this book to my photography book collection.

The stunning selection of more than 120 birds in flight images and the research / graphic detail of bird flight biology is presented in a well illustrated ornithological study by an experienced writer of natural history books.

Book Availability
Bird Flight is still available on Amazon and a few other Online Retailers.

Chapter Contents

Conquering the Air

  • Into the air 
  • Evolution of bird flight 
  • Learning how birds fly 

The Bird as a Flying Machine

  • Basic principles 
  • The wing of the bird 
  • Spreading the wing 
  • Feathers 
  • Gliding 
  • The tail 
  • Flapping flight 
  • Power for flight 
  • Power and speed 
  • What speed to fly 
  • Built for flight 
  • Fuel for flying 
  • Heart and lungs 
  • Flight maintenance 
  • Moulting 

Flying Skills

  • Taking off 
  • Landing 
  • Control of flight 
  • Fine control 

Styles of Flight

  • Wings and flight 
  • Free-wheeling 
  • Soaring 
  • Ground effect 
  • Formation flying 
  • Hovering

Living in the Air

  • Time in the air 
  • Flight for feeding 
  • Flying to avoid predators 
  • Flight for migration 
  • Flight for breeding 
  • First flight 

Bird Flight - An Illustrated Study Of Birds' Aerial Mastery
Bird Flight  Back Cover

Canal Walk Century City with Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Lens

Interior Sample Image: Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens Canal Walk Century City Canal Walk Century City Cape Town
Interior Sample Images: Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens

Objective: Demonstrating application of the relatively new and inexpensive Canon EF-S 10-18mm f4.5-5.6 IS STM Ultra-Wide zoom lens mainly in an interior mall environment to assess Image Stabilization / Image Quality in Av Mode f/8.0 and Auto ISO (paired with Canon EOS 700D / Rebel T5i DSLR camera body).

Location
Canal Walk Century City Milnerton Cape Town

Equipment (Landscape Photography)
  • Canon EOS 700D SLR camera body
  • Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM lens

Av Mode - Aperture Priority Settings
  • Aperture: f/8
  • Auto ISO 100 - 320
  • Shutter speed: various (up to 30 seconds)
  • Image Stabilization
  • Auto focus (lens)
  • Zero post-processing

(Click to Enlarge)
Interior Sample Image: Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens Canal Walk Century City Canal Walk Century City Cape Town
Interior Sample Image: Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens


Interior Sample Image: Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens Canal Walk Century City Canal Walk Century City Cape Town
Interior Sample Image: Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens


Interior Sample Image: Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens Canal Walk Century City Canal Walk Century City Cape Town
Interior Sample Image: Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens


Interior Sample Image: Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens
Interior Sample Image: Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens


Interior Sample Image: Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens Canal Walk Century City Canal Walk Century City Cape Town
Interior Sample Image: Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens


Interior Sample Image: Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens Canal Walk Century City Canal Walk Century City Cape Town
Interior Sample Image: Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens

Table Mountain Views From Woodbridge Island, Cape Town

Milnerton Beach Sunset Views Woodbridge Island, Cape Town

Action Photography Milnerton Beach Cape Town

A couple of casual surfing snapshots during the final morning of a private Canon EOS 7D Mark II / Canon EOS 5D Mark III workshop at Milnerton Beach off Woodbridge Island, Cape Town. All photos by Vernon Chalmers with Canon EOS 7D Mark II / Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens (M Mode / Handheld). Minor image cropping / post-processing in Adobe Lightroom.

Action Photography / Manual Mode Settings

  • Shutter speed: 1/3200s 
  • Aperture: f/6.3
  • ISO 640 
  • Focal length 400mm (Canon prime lens)
  • Continuous shooting (10 fps / AI Servo) 
  • Extended Zone Autofocus / Lens AF on

(Click To Enlarge)
Action Photography Cape Town: Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm lens

Action Photography Cape Town: Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm lens

Action Photography Cape Town : Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm lens

Action Photography Cape Town: Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm lens
For other photography workshops visit Vernon Chalmers Photography Workshops

Versatility of the 70-300mm focal length range lens

Versatility of the 70-300mm focal length range lens
A 70-300mm focal length range lens is for many photographers the longest lens in their camera bags. If not the longest, the second longest. A versatile focal length from capturing close-ups of flowers to relatively close-up wildlife.

For the serious wildlife photography enthusiast the 70-300mm focal length is always going to be a tad too short - many opt for 100-400mm lenses, 150-600mm lenses and various non-zoom prime lenses of 400mm +.

Although I do a lot of work with a 400mm lens and also much shorter lenses (i.e 16-35mm) there is no way that I can do without the versatility of my Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens. Most 100-400mm lenses will offer similar or even better versatility with close-up and high image quality opportunities.

New generation 70-300mm lenses (Canon / Nikon / Sigma) are very cost-effective and sharp with good Autofocus capabilities - most of them are not classified as professional lenses and therefore the price is quite respectable for the enthusiast photographer.

In my opinion, the Canon L-series professional 70-300mm lens that I use is about three time the price of the equivalent Canon consumer lens, but in no way three times better ito image quality - if that is a major concern for somebody. It offers weather sealing, more durable construction and a floating optical system for producing sharp images across the zoom range, but its not worlds apart when comparing images (this statement is relative to other requirements not necessarily just based on image quality when the pro lens is purchased). The consumer lens should be good to go for most photographers.

All 70-300mm lenses could be used with various accessories (extension tubes / close-up filters) for decreasing the minimum focus distance (MFD of the lens - useful for photographing close-up subjects.

Most 70-300mm lenses are variable aperture lenses (between f/4.-5,6) meaning that the aperture will decrease from 70 to 300mm. I.e at 70mm the aperture will be at f/4 and as you reach 300mm it will at f/5.6 and beyond. You cannot capture a zoomed-to-300mm image at f/4. Not possible. This in itself is not a limitation for most of the applications of these lenses.

I use my 70-300mm lens often on both Canon EOS full frame and crop-sensor bodies and have no concerns about any limitation for the purpose its applied for. If the lens is going to be 'too shot' or 'to long' for whatever I need to achieve I will use a different lens, either a 16-35mm, 24-70mm or 400mm lens.

A few of my own images to show the versatility of the 70-300mm focal length. From the top: flowers, to a landscape, a bird in flight and some fashion.

Note: The flower / insect image was captured with the Canon EF 25mm extension tube attached.

The last image will show the hardware setup with the extension tube.

Landscape Photography With Canon EOS 6D / EF70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens
Landscape Photography With Canon EOS 6D / EF70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens Sample Image

Birds in Flight Photography With Canon EOS 70D / EF70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens
Birds in Flight Photography With Canon EOS 70D / EF70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens Sample Image

Hair Fashion Photography With Canon EOS 6D / EF70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens
Hair Fashion Photography With Canon EOS 6D / EF70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens Sample Image


Wild Flower Photography With Canon EOS 6D / EF70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens
Wild Flower Photography With Canon EOS 6D / EF70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens Sample Image

Canon EOS 6D / EF70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens with EF Extension Tube EF 25 II
Canon EOS 6D / EF70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens with EF Extension Tube EF 25 II


Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens Sample Images View

15 November 2019

Importance of flight direction and the position of the sun

Egyptian Goose : Importance of flight direction and the position of the sun
Egyptian goose with limited shadows
For Birds in Flight Photography

At Woodbridge Island, Cape Town the majority of birds in flight I photograph are flying towards me (with morning sun at my back) - this is important to me for two reasons:
  • Eliminates most of the bird's own distracting shadows under wings and other areas
  • Enhances eye and feather detail - especially with head and eyes that are the same colour

Birds in Flight Photography Examples
Water thick-knee and the blacksmith plover are flying from left to right (towards the sun), with both showing limited shadows and the available direct light providing more definition on the eye and head colours. 

Yellow-billed duck is flying from right to left (away from the sun) with a clear shadow in front of the left wing.

Red-eyed dove and the Egyptian goose (top) are flying from right to left (away from the sun), but fortunately the head and movement is turned towards the left and most of the possible wing / other shadows are limited.

Just something to think about for those of you still finding your feet (and focus) with birds in flight photography.

Setup and Tips For Birds in Flight Photography View

Tracking Variables for Improved Birds in Flight Photography View

Water Thick-Knee flying from Left to Right - Image Copyright Vernon Chalmers
Water Thick-Knee flying from Left to Right : Source:Tracking Variables for Improved Birds in Flight Photography

Blacksmith Plover flying from Left to Right - image Copyright Vernon Chalmers
Blacksmith Plover flying from Left : Source: Tracking Variables for Birds in Flight Photography

Yellow-Billed Duck flying from Right to Left - Image Copyright Vernon Chalmers
Yellow-Billed Duck flying from Right to Left : Setup and Tips for Improved Birds in Flight Photography

Red Eyed Dove flying from Right to Left : Setup and Tips for Improved Birds in Flight Photography

Canon EOS 7D Mark II Birds in Flight Photography Gallery View

Birds in Flight Photography Training Cape Town View

Birds in Flight Photography Training Gift Vouchers View

The humble 50mm f/1.8 lens "Nifty Fifty"

The humble 50mm f/1.8 lens "Nifty Fifty"
Almost all delegates and clients attending my photography training will have a 50mm lens in their camera bags. A 50mm lens is often bundled when a new entry-level DSLR camera is purchased.

Many photographers never use them as the fixed focal length (50mm) is a perceived challenge compared to the 18-55mm / 18-135mm / 24-70mm / 24-105mm focal length lenses.

One key specifications of these lenses is the fact that it offers a super-wide aperture of f/1.8 and it can be used up to f/22. Most of these consumer 50mm lenses are very sharp ito image quality across the aperture range.

All Canon 50mm lenses are compatible with both Full Frame and APS-C (Crop) bodies and will be effective in low light between f/1,8 - f/5.6).

The lens focal lenght is useful for people and animal portraits, close-up flowers and some narrower landscapes.

Various brands of consumer 50mm lenses (as cheap as +- R1 850) should be available for Canon / Nikon mount.

Herewith some examples: The first image images are from my workshop demonstration series and will show the lens used at f/1.8 / f/5.6 / f/16. Body Use Canon EOS 70D (APS-C). 50mm lens used: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM. Full series of images are available here.

On the crop body the lens becomes an effective 80mm lens. The focal length of lens is still 50mm, but the crop sensor provides for am 1.6x magnification. Hence the 80mm (1.6 x 50mm). Exif data in post processing will still show 50mm.

The Depth of Field (background blurriness effect) will become less and less shallow as the aperture is adjusted from i.e. f/1.8 to f/16. Most 50mm lenses will produce a very shallow depth of field between f/1,8 and f/5.6. Note: f/1.8 is not always the most effective aperture to use - it will depend on the area(s) the photographer want in focus.

The f/1.8 to f/5.6 range provides a very effective background blur (depending on distances between photographer, subject and background).

The fourth image was captured with the full frame Canon EOS 6D in rainy / poor light conditions at f/1.8. 50mm lens used: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM,

The last image was captured with crop body EOS 700D and the older EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens at f/5.6 and quite a large crop from the original image).


Aperture testing with Canon EOS 70D / EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens
Aperture testing with Canon EOS 70D / EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens

Aperture testing with Canon EOS 6D / EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens
Aperture testing with Canon EOS 6D / EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens

Aperture testing with Canon EOS 700D / EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens
Aperture testing with Canon EOS 700D / EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens

Close-Up Photography: Canon EOS 6D / EF 50mm STM Lens View

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens - Aperture Test

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens - Aperture Test
Canon EOS 70D / EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens - Aperture Test

Objective: Demonstrating application of different aperture settings and the effect on background blur / bokeh quality using the Canon EOS 6D and new EF 50mm F/1.8 STM lens

Note: Using the same subject (London Red Telephone Money Box) at 50mm focal distance using apertures between f/1.8 - f/16 (9 images).

Location
Arnhem Milnerton, Cape Town

Canon and other equipment
  • Canon EOS 70D DSLR camera body
  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM prime lens
  • Canon Speedlite 430EX II flash
  • Exposure settings: Aperture f/1.8 - f/22
  • Auto-ISO 400
  • Manfrotto Tripod
  • No post-processioning - only croping
Av Settings: Canon EOS 70D / EF 50mm F/1.8 STM Lens
  • 50mm lens f/1.8 - f/16
  • ISO 400
  • Shutter speed: 1/60 seconds
  • Centre-Point AF


Canon EOS 70D / EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens - Aperture Test at f/1.8
Canon EOS 70D / EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens - Aperture Test at f/1.8 Demonstration /  Sample Image

Canon EOS 70D / EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens - Aperture Test at f/2.8
Canon EOS 70D / EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens - Aperture Test at f/2.8 Demonstration / Sample Image

Canon EOS 70D / EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens - Aperture Test f/4
Canon EOS 70D / EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens - Aperture Test f/4 Demonstration / Sample Image

Canon EOS 70D / EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens - Aperture Test at f/5.6
Canon EOS 70D / EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens - Aperture Test at f/5.6 Demonstration / Sample Image

Canon EOS 70D / EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens - Aperture Test at f/8
Canon EOS 70D / EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens - Aperture Test at f/8 Demonstration / Sample Image

Canon EOS 70D / EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens - Aperture Test at f/11
Canon EOS 70D / EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens - Aperture Test at f/11 Demonstration / Sample Image

Canon EOS 70D / EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens - Aperture Test at f/16
Canon EOS 70D / EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens - Aperture Test at f/16 Demonstration / Sample Image


Canon EOS 70D / EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens - Aperture Test at f/22
Canon EOS 70D / EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens - Aperture Test at f/22 Demonstration / Sample Image
Close-Up Photography: Canon EOS 6D / EF 50mm STM Lens View

Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens Zoom Test

Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens Zoom Test
Canon EOS 6D / EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens : Different Focal Lengths Test

Objective: Demonstrating four different focal lengths using the Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM lens (paired with the Full Frame Canon EOS 6D).

Location
Diep River, Milnerton Lighthouse and Table Mountain
Cape Town.

Note: All photos in Av mode (f/8), handheld and no cropping (except the last image). Canon lens profile correction and minimal post-processing via Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.7. No filters used.

Canon EOS 6D Av Mode - Aperture Priority Settings
  • f/8
  • ISO 100
  • Auto-Focus on (body / lens)
  • Lens IS on / Handheld


Canon EOS 6D / EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens @ 24mm
Canon EOS 6D / EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens @ 24mm Sample Image

Canon EOS 6D / EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens @ 35mm
Canon EOS 6D / EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens @ 35mm Sample Image


Canon EOS 6D / EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens @ 50mm
Canon EOS 6D / EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens @ 50mm Sample Image


Canon EOS 6D / EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens @ 70mm
Canon EOS 6D / EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens @ 70mm Sample Image


Canon EOS 6D / EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens @ 24mm Cropped
Canon EOS 6D / EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens @ 70mm Sample Image
-- Cropped --

Small flower photography with macro lens

Small Flower Macro Photography Cape Town
Canon EOS 70D / 100mm Macro Lens
Macro Flowers - Cape Town

In preparation for a Macro / Close-Up Photography Workshop at Intaka Island Century City, Cape Town I've captured a few small flowers with the Canon EOS 70D / 100mm Macro lens and Canon Speedlite 430EX II flash. 

The last image was done with Canon EOS 6D / 100mm Macro lens and Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT flash.

Note: Photos are on tripod in Av mode with a Canon Speedlite 430EX I / 430EX III-RT Iflash with diffuser.  Slight processing Photoshop Lightroom 6 / 7.

Shooting Location
Arnhem Milnerton, Cape Town


Canon DSLR / Flash / Tripod
  • Canon EOS 70D DSLR camera body
  • Canon EOS 6D DSLR camera body
  • Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM Macro lens
  • Canon Speedlite 430EX II flash
  • Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT flash
  • Manfrotto Tripod

Av Mode - Aperture Priority Settings
  • Aperture f/8 - f/22
  • ISO 400 - 800
  • Manual Focus / Lens Autofocus off
  • Shutter speed: various (auto in Av mode)

Small Flower Macro Photography Cape Town - Canon EOS 70D
Canon EOS 70D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens ISO 800 f/22

Small Flower Macro Photography Cape Town - Canon EOS 70D
Canon EOS 70D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens ISO 800 f/11

Small Flower Macro Photography Cape Town - Canon EOS 70D
Canon EOS 70D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens ISO 400 f/11

Small Flower Macro Photography Cape Town - Canon EOS 70D
Canon EOS 70D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens ISO 800 f/11

Small Flower Macro Photography Cape Town - Canon EOS 70D
Canon EOS 70D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens ISO 800 f/8


Canon EOS 6D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens ISO 400 f/11
Canon EOS 6D / EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens ISO 400 f/11

Canon Extension Tube vs Macro Lens Decision
Canon Extension Tube vs Macro Lens Decision

Canon EOS 6D / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens Zoom Test

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens : Different Focal Lengths Test

Objective: Demonstrating the difference between five focal lengths using the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens (paired with the Full Frame Canon EOS 6D) across the Milnerton Lighthouse, Woodbridge Island towards Table Mountain Cape Town.

Note: All photos handheld with no cropping in Av mode (except the last two images). Images captured in RAW (JPG conversion via Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.7). Applied Lens Profile correction with minimum post-processing.

Canon EOS 6D Av Mode - Aperture Priority Settings
  • f/6.3
  • ISO 100
  • Auto-Focus
  • Lens IS: Mode 1 / Handheld 

Canon EOS 6D Full Frame Body  / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens @ 70mm
Canon EOS 6D Full Frame Body  / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens @ 70mm Sample

Canon EOS 6D Full Frame Body  / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens @ 100mm
Canon EOS 6D Full Frame Body  / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens @ 100mm Sample

Canon EOS 6D Full Frame Body  / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens @ 135mm
Canon EOS 6D Full Frame Body  / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens @ 135mm Sample

Canon EOS 6D Full Frame Body  / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens @ 200mm
Canon EOS 6D Full Frame Body  / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens @ 200mm Sample

Canon EOS 6D Full Frame Body  / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens @ 300mm
Canon EOS 6D Full Frame Body  / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens @ 300mm Sample

Canon EOS 6D Full Frame Body  / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens @ 300mm - Cropped -
Canon EOS 6D Full Frame Body  / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens @ 300mm - Cropped - Sample

Canon EOS 6D Full Frame Body  / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens @ 300mm - Cropped -
Canon EOS 6D Full Frame Body  / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens @ 300mm - Cropped - Sample

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens Sample Images View

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens: Professional / Consumer Reviews View