01 February 2020

Birds in Flight in Variable Light Woodbridge Island

African darter landing in the Diep River Woodbridge Island
African Darter landing in the Diep River (Auto-ISO 400) 
Windy and slightly overcast conditions greeted me along the Diep River., Woodbridge Island this morning.

The conditions became progressively worse, but decided to stay put and see what I can get out of the morning. I ended up with about 500 images (at 10 fps) over a two hour period.

Birds in flight (from the top)
  • African darter
  • Speckled pigeon
  • Rock pigeon
  • Grey heron
  • Yellow-billed duck
  • Black-winged stilt
  • African ibis

Lightroom Post-Processing

All images processed in Adobe Lightroom 8. Converted from RAW to JPG. Lens profile correction. Minor colour correction. Sharpness and noise reduction applied. Due to the low light / higher ISO images I spent more time with post-processing that I would in good light.

Auto-ISO Range
Today's light was the low light conditions up to ISO 1250 light versus the more acceptable and maximum Auto-ISO  800 / 640 conditions. All images here are between the Auto-ISO 250-1250 range. Individual ISO's listed underneath each individual image.

I encourage all my birds in flight photography students to try out the Auto-ISO option and most of them keep on using the settings in good or poor light conditions. I have personally used Auto-ISO predominantly in all my birds in flight photography conditions with all my cameras for the past six years.

Setup and Tips For Birds in Flight Photography View

Cape Town Location
Milnerton Lagoon Woodbridge Island, Cape Town. Over the Diep River flowing past the Milnerton Golf Course

Equipment (Birds In Flight / Action Photography)
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II DSLR camera body
  • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
  • SanDisk Extreme 64GB 120MB/s CF Card

Manual Mode Settings
  • Shutter speed: 1/4000s
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Focal length 400mm
  • Auto-ISO (ISO 250 - 1250)
  • Continuous shooting mode (10 fps) / AI Servo
  • AI Servo / AF Mode Option (Large / Wide Zone AF / Case 1)
  • Lens AF On / No IS / Handheld

(Click to enlarge)

Speckled pigeon in flight over the Diep River, Woodbridge Island
Speckled pigeon in flight over the Diep River, Woodbridge Island (Auto-ISO 250)

Rock pigeon in flight over the Diep River, Woodbridge Island
Rock pigeon in flight over the Diep River, Woodbridge Island (Auto-ISO 500)

Low flying grey heron Woodbridge Island
Low flying grey heron Woodbridge Island (Auto-ISO 640)

Yellow-billed duck in flight at Woodbridge Island, Cape Town
Yellow-billed duck in flight at Woodbridge Island (Aut0-ISO 1250)

Black-winged stilt in flight over the Diep River,  Woodbridge Island
Black-winged stilt in flight over the Diep River,  Woodbridge Island (Auto-ISO 400)

African ibis in flight over the Diep River,  Woodbridge Island
African ibis in flight over the Diep River,  Woodbridge Island (Auto-ISO 400)

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 Roll of the Sandwich Tern - Woodbridge Island, Cape Town

A gorgeous early morning at Woodbridge Island (and above the Milnerton Golf Course) this morning provided for lots of birds in flight activity in the Diep River. Herewith four consecutive images of the Sandwich tern before. during and after shacking the excess water from his features.

Sandwich tern images by Vernon Chalmers with Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens ISO 400 - 500 f/5.6 1/4000's, AI Servo Mode (Handheld). 10 fps High-Speed continuous shooting mode.

(Click to Enlarge)
The Roll of the Sandwich Tern - Woodbridge Island
Sandwich Tern - Woodbridge Island Cape Town

The Roll of the Sandwich Tern - Woodbridge Island
Sandwich Tern - Woodbridge Island Cape Town

The Roll of the Sandwich Tern - Woodbridge Island
Sandwich Tern - Woodbridge Island Cape Town

The Roll of the Sandwich Tern - Woodbridge Island
Sandwich Tern - Woodbridge Island Cape Town



Another Sandwich Tern over Woodbridge Island

The Roll of the Sandwich Tern - Woodbridge Island
 Sandwich Tern - Woodbridge Island Cape Town

The Roll of the Sandwich Tern - Woodbridge Island

Sandwich Tern - Woodbridge Island Cape Town

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town View

Birds in Flight Photography with different Canon AF Systems

Birds in Flight Photography with different Canon Autofocus Systems
Camera Autofocus System (AF) and continuous Frames Per Second shooting (fps) not always everything to succeed in Birds in Flight Photography

Canon EOS 7D Mark II vs Canon EOS 6D

A high continuous shooting fps camera with a sophisticated AF system is not the only requirement to succeed in Birds in Flight photography. Many other criteria will assist the quality of the end result(s).

Birds in Flight Shooting Conditions 
Conditions / subject speed for both images more / less the same. Both birds in flight images created in the Table Bay Nature Reserve just off Woodbridge Island, Cape Town

Image 1:  Canon EOS 7D Mark II (APS-C) / EF 400mm f/5.6L lens @ 10 fps and 65-Point AF System / Large Zone AF (AI Servo)

Image 2: Canon EOS 6D (Full Frame) / EF 400mm f/5.6L lens @ 4.5 fps and 11 Point AF System / One Point AF (IA Servo)

Source / Settings Image 1: Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Source / Settings image 2: Canon EOS 6D

Canon EOS 7D Mark II / Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens
Image 1: Canon EOS 7D Mark II / Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens

Canon EOS 6D / Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens
Image 2: Canon EOS 6D / Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens

Tracking Variables for Improved Birds in Flight Photography Article>>

Birds in Flight Photography Training Milnerton, Cape Town Training>>

Remarkable Cropability of a Full Frame DSLR Sensor

Remarkable Cropability of a Full Frame DSLR Sensor
With bigger pixels on the sensor, the full frame body (i.e. Canon EOS 6D) produces less noise than a crop-sensor body (i.e. Canon EOS 7D Mark II) at the same higher ISO - in this case at ISO 800. Tighter cropping of the original full frame image should therefore produce better / cleaner results than with a crop body.

1st image is the unprocessed / uncropped frame of a little bird taking off.


2nd image is the cropped version towards the centre of the frame / the little bird taking off (processed in Lightroom 6 with some noise reduction et al)

Note: The cropped image s not good enough for real-world publication - its only for demonstration purposes.


I regularly shoot with Full Frame and Crop / APS-C bodies and have equal purpose and respect for both - its about using the most suitable body for my interest areas / research. For anything that moves (action) and / or small (macro) I use a Crop / APS-C body and for landscape / long exposure /  low light I use a Full Frame body. But saying this, both body types are more than capable for all genres. Similar demonstration with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Cape Town Shooting Location
Woodbridge Island, Cape Town

Canon Equipment Used

  • Canon EOS 6D Body 
  • Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens

Camera / Lens Settings
  • Manual Mode: ISO 800 / f/6.3 / 1/ 4000s @ 300mm
  • Multi-Shot / AI Servo
  • Single AF point
  • IS off
(Click to enlarge)
Remarkable Cropability of a Full Frame DSLR Sensor
Canon EOS 6D / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens

Remarkable Cropability of a Full Frame DSLR Sensor
Canon EOS 6D / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens - Cropped

Low Light Birds in Flight Photography, Table Bay Nature Reserve

Sacred Ibis Table Bay Nature Reserve Woodbridge Island Cape Town
Sacred Ibis at ISO 640 - Table Bay Nature Reserve, Cape Town
Canon EOS 7D Mark II Training Cape Town
I don't think many photographers would have considered Saturday morning a great morning for bird photography.

As part of a Canon EOS 7D Mark II practical training session we nevertheless braved the light rain, gloomy water and dark-grey clouds.

Fortunately, the rain stayed away and we made our way past the Woodbridge Island pump house and spend some quality shooting time in the Table Bay Nature Reserve (albeit at high ISO's).

All in all a great experience with a very enthusiastic wild life photographer.

Client Canon Camera & Lens
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens

Cape Town Location
Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve
Woodbridge Island, Cape Town

My Equipment Used (Birds In Flight / Action Photography)
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II DSLR camera body
  • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
  • Lexar Professional 800x / 120MB/s 32GB CF Card

Manual Mode Settings
  • Shutter speed: 1/4000s
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Focal length 400mm
  • Auto-ISO (ISO 640 - 3200)
  • Continuous shooting mode (10 fps) / AI Servo
  • AI Servo / AF Mode Option (Wide Zone AF / Case 1)
  • Lens AF On / No IS / Handheld

A few of my birds in flight captured. Note the high ISO's ranging from ISO 640 - ISO 3200:

(Click to Enlarge)
Little Egret in Flight at ISO 640 - Table Bay Nature Reserve Cape Town
Little Egret in Flight at ISO 640 - Table Bay Nature Reserve Cape Town

Cape Shoveller Duck Table Bay Nature Reserve Woodbridge Island Cape Town
Cape Shoveller Duck in Flight at ISO 1000 - Table Bay Nature Reserve, Cape Town


African Darter in Flight at ISO 1000 - Table Bay Nature Reserve Cape Town
African Darter in Flight at ISO 1000 - Table Bay Nature Reserve Cape Town

hEgyptian Goose Table Bay Nature Reserve Woodbridge Island Cape Town
Egyptian Goose in Flight at ISO 1250 - Table Bay Nature Reserve, Cape Town 

Cape Shoveller Duck in Flight at ISO 2500 - Table Bay Nature Reserve, Cape Town
Cape Shoveller Duck in Flight at ISO 2500 - Table Bay Nature Reserve, Cape Town

Cape Shoveller Duck Table Bay Nature Reserve Woodbridge Island Cape Town
Cape Shoveller Duck in Flight at ISO 3200 - Table Bay Nature Reserve, Cape Town

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

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town View

Table Mountain Pgotography

Copyright Vernon Chalmers: Table Mountain / Cape Town over Milnerton Lagoon
Table Mountain, Cape Town Photography
Table Mountain, Cape Town sunrise / sunset captured from over Woodbridge Island, Milnerton beach and Cape Town (Table Bay).

 Also image captured of Table Mountain from the V&A Waterfront Cape Town.

All Table Mountain, Cape Town images with:
  • Canon EOS 6D / EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM lens
  • Canon EOS 6D / EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM lens
  • Canon EOS 6D / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens
  • Canon EOS 700D / EF-S 10-18mm IS STM lens
  • Canon EOS 700D / EF-S 18-135mm IS STM lens
  • Canon Powershot SX40 HS Compact Camera.

Long exposure photography Table Mountain, Cape Town photos with Manfrotto 190X MK190X3-3W and Manfrotto Compact MKC3-H01 tripods.


Cape Town Photography: Woodbridge Island Bridges / Milnerton Lighthouse

Vernon Chalmers Copyright: Table Mountain Photography, Cape Town
Please do not use / re-publish any Vernon Chalmers Table Mountain, Cape Town Photography images without permission. View the Vernon Chalmers Photography Copyright Policy for more more information.

Copyright Infringement Warning to Cape Town Photographers
Copyright Infringement Warning to Cape Town Photographers

(For Best Viewing Quality -Click to Enlarge)
Copyright Vernon Chalmers: Table Mountain / Cape Town over Milnerton Lagoon
Before Sunrise: Table Mountain over Milnerton Lagoon

Copyright Vernon Chalmers: Before sunrise: Table Mountain / Cape Town over Milnerton Lagoon
During Sunrise: Table Mountain over Milnerton Lagoon

Copyright Vernon Chalmers: Before sunrise: Table Mountain / Cape Town over Milnerton Lagoon
During Sunrise: Table Mountain over Woodbridge Island Main Bridge

Copyright Vernon Chalmers: Table Mountain / Cape Town - Long Exposure over Milnerton Beach / Table Bay
Table Mountain - Long Exposure over Milnerton Beach / Table Bay

Copyright Vernon Chalmers: Sunrise Table Mountain Cape Town - Over Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island
Table Mountain Cape Town - From Arnhem Milnerton / Woodbridge Island

Copyright Vernon Chalmers: Table  Mountain Cape Town - From Arnhem Milnerton / Woodbridge Island
Table Mountain Cape Town - From Arnhem Milnerton / Woodbridge Island

Copyright Vernon Chalmers: Table  Mountain Cape Town - From Arnhem Milnerton / Woodbridge Island
Table Mountain Cape Town - From Arnhem Milnerton / Woodbridge Island

Copyright Vernon Chalmers: Sunset from Woodbridge Island and Milnerton beach / Cape Town
Table Mountain Cape Town - From Milnerton Beach

Copyright Vernon Chalmers: Table Mountain  - Over Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island
Table Mountain - Over Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island


Copyright Vernon Chalmers: Table Mountain  - Over Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island
Table Mointain - Overt the wooden Bridge / Woodbridge Island


Copyright Vernon Chalmers: Table Mountain over Table Bay Nature Reserve
Table Mountain over Table Bay Nature Reserve / Cape Town

Copyright Vernon Chalmers - Table Mountain from the V&A Waterfront Cape Town
Table Mountain from the V&A Waterfront Cape Town

Copyright Vernon Chalmers - Table Mountain from the V&A Waterfront Cape Town
Table Mountain from the V&A Waterfront Cape Town

Canon Camera / Photography Workshops Cape Town

Long Exposure / Night Photography Setup & Tips View

Lightroom 8.2 required for editing Canon CR3 RAW files

First images processed with Lightroom Classic CC 8.2
Image Credit :  Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC 8 Splash Screen
First images processed with Lightroom Classic CC 8.2

Before I started with my Canon EOS R testing for Canon South Africa this past week I updated my Windows desktop systems from Lightroom Classic CC Version 7.5 to Version 8.2 (released in February 2019).

Canon EOS R First Impressions / More Sample Images

Canon CR3 / C-RAW RAW Requirement
The main reason for this update for my workflow was to accommodate Canon's relatively new CR3 RAW file standard for  the EOS R Full-Frame Mirrorless camera.

More about Canon CR3 RAW files go here>>

The Lightroom 8.2 update went without any problems and I continued with my normal post-processing workflow almost immediately when it was done.

There were no issues reading the Canon CR3 RAW files and / or the Canon C-RAW file standard. I tested both standards with more than a 1000 images each (from different SanDisk SD cards).

Update: Canon EOS RP CR3 RAW files are now compatible with the latest edition of Lightroom - Ver 8.2.1 (3 April 2019)

 Note: Lightroom Classic CC is a desktop-focused photo management and post-processing service (not on the cloud), but with monthly payment plan / subscription licence.

 All my Lightroom 7 import / export settings were also migrated at the same time.

Adobe Lightroom Training Cape Town
During my Adobe Lightroom Training I cover Lightroom importing / catalog management / exporting / processing in Lightroom 5.7 / 6.14 / 7.5 CC - and the migration to Lightroom CC from older versions (if required).

Minimum System Requirements for Lightroom Classic CC Go Here>>

More about Updating to Lightroom Classic CC Ver 8.2 Go Here>>

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Trial Download
Download a 7-Day Trail Versions of Lightroom 8.2.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC Version 8.2 Development Module Interface
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC Version 8.2 Development Module Interface
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC Version 8.2 Development Module Interface

First images processed with Lightroom 8.2

Shooting Location
Woodbridge Island, Cape Town

Canon EOS Camera And Lens
  • Canon EOS R Full-Frame Mirrorless
  • Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens
  • Canon Extender EF 1.4x III
  • Lens / Extender attached to EOS R via Mount Adapter EF-EOS R

My First Birds in Flight Images Processed with Lightroom Classic CC 8.2

(Birds / Bird in Flight : Click to Enlarge)
Cormorant - With Canon EOS R : Processed in Lightroom Classic CC Version 8.2
Cormorant - With Canon EOS R : Processed in Lightroom Classic CC Version 8.2

Gull - With Canon EOS R  : Processed in Lightroom Classic CC Version 8.2
Gull - With Canon EOS R  : Processed in Lightroom Classic CC Version 8.2

Little Egret in Flight - With Canon EOS R  :  Processed in Lightroom Classic CC Version 8.2
Little Egret in Flight - With Canon EOS R  :  Processed in Lightroom Classic CC Version 8.2

Canon Digital Photo Professional 4.10.50 For Windows | Mac View

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