31 August 2020

Starting out with Birds in Flight Photography

Starting out with Birds in Flight Photography
Many photographers, when they first getting interested in Birds in Flight / Action Photography, are of opinion that they require professional grade gear, or at least the latest and / or greatest DSLR / Lens combination that they can afford.

With more than eight years of personal experience in the capturing of Birds in Flight and the training and development of new photographers in the capturing of Birds in Flight I have seen quite a number of substantial improvements via the photographer's ability without any significant change in body and / or lens combinations.

The more advanced Canon APS-C or Full Frame bodies (paired with i.e. a 300mm or 400mm prime lens) will provide for an excellent basis to start from, but from personal experience, have seen many new photographers with professional grade equipment coming to my Birds in Flight Photography Private Training / Workshops with the total honesty (and frustration) of not being successful in this exiting action genre.

Also read: Setup and Tips for Birds in Flight Photography

What I tell many Cape Town photographers staring out with Birds in Flight Photography is that they may just have a possible body / lens combination in their bags without spending any money on new gear.


'Gear Acquisition Syndrome'
Birds in Flight Photography gear acquisition (as referred to tong-in-cheek globally as GAS - 'Gear Acquisition Syndrome') can very quickly spiral out of control for new photographers putting gear first and not considering a more complete range of requirements / skills development for getting started. I generally recommend Birds in Flight photography delegates / beginners not to make any changes to current gear for at least three to six months (to focus on skills development first).

Birds in Flight Photography Learning and Training Opportunities Cape Town
For Birds in Flight Photography training and shooting opportunities please Contact me

Capturing Birds in Flight is a combination of the following requirements:

DSLR Bodies: FPS / AF / Shutter Speed
Any DSLR capable of shooting between 4 and 14 frames per second (fps) in continuous shooting mode are suitable for Birds in Flight. I.e the Canon EOS 600D / 700D's at 5 fps will get the job done. Even entry-level DSLR bodies with a limited 9-Point Autofocus (AF) system is responsive enough for tracking fast flying birds. 


Starting out with Birds in Flight Photography
Shutter Speed: 1/3200s
Understanding and application of shutter speed is a critical requirement in my view. About all DSLR's will offer shutter speeds of a maximum of 1/4000s up to 1/8000s (in some higher-end bodies) of which all is suitable for freezing the wings of most birds.

I generally use 1/3200s to 1/4000s shutter speeds for the majority of my Birds in Flight photography.
Popular Lenses for Birds in Flight Photography
After training many new Birds in Flight photographers at Woodbridge Island, Cape Town the following Canon, Sigma and Tamron lenses are the most popular for Canon APS-C and Full Frame bodies:
  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens
  • Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens
  • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens
  • Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM lens
  • Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens
  • Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS (II) USM lenses
  • Sigma 150-500 / 600mm lenses
  • Tamron 150-600mm lenses

Starting out with Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town
With Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Lenses: Minimum Focal Length and Apertures
Telephoto zoom kit lenses in the minimum focal length range of +- 250mm are just about suitable as an entry lens choice for starting out at Woodbridge Island, Cape Town - as some areas will allow for very close access to low flying birds.

The 55-250mm or the 70-300mm variable-aperture f/4-5.6 tele-zoom lenses can't really be compared with the optical quality of a prime lens of 300mm or 400mm lens (with apertures of f/4 or f5/6), but under sufficient light you will be surprised of what is achievable - even at f/8 (the 'sweet spot' for image quality / sharpness of many 70-300mm lenses). 

Image one:  King Gull captured using an entry-level DSLR (EOS 700D) and the kit variable aperture zoom lens (Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.5.6 IS II Lens)

Image two:  Grey Heron captured using an entry-level Canon DSLR (EOS 700D) and a consumer variable aperture lens (Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens).

Image three:  Reed Cormorant captured using a mid-range enthusiast Canon DSLR (EOS 70D) and the very cost-effective 400mm telephoto lens (Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens)

Image four:  Swift Tern captured using a semi-professional Canon DSLR (EOS 7D Mark II) and the very cost-effective 400mm telephoto lens (Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens)

Image five:  Pied Kingfisher captured using a semi-professional Canon DSLR (EOS 6D) and sharp and fast Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens)

Image six:  Swift Tern captured using a semi-professional Canon DSLR (EOS 6D) and professional-grade prime super-telephoto Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM lens)

The biggest success criteria of the three images below are not the gear, but the most applicable exposure settings, quality of the light and the fact that I was quite close to the bird with an anticipation / understanding of the subjects's behaviour / flying pattern(s).

Birds in Flight Photography: Skills / Techniques
With learning any new photography genre there is a learning curve. Only many hours in the field will ensure the understanding and mastering of the most suitable camera body / AF / lens settings and the best exposure modes for action photography (ito best results for depth of filed, subject sharpness and overall satisfaction rate of the photographer).

It can take anything from six months or longer for getting a thorough understanding of the camera / lens settings, exposure settings and to learn the different bird birds ito their flying and general behaviour patterns. The objective should not be to master this as quick as possible, but to take time to learn, have fun and spend time with like-minded photographers.

Personal Dedication: Commitment / Motivation
I've seen many of my Birds in Flight Photography delegates increasing their Birds in Flight capturing skills over time well past the original workshop and practical shoots. Some then go on to purchase new and more advanced bodies and lenses, but most just keep on working their skills lens (by shooting as often as they can, asking as many questions as possible and not be afraid to experiment with camera / lens and exposure setting.

Two Cost-Effective Canon Birds in Flight Lens Options - Go Here>>

Capturing / Tracking Variables for Improved Birds in Flight Photography
Capturing / Tracking Variables for Improved Birds in Flight Photography

Starting out with Birds in Flight Photography King Gull: Canon EOS 700D / EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II Lens
King Gull: Canon EOS 700D / EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II Lens

Starting out with Birds in Flight Photography - Grey Heron: Canon EOS 700D / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens
Grey Heron: Canon EOS 700D / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens


Starting out with Birds in Flight Photography - Reed Cormorant: Canon EOS 70D / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Reed Cormorant: Canon EOS 70D / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens


Starting out with Birds in Flight Photography - Swift Tern: Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Swift Tern: Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens

Starting out with Birds in Flight Photography - Pied Kingfisher: Canon EOS 6D / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens
Pied Kingfisher: Canon EOS 6D / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens


Starting out with Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town - Swift Tern: Canon EOS 6D / EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens
Swift Tern: Canon EOS 6D / EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town

All 9 Birds in Flight images were captured around the Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island, Cape Town in mostly early morning and sunny conditions.

20 August 2020

Birds in Flight Photography - Skills Training Cape Town

Swift Tern Woodbridge Island : Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens

Recent Vernon Chalmers Bird In Flight Photography Cape Town images published here

Private / Small Group Birds in Flight Photography Skills Training Cape Town
Increase your Canon EOS DSLR Birds in Flight photography skills with individual / small group workshop skills development training with Vernon Chalmers in Milnerton / Woodbridge Island Cape Town. Master the required camera and exposure settings with hands-on practical sessions around Woodbridge Island. 


Intermediate to Advanced Birds in Flight Photography Training Cape Town
Any photographer with a Canon EOS DSLR who wants to get a more in-depth understanding of the Canon EOS Exposure Modes, Autofocus (AF) system and its application / tuning for Birds in Flight / Action photography. Detailed instruction will be provided for all modern Canon EOS bodies up to the 65-point AF system. Please see the skills development  / learning areas below.

Egyptian Goose Woodbridge Island (Canon EOS 70D)
Birds in Flight Practical at Woodbridge Island
With more than 25 bird species Woodbridge Island offers year-round opportunities for capturing birds in flight.  A practical / walk-around shooting session will be arranged as soon as possible after completing the theory session. This is an opportunity for experimenting with the various exposure settings, AF system configurations and capturing / composition techniques. Guidance will be on hand for fine-tuning of exposure settings and AF system configurations.

Cost: From R850-00 (depending on training requirements)

What do you need to bring? A Canon EOS DSLR Camera, telephoto or zoom lens & your own memory card.

Recommended min lens focal length

250mm - 300mm ie: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6(L) IS USM zoom or EF 300mm f/4L IS USM prime lens (or any 3rd party lens of similar FL). I predominantly use the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens or Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens with both Canon Full Frame or APS-C / Crop bodies. I've had success with the Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II lens in the past as well (paired with the Canon EOS 700D).

Continuous Canon AF and body assistance / support for fine-tuning specific Canon EOS body / lens combination.

Contact Me  for more information / booking detail (or Canon EOS training in other areas).

Delegates will receive a ring binder folder with all the relevant information and other useful resources.


Skills Development / Learning Areas*
  • BIF Fundamentals / Considerations 
  • Canon EOS Bodies / Lenses for BIF 
  • Camera / Lens Settings 
  • Exposure Settings 
  • Continuous shooting / AI Servo Modes 
  • Canon AF Systems (9-point to 65-point) 
  • Advanced AF System tuning (AF configuration / Area Selection Modes) 
  • Advanced body / lens focus tuning / techniques / recommendations 
  • Post-processing considerations for Birds in Flight Photography 
* Specific learning areas will depend on learning requirements / current skills levels

Canon EOS Training Cape Town
Canon EOS Bodies / AF Systems
All EOS body owners (or future EOS owners) are welcome to attend. Please note that the in-depth discussion / tuning around AF systems will primarily be focused around the following AF systems with specific emphasis from the 19-point AF system EOS bodies which offers more advanced case and zone configurations:

  • 9-point AF System (EOS 500D / 550D / 600D / 650D / 700D / 60D / 5D / 5D Mark II) 
  • 11-point AF System (EOS 6D) 
  • 19-point AF System (EOS 750D / 760D / 70D / 7D) 
  • 45-point AF System (EOS 1D / 1D Mark II / 1D Mark III / 1D Mark IV)
  • 45-point AF System (EOS 80D) / Canon EOS 6D Mark II
  • 61-point AF System (EOS 5D Mark III / EOS 5Ds / EOS 5Ds R / EOS-1D X) 
  • 65-point AF System (EOS 7D Mark II)

Birds in Flight Photography - Individual Skills Training Cape Town
Canon EOS 7D Mark II (AI Servo Case Menu - Case 2)

Canon EOS AF Guidebooks

Owners / users of the following Canon EOS bodies will receive a matching e-copy of the Canon EOS Autofocus Guidebook:
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • Canon EOS-1D X
(Click to Enlarge)
Birds in Flight Photography - Individual Skills Training Cape Town
Small Bird Woodbridge Island  (Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens)

Birds in Flight Photography - Individual Skills Training Cape Town
Sandwich Tern Woodbridge Island  (Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens)

Birds in Flight Photography - Private / Individual Training Cape Town
Sandwich Tern Woodbridge Island  (Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens)

Birds in Flight Photography - Private / Individual Training Cape Town
Swift Tern Woodbridge Island  (Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens)

Birds in Flight Photography Private / Individual Training Cape Town
Sacred Ibis Woodbridge Island  (Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm Lens)

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

07 August 2020

A few Birds in Flight at Woodbridge Island

Cattle Egret in Flight Woodbridge Island, Cape Town
Cattle Egret in Flight Woodbridge Island, Cape Town
Friday late morning I went for a short walkabout just outside my training studio here in Milnerton, Cape Town (opposite Woodbridge Island) and quite quickly captured a few local birds in flight:
  • Cattle egret
  • African ibis
  • Little egret
  • Pied kingfisher
  • Yellow-billed duck

Conditions and Location
Crisp late morning sun with no wind at Woodbridge Island, Cape Town (just off the small island). Woodbridge Island Map>>

Canon Camera / Lens Settings
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
  • Manual Mode
  • Auto-ISO: 400 - 800
  • Aperture:  f/5.6
  • Shutter Speed: 1/3200s
  • AI Servo: Case 1: Wide Zone
  • 10 fps High Speed Continuous Mode
  • Handheld

Post-Processing
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC 9.0: Colour correction / noise reduction / lens profile correction.

(Click to Enlarge)

African Ibis in Flight Woodbridge Island, Cape Town
African Ibis in Flight above the Milnerton Golf course, Woodbridge Island, Cape Town

Little Egret in Flight Woodbridge Island, Cape Town
Little Egret in Flight Woodbridge Island, Cape Town (against the Milnerton Golf Course)

Pied Kingfisher in Flight Woodbridge Island, Cape Town
Pied Kingfisher in Flight Woodbridge Island, Cape Town (against the Milnerton Golf Course)

Yellow-Billed Duck in Flight Woodbridge Island, Cape Town
Yellow-Billed Duck in Flight Woodbridge Island, Cape Town (Against Lion's Head / Signal Hill side of Table Mountain)

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town

01 August 2020

60+ Bird Species Captured Around Woodbridge Island

Red-Eye Dove - 35 Bird Species Captured Around Woodbridge Island
Red-Eyed Dove
I've created the Woodbridge Island Photography initiative for photographing some local landscapes, seascapes and for the beautiful birds on / around the island.

Up to date I've captured 60+ species of most of the wild birds on / around Woodbridge Island / Milnerton Golf Course and the adjacent Table Bay Nature Reserve. There are still a few left and am sure there will be a few new arrivals in the near future.


So far, for 2018, I've added the the Common moorhen and the Great crested grebe. and I'm aware of at least two unrecorded duck species (for the Woodbridge Island Index).

A list of the bird species with links to where exactly they feature on the Woodbridge Island Photography website can be found here Woodbridge Island Bird Species

Birds in Flight Photography: Confused Seagull Woodbridge Island
Most Memorable Bird in Flight Capture Series 2015
During the first test with a new Canon EOS 70D / Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens combination I was confronted with very poor weather / light conditions.

On my way home I noticed a seagull dropping an egg or a shell in the water and collecting it from the lagoon. I captured this monotonous behaviour and only after post-processing the image realised it was a golf ball most probably stolen from the adjacent Milnerton Golf Club.


View all four images Confused Seagull Woodbridge Island

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Birds in Flight Photography: wift Tern Dropping Breakfast Woodbridge Island
Most Memorable Bird in Flight Capture Series 2016 / 17
2016 did not really offer any images that warranted any special publication notice, but on a Sunday mid-morning after all other photographers have left I captured this series.

A swift tern struggling to keep his fresh caught fish in his beak. It all happened so fast and only really saw the root of his struggle at the end of the capture series. Credit to the Canon EOS 7D Mark II / Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens for very good tracking and Autofocus.



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

Update on the AutoFocus Workshop and Birds in Flight Training

Update on the AutoFocus Workshop and Birds in Flight Training
Pied Kingfisher after a dive - with Canon EOS 7D Mark II
Important Update wrt my current Advanced Autofocus (AF) Training Workshop - to the benefit of all Canon EOS photographers still interested in mastering Birds in Flight Photography. (available during my one-on-one / private training sessions)

The current Advanced AF Training workshop is now being integrated as a module in all Birds in Flight learning sessions.

Historically, the Canon EOS Advanced AF Workshop was mainly offered to photographers with EOS bodies with the 61-Point or 65-Point AF systems (i.e. Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EOS 5D Mark III / IV and the Canon EOS-1D X (Mark II) bodies.

Canon EOS photographers with the 45-Point AF or older 19-Point AF systems are now all offered with more in-depth Canon Optical Autofocus training and resources on said AF Systems (i.e. as deployed in the Canon EOS 60D / 77D / 70D / 80D / 90D).

This will be offered in the current time frames of two or three session options. I will work with every photographer to maximise his / her time ito AF System at no additional cost.

Update on the AutoFocus Workshop and Birds in Flight Training
Cape Canary in flight above Woodbridge Island
What generally happen is the photographers with more advanced AF systems can decide if they want one or two of the sessions spent on AF configurations and settings - or just one (with the other settings / theory) and two practical sessions. The same for all the other systems - I will work with the individual photographer to provide the best settings / practical balance in the two sessions.

All sessions are up to five hours and deemed adequate time to gain in-depth knowledge and understanding of a specific Canon EOS AF System (as applied in Birds in Flight photography). One or two practical sessions will assist for providing a hands-on experience of photographing birds in flight around the Woodbridge Island / Table Bay Reserve areas.

Two Session BIF Photography Training (Less advanced AF)
The option for two sessions will still available at R950-00 (minimum of 10 hours). There will be some Lightroom post-processing orientation (if required) and an extra session could be costed in for Lightroom training at less than half the cost of a separate Lightroom training session.

Three Session BIF Photography Training (More Advanced AF)
The standard three session option will still be available at R1 250-00 (minimum of 15 hours) This option will also get more detailed Lightroom facilitation (if required) and an extra session could be costed in for Lightroom training at less than half the cost of a separate Lightroom training session.

I'm a firm believer that birds in flight photography can be achieved and enjoyed with probably all Canon EOS bodies on the market today. With technique, a 70-300mm lens, understanding of the AF System, a few settings and good light most Canon EOS bodies will produce crisp and well-exposed in-flight images. See image with entry-level Canon EOS / Old EF 70-300mm lens.

For more information / bookings visit the Birds in Flight Photography Training Page 

Two Cost-Effective Canon Lenses for Bird Photography

With Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
With Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
Lens Choices for Birds / Birds in Flight
This is a topic I frequently discuss during my frequent Birds in Flight Photography training and workshops in Milnerton / Woodbridge Island, Cape Town.

The two Canon EF Lenses
  • EF 400mm f/5.6L USM  Lens
  • EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens

Canon EOS Bodies Used
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EOS R

Note: Birds in Flight Photography images from both lenses are at the end of this article.

Both prime and (certain) zoom lenses are good to go for Birds in Flight photography (and perched birds), but there are various criteria for enthusiast photographers to consider:

  • Importance of Birds in flight Photography
  • Zoom vs Prime (fix focal length) lens
  • Canon vs. other lenses (i.e.Sigma / Tamron)
  • Full frame and / or crop camera body
  • Using tele-converters (and compatibility)
  • Autofocus speed (NB for birds in flight)
  • Weight (mobility for carrying long periods)
  • Cost of ownership (Budget / ROI)

Compatibility with Canon EOS Full Frame / APS-C (Crop) Bodies
Both these Canon EF lenses are fully compatible with all Canon EOS DSLR bodies. Paired with the Canon EOS Full Frame bodies (i.e. EOS 6D / EOS 5D Mark IV) it will be 400mm focal length or 100-400mm focal length range.

On Canon EOS APS-C bodies (i.e. EOS 700D  / EOS 80D / EOS 7D Mark II) it will be the focal length of the lens at any range x the 1.6 crop factor. I.e on the EOS 7D Mark II it with a 400mm prime lens will be 400mm x 1.6 = 640mm (Field of View). Most post-processing software will register the focal length in the EXIF Data as the standard lens focal length (irrespective of the 1.6 crop factor).  


Canon EF Alternative Lens: The Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens (Canon EF) is a popular birds / birds in flight lens with my clients / students and the results I have analysed with both Canon Full Frame and APS-C (Crop) bodies compares very well with the two Canon lenses.

Summary of Canon's popular 400mm focal length lenses for Birds in Flight photography (and other nature / wildlife applications):

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Prime / Telephoto Lens


This high-performance lens was designed with portability and handling ease in mind. One Super UD-glass element, whose characteristics are similar to fluorite, and one UD-glass element result in sharp pictures from corner-to-corner. The lens also has a built-in hood and a detachable tripod mount (Ref: Canon USA).

A very cost-effective / value lens lens for birds in flight and perched birds for both Canon EOS APS-C or full frame bodies is the Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens. It's a prime lens at 400mm (no zoom) with very quick autofocus and sharp image quality. Its mobile enough to carry all day and once you get used to the 400mm fix focal length its a gem of a lens
.

Note: This lens does not feature Image Stabilization (IS), but its not really a concern for Birds in Flight Photography. At fast shutters speeds of 1/1000's to 1/5000's IS is not necessary. This is my most used lens and I shoot with it all day handheld at shutter speeds up to 1/5000s.The perched kingfisher below was shot with this lens in Av Mode: f/5.6 / ISO 1600 / 1/5000s.

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens: Professional / Consumer Reviews
Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens: Professional / Consumer Reviews

An affordable / fast Autofocus lens for Birds in Flight Photography

 Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Prime / Telephoto Lens
 Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Prime / Telephoto Lens

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom lens

This lens delivers a superb combination of cutting-edge performance, compact construction and brilliant resolving power that’s great for sports and wildlife photography. The lens features one fluorite and one super UD element to help provide impressive contrast and resolution with reduced chromatic aberration across the entire zoom range.


Canon’s new Air Sphere Coating (ASC) helps significantly reduce backlit flaring and ghosting, while fluorine coatings on the front and rear lens surfaces help lessen smears and fingerprints. A 9-blade circular aperture renders beautiful, soft backgrounds, and a 3 mode (standard, panning and exposure only) Optical Image Stabilizer provides up to 4 steps* of image correction. (Ref: Canon USA)

Currently the newer Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens is one of the most popular Canon lenses for a variety of genres / applications and of course, for birds in flight. It was launched the same time as the Canon EOS 7D Mark II and also pairs well with said body and the Canon Extender / Tele-converter EF 1.4x III.



Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM II Lens: Professional / Consumer Reviews

More information>> Canon USA

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Zoom lens
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Zoom lens

These lenses and many other cost-effective / suitable birds in flight photography lenses will be discussed during the upcoming Birds in Flight Workshop.

I've used both Canon lenses on the following bodies (over the last few years)
  • Canon EOS 700D
  • Canon EOS 70D
  • Canon EOS 80D
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Canon EOS 6D
  • Canon EOS R

Birds in Flight Workshop Cape Town:  More Information

All Vernon Chalmers Photography Workshops Cape Town 2017: All Workshops


Starting out with Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town View

All bird in flight / perched bird images by Vernon Chalmers
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Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Prime / Telephoto Lens Sample Images / More Images

(Click to Enlarge)
Two Canon EF 400mm Lens Options for Birds in Flight Photographers
Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens / Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Prime / Telephoto Lens Sample Images
Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens / Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Prime / Telephoto Lens Sample Images
Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens / Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Prime / Telephoto Lens Sample Images
Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens /  Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Zoom lens Sample Images / More Images

(Click to Enlarge)
 Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Zoom lens
Canon EF 100-400mm f//4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens /  Canon EOS 7D Mark II

 Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Zoom lens
Canon EF 100-400mm f//4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens / Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Two Canon EF 400mm Lens Options for Birds in Flight Photographers
Canon EF 100-400mm f//4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens /  Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Canon EOS R - Sample Birds in Flight Photography Images

Birds in flight Sample Images with Canon EOS R / EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens
 (and Canon EF 1.4x III Extender / Tele-Converter)


Canon EF 100-400mm f//4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens / Canon EOS R
Little egret in flight with Canon EF 100-400mm f//4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens / Canon EOS R

Canon EF 100-400mm f//4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens / Canon EOS R
Grey heron in flight with Canon EF 100-400mm f//4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens / Canon EOS R

Canon EF 100-400mm f//4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens / Canon EOS R
Yellow-billed duck in flight Canon EF 100-400mm f//4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens / Canon EOS R

Canon EF 100-400mm f//4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens / Canon EOS R
Purple heron in flight with Canon EF 100-400mm f//4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens / Canon EOS R

Perched Bird Image Sample Canon EOS R with same lens

Canon EF 100-400mm f//4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens / Canon EOS R
Perched cormorant with Canon EF 100-400mm f//4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens / Canon EOS R

Canon EOS R First Impressions and Sample Images View

Capturing / Tracking Variables for Improved Birds in Flight Photography View

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

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town View

"Early morning aerobics" Swift tern after a dive

"Early morning aerobics" Swift tern after a dive
Swift Tern : Woodbridge Island Copyright Vernon Chalmers)
Why do (swift) terns fly upside-down?
This a question that was asked on the images I posted of the 'terning'' terns in the Birdlife South Africa Facebook Group

After a dive for fish they shake off the excess water.

In this series of five consecutive images a swift tern just emerged from the water and twist it's head / tail for a very rapid shake off

Description: Swift tern shaking off water after an unsuccessful fishing dive attempt into the Diep river, Woodbridge Island Cape Town.

The swift tern is also known as the greater crested tern (Thalasseus bergii)

Images below are 5 consecutive frames with the quick-shooting Canon EOS 7D Mark II.

This is a regular occurrence during most of our summer months. The sandwich tern follow similar behaviour in an attempt to get rid of the water.

Cape Town Location
Diep River - Woodbridge Island, Cape Town

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)
  • Continuous shooting mode (10 fps) / AI Servo
  • AI Servo / AF Mode Option (Wide Zone AF / Case 1)
  • Lens AF On / No IS / Handheld

(Click to enlarge)
Swift tern in flight : Woodbridge Island, Cape Town Frame 1 / 5 Copyright Vernon Chalmers Photography
Swift tern in flight : Woodbridge Island, Cape Town   Frame 1 / 5

Swift tern in flight : Woodbridge Island, Cape Town Frame 2 / 5  Copyright Vernon Chalmers Photography
Swift tern in flight : Woodbridge Island, Cape Town   Frame 2 / 5

Swift tern in flight : Woodbridge Island, Cape Town Frame 3 / 5  Copyright Vernon Chalmers Photography
Swift tern in flight : Woodbridge Island, Cape Town   Frame 3 / 5

Swift tern in flight : Woodbridge Island, Cape Town Frame 4 / 5  Copyright Vernon Chalmers Photography
Swift tern in flight : Woodbridge Island, Cape Town   Frame 4 / 5

Swift tern in flight : Woodbridge Island, Cape Town Frame 5 / 5  Copyright Vernon Chalmers Photography
Swift tern in flight : Woodbridge Island, Cape Town   Frame 3 / 5

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

Woodbridge Island Cape Town Bird Species

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