01 May 2023

Birds in Flight Photography Training Intaka Island

Birds in Flight Photography Intaka Island, Cape Town

Red-Billed Teal Ducks in Flight Intaka Island Photography Training, Cape Town
Red-Billed Teal Ducks in Flight Intaka Island Photography Training, Cape Town

Bird Photography at Century City, Cape Town
After quite a few years I have recently returned to Intaka Island for my own photography / and client birds and birds in flight photography training.

The sewage / pollution problems we are lately experiencing across the Diep River, Milnerton Lagoon and the Table Bay Nature Reserve adjacent to Woodbridge Island is causing, among other ecological problems, a serious lack of  daily bird species. I have subsequently decided to go to Intaka Island, Century City during December 2022 for Canon birds in flight photography training with some of my clients. 

I enjoyed the Intaka Island for the birds in flight late afternoon photography training we did during early December 2022 to such an extend that I have already returned this year for similar birds and birds in flight photography training. Unfortunately the light / weather was not as good as the previous session, but the low-light photography learning experience was nevertheless appreciated. January 2023.

Intaka Island Map and Directions View >>

Vernon Chalmers Birds in Flight Photography Training Intaka Island
I have presented quite a few Birds in Flight Photography Workshops at Intaka Island in the past, but these were only die the theory and camera settings modules. The practical application was always done the following morning / or weekend at Woodbridge Island. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that at Intaka Island the birds in flight are very active in the morning, but unfortunately there it means photographing the birds directly with the sun in front of the photographer and there is a limited view of real in-flight opportunity compared to Woodbridge Island. At Woodbridge Island the sun is behind the photographer in the morning and  there is no limited movement for facilitating practical training for larger group of photographers.    

 At Intaka Island I have found, the best time to photograph birds in flight (as an alternative for my client training needs at Woodbridge Island) to be late afternoons (+- 16:30 - 19:00 in summer) with the sun from behind the hide we occupy. In cloudy conditions and / or winter days the times could be much earlier in the afternoons. There are also less people photographing in that particular 'afternoon' hide for moving around in the afternoon (at least from my own and personal client experiences).

Effect of Low Light in Birds in Flight Photography >>

Recommended focal length / telephoto lenses for birds in flight at Intaka Island 
The birds in flight at Intaka Island are generally a little further away than some of the Woodbridge Island bird in flight opportunities, but lenses from 300mm should be the minimum focal length (a large aperture 300mm lens extended with a 1.4x or 2x tele-converter should be ideal at this focal length). 

Recommended prime / zoom lenses paired with  APS-C (crop) or Full Frame bodies: 100 - 400mm / 400mm / 100-500mm / 500mm / 150-600mm / 600mm and / or 800mm lenses. The new cost-effective Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM or RF 800mm f/11 STM lenses for Canon R bodies should do a good (handheld) job as well (even at f/11). A few birds / birds in flight examples with the Canon R6 (Full Frame body) and mentioned Canon RF f/11 lenses. View >>

My first choice for my own / or client birds in flight photography training will always be Woodbridge Island (in crisp early morning summer light) as it is walking distance from my photography studio. The natural environment here is very conducive for new photographer birds in flight learning. With the large open spaces along the Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve it is a safe place with few real obstacles for capturing perched birds / birds in flight. There is also less people and its more a hike than sitting in a hide. 

Intaka Island recommended for perched birds (compared to Woodbridge Island)
For early morning close-up perched bird photography I will recommend Intaka Island. Just be sure to arrive early in the morning for the most bird activity (and to get a good space in the hide(s) should you prefer not to walk around). I have found my Canon 400mm prime lens too 'long' for the closer perched birds via the morning hide - a more appropriate lens focal length would be 70-300mm / 100-400mm / 150-600mm zoom lenses.

For now I will schedule my one-on-one / private birds and birds in flight photography practical training sessions at Intaka Island. The staff members at the Intaka Island reception are friendly and very helpful. It is a safe natural birding environment (about a 10 minute drive from Cape Town) with quite a few bird species (in-flight and / or perched) on any given day. 

Bird species at Intaka Island +- 120 species (Source: Intaka Island)

Canon camera / lens I personally used during the birds / birds in flight photography training sessions at Intaka Island: Canon 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens

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