Introduction: How to Photograph Birds in Flight
In this instructable I will be showing you how to take photos of birds in flight. Taking such photos can be tedious and at times you may want to shoot the bird for flying too fast or too zigzaggedly. You would need some basic knowledge on how to operate a camera and a tripod, meduim-sized hand-holdable telephoto lens, and a steady hand. So, get ready to snap some shots of nature's airplane!
Oh, and if you like this 'ible, please vote on it in the photography contest.
Step 1: How to Hold Your Camera
The first thing you should know about bird photography is how to hold your camera. Your hand and body should be in a relaxed position and that you are able to pivot easily as the bird weaves across the sky. You should have one hand firmly on the camera and the other near or at the end of the lens. You should have full balance and control of your movements. You should have the camera at a somewhat horizontal and level position if you encounter a bird perched or flying close to the ground. If you encounter a bird in flight, hold it at a vertical slanted position. A tripod is also needed for bird photography unless you are taking pictures of fast-flying birds like raptors.
Step 2: Camera Setup
The next thing is to configure the settings on your camera. The two mandatory ones are shutter speed and burst rate maximization. For bird photography, you should select shutter speeds 1/1000 or faster. The fast speed will not display the bird as a blur and will compensate for minor unsteadiness of the camera. You should also maximize the amount of photos that you can take in a burst. To do this you should switch your camera to JPEG mode. If these settings are unavailable on your current camera, I suggest that you go shopping for another one. These photos show why a fast burst rate and shutter speed is important. This sequence lasted for only 0.5 seconds.
Step 3: Choosing the Right Bird
Choosing the right bird is also an important part of bird photography. You don't want to start out with a fast-flying falcon or raptor. Beginners should usually start out with urban birds such as crows, seagulls, and pigeons. Intermediate photographers would choose hummingbirds or maybe even peregrines. Advanced photographers would usually go to the country or other such places to photograph the "perfect bird."
Step 4: The End
I hope this instructable was informative enough. It is actually my first one. If you liked it, please vote on it in the photography contest. Taking pictures of birds is a beautiful art which may land you a job as a nature magazine's photographer. And for all you beginners, buying the most expensive camera does not guarantee you the best picture. I would recommend a Cannon 300mm f/4L IS USM lens with the shutter speed at 1/2000. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this.