Jay Paredes 2:45am, 14 May 2009
Discussion topic for the article at Please post your questions and comments here.
cc8820 10 years ago
Wow alot of great information there. I am tring to master this flight thing. it is alot of fun trying to catch the birds in flight.
Jay Paredes 10 years ago
Thanks. There will be a part 2 and possbily a part 3, with each article covering some techniques in more detail. If there's something you'd like me to cover, please let me know.
melepix 9 years ago
Really good explanation.
thanks. Jay
DavidsImages 9 years ago
Great article! Lots of information very well presented -- clear and in logical order.

Regarding the side-box comment about Manual Mode: My flight photos have gotten better and better since I made the switch from Av, but I still switch back to Av if I know my BG will be a cloudless sky only.

I'm really looking forward to your article on Manual. Could you address "bumping the focus" pros and cons?

Thanks Jay.
kevansunderland 9 years ago
I always enjoy your articles on photography and your photos. Thanks for taking the time to do this.
hesitant cakes [deleted] 9 years ago
How about an article on using flash outdoors? Pros and cons, technique, etc. Thanks. Hi Kevan!!!
Jay Paredes 9 years ago
I'll have to tackle flash at a much later date, since I still have two flight related articles to do. Thanks.
IslandGirl0 9 years ago
Thank you so much! You gotta love someone who gives SPECIFICS!
This is exactly what I needed. Well, your article and maybe a camera that shoots 5 frames per second! ?? My Olympus E-510 maybe shoots 3 frames per second. So, I am off to try your settings at my local Spoonbill roost.
Thank you very much for the article!
Maxine52 9 years ago
I've been trying to employ your techniques but without achieving your level of success. I'm using the 50D with a 100-400mm Canon lens.
The sharpness of my shots (usually) does not measure up to yours. Do you think that prime lens might be faster to focus or sharper than my lens at 400MM?
Jay Paredes 9 years ago
Maxine. Yes, a prime lens will in general give you much better results than your 100-400mm lens. For Canon, the 400mm f/5.6 L lens is particularly sharp and makes an excellent flight lens.
Lisa Lawley 9 years ago
I just wanted to say a huge thank you for this topic and for taking the time to write how to achieve good results of birds in flight. It's my passion.

I have just got my first DSLR camera, a Canon 1000D. The intructions tell me how to adjust all the settings, but they don't tell me what they all mean together!

I have been out for two days tinkering with settings, and have had some fair results, but disapointing to get just a few good shots out of 100's.

So thanks again for the sound advice. I am looking forward to trying it out again with new settings :)
monty288 Posted 7 years ago. Edited by monty288 (member) 7 years ago
Excellent tutorial.
I can see that last post is 21 month old but i'll try to ask this anyway. In pargraph 5 of „Technique“ part, it is said:

. This is best done by pre-focusing the camera. You can pre-focus the camera by picking an object that is at approximately the same distance as the birds that are flying by. Lock focus with the center AF point on to the object. When you spot an approaching bird, slowly bring up the lens and begin tracking it within the viewfinder. Usually the bird will be at a distance greater then where you had pre-focused, so the bird will appear blurry in the viewfinder. That’s ok. As the bird comes closer, it will soon reach the same distance as the object you pre-focused on. You will know, because the bird will now appear in focus in the viewfinder. This is the time to make sure that the center AF point is directly over the subject and depress the shutter button half-way to begin tracking the bird with the camera in AI Servo AF mode.

What I don't understand is this: if I prefocus or lock focus by pressing the shutter button half way, remove the finger from the shutter button, wait, and then when the bird appears in the focus in the viewfinder and when the center AF point is directly over the subject, I depress the shutter button half-way again, to begin tracking the bird with the camera in AI Servo, won't I „anull“ my prefocusing. What is the point of prefocusing if we have to track the bird again.
What would be the result if we just prefocused and then (with the bird) pressed the shutter buttton completely OR
Execute just the second part: without prefocusing, press the shutter buttton halfway, AF point on the bird-tracking-press shutter buttton completely.
James Scott S 7 years ago
Nice article. Learned a couple new things. Thank you.
gautam golande 6 years ago
Hello Jay 1st Thanx A lot ...
I learn New Things A lot Form This Article .
I want to Know
I have
Nikon D80
Nikon 55-300
So its Better For This Type Of Photography .
Pls Reply !!!!!!
Thanx Again A Lot !!
Gannet69 6 years ago
Jay Paredes:
Article 01 on Birds in Flight was best article I have ever read on this topic.
Where can I access your Articles 02 & 03, also the Manual article you referred to?
Jay Paredes 6 years ago

Hello Gannet69,

The flight photography article was intended to be a 3 part article. However time passed and I became very busy at work and at home. I've not had much time to photograph wildlife or continue the articles. I hope to return to it one day in the near future. Thanks.
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