Newbies! Great bird practice!

CanonFanBoy

Real men single speed.
CR Pro
Jan 28, 2015
5,172
3,346
Irving, Texas
I know many of us photograph birds. I am especially challenged when it comes to birds in flight.

The problem is that birds aren't always around to practice and opportunities are limited for trying out the best ways to set up auto focus.

I found this great website the other night:

http://www.focrates.com/articles/configuring_your_5d_mark_3_af_for_fast_action/configuring_your_5d_mark_3_af_for_fast_action.html

I know many of you have probably seen this site. However, for the newbies at bird photography (And I still consider my self a newby), go practice at your local R/C flying club!

I did that just this last Monday and after following the directions on the website for my 5D mark III my results improved dramatically when it comes to flying objects. If these were hawks, eagles, or falcons I'd be real happy. I used my EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II and was sorely missing the 400 f/5.6 I sold, but still did okay.

Very happy with my progress on this front. I also learned that it is best to have more than just a blue sky in the photo. I'm reminded of Howard Hughes yelling, "Give me clouds!"

The crops are really big. These were small R/C planes with no more than a 24" wingspan.
 

Attachments

Valvebounce

EOS R5
CR Pro
Apr 3, 2013
4,461
357
53
Isle of Wight
Hi CanonFanBoy.
I really like this idea, it has only one real drawback, no rc model aircraft club near me! ::)
However there are always gulls to practice on here so I guess I should be ok. ;D

Cheers, Graham.
 

FEBS

Action Photography
CR Pro
Don't forget another very important issue. Study the bird you want to track.

Do they fly only for short distances, do they come back regular to the same branch, ....

Knowing your gear is one point. Knowing your subject is another. You must be able to predict, to get that great shot.

Today I tried to get the quetzal in the flight, however caused by the minimal clear viewing angle, the short period before iT got to hot, the missing info how I could see he would fly away, I rather failed to catch the quetzal male in the flight. Next try tomorrow.

For sport it is the same, you must be able to read the game to catch the moment.
 

CanonFanBoy

Real men single speed.
CR Pro
Jan 28, 2015
5,172
3,346
Irving, Texas
Valvebounce said:
Hi CanonFanBoy.
I really like this idea, it has only one real drawback, no rc model aircraft club near me! ::)
However there are always gulls to practice on here so I guess I should be ok. ;D

Cheers, Graham.
Hi Graham,

Yes, gulls would be great too. :)

Believe it or not, if I go to Las Vegas and hang out at the landfill they have seagulls. It is amazing how far inland gulls will fly for food. Why they leave the beach is a riddle to me. Too much competition maybe?

20 years ago we had a flat down in Dana Point, California which is just south of Laguna Beach. Gulls everywhere. Beautiful place. I wasn't in the hobby then and digital was still in its infancy.

Are you in the British Isles?
 

CanonFanBoy

Real men single speed.
CR Pro
Jan 28, 2015
5,172
3,346
Irving, Texas
FEBS said:
Don't forget another very important issue. Study the bird you want to track.

Do they fly only for short distances, do they come back regular to the same branch, ....

Knowing your gear is one point. Knowing your subject is another. You must be able to predict, to get that great shot.

Today I tried to get the quetzal in the flight, however caused by the minimal clear viewing angle, the short period before iT got to hot, the missing info how I could see he would fly away, I rather failed to catch the quetzal male in the flight. Next try tomorrow.

For sport it is the same, you must be able to read the game to catch the moment.
Have fun!

Here in the desert birds are sparse. The birds are extremely wary. Especially out in the bush.

We do have Grackles... but ours aren't attractive at all like they are in other places. They really do look as though they've been up drinking, gambling, and fighting all night. I'm not joking.

There are crows too.

I've seen a few Roadrunners and they are curious birds. Just in town they are out of place.

We've also got Chuckars brought to Nevada many years ago from Pakistan for hunting.

I've a daughter living in Seattle, Washington and my hope is to rent a 600mm when I go visit and catch Bald Eagles at the beach in Oregon as we travel.

Believe me when I say the Focrates site has been a huge help to me. It is the BIF I've been having trouble with.

The Goldfinch is actually a Lesser Goldfinch (mislabeled) and the Kite was horribly back lit.
 

Attachments

Valvebounce

EOS R5
CR Pro
Apr 3, 2013
4,461
357
53
Isle of Wight
Hi CanonFanBoy.
Yes I'm in the British Isles, actually on a British island, the Isle of Wight, just off the south coast of England below Southampton. We can see England clearly from the north coast and most high points.
The local inhabitants with generations here are Caulkheads, from caulking clinker boats, new inhabitants are Overners, because they come from overthere, then there are the grockels, they come on holiday and sometimes they become Overners.
Back on topic, very nice shots, some interesting birds, we have to learn to appreciate what we have locally I guess. To most of us here, gulls are just large chip, ice cream and sandwich stealing shitehawks. Yes they will steal a sandwich too.
You will understand shitehawks if you ever got hit by their effluent. You have to get it off cars quick before it etches the paint!

Cheers, Graham.

CanonFanBoy said:
Valvebounce said:
Hi CanonFanBoy.
I really like this idea, it has only one real drawback, no rc model aircraft club near me! ::)
However there are always gulls to practice on here so I guess I should be ok. ;D

Cheers, Graham.
Hi Graham,

Yes, gulls would be great too. :)

Believe it or not, if I go to Las Vegas and hang out at the landfill they have seagulls. It is amazing how far inland gulls will fly for food. Why they leave the beach is a riddle to me. Too much competition maybe?

20 years ago we had a flat down in Dana Point, California which is just south of Laguna Beach. Gulls everywhere. Beautiful place. I wasn't in the hobby then and digital was still in its infancy.

Are you in the British Isles?
 

CanonFanBoy

Real men single speed.
CR Pro
Jan 28, 2015
5,172
3,346
Irving, Texas
Valvebounce said:
Hi CanonFanBoy.
Yes I'm in the British Isles, actually on a British island, the Isle of Wight, just off the south coast of England below Southampton. We can see England clearly from the north coast and most high points.
The local inhabitants with generations here are Caulkheads, from caulking clinker boats, new inhabitants are Overners, because they come from overthere, then there are the grockels, they come on holiday and sometimes they become Overners.
Back on topic, very nice shots, some interesting birds, we have to learn to appreciate what we have locally I guess. To most of us here, gulls are just large chip, ice cream and sandwich stealing S___ehawks. Yes they will steal a sandwich too.
You will understand S___ehawks if you ever got hit by their effluent. You have to get it off cars quick before it etches the paint!

Cheers, Graham.

CanonFanBoy said:
Valvebounce said:
Hi CanonFanBoy.
I really like this idea, it has only one real drawback, no rc model aircraft club near me! ::)
However there are always gulls to practice on here so I guess I should be ok. ;D

Cheers, Graham.
Hi Graham,

Yes, gulls would be great too. :)

Believe it or not, if I go to Las Vegas and hang out at the landfill they have seagulls. It is amazing how far inland gulls will fly for food. Why they leave the beach is a riddle to me. Too much competition maybe?

20 years ago we had a flat down in Dana Point, California which is just south of Laguna Beach. Gulls everywhere. Beautiful place. I wasn't in the hobby then and digital was still in its infancy.

Are you in the British Isles?
I think gulls are the same the world over. I've seen them steal food right out of hand. I hate them :)
Have a great day buddy.
 

NancyP

EOS R
Dec 17, 2013
1,297
14
Looks like fun. I know someone who flies a 6 ft wing-span RC jet.
Gulls are good practice.
Also, this is migration season, larger targets such as ducks and geese are good.
 

2n10

EOS RP
Aug 25, 2012
640
0
57
Sparks, NV
Tracking cars and bikes on the road can help also. Just tracking birds alone, no photos, is a good strategy. Practicing on a smaller target than your intended target is a great help. As stated learn how the bird is moving so you can anticipate a starting point. Try to track the bird from a first lock on point even though you will not be taking shots until it is closer is a good practice.

Gulls are around where ever there is water. I know they fly to a nearby dump for scavenging. I do know that some birds will fly long distances for food from favored nesting and roosting areas.
 

RBC5

EOS M6 Mark II
Jun 18, 2016
57
0
Thanks for that link. My 5D4 arrives today and it will be the most sophisticated AF setup I've owned so far. I'm interested to see the controls.

What shape is the Salton Sea in these days? I used to enjoy photographing all the migrants that came through in the fall...lots of opportunity for flight shots of many different species.
 

lion rock

EOS 5D Mark IV
Jan 1, 2013
1,920
37
Valvebounce,
Gulls are smart creatures, but they are territorial. I once tried to get close to a resting colony to shoot them close up. Ended up disturbing one and the "S___ehawk" bombarded me repeatedly. I could smell the effluent the whole night! I take it back, they are nasty creatures, not smart.
-r

Valvebounce said:
You will understand S___ehawks if you ever got hit by their effluent.
Cheers, Graham.
 

CanonFanBoy

Real men single speed.
CR Pro
Jan 28, 2015
5,172
3,346
Irving, Texas
RBC5 said:
Thanks for that link. My 5D4 arrives today and it will be the most sophisticated AF setup I've owned so far. I'm interested to see the controls.

What shape is the Salton Sea in these days? I used to enjoy photographing all the migrants that came through in the fall...lots of opportunity for flight shots of many different species.
I've never been. last I heard it was drying up. All the old tourist hangouts are long out of business.