Bird-photographers are not satisfied by only clicking birds which are perched. They try to take action shots which do not always give them the desired results as it comes with its share of difficulties. Here we list a few pointers which may enable you achieve better results in future:
- Higher Shutter Speed: In order to freeze such fast action, a good AF tracking system along with a higher shutter speed is recommended. My recommendation would be a shutter speed of atleast 1/1600th of a second which may go up if you are photographing birds like the Peregrine Falcon. In order to achieve higher shutter speeds, you have to raise the ISO.
- Proper Framing: Placing the bird in the right part of the image is crucial. You must try and avoid providing too much negative space on both sides. It is better to have space in front of your subject rather than behind it.
- Focus Modes: Along with keeping a high shutter speed, you have to set the Autofocus mode accordingly. You have to set your camera to “AF-C” mode for Nikon and “Al-Servo” for Canon. And do not forget to switch your release mode from “Single” to “Continuous” or “Burst” mode.
- Background: Try to get a clear and uncluttered background. Sometimes you may get blue sky or you may have to use other options when the birds swoop lower to the ground.
- Right Direction: The Golden Hour provides the perfect soft light which is great to capture flight. Press the shutter only when you can get the catchlight or the bird moves to a part where the lighting is more favorable. Remember to have the Sun at your back when you are trying to capture such swift action. In sunny conditions the lighting would be harsh and would be unfavorable to shoot birds in flight.
- Knowing your subject: Studying your subjects help a lot in understanding the time of flight or when they would take-off. Be ready and see to it that your settings are right.
- Panning: In case the bird is approaching towards you, get your focus locked. Keep firing the shutter while panning your camera in the direction in which the bird is flying and also at the speed at which it is flying.
- Tripod: Using a tripod with a ball head helps to balance your camera and lens. Less force is required to pan the camera both right and left and also up and down.
- Exposure Compensation: When you are photographing birds in flight, very often you will find that the features of the birds will appear dark and would not project much detail. You can change your EV meter to +0.3 or 0.7 depending on the situation.
These are some of the techniques which may qualify you in attaining desired outputs. Practice and experimentation will help in getting the perfect freeze you always wanted to achieve. So, set out in the field where flight movements are move and get to work!!
The kind of technique implemented in imaging and photography for producing a greater dynamic or wider range of luminosity is referred to as High Dynamic Ranged Photography whose motive is to create a more humongous luminous range than which is created through the usual visual system of humans.
HDR photographs depict real world scenes comprising extremely bright, direct sunlight from shadier objects and faint hues; this is often established by capturing and coercing narrower ranges and exposures of the same subject of matter. The two most significant types of HDR images are computer renderings which are photographs resulting by amalgamating numerous low dynamic range or standard dynamic ranged pictures; also HDR images can also be extracted using special image censors. Owing to the limitations of contrast in display and printing on HDR images, you must begin developing methods of display; the method of rendering an HDR image to a device which can print is known as tone mapping.
How to achieve HDR photography?
- By capturing innumerable standard exposure photographs by employing exposure bracketing.
- On encoding in the raw image format of camera.
- By switching on the manual exposure mode in film cameras as they are relatively less suitable to be digitized.
- It can also be achieved by changing the exposure time along with the aperture size which will indirectly affect the depth of the field.
- You must create several images in order to reach a certain amount of luminosity.
How is HDR different from traditional photography methods?
Information stored in high dynamic ranged photographs technically correspond to the illumination and radiance of the real world unlike those in usual kinds of photography; HDR images are known as scene referred whereas digital photographs are referred to as device or output referred. In traditional photography, images are encoded typically for the human visual system; on the contrary, HDR photographs are generally gamma encoded. HDR pictures do not utilize fixed color channels like in traditional photographs in order to produce a comparatively larger wider range.
HDR pictures expose both the foreground and the background and enable merging of effects, shades and proximities.
The aforementioned equipments can capture an enormously high dynamic range from a solo exposure and the captured images are compressed into a relatively smaller ranged electronic representation, non- linearly. With the following information, such images can be further processed into higher quality HDR images which are therefore employed in dynamic range applications such as in wedding photography or works related to automobiles.
For a beginner, the essentials for creating HDR photography are as follows:
- A tripod or a stabilizer in order to align your images.
- HDR photo-blending software to coerce images and achieve further effects.
Limitations of HDR photography:
- You can’t capture objects in motion clearly owing to the nature of HDR.
- You need to avoid subjects with a large contrast between dark and lit areas.
Keeping in mind all the limitations, HDR photography requires an immensely professional touch.