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How and where to take great bird pictures.
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TOPIC: Photography Flocks of Birds i.e. budgies with big lens

Photography Flocks of Birds i.e. budgies with big lens 10 months 4 days ago #1440

  • Andrew Browne
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I'm interested in members comments on what camera settings they use for photography flocks of birds such as budgies. I've tried a number of different setups and am not comfortable/happy with any to date. Budgies have ben the most frustrating for me. I after images that show multiple birds in flight rather than distant images with birds as patterns, likewise silhouettes. I've attached an image from Cape Kerauden (Ninety Mile Beach WA) which was one of my test images (Canon 5D III, 600mm F/4 IS II USM, 1/1600 sec at f/13, ISO 400), and not a big flock. Any reference articles would be great.
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Cheers AB

Photography Flocks of Birds i.e. budgies with big lens 10 months 4 days ago #1441

  • Glenn Pure
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Hi Andrew. Nice to see you getting up to the north west. A wonderful part of the country that I'm harking to get back to. As for your question, I'm no expert so hope others with more experience here will chip in. You appear to be doing what I'd suggest: stopping down to a small aperture and f13 or smaller should be good for this. You may want to increase your ISO and go to a faster shutter speed unless you want some motion blur on the wings... but you might also get some blur on the birds, especially fast movers like budgies. There's not a lot else you can do to get flocks like this in focus since the birds are sitting at different distances to the focus plane and inevitably, some will be out of focus, even at very small apertures. I suspect positioning yourself differently is not really going to help either as it won't solve the fundamental randomness of the bird positions. The other option is to use a shorter focal length lens such as a 400 or even 300 as the depth of field will be considerably better. You may not have such a lens and either way, it will cause other problems like the birds being smaller in the frame. I think this type of photography simply involves a lot of luck. Sorry I can't be of more help.
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