Bird Photography – Posing Your Subjects

Get Ready. Get Set. And… Wait.

That’s what bird photography is all about. Having the right gear is important. Having a clear vision of what you want to capture is very important. But when everything is said and done, much of the time spent in wildlife photography is spent waiting. Waiting for the best light. Waiting for the right subject and waiting for the right pose.

I spent the better portion of an hour watching this beautiful little bird flit around from tree to tree and branch to branch. Always keeping its back to me and never looking my direction. Finally a small noise to my left caused the bird to rotate its head and I took the shot, keeping the eye in focus. And then it was gone!

Looking Left

Looking Left
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon 50D set on aperture priority (Av), using an EF 300mm f/4L IS USM with an EF 1.4X II extender mono-pod mounted. The exposure was taken at 420mm, f/6.7 for 1/350th of a second at ISO 100 on Lexar Professional UDMA digital film. All post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Small Wonder

Small Wonder
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon 50D set on aperture priority (Av), using an EF 300mm f/4L IS USM with an EF 1.4X II extender mono-pod mounted. The exposure was taken at 420mm, f/5.6 for 1/1000th of a second at ISO 100 on Lexar Professional UDMA digital film. All post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Canon 50D – RAW Custom Functions

One question that comes up quite frequently is which camera functions affect RAW images and which affect JPEG images on the EOS 50D.

C.Fn II-1 Long Exposure Noise Reduction – Both RAW and JPEG

C.Fn II-2 High ISO Speed Noise Reduction – JPEG Only

C.Fn II-3 Highlight Tone Priority – Both RAW and JPEG

C.Fn II-4 Auto Lighting Optimizer – JPEG Only (Unless Using DPP for RAW)

Bird Photography – Size Doesn’t Matter

Variety is the Spice of Life. That statement is certainly true when it comes to photographing wildlife, especially birds. Its important to take a few moments after each shoot to look around and take notice of the wonderful variety of life the Lord has provided for us to capture. When it comes to beauty, size doesn’t matter!

A Little Beauty

A Little Beauty
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon 50D set on aperture priority (Av), using an EF 300mm f/4L IS USM with an EF 1.4X II extender mono-pod mounted. The exposure was taken at 420mm, f/6.7 for 1/350th of a second at ISO 100 on Lexar Professional UDMA digital film. All post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Bird Photography – Blue Winged Teals?

Here is another shot taken a few weeks back at the Brazos Bend State Park. I think this is a group of Blue Winged Teals (ducks) that winter here in Southeast Texas but don’t quote me on that, I’m no bird expert.

I feel very sorry for all my readers in the “Great White North” this week. Even here in Texas the temperatures are getting down into the lower 20′s and I know its much colder up north. I think the birds have the right idea, spending the winter months in the south. Just watching the weather channel sends chills down my spine.

Blue Winged Teals

Blue Winged Teals
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon 50D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM with a 1.4X extender mono-pod mounted at 420mm, f/5.6 for 1/500th of a second at ISO 100 on Lexar digital film. All post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Canon 50D – “AI Servo” Auto Focus Improvements

The auto focus system in the new EOS 50D is definitely faster and more accurate than in previous xxD models, especially in “AI Servo” mode. This mode is great for moving subjects such as birds in flight where the focus distance is constantly changing. In “AI Servo” mode the subject will be focused continuously while the shutter button is held down halfway. The exposure will be set at the moment of capture. Also, when the AF point selection is set to “Automatic”, the camera will first use the center AF point to focus. If the subject moves away from the center AF point, focus tracking will continue as long as the subject is covered by any of the other eight AF points.

In the past the “AI Servo” mode seemed to be a hit or miss proposition but the 50D seems to offer much faster AF speeds and more importantly, better accuracy. The four shots below were taken from a high speed burst of six images. I threw out the first and the last since they were out of focus but these four turned out great. When shooting birds in flight, I’m very pleased anytime I can get better than 50% of my shots where the eye is sharp and with the new EOS 50D my average is going way up!

Great Egret

Great Egret in Flight 1
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon 50D hand-held with auto focus set to AI Servo, using an EF 300mm f/4L IS USM + EF 1.4x Extender with image stabilization set to “Mode 2″. Exposed at f/6.7 for 1/500th of a second at ISO 100 on Lexar digital film. All post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Great Egret

Great Egret in Flight 2
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon 50D hand-held with auto focus set to AI Servo, using an EF 300mm f/4L IS USM + EF 1.4x Extender with image stabilization set to “Mode 2″. Exposed at f/6.7 for 1/500th of a second at ISO 100 on Lexar digital film. All post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Great Egret

Great Egret in Flight 3
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon 50D hand-held with auto focus set to AI Servo, using an EF 300mm f/4L IS USM + EF 1.4x Extender with image stabilization set to “Mode 2″. Exposed at f/6.7 for 1/500th of a second at ISO 100 on Lexar digital film. All post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Great Egret

Great Egret in Flight 4
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon 50D hand-held with auto focus set to AI Servo, using an EF 300mm f/4L IS USM + EF 1.4x Extender with image stabilization set to “Mode 2″. Exposed at f/6.7 for 1/500th of a second at ISO 100 on Lexar digital film. All post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Bird Photography – Strong Swimmer

The pied-billed grebe is another bird that winters here in Southeast Texas. Its amazing to watch this bird dive for its food within a few feet of an alligator as if the alligator wasn’t a predator. Its either very brave (hungry) or very foolish.

Pied Billed Grebe

Strong Swimmer
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon 50D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM with a 1.4X extender mono-pod mounted at 420mm, f/5.6 for 1/500th of a second at ISO 100 on Lexar digital film. All post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2 and Noise Ninja. Click on the image above for a larger version.

PictureCode Releases Noise Ninja Profiles for EOS 50D

PictureCode (Austin, TX) has released Noise Ninja camera profiles for the Canon EOS 50D. Installation is simple. Just follow these three easy steps.

  • Download the EOS 50D profiles zip file and unzip the file to a temporary directory.
  • Start Noise Ninja and select “Install Profiles” from the Profiles menu if you are using the Photoshop plug-in or from the File menu if you are using the stand alone program.
  • If you are using the Photoshop plug-in you’ll need to setup Noise Ninja to auto load the profiles you installed. From the Noise Ninja menu and select Preferences. Set the Profile policy to “Auto-load profile based on EXIF” and set the Fallback policy to “Invoke automatic profiler”.

Bird Photography – Winter Retreat

One of the benefits of living along the Texas Gulf Coast is the variety of birds we see during the winter months like these two beautiful ducks I caught last weekend.

Winter Retreat

Winter Retreat
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon 50D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM with a 1.4X extender mono-pod mounted at 420mm, f/5.6 for 1/500th of a second at ISO 100 on Lexar digital film. All post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2 and Noise Ninja. Click on the image above for a larger version.