Barn Swallow in flight

Discussion in 'Birds' started by ja6ke, Jul 27, 2008.

  1. ja6ke


    Dec 28, 2006
    U.S. D.C. area
    I spent my years as a kid sitting on a tractor watching these guys and have always wanted in flight pictures but never was able to make it work. Yesterday I had a couple of minutes while the grandparents watched the kids so wondered if the D3 would improve my chances. I used the 70-200 fully zoomed. My efforts were basically unsuccessful but I learned much and did get this one. When I zoomed in at first I was upset because I thought the spot was dust on the sensor. Now I think it may be dinner.



    Anyone have any thoughts on how to get in flight pics of these guys? I think the 70-200 is too short but I already was rarely able to keep them in frame...
  2. you have done pretty well. the 70-200 is too short for the most part. Here is a tree swallow that I watched for a long while, figured out his pattern and set up with 200-400 to catch.

  3. genera


    Oct 6, 2005
    As Dave said, watch and figure out their patterns. They have to slow down to land :rolleyes: so pay particular attention to where they perch. These were taken with the 70-200VR and a 1.7x TC.

    Cliff Swallows collecting mud for their nests:

    Tree Swallow:
  4. yamo


    Jun 28, 2007
    Santa Cruz, CA

    Greetings. I've tried getting them as the fly in and out of their nests, but it presents two shooting challenges: 1. near the nest they are inevitably in shadows so shutter speed is an issue -or- 2. Once out in the light if it's bright enough for fast shutter speeds, blown highlights are a problem...

    A couple of scouting shots (I haven't gotten back here to take the "real" shots :wink:)... this was before the fast shutter speed auto-ISO was available, but would be perfect for trying to catch both these scenarios...

    A 200mm would have been fine, I had to step back to get a broad enough field to catch these at 340mm (200f2 + 1.7)

    The shadows at 1/250th

    The blown highlights at 1/1250th

    Jake and Dave's shots are better, but I suspect they have more patience than I to stake out the other end of the swallow's flight pattern :wink:...


    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2008
  5. ja6ke


    Dec 28, 2006
    U.S. D.C. area
    Thanks to each of you for the help. Great pics also.

    I sat and thought a bit about what I am trying to do and decided what I would like is pics of those high wing loading turns I remember them making as they swooped in toward me on the tractor and then broke off. I believe a tc1.7 is within my budget and will give that a try while standing in the field the next time the grass is getting cut.

    Thanks again for the help.