Critique SIF (Swallow in flight) - 1st feeble attempt!

Butlerkid

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I have been so inspired - and jealous - of the fine images @cybertec69 and @Bohdan have posted!

Well a couple of days ago while walking the dog, I saw that swallows were using a nest box my husband had built. I tried using my D5+300 PF + 1.4 tele handheld......but the swallow was still too small to track. So I focused on the nest box and tried to catch the swallow just before he/she reached it.

Here is the result of my first, feeble attempt at photographing a swallow in flight. Substanital crop. And I see a green halo around the head and upper wing. Probably from masking. (Turns out the green rim is about 1 pixel worth of CA.)
Maybe I'll try the 600mm+1.4 on tripod.......

D5+300 PF +1.4 tele @ f8, 1/4000, ISO 5000!
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Nice capture Karen, Pre-focusing on the nest box is the only way that works for me. Most of mine have wing clips and OOF.... oh my!

Cheers,
alexis and Georgie Beagle

"great capture, nice that the eye is sharp!" - Georgie Beagle
 
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someone showed me a trick when I was shooting burrowing owls in flight. Use the 'auto' AF mode and just get the bird in the frame, anywhere, it's like a huge sensor, the whole frame. It works way better than anything else. It feels weird for sure.
 
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This is always so hard to do. One of my goals is to get a decent swallow in flight shot. I soon realized that the only method that could work for me is the method you utilized - trying to catch them as they leave the nesting box. Sadly for me, I'm still trying to reach my goal...and will continue to try - I've learned that my best chance is with the d500 and 300 pf in acquiring focus. You have achieved what I am still hoping to do. Nicely done.
 

Butlerkid

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Nice capture Karen, Pre-focusing on the nest box is the only way that works for me. Most of mine have wing clips and OOF.... oh my!

Cheers,
alexis and Georgie Beagle

"great capture, nice that the eye is sharp!" - Georgie Beagle
Thanks, Alexis and Georgie! Pre-focusing is how I got so many natural light images of hummers in Costa Rica.
WOW
amazing job of acquiring focus
good feather detail
Appreciate the encouragement. I knew it would be tough!
Quite good. For me it is mostly miss with a few hits.
Thanks for commenting, Allan.
someone showed me a trick when I was shooting burrowing owls in flight. Use the 'auto' AF mode and just get the bird in the frame, anywhere, it's like a huge sensor, the whole frame. It works way better than anything else. It feels weird for sure.
I started with single point and switched to group. But pre-focusing was the answer. That's how I got so many great hummer images in Costa Rica.
This is always so hard to do. One of my goals is to get a decent swallow in flight shot. I soon realized that the only method that could work for me is the method you utilized - trying to catch them as they leave the nesting box. Sadly for me, I'm still trying to reach my goal...and will continue to try - I've learned that my best chance is with the d500 and 300 pf in acquiring focus. You have achieved what I am still hoping to do. Nicely done.
Not bad Karen, any shot of those rockets is a good shot, with detail to boot.............
Thanks, Bob and Darrell. There is NO spot in our large backyard where they sit for a moment.....except high in the trees. In Flight was my only option.
 
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someone showed me a trick when I was shooting burrowing owls in flight. Use the 'auto' AF mode and just get the bird in the frame, anywhere, it's like a huge sensor, the whole frame. It works way better than anything else. It feels weird for sure.
Bazinga....I have a button assigned on my D850 to temporarily change focus to Auto AF area mode and then auto focus. When I let off the button it is focused on the bird (or whatever) and the camera is back to my usual focus mode. It works great for acquiring initial focus with longer lenses.
 
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Not typical BIF shooting with those little guys. Ya done good.

I know a guy who shoots a D5/600 f4E and for BIF he uses the AF Auto mode exclusively and gets excellent results. I stood right beside him shooting snow buntings and tried using that mode with my D500/500 f4G, No bueno. He was nailing them. I'd try that D5 magic.
 
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Not typical BIF shooting with those little guys. Ya done good.

I know a guy who shoots a D5/600 f4E and for BIF he uses the AF Auto mode exclusively and gets excellent results. I stood right beside him shooting snow buntings and tried using that mode with my D500/500 f4G, No bueno. He was nailing them. I'd try that D5 magic.
you have to ty it to believe it. I fought it and finally went along, even though it seemed like a joke to just get the bird in the VF and fire. Seems stupid BUT it really works. Of course getting the bird in the VF is still very difficult. But the camera is clearly faster than our reflexes on focus acquisition. Even Group AF was no match for Auto. Prefocus using AF-ON works better but you need something to prefocus on
 

Butlerkid

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Very hard birds to get. Some of the toughest.

I do like Steve Perry's book you mentioned. He has good pointers and some stuff i did not know when I bought my D500 (recently).
His Exposure book is excellent also! ;)
 

Butlerkid

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Stunning image, Karen!
Thanks so much, Dossy!
Not typical BIF shooting with those little guys. Ya done good.
.......
Appreciate it, Dan. Hopefully I can do better "next time". However, rain forecasted here for at least a couple of days.
Wow, you have to be fast on the trigger to get a shot like this, very well done Karen.
Hi, Louie! A few feeble attempts at tracking had me resorting to the technique I use when photographing hummers! Next time I'll haul the tripod and 600+1.4 to the nest and perhaps give Auto AF a try!
Nice capture Karen.
Appreciate the comment, John!
 
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I think yours turned out better than mine. Several weeks ago after photographing whooping cranes I tried to play around with freezing swallows in flight. I got a couple of decent shots out of dozens of failures. I ended up pre-focusing. Maybe I'll try the auto af sometime. It didn't work for me shooting eagles, though.
 

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