Tips On Photographing Birds In Flight and Bugs Hanging Out

Steve Cirone describes how to photograph birds in flight with a telephoto lens, and bugs with macro grear.

In this photo, and on all my bird action images, I use Manual Exposure Mode, F 5.6, 400 ISO, 1/1600th sec. as a starter. Check your camera’s LCD and adjust the shutter only to get desired exposure. Point your shadow at, but not on the subject. No flash. Auto Focus, AI Servo/ Continuous, center point only, high speed drive/frame advance. Focus limiter on far only if your lens has one. The above shot I took with a Canon 400mm f 5.6 lens ($1300), and a Canon Mark IV, but a used $800 Canon 1D Mark 2 will do nearly as well.

For photographing micro subjects like my above dragonfly, I use Manual Exposure Mode, F 11, 200 ISO, 1/200th sec. as a starter. Use FLASH!! Check your camera’s LCD and adjust the f-stop only to set your background brightness, and adjust your flash intensity only to dial in your subject brightness. Manual Focus (auto if you can get away with it), single focus (not servo/continuous), center point only, one at a time frame advance. Count to 3 in between each shot to give your batteries time to recycle.

Lakesides are good spots for dragonflies in hot mid day weather in the summer.

Skipper moths are in every garden in San Diego in the spring and summer, as are a million other interesting bugs like the one below I got in Balboa Park.

Katydid on a purple petal
Elena Jones using a Canon ring flash to illuminate a macro subject, and a monopod to stabilize the camera

Happy Image Making!


Steve Cirone

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