A couple of days ago I went out to a number of potential birding spots to see what I could photograph. I was hoping to capture an egret or two at a shallow pond less than 10 minutes from my home. Lady Luck smiled upon me and I was able to photograph an egret in flight.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
It was quite a nice morning with good light and no wind, allowing me to cautiously approach the egret to capture the image above. I knew that as soon as it noticed me it would likely take flight so I adjusted my settings accordingly (AF-C with subject tracking, 20 frames per second, Manual mode with Auto-ISO 160-6400, VR off). I also shortened my focal length to allow for the wingspan of the egret.
Sure enough, as I began to move in closer the egret spotted me and took flight.
I quickly fired off my AF-C burst but unfortunately I didn’t frame the first few photographs quite right. Nevertheless I did get some nice images further into the AF-C run as illustrated in this article.
Large birds like egrets and herons often like to take off into the wind to get a bit more flight leverage.
Luckily for me there was no breeze. As the egret was taking its second wing beat its body dropped down slightly causing its feet to drag along the surface of the water.
This added some action detail to several of my photographs which created more drama in the images. This is my favourite image from the AF-C run.
You’ll notice that when using a fast frame rate of 20-fps there is only a modest amount of difference in the wing positions in successive images when photographing a large bird with slower wing movements.
I captured another 10 photographs before my buffer filled. There were some distracting reflections on the surface of the water towards the end of the AF-C run which made the images unusable.
Capturing this series of photographs of the egret taking flight was a great way to start my morning. The other stops I made at other locations later that day were not very fruitful.
All photographs were captured hand-held using Nikon 1 gear as per the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO PhotoLab, CS6, and the Nik Collection.
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