Geese in Flight at 30 FPS

In late March I had a bit of time to experiment photographing geese in flight at 30 fps. I haven’t used this frame rate very much in the past, deciding it was time I spent an entire outing shooting at 30 frames per second.

At Hendrie Valley I spotted a pair of Canada Geese on the ice. As I watched them, it became apparent that they were getting a bit agitated and would likely take flight. So, I acquired focus on them and waited for my opportunity. Within a minute, the pair took off across the ice.

Since I was shooting at 30 frames-per-second my Nikon 1 V3 locked auto-focus and exposure based on the first frame of the run. The following images were all captured hand-held using a 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 zoom lens at 300 mm (efov 810 mm), f/6.3, 1/1600, ISO-450.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Frame 1 of 40
Frame 5 of 40
Frame 9 of 40
Frame 10 of 40
Frame 11 of 40
Frame 14 of 40
Frame 19 of 40
Frame 20 of 40
Frame 21 of 40
Frame 40 of 40

Out of a burst of 40 images created at 30 frames per second I was able to capture 10 photographs where the wings of the lead bird did not visually obstruct the trailing bird’s head.

If this same burst would have been captured at 60 frames per second, I may have just gotten Frame 20 at the very end of my run. I would have missed Frames 21 and 40. Using 20 frames per second would likely have made some of the images towards the end of the run potentially unusable as they could have had too much of a rear view.

Deciding what frame rate to use can be a difficult choice. In this case photographing geese in flight at 30 fps appears to have been a good decision.

Technical Note:
All images were captured hand-held using camera gear as per the EXIF data noted in the article. All images in this article were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO PhotoLab, CS6 and the Nik Collection.

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2 thoughts on “Geese in Flight at 30 FPS”

  1. That were excellent geese in flight photos!! When you said lock focus, does that mean you activated the object tracking on the V3 with AFC? I have been using only AFS single point. I attempted AFC with object tracking but was never fast enough so AF couldn’t lock on the subject.

    Thanks for posting!

    1. Hi Ruby,

      When using either 30 frames per second or 60 frames per second shutter speed, Nikon 1 cameras will use the focusing and exposure for the first image in the run… with all images after the first one having the same focusing and exposure. When shooting at these shutter speeds it doesn’t matter whether single point or AFC is used since everything is based on what happens with the first frame.

      For birds in flight you could consider using AF-C with subject tracking, along with a frame rate of 10 fps, 15 fps or 20 fps (based on the Nikon 1 model camera you may have).

      Tom

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