Swallow In-Flight Altercations

Since publishing my initial E-M1X swallows in flight article, I’ve tested the Olympus OM-D E-M1X with this subject matter a couple of additional times. This article shares three short AF-C runs of swallow in-flight altercations.

These types of interactions happen in little more than a blink of an eye, then disappear. I was fortunate to have three very brief opportunities over the past couple of days to capture these swallow in-flight altercations. Luckily my reflexes were pretty quick and the E-M1X was up to the task. The M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with the 1.4X teleconverter performed well, especially given the severe crops used on the images in this article.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

All of the AF-C runs in this article were captured hand-held using a frame rate of 10 fps. I used a 5×5 auto-focus grid. The images displayed are the result of very severe cropping. The original images of the first two sets of images were cropped to 2500 pixels in width. They were then resized to 1200 pixels for web use.

In this first series of images a swallow has emerged from a nesting box to chase away an intruder.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/5.6, 1/4000, ISO-1250
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/5.6, 1/4000, ISO-1250
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/5.6, 1/4000, ISO-1250
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/5.6, 1/4000, ISO-1250
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/5.6, 1/4000, ISO-1250
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/5.6, 1/4000, ISO-1250
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/5.6, 1/4000, ISO-1250

On the same day I also had the opportunity to capture another swallow in-flight altercation. This time it was against a monochromatic, cloudy sky. The lighting wasn’t ideal from auto-focus and exposure perspectives. It did help to highlight the swallows nicely.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/5.6, 1/4000, ISO-640
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/5.6, 1/4000, ISO-640
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/5.6, 1/4000, ISO-640
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/5.6, 1/4000, ISO-640
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/5.6, 1/4000, ISO-640 (Note: This is one of my favourite images)
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/5.6, 1/4000, ISO-640
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/5.6, 1/4000, ISO-640
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/5.6, 1/4000, ISO-640
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/5.6, 1/4000, ISO-640
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/5.6, 1/4000, ISO-640

The images in the final photo set in this article are composed of tight, random crops. These were then resized to 1200 pixels for web use.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/4, 1/4000, ISO-1000
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/4, 1/4000, ISO-1000
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/4, 1/4000, ISO-1000
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/4, 1/4000, ISO-1000
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko 1.4X teleconverter @ 210 mm, efov 420 mm, f/4, 1/4000, ISO-1000

While it would have been better if I had been using a longer focal length lens, being able to capture these swallow in-flight altercations was still a joy!

Technical Note:
All photographs in this article were captured using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. All of the photographs displayed in this article were produced from RAW files using my standard process.

Use of Olympus Loaner Equipment
All of the photographs in this article were captured using Olympus Loaner Gear which was supplied by Olympus Americas Inc. on a no-charge basis. We are under no obligation what-so-ever to Olympus Americas Inc. in terms of our use of this loaner Olympus camera equipment. There is no expectation or agreement of any kind with Olympus Americas Inc. that we will create and share with readers any images, articles or videos, or on what that content may be.

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6 thoughts on “Swallow In-Flight Altercations”

  1. Tom,

    Very intriguing, very “provocative” set, I must say. Kudos to your skills as well as the Oly’s capabilities because swallows are erratic and swift flyers, really, really hard to keep tracking and following them. Difficult for me to choose a personal favorite in the AF-C run presented here as they’re all gems.

    Oggie
    http://www.lagalog.com

    1. Hi Oggie,

      With these AF-C runs I wasn’t so much tracking the swallows… as getting a spread of AF-C points on them and allowing the E-M1X to grab the photographs for me. I used the 5×5 spread which seems to work very well for smaller birds… as long as the background isn’t too busy of course (I’m still learning how to use all of the AF settings on the E-M1X).

      The AF-C with tracking apparently hasn’t been updated yet, but Olympus is working on it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xy_Z2-VjNH8 Once it has been updated the E-M1X will be even better.

      Tom

        1. Hi Oggie,

          I agree… the 5×5 spread works well for small, fast birds when there is an uncluttered background.

          I have been using AF-C with the E-M1X for all of my swallow images… not AF-C with Tracking. From what I understand the AF-C tracking module is the same as in the E-M1 Mark II. Apparently Olympus engineers are still working on an updated AF-C with Tracking mode for the E-M1X. The AF-C with Tracking in the E-M1X isn’t ‘sticky’ enough to lock on to swallows… at least with my level of competence with the camera.

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