Action Shot Bird Photography
Add drama to your bird photographs by taking action shots.
Ready to take your photographs to the next level? Try taking photos of birds in motion!
While moving birds are a bit more challenging to photograph than perched birds, some basic techniques can help you get a great shot.
If you’re just starting out, try low-level movement photos. Practice on birds that are preening, bathing, fluffing their feathers, stretching or squabbling. These motion shots show the everyday behavior of birds and are fun to try to capture.
My favorite subject for in-flight photography is the hummingbird. These high-energy birds are quick and challenging to shoot, so I use a telephoto lens on a tripod. Natural light is best for these beauties, so I head outside early in the morning.
Intimidated by the size and speed of hummingbirds? You might want to start off with larger targets like red-tailed hawks, osprey and great blue herons. They move at slower speeds and are easier to focus on.
While action shots are much harder to achieve, it’s good to have a challenge as a photographer. Sure, it takes a little bit more effort, but you’ll find the rewards are worth it.
Donna’s Tips for Great Action Photos:
1. Take whatever opportunity you can to hone your skills. Running deer, fluttering butterflies or other moving targets all provide opportunities to practice.
2. When taking photos of hummingbirds in flight with your digital camera, use a higher ISO setting (400+ speed) with a very fast shutter speed to record wing motion as a pleasing blur.
3. If shooting larger birds, use a panning technique. With your camera mounted on a tripod, watch through the viewfinder and move the lens along with the bird as it flies, focusing on the head and shoulders. The auto focus setting is ideal for this situation.