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Anticipating Action in Bird Photography

Bird photographers miss a lot of action photos because they don't anticipate what the bird will do next.

The two photos to the right is a simple demonstration of how to anticipate what a bird will do next - in this case, a Red-winged blackbird.

The Red-winged blackbird landed on a stick facing into the wind. I anticipated it would not stay long on the stick. I pressed the shutter as I saw a slight movement and was the correct timing. As I pressed the shutter it was as if the bird knew it was supposed to fly and it did. second photo.

The trick is to be ready. Set your shutter to a high speed in this case 3200sec. As it is a blackbird I underexposed by one F-stop using my EV. I did not want to overexpose for the shinny spots we sometimes see on blackbirds. I readjusted the exposure in Lightroom.

It is also important to have the sun in this case to your back.

In the two photos, you can see the different colours of blue in the sky.  On Nikon cameras it is almost impossible to to get exactly the same blue. The two photos were photographed a second apart. A slight adjustment in exposure and contrast can cause the difference. I do not worry about the difference.

Nikon D 500 with a 200 - 500mm Nikon lens.