A photoshoot can result in nothing

Not so long ago, I was looking at some birds that where flying around some trees. I took my camera and tried to make some photos of these flying birds. Unfortunately I can’t show any photos of this shoot. In all the photos the birds where just out of focus or they weren’t in the photo at all, because the flew too fast. Therefore I deleted all the photos.

This isn’t necessarily bad. Sometimes it is good to take bad photos, because you can learn from it. One of the things I did not correctly was taking time to focus. Sometimes I thought a bird was in focus, but in fact the leaves in front of the bird were. This happens although I used auto focus and this is probably also the reason, autofocus tries to focus on the nearest object it can find (even when using the control points) and in this case it found out that the leaves where closer than the bird itself. I don’t think I can solve this by using another method of auto focussing, but it could be solved with manual focussing.

The other problem was the birds moving too fast. Most of the time they surprised me when the started flying, so most of the time I was just to late with pressing the shutter and other times I could follow them for a while with my camera, but since it was getting dark, the shutter time was getting longer and I couldn’t keep my camera still enough while panning.

What I learned from the last point is that it would be easier to shoot at midday when there is enough light (although this could give other problems of course…). An other possibility is to find out where they will land (or land regularly) and watch that spot for a while. Just be patient and wait for the action and when you see some action in the corner of your eye, you probably already to late to take a photo of it.

So taking bad photos shouldn’t be a problem, as long as you can tell what went wrong and can find an answer on how you can do it better next time.

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Shooting birds with my new Sigma 18-200

Two weeks ago we (my wife and me) went for a bicycle ride to the “Blauwekamer”. This is a protected area where horses and cows are walking freely and where there are a lot of birds. Of course I took my camera with me because I wanted to look how well my new “super zoom” lens was performing.  When we came there one of the first animals we saw was this cow that was walking on the path to us.

It just passed by and I could take a few photos of it. After that we went to this bird lookout and watched some birds. I was rather shocked with the fact that I couldn’t get the birds as close as I wanted them to have. Apparently they should still be pretty close to be a major part in the image.

And I finally managed to shoot a flying bird as well.

I didn’t do much in postprocessing. I did some cropping and played a little bit with the colours. The copyright text was added using a plugin in Bibble.

I am really happy with my new lens. It has a lot of advantages over the nikon kit lens I have, (image stabilization, bigger zoom, etc.) but for bird photography, especially flying birds, you probably need an even bigger lens…