This article, Avian Musical Chairs, shares 15 consecutive images of two swallows trading places around a nesting box. The photographs were captured handheld at Biggar Lagoon Wetlands in Grimsby Ontario using Pro Capture H with an OM-D E-M1X.
I had positioned myself on a bench on one of the viewing platforms that afforded me a good side view of a swallow nesting box. My shooting angle put the background at a significant distance away. This helped to blur out the background nicely.
As I was patiently waiting for a swallow perched on the nesting box to take flight, another swallow suddenly arrived. A mini flurry of activity ensured as the birds changed places and crossed paths in mid-air.
This is one of those ‘slice of life’ moments that was a real treat to photograph. Without Pro Capture H this series of images would have been next to impossible to capture.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
As is my standard practice when using Pro Capture H, these images were shot using a frame rate of 60 frames-per-second. My Pre-Shutter Frames and Frame Limiter were both set to 15. I used a single auto-focus point. The bird interaction illustrated in this series of images would have occurred in a total of about 1/4 of a second.
Avian musical chairs often happen around the nests of mated birds. When photographing small, fast birds like swallows I usually concentrate my efforts on a single nesting box that is housing a very active pair of birds. This delivers a good number of photographic opportunities, and also allows me to position myself properly from a composition/lighting standpoint.
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard approach in post. Photographs were resized for web use. This is the 1,165 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.
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