Avian Musical Chairs

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.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 334 mm, efov 668 mm, f/8.6, 1/5000, ISO-5000, Pro Capture H, cropped to 4662 pixels on the width, subject distance 8.8 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 334 mm, efov 668 mm, f/8.6, 1/5000, ISO-5000, Pro Capture H, cropped to 4624 pixels on the width, subject distance 8.8 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 334 mm, efov 668 mm, f/8.6, 1/5000, ISO-5000, Pro Capture H, cropped to 4626 pixels on the width, subject distance 8.8 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 334 mm, efov 668 mm, f/8.6, 1/5000, ISO-5000, Pro Capture H, cropped to 4591 pixels on the width, subject distance 8.8 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 334 mm, efov 668 mm, f/8.6, 1/5000, ISO-5000, Pro Capture H, cropped to 4579 pixels on the width, subject distance 8.8 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 334 mm, efov 668 mm, f/8.6, 1/5000, ISO-5000, Pro Capture H, cropped to 4537 pixels on the width, subject distance 8.8 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 334 mm, efov 668 mm, f/8.6, 1/5000, ISO-5000, Pro Capture H, cropped to 4558 pixels on the width, subject distance 8.8 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 334 mm, efov 668 mm, f/8.6, 1/5000, ISO-5000, Pro Capture H, cropped to 4555 pixels on the width, subject distance 8.8 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 334 mm, efov 668 mm, f/8.6, 1/5000, ISO-5000, Pro Capture H, cropped to 4535 pixels on the width, subject distance 8.8 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 334 mm, efov 668 mm, f/8.6, 1/5000, ISO-5000, Pro Capture H, cropped to 4551 pixels on the width, subject distance 8.8 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 334 mm, efov 668 mm, f/8.6, 1/5000, ISO-5000, Pro Capture H, cropped to 4564 pixels on the width, subject distance 8.8 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 334 mm, efov 668 mm, f/8.6, 1/5000, ISO-5000, Pro Capture H, cropped to 4549 pixels on the width, subject distance 8.8 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 334 mm, efov 668 mm, f/8.6, 1/5000, ISO-5000, Pro Capture H, cropped to 4578 pixels on the width, subject distance 8.8 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 334 mm, efov 668 mm, f/8.6, 1/5000, ISO-5000, Pro Capture H, cropped to 4612 pixels on the width, subject distance 8.8 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 334 mm, efov 668 mm, f/8.6, 1/5000, ISO-5000, Pro Capture H, cropped to 4547 pixels on the width, subject distance 8.8 metres

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.

Technical Note:

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.

How you can help keep this site advertising free

My intent is to keep this photography blog advertising free. If you enjoyed this article and/or my website and would like to support my work, you can purchase an eBook, or make a donation through PayPal. Both are most appreciated.

If you click on the Donate button below you will find that there are three donation options: $7.50, $10.00 and $20.00. All are in Canadian funds. Plus, you can choose a different amount if you want. You can also increase your donation amount to help offset our costs associated with accepting your donation through PayPal. An ongoing, monthly contribution to support our work can also be done through the PayPal Donate button below.

You can make your donation through your PayPal account, or by using a number of credit card options.



 As a reminder to our Canadian readers, you can get a special 5% discount when ordering Tamron or Rokinon lenses and other products directly from the Amplis Store. Be sure to use my discount code when you make your purchase.

Word of mouth is the best form of endorsement. If you like our website please let your friends and associates know about our work. Linking to this site or to specific articles is allowed with proper acknowledgement. Reproducing articles, or any of the images contained in them, on another website or in any social media posting is a Copyright infringement.

Article and images are Copyright 2022 Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, duplication or adaptation of any kind is allowed without written consent. If you see this article reproduced anywhere else it is an unauthorized and illegal use. Posting comments on offending websites and calling out individuals who steal intellectual property is always appreciated!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *