This article features a selection of handheld photographs of Barn Swallow… many of which are in flight. The images were captured at Hendrie Valley. In my local area I typically have many more opportunities to capture images of Tree Swallows as compared to Barn Swallows. This is mainly due to an abundance of nesting boxes that are frequented by Tree Swallows.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
Like other swallow species, Barn Swallows are quite fast and somewhat erratic flyers. As a result it can be challenging to capture them in free flight. Studying the birds and identifying flight patterns can be useful so a photographer can position themselves appropriately.
I’ve had limited success photographing Barn Swallows in free flight n the past. Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking is very helpful when photographing these ‘pocket rockets’ in flight. As is my standard practice when photographing birds in free flight, I use this technology in combination with Pro Capture L
Barn Swallows are the most widely distributed and abundant swallow species in the world. It breeds throughout the Northern Hemisphere and winters in much of the Southern Hemisphere. They most often build their cup-shaped nests on human-made structures. Barn Swallows are easily recognized by their forked tails.
When opportunities present themselves, I prefer to use Pro Capture H to photograph Barn Swallows taking flight. I find this technology allows me to get a wider assortment of images that depict subtle differences in wing and body positions.
I used my standard Pro Capture H settings for the photographs of Barn Swallows taking flight featured in this article. I utilized a frame rate of 60 frames-per-second. Pre-Shutter Frames and Frame Limiter were both set to 15. This combination of settings gives me an opportunity to capture 15 consecutive images in a total time of 1/4 of a second.
It was the hat-making trade’s impact on Barn Swallows that prompted George Bird Grinnell to write an essay that decried the waste of bird life. This appeared in Forest & Stream in 1886. This essay led to the founding of the first Audubon Society.
Barn Swallows eat insects and the birds are often found flying quite low above the ground or over water as they dart after their prey.
An unmated male may kill the chicks of a nesting pair. This sometimes will break up the mated pair, and give the aggressive interloper an opportunity to mate with the female.
I specifically look for opportunities to photograph small birds like Barn Swallows taking off in amongst branches and twigs. I like the environmental context that these details add to an image.
Like most folks who enjoy bird photography, I tend to focus my efforts on image opportunities that may yield my ‘shot of the day’. The photograph above of two Barn Swallows taking flight in unison wasn’t my ‘shot of the day’. It was the next photograph in my Pro Capture H image run that is illustrated below.
The technology that is becoming increasingly available in cameras today is mind boggling. It enables more photographers to capture their ‘shot of the day’ on a more consistent basis. It’s these moments that keep us coming back day after day with our cameras… and enjoying the wonders of nature.
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. This is the 1,302 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.
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