This article shares some BIF no crop practice images which were captured during a recent visit to LaSalle Park in Burlington Ontario. At certain times of the year Southern Ontario has a more limited number of bird species to photograph. Rather than view this as a negative I try to use the available birds as good practice subjects.
For those of us who enjoy bird photography, and specifically bird-in-flight photography, it is important to get ongoing practice so our skills do not erode during more quiet periods of the year. Practice exercises can help us focus on particular aspects of our craft. These BIF no crop practice images are intended to help me concentrate on creating tight framing with subject birds-in-flight.
No crop practice is as simple as its label… getting the bird framed well in the composition and as tightly as possible. I usually try not to clip wings with this particular exercise.
No crop practice allows us to review our use of our camera gear’s VR/IBIS. It is also a good way to concentrate on our handholding technique, panning ability, adjusting lens focal length in real time, and shutter release timing.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
When starting a no crop practice session I usually focus on birds that are a bit distant and try to frame them in a balanced fashion in mid-frame.
At this time of year in Southern Ontario we tend to have an abundance of swans, geese and ducks in the area. Often these species will fly in mated pairs. Since the distance between the birds can vary while in flight these types of images also help build shutter release discipline.
Obviously photographing individual birds during a no crop practice exercise is far more common. Since the goal is to compose a bird-in-flight image so that it can be used without any kind of cropping, this has the effect of slowing me down while I’m ‘in the moment’.
Practicing being more patient and deliberate with my photography is something that I need on an ongoing basis.
Often when I’ve been out with a client doing photography coaching I remind folks that even if a bird has already flown past, composing an image of it can still be beneficial.
We can still use the opportunity to practice creating an image with equidistant composition technique regardless of which way the bird is flying.
A BIF no crop practice session can also be used to compose images with an appropriate amount of ‘forward movement space’. This helps a viewer experience a photograph with a sense of anticipation regarding where a subject bird is heading.
I often practice this with birds that coming in to land, or are in the process of taking flight from the ground or a water/ice surface.
One of the approaches I frequently use during a no crop practice session is to get in very tight to birds-in-flight so that I just clip the tips of wings, or come very close.
Regardless of where we may live, many of us have times of the year when there is a limited number of available species of birds to photograph. This can lead to us feeling bored or uninspired.
Our minds tell us “its only a gull”, “its only a swan”, “its only a duck”, or “its only a goose”. Any common species of bird in our local areas represent good opportunities to do no crop practice sessions so we can keep our skills sharp until seasonal bird migrations occur. This type of exercise transcends the camera gear that we may own.
Learning to be more disciplined and waiting until a bird is close enough for a no crop photograph can help improve the quality of our bird-in-flight images as we’ll have more pixels on the subject bird.
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. All images are displayed as full frame captures without any cropping. Photographs were resized for web use. This is the 1,126 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.
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