This article shares some new images that I captured yesterday while doing a BIF practise session at 1120 mm equivalent field-of-view. It also provides some details on the parameters that I used for this BIF practise session at 1120 mm efov.
I set some simple rules for myself when doing this BIF practise session yesterday.
- After selecting my shooting location I had to remain stationary for the duration of my BIF practise session.
- I had to select one focal length and keep it constant throughout the BIF practise session.
- If the birds flew in close to me I had to keep on shooting even if the bird more than filled the frame.
- No chimping was allowed. I had to maintain my focus on photographic opportunities at all times.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge. All photographs are displayed as full frame captures without any cropping.
I took my photographer’s stool with me and selected a spot along the shoreline of the harbour. The sun was at my back and my vantage point gave me about a 45-60 degree view of the most likely flight path that incoming birds would use. I remained seated at this location for the entire BIF practise session.
I fully extended my M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS zoom and affixed my M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter. This gave me a focal length of 560 mm, with an equivalent field-of-view of 1120 mm. I used this focal length throughout my BIF practice session.
Since the harbour is completely blocked in by ice the ducks, geese and gulls have a lot of surface area on which to land. There were a number of occasions when the birds flew in close enough to me that they more than filled the frame of my camera.
When we’re out with our cameras many of us have a bad habit of chimping after we’ve taken a few photographs. Often we end up missing other photographic opportunities as we look at images on the rear screens of our cameras.
The other risk with chimping is that we break our concentration in terms of scanning for incoming birds. By not allowing myself to chimp, I was able to maintain my concentration and continue my visual scanning to identify potential subject birds.
Forcing myself to use a long focal length of 560 mm (efov 1120 mm) was designed to strengthen my eye/hand coordination when working with this long focal length. As we all know, it takes ongoing practise to maintain good eye/hand coordination… especially when using long telephoto lenses.
I used my E-M1X’s Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking for all of the images in this article. I am now sufficiently comfortable with this technology that it is definitely my preferred auto-focusing choice for all of my bird photography, including birds-in-flight.
Over the past couple of months It did take a little bit of time to adjust my technique with Bird Detection AI. Now that I’m familiar with using it, the technology feels quite natural. I’m looking forward to other AI Subject Tracking that OM Digital may introduce in the future.
I find using Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking allows me to better concentrate on getting birds-in-flight properly framed in my composition, rather than worrying about acquiring focus.
Setting specific parameters for myself when doing a BIF practise session helps to develop specific skills and build muscle memory with my camera gear. Although I plan to do more field work and practise using my M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter… the MC-14 really feels like a perfect partner for my M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5.-6.3 IS zoom.
Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. All photographs are displayed as full frame captures without any cropping done to them.
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