Bird AI with Pro Capture L

This article shares a selection of Bird AI with Pro Capture L test images of gulls in flight that were captured handheld during an intensive practice exercise in September 2021. I enjoy doing rapid-fire intensive practice exercises as I find they help build and maintain eye/hand coordination as well as improve my shutter release timing.

Obviously when doing an exercise of this nature there will be missed photographs… and if I don’t miss a lot of images I know I haven’t pushed myself or my camera hard enough.

All of the gull in flight photographs in this article were captured using Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking in combination with Pro Capture L. As is my standard practice I used a single auto-focus point with Pro Capture L Pre-Shutter Frames was set to 10. I shot in Manual mode with Auto-ISO. All images were captured during the same practice exercise.

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 @ 381 mm, efov 762 mm, f/8.7, 1/1600, ISO-500, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3846 pixels on the width, subject distance 18.2 metres

During a practice exercise I capture a good range of images in terms of flight direction, wing and body positions, background, and image burst length. Most often I capture shorter length bursts as 10 consecutive frames with Pro Capture L usually produces a sufficient number of differentiated images.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 560 mm, efov 1120 mm, f/9, 1/1600, ISO-1000, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4892 pixels on the width, subject distance 37.3 metres

I begin with clear backgrounds, often with the birds-in-flight at a decent distance. This allows me to visually pick up the birds early and track with them. These are ‘warm up’ photographs so I don’t spend too much time with this type of image.  Here are a few more typical ‘warm up’ images.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 529 mm, efov 1058 mm, f/9, 1/1600, ISO-640, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4266 pixels on the width, subject distance 40.6 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 560 mm, efov 1120 mm, f/9, 1/1600, ISO-1000, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4966 pixels on the width, subject distance 37.8 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 560 mm, efov 1120 mm, f/9, 1/1600, ISO-1000, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4278 pixels on the width, subject distance 36 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 370 mm, efov 740 mm, f/8.7, 1/1600, ISO-800, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3588 pixels on the width, subject distance 22.9 metres

After this ‘warm up’ period I watch the birds a bit more intently so I can discern the most common flight approaches. I also watch for interesting wing/body positions… when individual birds are looking intense… slowing down with flight feathers spread… or in full ‘back peddle’ mode as they begin to land.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 493 mm, efov 986 mm, f/9, 1/1600, ISO-800, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4770 pixels on the width, subject distance 32.2 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 560 mm, efov 1120 mm, f/9, 1/1600, ISO-800, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4518 pixels on the width, subject distance 33.1 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 413 mm, efov 826 mm, f/8.8, 1/1600, ISO-640, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4158 pixels on the width, subject distance 30.7 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 560 mm, efov 1120 mm, f/9, 1/1600, ISO-800, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3402 pixels on the width, subject distance 37.4 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 370 mm, efov 740 mm, f/8.7, 1/1600, ISO-640, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3954 pixels on the width, subject distance 23.4 metres

Often the same Bird AI with Pro Capture L image run can yield multiple photographs with interesting wing and body positions as we can see in the next five photographs.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 560 mm, efov 1120 mm, f/9, 1/1600, ISO-800, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3726 pixels on the width, subject distance 35.6 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 560 mm, efov 1120 mm, f/9, 1/1600, ISO-800, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3582 pixels on the width, subject distance 35.2 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 560 mm, efov 1120 mm, f/9, 1/1600, ISO-800, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3378 pixels on the width, subject distance 34.6 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 560 mm, efov 1120 mm, f/9, 1/1600, ISO-800, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4038 pixels on the width, subject distance 33.8 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 560 mm, efov 1120 mm, f/9, 1/1600, ISO-800, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4194 pixels on the width, subject distance 34.5 metres

I find using a frame rate of 18 fps when using C AF +TR with Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking and Pro Capture L very helpful to capture a range of In-flight positions with just one shutter click.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 321 mm, efov 642 mm, f/8.6, 1/1600, ISO-640, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4377 pixels on the width, subject distance 18.6 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 403 mm, efov 806 mm, f/8.8, 1/1600, ISO-500, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3594 pixels on the width, subject distance 26.1 metres

As my intensive practice exercise continues I begin to concentrate on capturing birds-in-flight that are interacting with other birds… most commonly squawking at them as we can see in the two photographs above. Or, coming in to land in close proximity to other birds.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 560 mm, efov 1120 mm, f/9, 1/1600, ISO-800, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3528 pixels on the width, subject distance 29.4 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 321 mm, efov 642 mm, f/8.6, 1/1600, ISO-640, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3645 pixels on the width, subject distance 18.9 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 321 mm, efov 642 mm, f/8.6, 1/1600, ISO-640, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4233 pixels on the width, subject distance 18.7 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 560 mm, efov 1120 mm, f/9, 1/1600, ISO-1000, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3930 pixels on the width, subject distance 32.6 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 560 mm, efov 1120 mm, f/9, 1/1600, ISO-1000, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 2724 pixels on the height, subject distance 34 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 560 mm, efov 1120 mm, f/9, 1/1600, ISO-1000, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4218 pixels on the width, subject distance 32.7 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 560 mm, efov 1120 mm, f/9, 1/1600, ISO-1000, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4494 pixels on the width, subject distance 32.6 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 560 mm, efov 1120 mm, f/9, 1/1600, ISO-1000, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3516 pixels on the height, subject distance 33 metres

Capturing birds coming in to land in close proximity to other birds takes eye/hand coordination and also good shutter timing.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 444 mm, efov 888 mm, f/8.9, 1/1600, ISO-640, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4470 pixels on the width, subject distance 26.7 metres

One of the biggest reasons why I use a single auto-focus point when using Bird AI is the control it gives me with birds-in-flight. I try to lock on an incoming bird while it is still somewhat separated from other birds that are in the frame. The image above is a good example of this approach. I can then lock on the bird and track with it as it descends in amongst the other birds. The next eight images are from the same image run as the photograph above.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 444 mm, efov 888 mm, f/8.9, 1/1600, ISO-640, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4974 pixels on the width, subject distance 26 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 444 mm, efov 888 mm, f/8.9, 1/1600, ISO-640, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4410 pixels on the width, subject distance 25.9 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 444 mm, efov 888 mm, f/8.9, 1/1600, ISO-640, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4374 pixels on the width, subject distance 25.6 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 444 mm, efov 888 mm, f/8.9, 1/1600, ISO-640, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4314 pixels on the width, subject distance 25.7 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 444 mm, efov 888 mm, f/8.9, 1/1600, ISO-640, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4086 pixels on the width, subject distance 26.1 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 444 mm, efov 888 mm, f/8.9, 1/1600, ISO-640, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4158 pixels on the width, subject distance 27 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 444 mm, efov 888 mm, f/8.9, 1/1600, ISO-640, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3624 pixels on the height, subject distance 26.1 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 444 mm, efov 888 mm, f/8.9, 1/1600, ISO-640, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4350 pixels on the width, subject distance 24.6 metres

I seldom have any issues with Bird AI, in combination with Pro Capture L, not holding focus on a bird descending into a group of other birds, as long as I’ve used proper technique.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 381 mm, efov 762 mm, f/8.7, 1/1600, ISO-640, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4434 pixels on the width, subject distance 16.6 metres

One of my practice sessions would not be complete unless I try to get in really tight with an incoming bird. Even if I clip the bird’s wings I find these images have an intense quality about them.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 413 mm, efov 826 mm, f/8.8, 1/1600, ISO-800, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4074 pixels on the width, subject distance 17.3 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 346 mm, efov 692 mm, f/8.6, 1/1600, ISO-1000, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3705 pixels on the width, subject distance 11.4 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 560 mm, efov 1120 mm, f/8.8, 1/1600, ISO-800, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3534 pixels on the width, subject distance 27.2 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 444 mm, efov 888 mm, f/8.9, 1/1600, ISO-800, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 3726 pixels on the width, subject distance 24.8 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 381 mm, efov 762 mm, f/8.7, 1/1600, ISO-640, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4254 pixels on the width, subject distance 16.2 metres

I know some photographers scoff at photographing gulls in-flight. The reason for that escapes me. From my perspective even the most common of birds can make fascinating photographic subjects. As photographers it is really up to us to capture an interesting ‘slice of life’ moment, regardless of the species of bird that we may have in our viewfinder.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 413 mm, efov 826 mm, f/8.8, 1/1600, ISO-640, Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, Pro Capture L, cropped to 4471 pixels on the width, subject distance 29.2 metres

Technical Note:

Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process.  Crops are noted. This is the 1,120 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.

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