This article shares some new images of pigeons in flight, captured handheld at the Burlington Bay lift bridge. I’ve made a few attempts to photograph pigeons in flight at this location in the past with only a modest degree of success.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
There are some interesting challenges at this location in terms of capturing pigeons in flight. The first is the limited area between the Burlington Bay lift bridge and the Lake Ontario shoreline.
This physical distance limits the amount of time available to get a pigeon in one’s viewfinder and lock focus on it. Another issue is the height of the lift bridge where the pigeons nest, as well as hydro towers in the area.
Since the pigeons often take flight from elevated areas on the lift bridge or the hydro towers many of the image opportunities are belly shots. I don’t find this particularly visually pleasing unless I can capture the pigeons with some backlighting to highlight their flight feathers.
My preference is to try to capture pigeons in flight when I can get more of an angle view so the bird’s head and eye are clearly visible. This means that I need to acquire focus quite quickly after the birds have launched into flight from the lift bridge. Or, pick them up as they rapidly approach the lift bridge at a lower elevation flight path from the Lake Ontario shoreline.
Both of these choices mean that I needed to capture many of my pigeon in flight images when the birds were less than 20 metres away from me. Sometimes they were less than 10 metres away.
Obviously this further compresses the time available to find the birds in my viewfinder, acquire focus on them, and fire my image run.
Pigeons are reasonably fast flyers when out in the open. Since there are some peregrine falcons that make their year round nest at the lift bridge the pigeons in this area tend to fly to their nests with a degree of urgency.
It has been a while since I attempted to capture images of pigeons in flight at this location. I decided to use Pro Capture L in combination with Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking, and had good success with this approach.
Time recently spent practicing with swallows in flight likely had a positive impact with these pigeons in flight photo attempts.
I went to the lift bridge with the specific objective of capturing some pigeon in flight images. Given that, I was more discerning with my choice of subject birds in flight and spent more time waiting for specific photographic opportunities than I would have done if this had been a practice session.
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. Photographs were resized for web use. This is the 1,160 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.
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