Dove Making Pond Landing

This short article features a series of 15 Pro Capture H images of a dove making a pond landing. All images were captured handheld looking through my kitchen window using an Olympus OM-D E-M1X, M.Zuiko PRO 40-150mm f/2.8 zoom lens, and M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190mm, efov 380mm, f/5.6, 1/3200, ISO-500, -0.7 step, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 7.2 metres

In the first photograph of our Pro Capture H image run we can see that the dove has jumped from its perched position towards the white stone in my pond. Given the short distance it has to travel its wings will only be used to slow its forward progress.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190mm, efov 380mm, f/5.6, 1/3200, ISO-500, -0.7 step, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 7.2 metres

I used my standard Pro Capture H settings for this series of photographs of a dove making a pond landing. I had my E-M1X set for 15 Pre-shutter Frames, My Frame Counter Limiter was also set to 15 frames.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190mm, efov 380mm, f/5.6, 1/3200, ISO-500, -0.7 step, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 7.2 metres

You’ll notice in the EXIF data that I used -0.7 step of exposure compensation. My pond was in very bright sunlight and my overexposure warning on my camera signaled a potential exposure issue.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190mm, efov 380mm, f/5.6, 1/3200, ISO-500, -0.7 step, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 7.2 metres

One of the things that I like about the handing on my E-M1X is how quickly I can use exposure compensation and immediately see the effects on my EVF and rear screen.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190mm, efov 380mm, f/5.6, 1/3200, ISO-500, -0.7 step, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 7.2 metres

While the photograph above would not be considered a useable image, I do like the amount of wing feather details displayed. The dove is fully applying its ‘air brakes’.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190mm, efov 380mm, f/5.6, 1/3200, ISO-500, -0.7 step, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 7.2 metres

An interesting wing position that unfortunately obscurs the dove’s head. The dove is preparing for a second quick downstroke to slow itself down, then land on the white rock.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190mm, efov 380mm, f/5.6, 1/3200, ISO-500, -0.7 step, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 7.2 metres

A nice mid-air capture of the dove part way through its pond landing. Its wings are being drawn back as it prepares to land.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190mm, efov 380mm, f/5.6, 1/3200, ISO-500, -0.7 step, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 7.2 metres

This is my favourite photograph from this 15 image Pro Capture H pond landing series.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190mm, efov 380mm, f/5.6, 1/3200, ISO-500, -0.7 step, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 7.2 metres

When using Pro Capture H mode I typically have my frame rate set to 60 frames-per-second. This enables me to capture successive photographs with minor variations in body position.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190mm, efov 380mm, f/5.6, 1/3200, ISO-500, -0.7 step, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 7.2 metres

One of the challenges with this frame rate is that the first photograph of the run sets auto-focus and exposure for the following images. Subjects stay in focus when they are travelling parallel to the focal plane of the camera.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190mm, efov 380mm, f/5.6, 1/3200, ISO-500, -0.7 step, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 7.2 metres

Above we see another unuseable photograph if it was taken out of context from this image run.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190mm, efov 380mm, f/5.6, 1/3200, ISO-500, -0.7 step, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 7.2 metres

The dove’s outstretched digits signal touchdown is imminent. I like the spreading of the bird’s flight feathers. Unfortunately the dove’s head is obscured.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190mm, efov 380mm, f/5.6, 1/3200, ISO-500, -0.7 step, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 7.2 metres

The dove’s pond landing has been completed with its wings still drawn fully back at the moment of touchdown.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190mm, efov 380mm, f/5.6, 1/3200, ISO-500, -0.7 step, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 7.2 metres

The last two photographs of the 15 image run capture the dove beginning to relax and dropping its wings down.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 190mm, efov 380mm, f/5.6, 1/3200, ISO-500, -0.7 step, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 7.2 metres

All 15 photographs in this Pro Capture H image run were captured in a total of 1/4 of a second. I waited until the dove had completed its pond landing before I fully depressed the shutter release on my E-M1X. The images stored in temporary memory were then written to my UHS-II SD card.

Technical Note:
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. Photographs were cropped to 4600 pixels in width, then resized for web use.

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4 thoughts on “Dove Making Pond Landing”

  1. I am thinking that you could also capture a designated number of photos going forward after the press of the shutter. It would seem that in a run like this you would then also be able to see the dove settling down after the landing. Am I correct on this and if so, is there a reason why you do not do this?

    1. Hi Joel,

      Yes, you are correct. When using Pro Capture H with an Olympus OM-D E-M1X a photographer has a lot of flexibility with how they set up their Pre-shutter Frames and Frame Count Limiter. The maximum Pre-shutter frames is 35 and the total number of frames with the Frame Count Limiter is 99. How a photographer chooses to set up these parameters will depend on their objective and subject matter.

      I typically use Pro Capture H when I want to capture birds and insects like butterflies in flight. When I first started using Pro Capture H I did set my E-M1X for quite a few post-shutter release frames. If memory serves I used 20 Pre-Shutter Frames and 15 post shutter frames for a total of 35 with my Frame Count Limiter. I found that I was burning through shutter count needlessly and would often end up with more than half of my frames not being useful. The subject can often leave the frame very quickly, or go out of focus when not flying parallel to the focal plan of my camera. All of these unuseable frames simply caused a lot more work in post in terms of culling through them and deleting them.

      I find that for small birds using 15 Pre-Shutter Frames and a Frame Counter Limiter of 15 is very efficient. I can capture the desired in-flight action with very few wasted frames. In terms of my response time, allowing myself a 1/4 second from when the bird starts its motion until it is about to leave the frame (which is when I would fully depress my shutter release) is sufficient for my current physical capabilities.

      When looking at the mourning dove images in this particular article it is also good to keep in mind that we cannot guarantee the action of a subject bird. While I thought there was a very good possibility that the dove was going to land on a rock in my pond, it could just have easily flown right over the pond and exited the frame on the right hand side. Using my 15/15 settings would have allowed me to capture additional in-flight images if the bird would have kept flying. In either situation my primary objective was to capture the in-flight action, not the landing as I had no way to predict that.

      If I was using Pro Capture H specifically to capture a Great Blue Heron landing I would set my Pre-Shutter Frames to 35 and my Frame Count Limiter to 35 or perhaps a bit higher. I would do this because large birds move much more slowly and would not leave the composition as quickly. There is also more time for a photographer to potentially pan with the bird in flight.

      Another consideration when setting up Pro Capture H parameters is buffer clearing time. When shooting an E-M1X in normal AF-C at 18 frames-per-second using fast UHS-II SD cards there is virtually no time wasted waiting for the buffer to clear. When using Pro Capture the images are stored in temporary memory and there is no chance for the camera to clear those images as an image run is taking place. A good analogy is running a tap at the same rate the sink is able to drain. This would be the case when shooting a typical AF-C image run at 10 or 18 fps. With Pro capture you have effectively put a stopper in the sink, then run the tap and caused water to build up in the sink. Once you pull the stop the sink can then start to drain its backlog of water.

      I plan to do some experimentation with Pro Capture H using even fewer Pre-Shutter Frames and a corresponding Frame Count Limiter… say a setting of 10/10. This may allow me to shoot quick Pro Capture H bursts during various stages of an action sequence and not waste any time with a full buffer. Using multiple short Pro Capture H bursts would also allow me to refocus my camera as the physical position of the bird has changed relative to the focal plane of my camera. Using 60 fps would allow me to capture more precise body movements.

      There’s lots of ways to apply the capabilities of Pro Capture H!

      Tom

      1. Thanks for the excellent overview of why and how you are using this great feature. Your experience with this camera and especially with BIF is invaluable.

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