This article shares a selection of 22 images of swallow pairs in-flight, captured handheld during a practice session at Windemere Basin Park in Hamilton Ontario. Some of these photographs appear to be of mated pairs, while other images captured some aggressive interactions between the birds.
All of these photographs were severely cropped as the birds were not as close as I would have liked. I’m still trying to hone my eye/hand coordination with these pocket rockets. More practice is required before I’ll be able to get more pixels on subject birds in free flight.
Our first six photographs are from the same image run illustrating a pair of swallows appearing to show some aggression toward each other.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
Many of the photographs of swallow pairs in-flight that I was able to capture were single frames or very short bursts of 2-4 images. As noted in a previous article, as I was practicing my panning with a subject bird another swallow would sometimes flit into my frame. Whether I was able to capture the two birds came down to my response reaction time.
The following 9 photographs were created primarily from short bursts.
The final 7 photographs in this article appear to be of a mated pair of swallows in-flight. They flew proximate to each other without any obvious signs of aggression.
As is my standard practice when using Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking with my E-M1X I used a single AF point, with a frame rate of 18 frames-per-second, utilizing silent shutter.
I filled three 64GB memory cards during my extended 4 hour swallow in-flight practice session. I wasn’t shy about capturing some images, but my primary focus was on panning with the birds and keeping them in my viewfinder for as long as possible.
Quite often the birds were very distant and there wasn’t much point filling my memory cards with extremely small subject birds. I still panned with the swallows and practiced periodically tapping my shutter release to engage the green AF box on the birds.
When using Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking with my E-M1X I’ve found it to be beneficial to practice my eye/hand coordination as well as my shutter release technique.
Another potential benefit of simply panning with the birds and concentrating on keeping them in my viewfinder is getting a feel for the rhythm of the swallows’ flight paths.
I often choose swallows flying directly into the barrel of my lens and pan with them as they suddenly veer to the side. Some birds will do long sweeps, while others will veer back and forth. When possible capturing swallows in-flight with a front quarter view can yield interesting wing/body positions and give images more of a 3D perspective.
Photographing swallows in free flight takes patience and discipline. It also helps to stay calm and very focussed mentally. During my practice session I occasionally captured some image bursts of other birds in flight like cormorants and red winged blackbirds. Compared to trying to photograph swallows in-flight, these other species were a piece of cake… another benefit of practicing with swallows in-flight!
After my intensive 4 hour practice session photographing swallows in-flight I was a pretty tired puppy… both physically and mentally.
I did notice that my eye/.hand coordination was somewhat better at the end of the session as was my shutter release timing. Both are not where they need to be for these little speed demons… but my time was well spent.
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 1,158 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.
How you can help keep this site advertising free
My intent is to keep this photography blog advertising free. If you enjoyed this article and/or my website and would like to support my work, you can purchase an eBook, or make a donation through PayPal. Both are most appreciated.
If you click on the Donate button below you will find that there are three donation options: $7.50, $10.00 and $20.00. All are in Canadian funds. Plus, you can choose a different amount if you want. You can also increase your donation amount to help offset our costs associated with accepting your donation through PayPal. An ongoing, monthly contribution to support our work can also be done through the PayPal Donate button below.
You can make your donation through your PayPal account, or by using a number of credit card options.
As a reminder to our Canadian readers, you can get a special 5% discount when ordering Tamron or Rokinon lenses and other products directly from the Amplis Store. Be sure to use my discount code when you make your purchase.
Word of mouth is the best form of endorsement. If you like our website please let your friends and associates know about our work. Linking to this site or to specific articles is allowed with proper acknowledgement. Reproducing articles, or any of the images contained in them, on another website or in any social media posting is a Copyright infringement.
Article and images are Copyright 2022 Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, duplication or adaptation of any kind is allowed without written consent. If you see this article reproduced anywhere else it is an unauthorized and illegal use. Posting comments on offending websites and calling out individuals who steal intellectual property is always appreciated!