This article features 16 consecutive photographs of a tern in mid-air at 60 fps. These images were captured handheld using a Nikon 1 V2 and a 1 Nikkor 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 telephoto zoom lens.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
Most of us who enjoy bird photography have tried capturing images of birds in flight. With some decent camera gear and some practice we can create pleasing photographs of common birds in flight.
Sometimes we forget that our cameras may have some unique capabilities that we can use for our birds in flight photography that can push our images into a different realm.
For example, Nikon 1 and some Olympus camera bodies allow photographers to shoot at 60 frames-per-second. When using these fast frame rates it is typical that a camera body will set auto-focus and exposure based on the first frame in an image run. We often overlook the potential to use this frame rate for birds in flight, as we fear that our subject birds may go out of focus during the image run since our cameras are not in continuous auto-focus mode.
The following 16 consecutive photographs of a tern in mid-air at 60 fps were captured in a total of 0.27 seconds. From a practical perspective we need to consider how far a bird in flight will actually travel in such a short duration of time. This is especially true if the bird, like this tern in mid-air at 60 fps, is hovering or its forward motion is otherwise momentarily paused. Quite often we can use 60 frames-per-second with no fear of a subject bird going out of focus.
If your camera has some special features such as a 60 frame-per-second shooting speed, experiment with it to see what you can create!
Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. Photographs were cropped to approximately 3600 pixels on the width, then resized for web use.
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