This articles shares a total of 22 consecutive, unexpected cardinal captures. These photographs were created using the Pro Capture H mode with my Olympus OM-D E-M1X. This feature uses a fast frame rate of 60 frames per second and captures full resolution RAW files. All of the photographs in this article are displayed as 100% captures without any cropping.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
The question that may be in your mind right now is “Why are these cardinal captures unexpected?” Well… I was concentrating on the female cardinal in the bottom right-hand corner of the frame, waiting for her to take flight.
I was completely oblivious to the other female cardinal in the background flying towards the cardinal on the bench.
All of the photographs with two birds in them were completely unexpected cardinal captures. And, since I was completely unaware of the second bird flying into the frame, all of the later images in the run of the second bird were also unexpected cardinal captures. When I set up to take this image run I was hoping to get 4-6 usable images of the first cardinal taking flight. I had no idea I would end up with the treasure chest of photographs that were captured.
As the cardinal on the bench began her flight launch movements, I had my E-M1X’s shutter release half depressed. This enabled my camera to capture and store images in its temporary memory.
As the first cardinal begins to take flight you can see the other bird rapidly approaching.
The image above is one of my favourites in the action sequence. I like the wing position of the bird in the foreground as well as the anticipation created by the other cardinal approaching.
As you view the photograph above, as well as the next seven images, the action heats up as the incoming cardinal draws in closer. You’ll notice that the two birds go slightly in and out of focus as they respectively enter and leave the frame. This is caused by the Pro Capture H Mode locking focus on the first frame of the run, and applying that focus to all of the photographs in the sequence.
With the first female cardinal almost completely out of the frame, the incoming bird is now coming into good focus as it is entering the exact space vacated by the first cardinal.
These unexpected cardinal captures include some of the second bird preparing to touch down. It extends its legs and digits in the next few images in the series.
The photograph above is one of my favourites. I love the position of its wings. Touch down continues with the next three images.
All of the photographs in this article that you have viewed thus far… including the one above… were captured before I fully depressed the shutter release on my E-M1X. They were all being captured and stored in temporary memory by the Olympus Pro Capture H mode. As soon as I fully depressed the shutter release on my E-M1X all of those photographs in temporary memory were then confirmed and written to my memory card.
Before leaving home, I planned to use Pro Capture to photograph small birds taking flight. Accordingly, I changed the number of pre-shutter and post-shutter frames in Pro Capture. For the images in this article I had my pre-shutter frames set to 20, and post shutter frames set to 5. I may tighten this up further in the future when photographing small birds using Pro Capture H.
As the cardinal landed on the loose seeds on the bench it skidded counterclockwise and ended up with its back facing my camera. This made the last three images unusable.
All of the 22 consecutive images you just viewed in this article were captured in a total of 0.37 seconds. I included all 22 photographs in this article (even the ones where subject birds were going in and out of focus) to give readers a good demonstration of the power of the Olympus Pro Capture H mode. Showing all 22 images also provides examples of the practical considerations a photographer needs to keep in mind when using it.
Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process, and are displayed as 100% captures without any cropping.
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