This article features some images of vultures in-flight captured handheld with the M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 zoom and MC-20 teleconverter.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
Yesterday I was out doing some field work for an article concept, when I noticed an unusually high number of vultures perched in a tree adjacent to 40 Mile Creek.
Since I was not specifically planning to photograph birds, I had purposely left my M.Zuiko 100-400 mm zoom lens at home along with the E-M1X that I have set up for this type of photography.
In response to the immediate opportunity to photograph some vultures in-flight, I had to quickly mount my M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 zoom and M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter on my camera.
Then I had to adjust a number of camera settings to replicate my C1 Custom Mode on my other E-M1X that I use specifically for birds-in-flight. I didn’t miss too many image opportunities as these changes only took me a minute or so to complete. It certainly reinforced how important it can be to have the right camera body with me!
Like most folks who enjoy bird photography I have more than enough belly shots of vultures in-flight. Typically vultures in-flight are quite high up riding on thermals. They tend to fly in groups called a kettle. When demonstrating this behaviour I don’t typically even bother trying to photograph this species.
Yesterday morning was by far my best ever opportunity to photograph vultures in-flight that were at tree level. Fortunately there was a strong breeze yesterday morning which caused all of the vultures to fly directly upstream in order to land on a suitable tree branch. This allowed me to adjust my shooting position along the opposite bank of 40 Mile Creek.
It appeared to me that a committee of perched vultures was forming so I had a very limited time frame to get my photographs of them approaching in-flight. I’ve heard that once a group of vultures leaves their perched positions, it sometimes can take many hours for them to return.
After capturing a number of generic in-flight photographs, I started to concentrate on creating an image sequence of a vulture coming in… then landing on a branch.
The following group of 11 images were from the same run. It was one of the best sequences I was able to capture yesterday morning. I did not bother processing three of the consecutive images in this run as the bird’s head was obscured by its wings or tree branches.
The image run above is a good demonstration of why I prefer to use a combination of Bird Detection AI with Pro Capture L for my bird-in-flight photography. This combination works well together as Bird Detection AI stays on my subject bird as it approaches… and Pro Capture L allows me to wait until the bird has completed the desired behaviour before I fully depress my shutter release.
When I purchased the M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 zoom, the f/4 PRO version of that focal length zoom was not yet available. If I could go back in time I would have no hesitation to buy the PRO f/2.8 version again.
Although it is more expensive, larger and heavier than the PRO f/4 version, for what I do it is absolutely worth every penny. The PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 zoom remains my favourite M.Zuiko lens because of its wonderful versatility, build quality and optical performance.
I’d like to end this article with another image run of a vulture coming in to land.
The image run above along with all of the other photographs featured in this article were all captured yesterday within a 16 minute time frame at 40 Mile Creek.
As I’ve stated numerous times on this photography website, every photographer should buy and use the camera equipment that best meets their needs. Just because a particular camera system meets the needs of one photographer, it may not be the best choice for another.
After more than 4 years of very intensive use I still love my Olympus camera equipment and I have absolutely no interest in changing anything in my kit.
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. This is the 1,319 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.
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