Wild Bird Flash Images

This article features a selection of wild bird flash images. These were captured handheld usingĀ  the Olympus FL-700WR Wireless Radiowave flash during a recent early morning visit to Hendrie Valley.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700 RW flash used, subject distance 2.9 metres

The Olympus FL-700WR flash has an IPX1 rating. This makes it a good flash to use for outdoor work in inclement weather.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700RW flash used, subject distance 1.6 metres

It worked very well for these morning images, allowing me to capture wild bird flash images at ISO-200.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700RW flash used, subject distance 3.2 metres

The flash sync speed of 1/250 was fast enough to capture images of an assortment of small birds, even as they moved about from branch to branch.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700RW flash used, subject distance 3.1 metres

The flash did not seem to have any adverse effects on the birds. It did not cause any to take flight or for them to show any anxious behaviour.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, LF-700RW flash used, subject distance 3.9 metres

Most of the FL-700RW wild bird images that I captured were in the 3 to 4 metres range (~10 to 13 feet).

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700RW flash used, subject distance 8.3 metres

I attempted a few image captures at further distances and the flash seemed up to the task. The blue jay in the above image was 8.3 metres (~27 feet) away.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-200, subject distance 3.6 metres

At 303 grams (~10.7 oz) not counting batteries, the FL-700RW did not add an excessive amount of weight to my camera set-up.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700RW flash used, subject distance 3.8 metres

Cycle times were fast enough to allow me to take multiple images of the same subject birds.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-200, subject distance 3.5 metres

The FL-700RW flash worked well with my M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 f/2.8 zoom with the MC-20 teleconverter.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700RW flash used, subject distance 13.7 metres

This was my first attempt at capturing wild bird flash images with the FL-700RW unit. I’ll be experimenting more in the future by doing some flash photography in darker, more heavily wooded areas.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-200, subject distance 2.6 metres

All of the FL-700RW wild bird flash images in this article were captured using TTL mode.

Technical Note:
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. All are presented as 100% captures without any cropping.

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8 thoughts on “Wild Bird Flash Images”

  1. Wow, on many of these I would not have guessed that flash was use to get the photo. Great first try with flash and birds outside. Will, you also try flash now with the birds you take photos of that are in the walk-in cages?

  2. Hi Tom,

    Thanks for sharing this really nice set. It’s really a problem getting details such as the eyes when they’re set on a black or dark band like that of the shrike (?) (please correct me if I’m wrong in the ID) on the second and eighth images. I sometimes have to resort to spot lifting of shadows in post. The light would also be a boon in the more forested, darker areas of the woods. Good thing the speedlight didn’t spook ’em nice birdies.

    Oggie
    http://www.lagalog.com

    1. Hi Oggie,

      I’m certainly not an expert in the identification of bird species. Based on my understanding, image 2 is a black capped chickadee and image 8 is a downy woodpecker.

      I will be doing more experimentation with the FL-700WR flash in darker, wooded conditions in the future.

      Tom

      1. shrikes wear a mask and have broad flattened beaks
        they are about twice as big as our chickadees

        around here you find them impaling dinner on hedge and locust trees…barbed wire as well
        they seem to hunt open meadows and pastures then retreat to the edges to store their food

  3. of all the things to affect my wildlife shots the flash seems to be the most benign

    I try to avoid flash because with my limited skillset I arrive at field guide images. yours don’t have that flatness

    when supplementing daylight I’ve never gotten “silver eyes”, however at dawn, dusk and night no mater what I do some shots will have the reflection

    any ideas on how to prevent this from occurring ?

    thanks

    1. Hi Craig,

      I still quite new with using flash for bird photography so I don’t have the experience necessary to answer your question. The images in this article were my first attempt at photographing wild birds with the FL-700WR flash. All of the images in this article were taken with some daylight present, albeit at lower levels. As I do more experimentation with the FL-700WR I will be using in much lower light conditions. That should give me a lot more practical experience. I will certainly watch for ‘silver eyes’ as noted in your comment so I can discover what can be done to help reduce this from happening.

      Tom

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