Give the Bird Room to Move Into The Frame

March 3rd, 2016

I like to shoot tight. I do this because it’s the kind of image I like, a close shot of a bird with lots of detail. If I can show a different behavior or characteristic to the viewers, I feel like I’ve been successful in the image. Part of why I photograph birds is to show the world how beautiful they are and to show how each bird is unique. But sometimes I miss a shot because I’m focused too tight on the bird, and it moves too much or decides to fly away. I end up with clipped wings or cut the feet off, or have the beak of the bill right up to the edge of the frame, etc.

Here's what I think of a a "normal" shot. 840 mm, the 600 mm lens and a 1.4 Extender.

Here’s what I think of as a “normal” shot. 840 mm, the 600 mm lens and a 1.4 Extender.

Over the years I end up with lots of clipped wings, feetless birds and birds flying into a wall (the edge of the frame) but lately, I’ve been working on how to not clip the wings or feet and give the bird some room.

If the bird is facing left, then put the bird in the lower right corner of the viewfinder. Switch your Autofocus Mode to matrix or the mode with the most active sensor points. Place the lowest right-hand sensor point on the bird. This gives the bird room to move into the frame and up into the frame.

I took the 1.4 Extender off and am now shoot with just the 600 mm lens and placed the focus points on the eagle.

I took the 1.4 Extender off and am now shooting with just the 600 mm lens and placed the focus points on the eagle.

Sometimes I can do this by taking off the 1.4 Extender; sometimes I just don’t get as close, or even backup, and sometimes with the 100 to 400 zoom I just back off of 400 mm to 300 mm or less.

 

The eagle is starting to take off, so I how down the shutter release and send a burst of three or four shots off.

The eagle is starting to take off, so I hold down the shutter release and send a burst of three or four shots off.

 

Here's the bird fulling filling the frame nicely, with its wings wide open taking flight.

Here’s the bird filling the frame nicely, with its wings wide open taking flight.

Last weekend, when I was on my photo shoot on the Washington Coast, I was practicing this and came up with the working title for this post, Give The Bird Room to Move Into The frame. That triggered a memory of John Mayall’s 1969 Room to Move song on The Turning Point Album. So, I’m listening to Room to Move while I’m writing about room to move. Listening to good music is just another way to be more creative.

 

Enjoy   Thanks   Tim

One comment on “Give the Bird Room to Move Into The Frame

  1. melissa says:

    Great shot and info

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