Canon XS DSLR Photography Lesson Birds in Flight with Suzanne St. Petersburg Florida

Suzanne impressively was not afraid to get eye level to her subject even on surfaces of questionable cleanliness.Suzanne (see her photos made during this lesson) and I were back at The Pier for our third of four DSLR Photography Lessons.  Our goal this time was to capture birds in flight, one of the most challenging things to do in photography.  In particular, I wanted us to be able to make a shot of a pelican right before it breaks the surface of the water in a dive.  On our walk out to The Pier I advised Suzanne on the best settings we could use, namely: 

  • shutter priority mode @ 1/1000th of a sec
  • ISO set to lowest possible
  • WB sunny
  • focus mode:  AF-C (Ai-servo)
  • multiple focus points (since the birds would fill the frame from our location) 

Thankfully, the pelicans at The Pier were in a near feeding frenzy with birds regularly diving all around us.  It is really something to witness this act of nature up close.  It is also really something to try and photograph the act as there is at most one second between dive and water entry.  

I showed Suzanne my technique of using the lens as a scope to track the bird at distance, rather than keeping one's eye behind the viewfinder when trying to locate the bird.  Then once in shooting range, quickly dip your eye behind the viewfinder and the bird will be in frame, more easily ready to be photographed.  

The weather was great and the bright sunshine felt welcome, as was the breeze, pretty much ideal DSLR Photography Lesson conditions.