Photographing birds in flight is a technique not easily mastered. You need all your wits, have split second reactions and your fingers should know the buttons and dials on your camera like a grant pianist’s fingers knows the keys on a piano. Many a “newbie” photographer to the world of bird photography is quick to throw in the towel because of this…

A perfect place to practise how to take photographs of birds (specifically birds of prey) in flight is at Eagle Encounters, a wildlife rehabilitation, conservation, education and eco-tourism centre based at historic Spier Wine Estate in Stellenbosch.

 Their experienced and knowledgeable handlers offer bird shows as part of the daily exercise for a variety of birds.  Not only is it super educational (so take the kids with you) but you have ample opportunity to photograph them as they’re coaxed to fly around from one pillar to the next for scrappy little pieces of chicken. 

The story behind the shot: The image was taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mk3 with a 70-200mm f2.8 lens on TV (shutter priority) and Auto ISO. I selected a shutter speed of 1/3200 of a second (normally I would set 1/4000 but due to the overcast weather (it started raining during the show) I dropped the shutter speed not to have the ISO to high, resulting in a ISO of 1000. The camera’s metering mode was set to Spot Metering, the auto focus set to AI Servo (continues focusing) as well as high speed continues shooting. I ended up adjusting the auto focus points from 4 points to 9 points, as the birds moved very fast and it was difficult focusing on them with just 4 points selected.

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64 Orange Building, Main Road, Kalk Bay, 7975

Peter Haarhoff
Cell: +(27) 82­  853­ 9939
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