#1. "RE: Settings for Birds in Flight" In response to Reply # 0 Tue 30-Nov-10 04:07 AM by dm1dave
Hi Burt, Welcome to Nikonians!
Release mode - I use CH for he fastest frame rate.
I use center-weighted metering for my eagle shooting. Matrix metering can get fooled by the background and I find it nearly impossible to keep the spot meter on the moving bird.
I direct bright sunlight you will need to ally negative exposure compensation to avoid blowing out the white head and tail feathers. I start out at about -0.7 exposure compensation when the sun is high in the sky.
Set up the image review to show blown highlights (blinkies) and check your exposure often then adjust exposure comp as needed. When the sun is nearing the horizon you can safely shoot without any exposure compensation. You will loose some shots throughout the day due to poor exposure just keep making adjustments you will get plenty of keepers.
If it is cloudy you may need to use positive exposure compensation. Again take some shots, check your exposure and adjust the exposure compensation as needed.
Avoid shooting into the sun.
Focus mode - AF-C
AF-Area Mode - Dynamic-area AF. I use either 9 or 21 point most often. You should experiment with the 9, 21 and 39 point options to see what works best for you. Since we are just entering eagle season here in Iowa you should practice on gulls if you have a chance before the prime eagle season begins in a few weeks.
Try to always have the center focus point selected and let the dynamic-area mode work for you.
You need to keep your shutter speeds fast especially if the birds are fishing. I try to stay above 1/1000s as much as possible anything below 1/800s and your keeper rate will likely drop. Don’t be afraid to set high ISO speeds if it will keep the shutter speed up. I usually start off with my ISO set at 400 and move it up as necessary. You can use Auto ISO if you don’t want to manually change the setting as the day progresses.
Bring at least one extra battery and keep it in a pocket close to your body to keep it warm. The battery in the camera can loose power fairly quickly in the extreme cold. When you swap batteries put the cold one in your pocket and it will regain its charge when it warms up. Most days you should get by on just one or two battery swaps. This is most important when the temps get into the single digits.
Get some hand warmers to put in your gloves and make sure that you have gloves that will allow you to control the camera wile wearing them. Dress very warm and wear good boots.
So, were in Iowa are you located? We have some really good shooting locations near Davenport and another by Iowa City.
Dave Summers Lowden, Iowa Nikonians Photo Contest Director
Nikonians membership - "My most important photographic investment, after the camera"