On Misses and Lessons Learned

It is the rule of thumb for photographers to always present their best works. However, every now and then it does help to see the worst and in doing so glean a lesson or two. Hence, I share some of the misses I have had in bird photography so far.

These misses are usually wrought by having the wrong settings or wrongly reading the bird’s next move. More often than not, it is the latter which is why many wildlife photographers are first animal behaviorists (mostly self taught). Understanding your subject goes a long way in creating that surreal shot.

For instance, Sunbirds are quite shifty and hence, it is preferred if you have your camera in shutter speed mode and use speeds greater than 1/800s to capture them in flight. You will also need to up your ISO to avoid getting an under-exposed photo. Never mind the grain much; with a sharp photo one can easily get away with some grain.For widow-birds, you can get away with a slower shutter speed . They can also pose for some reasonable time allowing you to switch to aperture mode for that nice portrait. Furthermore, when they take-off, their flight path is predictable making panning an achievable feat.




Red-collared widowbird


Red-Billed firefinch


African-Paradise Monarch


Black Kite


There is much more to be said about bird in flight photography but I will let those who have been in the game longer to take it from here. I give you Mike Atkinson, from whose tutorials I have learned much in bird photography. Happy reading!




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