Well this was completely different. I've considered myself a wildlife photographer for a while now, but only for marine animals. recently I had the opportunity to photograph birds. Raptors specifically, also known as birds of prey. I'm not one to pass up on a chance to get up close and personal with beautiful animals, so I packed up my gear and headed to Ontario, Canada to visit the Canadian raptor Conservancy.
This place is absolutely fantastic for photographing owls, eagles, hawks, and falcons. While not all the birds are brought out to fly, you will get some guaranteed great shots of the ones that do.
I got lucky as far as the conditions were concerned. It was cold enough for there to be a little bit of snow still on the ground, but then it warmed up, and on the next day of shooting it was pretty much all gone.
This type of photography can be a bit challenging, 'cause these birds are pretty fast. You have to lock in focus on them, and then try to track them as they fly. Some of the birds, like the Harris hawk, don't have a lot of contrast on them, so it's very hard to track them during flight.
On the other hand, bigger birds like this bald eagle were much easier to track while flying. The fact that they are black and white provided and lot of contrast and helped as well.
This type of photography requires some really fast shutter speeds and high ISO. When the birds were flying I set m,y shutter speed at 1/1250 or faster. I got as fast as 1/2500, and I have admit that was the first time I've set my camera to shoot that fast. I set my ISO anywhere between 800 and 1600. I was shooting with the Canon 5D mark 3 which performs very well at high ISO settings so digital noise wasn't really an issue.
This was a fun and quick trip to try some new photography for me. I anticipate that I'll be going back here to get some images in the fall with all the flowers in bloom, and the pond won't be frozen.