Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bird shots using my 70-200mm IS USM

Over the weekend I had promised myself that I will do a photo shoot of the birds outside our house. We recently purchased a bird feeders and put them in front of our house, knowing that I would be able to shoot birds closeup using this method. I had been birding for the past couple of days, this though will give me real closeups of the birds outside.

For this shoot I chose to use my Canon 50d for the frames per second speed. It's faster than my 5d mk2 which makes it an excellent body for birding. I equipped it with my Canon 70-200 IS USM lens. For this setup, a long range of 200mm is enough as the birds will not see me behind the camera. I will be watching them from the inside so the 200mm reach is enough compared to using the 200mm on a real outdoor birding trip, that is why a lot of birders wear camouflage jackets. Birds do not come close when they see you a couple of feet away from them so staying indoors and watching them through my glass door is a smart idea. Having said that, I would have to trigger my camera with a wireless shutter release so I installed my yong nuo rf-602 to the body. I then attached the tripod collar of my lens to my ballhead attached to my tripod. I then pointed the camera to the bird feeder where I anticipate the birds to feed from.

My simple setup. My fiancee took this with her phone while I took a short break. She even caught a bird flying down on the right side of the feeder.

There are a couple of different approaches when it comes to this kind of setup. For this particular one, I set my focus point to where I think the birds will be. I then set the bird feeder to the center of my frame. Then I used the one of side focus points of my camera to be where my autofocus will's where it all differs. Usually you can set your lens to manual focus for this kind of setup so you can shoot the camera even if the focus isn't locked on...a very good idea if you are really sure where the birds are going to land and stay a few seconds. A very good idea to capture birds in motion that fly by really fast.  Also you can set your focus mode to ai servo...which doesn't restrict you to shoot even if the focus isn't locked on. Either way it's really up to you what you think will work. For these shots I used auto focus, with my focus point on the left side with AI focus mode so I still have the focus lock to let me know when the focus is dead on. I made sure that my camera is perfectly perpendicular to both sides of the bird feeder for the focus to perfectly work...this helps out a lot if I set my focus to manual.

That day was overcast...but the light kept changing. I set my camera to shutter priority and set my speed to 320/sec. Good enough as I 'm not taking shots of birds in flight. ISO was set to 400. First few shots were ok, I then decided to attach a speedlite to my camera, setup the speedlite to HSS, ettl mode. The speedlite gave my shots a lot of color compared to the shots that didn't have it, so the speedlite worked out pretty good.

After a couple of shots I decided to upload my photos and these are the best 2 that I got:

The birds have excellent hearing. They can hear the lens motor focus and they fly away. Some of them get used to it even with the flash and eat while you take a couple of shots. 

I was waiting for a hummingbird to stop over the other feeder but none came. Although when it comes I will be ready. Hopefully before winter I have a couple of shots of them.

So this is how I spent my weekend :)

No comments:

Post a Comment