Tech Tuesday…Behavior Bonus

Last week I discussed the beauty of photographing a bird while it is preening. It would seem that the images are reward enough but, if you are patient and keep that lens trained on your preening bird, more often than not, you will be rewarded with a bonus…the “wing flap”…

The wing flap is the added bonus for those who don’t give up on a preening bird too soon…

Before I understood this simple behavior I would be hit and miss, just happening on a bird as it did a wing flap but, I didn’t know what led up to that action…

Now that I understand that at the end of a preening session the bird will do a wing flap to get all the loose feathers out and to settle its wings in to place I anticipate the behavior and keep my lens trained on it AS LONG AS IT TAKES for it to finish preening (shoot that’s just more beautiful preening shots for the files, right!) and capture that final wing flap…

Here are a couple of tips…in anticipation of the grand finale DON’T fill up your buffer or you will be left sitting on your shutter while nothing happens (*special note to self on this one!) and miss the peak of action…

Tip number two…now that you’ve held back some on the preening shots to have room on your buffer, don’t hold back when the wing flap begins…it’s usually quite brief and you want to capture the full sequence and in the process, the peak of action…

Tip number three…this one’s a biggie…leave some room around the bird for the wing flap to avoid cutting off wings, heads, other bird parts, etc. They get both wider and taller when they are doing their wing flap! (Sorry no examples…don’t get me wrong, I get them now and then, I just deleted them all when I should have saved them as examples) You know the images I’m talking about where you have the bottom half of the bird in the top half of the frame while the rest of it has already left the picture before you could react or you have a frame filling, virtually wingless bird flopping around in the image and miss…yeap, peak of action!

Images created (in order) Nikon D3, AF-S 200-400mm VR – D3S, AF-S 600mm VR II – Nikon D2XS, AF-S 600mm with TC-17E II – Nikon D3S, AF-S 600mm VR – D3, AF-S 600mm with TC17E II – D3S, AF-S 600mm VR with TC-14E II on Lexar Professional Digital Media