Northern Rough-winged Swallow in Flight

Northern Rough-winged Swallow


Bee Meadow Park, Hanover Township NJ.


Taken in 2009 this was the first and seemingly the last time I invested effort in trying to image a swallow in flight. I am sure I took over 200 trial shots with a professional photography setup to snag a single usable frame!


A few tips on shooting birds in flight:
“Prefocus” your telephoto lens by obtaining focus on an object such as a ripple in the water, a tree, or a cloud where you expect the bird may pass.

Set your camera dial to “M” for manual and base your exposure on aforementioned ripple of water, tree, or cloud. Do not expect or hope that you camera has the wits to know what brightness a bird should be against a bright or dark sky.


Always use the largest picture size and shoot in your camera raw format (why wouldn’t you?) Set the camera focus type to “Servo” and shoot at the highest burst speed your camera allows.


Do not expect your first, twelth, or hundredth frame to be in focus or well-composed. Shoot shoot shoot. There is plenty of luck involved with tracking an erratic subject.

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