Photography Techniques Tech

When Photographing Birds at 60 FPS Becomes the New Norm

PL NN 1

As many homeowners of mirrorless cameras can attest, it might take a while to get used to a few of the totally different capturing capabilities that our mirrorless digital camera gear supplies. Considered one of the issues that appears odd to make use of to photograph birds in movement, is a body fee of 60 frames-per-second. Particularly when on many cameras, the first body locks focus for the stability of the run. Most of us have been taught to make use of steady auto-focus when photographing birds in movement, and our pure assumption is that a very quick body price of 60 frames-per-second is extra of a advertising gimmick, than a sensible capturing method.

I began capturing with the Nikon 1 system again in August 2013, however it wasn’t till the previous 6 months that I actually began utilizing a 60 frames-per-second-frame fee with any regularity. As unusual as it might appear, when photographing birds in movement, my ‘new normal’ digital camera setting is now 60 frames per second. Throughout my previous couple of outings I had each of the cameras I introduced with me set to this body price. I by no means modified both digital camera’s body fee for the whole period of my photograph shoots. And sure… it’s attainable to seize particular person frames even when your digital camera is about to 60 frames-per-second.

Since early Might I’ve been spending fairly a little bit of time doing area work for an upcoming eBook on hen images. That challenge enticed me to push my Nikon 1 gear in a number of new and alternative ways, with utilizing a body velocity of 60 frames-per-second being the largest experiment I’ve achieved over the previous 5 months.

I initially found that this quick body fee was excellent for very particular kinds of conditions like a hen touchdown on, or leaving, a nest. Then, the extra that I experimented, the extra that I found that utilizing 60 frames-per-second wasn’t a gimmick at all. It turned a really sensible method to make use of regularly. I started to make use of it to photograph birds-in-flight like the Nice Blue Heron in the following collection of 6 pictures. All of those pictures would have been captured in a complete of 1/10th of a second. If I used to be nonetheless capturing with my Nikon D7000, I might have captured solely one in every of the following photographs, not 6, throughout a burst time of 1/10th of a second.

All of the 6 pictures under are 100% captures with none cropping achieved to them at all.

PL NN 1PL NN 1NIKON 1 V3 + 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/four.5-5.6 @ 254.1mm, ISO 1600, 1/1250, f/5.6PL NN 2PL NN 2NIKON 1 V3 + 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/four.5-5.6 @ 254.1mm, ISO 1600, 1/1250, f/5.6PL NN 3PL NN 3NIKON 1 V3 + 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/four.5-5.6 @ 254.1mm, ISO 1600, 1/1250, f/5.6PL NN 4PL NN 4NIKON 1 V3 + 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/four.5-5.6 @ 254.1mm, ISO 1600, 1/1250, f/5.6PL NN 5PL NN 5NIKON 1 V3 + 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/four.5-5.6 @ 254.1mm, ISO 1600, 1/1250, f/5.6PL NN 6PL NN 6NIKON 1 V3 + 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/four.5-5.6 @ 254.1mm, ISO 1600, 1/1250, f/5.6

As readers look at the first set of pictures, a few of you could be considering, “What’s the point of shooting at 60 frames-per-second? There’s hardly any difference in wing or body position.” And, that’s the actual level! Utilizing a quick body fee like 60 frames-per-second allows us to seize extra exact moments of movement differentiation than can be attainable with slower body charges. There’s additionally much less probability to get a stream of repetitive wing positions (up, down, up, down, up, down) that may typically occur when capturing AF-C runs at slower body charges.

To raised illustrate the significance of capturing extra exact, differentiated movement segments let’s take a look at 6 consecutive pictures of one other Nice Blue Heron taking off from some shallow water. Once more, these 6 photographs have been captured utilizing a body price of 60 frames-per-second. It might have taken a complete of 1/10th of a second to seize all 6 pictures. Pay particular consideration to the place of the heron’s ft in the water, and to the quantity of water spray coming off the chook because it turns into airborne. These subsequent 6 photographs have been cropped to four,000 pixels on the width, then resized for net use.

PL NN 7PL NN 7NIKON 1 V3 + 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/four.5-5.6 @ 204.5mm, ISO 3200, 1/1250, f/5.6PL NN 8PL NN 8NIKON 1 V3 + 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/four.5-5.6 @ 204.5mm, ISO 3200, 1/1250, f/5.6PL NN 9PL NN 9NIKON 1 V3 + 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/four.5-5.6 @ 204.5mm, ISO 3200, 1/1250, f/5.6PL NN 10PL NN 10NIKON 1 V3 + 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/four.5-5.6 @ 204.5mm, ISO 3200, 1/1250, f/5.6PL NN 11PL NN 11NIKON 1 V3 + 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/four.5-5.6 @ 204.5mm, ISO 3200, 1/1250, f/5.6PL NN 12PL NN 12NIKON 1 V3 + 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/four.5-5.6 @ 204.5mm, ISO 3200, 1/1250, f/5.6

You possibly can see that every body shot at 60 frames-per-second supplies some delicate variations in wing place, leg distance from the floor of the water, and the quantity of water spray coming off the fowl. Fairly than hoping for one, respectable picture when capturing at a slower body fee… I might a lot somewhat shoot at 60 frames-per-second and really feel extra assured that I’ll get a variety of probably usable pictures.

Our final set of instance photographs will (hopefully) exhibit why it may be advantageous to have the first body lock focus for the stability of the run, and NOT use steady auto-focus. Let’s take a look at the first photograph on this picture run captured at 60 frames-per-second. All of the following photographs are 100% captures with none cropping at all.

PL NN 13-1PL NN 13-1NIKON 1 V3 + 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/four.5-5.6 @ 234.5mm, ISO 1100, 1/1250, f/5.6

All of us who’ve achieved fowl images have confronted the state of affairs in the picture above, i.e. a goal hen in behind branches and different birds. This makes it troublesome to accumulate and maintain focus when doing a steady auto-focus run as our cameras can typically be ‘tricked’ by one thing in the foreground,  and seize concentrate on a special factor in the picture. In the case of this pattern picture run, I used to be capable of purchase give attention to the egret’s head and neck simply earlier than it took flight. Since I shot at 60 frames-per-second this focusing can be locked for the stability of the run, no matter any obstructions brought on by foreground parts getting into into the body. Now, let’s take a look at body 5 from this picture run.

PL NN 13-2PL NN 13-2NIKON 1 V3 + 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/four.5-5.6 @ 234.5mm, ISO 1100, 1/1250, f/5.6

Yikes! Our goal hen is now instantly behind a cormorant resting on a department. If I had been capturing utilizing steady auto-focus there would have been a big danger that my digital camera would have picked up on the cormorant and dropped concentrate on the goal egret. You can even see how far the egret’s wings have moved in 5 frames. Now, let’s look at body quantity 10 from the picture run.

PL NN 13-3PL NN 13-3NIKON 1 V3 + 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/four.5-5.6 @ 234.5mm, ISO 1100, 1/1250, f/5.6

The egret has now left the water with good spray coming off its legs and ft, however it’s nonetheless partially obscured by the cormorant which nonetheless poses an auto-focusing danger if I had been utilizing AF-C. Let’s transfer forward to border 15 of the picture run.

PL NN 13-4PL NN 13-4NIKON 1 V3 + 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/four.5-5.6 @ 234.5mm, ISO 1100, 1/1250, f/5.6

Our goal egret continues to be partially obscured by the cormorant, however it’s beginning to emerge right into a much less obstructed visible space, which was the ‘shooting zone’ I anticipated for this picture collection. Let’s see the place the motion has gone as we transfer forward to border 20 in the run.

PL NN 14PL NN 14NIKON 1 V3 + 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/four.5-5.6 @ 234.5mm, ISO 1100, 1/1250, f/5.6

Our goal egret is nearly away from the cormorant on the department and is nearly completely positioned because it enters my anticipated ‘shooting zone’. Now, let’s look at the final 6 pictures on this picture run that was captured at 60 frames-per-second. As you undergo these photographs you’ll discover that the egret is in the ‘shooting zone’ and freed from obstructions in 5 of the 6 following pictures. There’s slight wing clipping in 2 frames, with the whole egret proven free and clear in three of the last 6 frames.

PL NN 15PL NN 15NIKON 1 V3 + 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/four.5-5.6 @ 234.5mm, ISO 1100, 1/1250, f/5.6PL NN 16PL NN 16NIKON 1 V3 + 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/four.5-5.6 @ 234.5mm, ISO 1100, 1/1250, f/5.6PL NN 17PL NN 17NIKON 1 V3 + 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/four.5-5.6 @ 234.5mm, ISO 1100, 1/1250, f/5.6PL NN 18PL NN 18NIKON 1 V3 + 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/four.5-5.6 @ 234.5mm, ISO 1100, 1/1250, f/5.6PL NN 19PL NN 19NIKON 1 V3 + 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/four.5-5.6 @ 234.5mm, ISO 1100, 1/1250, f/5.6PL NN 20PL NN 20NIKON 1 V3 + 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300mm f/four.5-5.6 @ 234.5mm, ISO 1100, 1/1250, f/5.6

Capturing at 60 frames-per-second does take fairly a little bit of adjustment when it comes to method. Shutter launch timing is clearly essential. The 40 shot buffers on my Nikon 1 V2 and V3 cameras fill in solely 2/three of a second when capturing at 60 frames-per-second. Sometimes I discover that my buffer is already full and I’m checking my photographs when different photographers round me are simply beginning their AF-C runs, photographing the similar topic hen. My panning movement must be a lot, a lot smoother and much more managed, than when capturing at a slower body fee since I’ve no margin for error given my 2/three of a second picture run time. I additionally needed to regulate my shutter finger strain, studying the best way to apply a really mild faucet to solely squeeze out a single shot when desired, slightly than inadvertently taking a burst of a stationary chook. Growing my endurance and ready for my ‘moment’ to shoot additionally took fairly a little bit of apply, particularly for birds-in-flight. I additionally needed to discover ways to shoot only a partial run of my buffer when birds are flying in the direction of me to restrict the variety of probably out-of-focus pictures.

Now that I’m completely snug capturing at 60 frames-per-second I don’t take pleasure in capturing birds in movement at slower body charges with my Nikon 1 our bodies (i.e 5 or 15 fps with Nikon 1 V2, 10 or 20 frames-per-second with Nikon 1 V3). I discover these slower body charges usually are not almost as difficult to make use of… so they don’t seem to be almost as a lot enjoyable… nor do they produce the similar diploma of satisfaction with the outcomes they produce.

In the event you personal a mirrorless digital camera that has excessive body price capabilities that you haven’t but explored… I might encourage you to experiment together with your gear to seek out out in the event you take pleasure in capturing on this method. In the event you’re like me… it might turn into your ‘new normal’ digital camera setting when photographing birds in movement.

A fast apology to Images Life readers for my relative inactivity right here over the previous few minutes. I’ve been juggling shopper video tasks in addition to engaged on a number of eBook tasks. This week, I simply revealed Balancing Eggs, a enterprise parable about management communications, enterprise teaching and presentation expertise… and can quickly publish my New Zealand images eBook. After that I shall be working onerous to complete up my fowl images eBook to have it prepared earlier than yr finish.

Technical Word:
All pictures on this article have been captured hand-held utilizing Nikon 1 gear as per the EXIF knowledge. All photographs have been produced from RAW information utilizing my normal means of DxO PhotoLab, CS6 and the Nik Assortment.

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