AlpenGlow Tours

Photographing Birds In Flight

Trumpeter Swans in grand teton photography tours

A nearby pond often offers great opportunities of photographing birds in flight.  This pond has open water throughout the winter and many species of waterfowl visit. Although the light was fairly flat, I knew that some Trumpeter Swans and Canada geese would be there. I was hoping for some images of take-offs and landings; the birds approach from every angle and having an autofocus 300mm telephoto is certainly helpful. Typical of mountain weather, the clouds broke for a moment and gave a little light for the images of the swan and mergansers.

After capturing some stationary images of this Great Gray owl, I prepared for the takeoff. My long telephoto lens is  an older Nikon 500mm f/4, manual focus and I'll use two techniques  to achieve sharp focus on a moving subject. If its a tight crop I'll try to predict which way the bird may fly, setting my focus there. The other technique is to follow focus, swinging the camera to follow the birds flight while adjusting focus. With the manual focus lens this requires quick reflexes and practice for photographing birds in flight!