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The camera technology of the last several years has made flight photography easier than it was before, but there are still lots of variables that need to be added to the equation to make good bird-in-flight photography a common part of your repertoire. The camera body equipment out today has made action photography much easier than it was when manual focus was the rule rather than the exception.
Second, Canon has a custom function that expands the auto focus point activation area to either 7 or 13 points.
When hand-holding, try to keep your hand as far out on the barrel of the lens as possible to provide better balance while you’re panning and moving around with the subject.
The faster the f-stop of the lens, the better, as quick shutter speeds are imperative in getting sharp flight shots. Because digital cameras keep improving the quality of images you get at higher ISO settings, it’s now alright to push the setting to 200 or even 400 to get good flight shots, depending on the available light. A key detail to keep in mind when you’re composing flight shots is which auto focus point is set. Starting out, keep the AF point on the center point and try to get the bird’s eye focused there.
When you’re panning a bird in flight, continue the panning motion even after you’ve taken the final shot. The biggest factor to keep in mind when you’re shooting flight photography is the relationship of the wind and the sun. As you see, there are plenty of factors to keep in mind when you’re taking flight shots of birds.
With more than 100,000 stock images, work has appeared in more than 30 publications and books as well as appearing in National Geographic and Animal Planet television shows. Great =D I was thinking of getting like a 200mm lense (budget says so :P ) is that any good for bird photography?
Also, I find it very easy to take pictures of birds that are flying against the wind or gliding over me. The take off and landing phases are also easier to catch, especially with birds that do it on water. Flocks of birds in flight can be difficult to get properly, unless you crop the shot afterwards. For a real challenge, try hunting hummingbirds drinking, mid-flight, from the sprinkler in the backyard. I have a 60D and I cannot see how to do this: “Second, Canon has a custom function that expands the auto focus point activation area to either 7 or 13 points.” Can anyone tell me? We are always looking for more interesting and insightful photography tips and techniques to share with our readers.
Spider webs are perfect at portraying strength, beauty, and fear (if you’re a bug) all into one picture. In 2007, Nikon offered pro photographers a new option for full-frame digital photography (and a chance to make their old Nikon glass fully usable again): the Nikon D3 digital SLR.
For its first full-frame digital SLR, Nikon took a balanced approach with a camera that offered excellent overall performance, but didn't significantly raise the bar in resolution.
Nikon's D3X isn't a one-trick pony though -- there's a lot more to this camera than just resolution.
Finally, on the top panel the Metering selector dial has moved back a bit compared to its position on the D2x, and the Mode and EV compensation buttons have changed shape. The pixel resolution in more familiar terms is 640 x 480, with each pixel being comprised of three adjacent dots: red, green and blue. Called Live View (Tripod mode), the second mode is the real charm, and uses contrast-detect autofocus driven from the imaging sensor. There are two added benefits of the Live View (Tripod mode) over the more traditional phase-detection autofocus. The Nikon D3X includes the ability to control the camera from a computer remotely, and that includes receiving a Live View image from the camera. The Nikon D3X's sensor has a 12-channel readout, which allows it to move data off the sensor at a blistering pace.
Like the D3, the Nikon D3X is compatible with the lithium-ion EN-EL4 and ships with the EN-EL4a, an 11.1v, 2,500mAh battery. Photographers interested in geotagging their images might be interested in the optionally available Nikon GP-1 GPS unit, which mounts on the camera's hot shoe, or clips to the neck strap, and attaches via the 10-pin remote terminal.
Early on in our evaluation of it, one fact became unequivocally clear: The Nikon D3X produces the highest image quality of any camera we've tested to date.
The first handy feature to set is the continuous focus mode called AI Servo on Canon and Continuous Servo on Nikon. This is a great function, as it allows for the subject movement to remain in focus even if you don’t keep up with the movement of the bird in your primary AF point.
Here, the best setting is “high-speed continuous” where you get the most frames per second that your camera body will allow. Being a Canon shooter, I’ll refer to Canon lenses, but many other brands have comparable lenses. Also, tuck your elbows into your body as far as you can and keep your legs about shoulder-width apart. If you’re setting up a big lens on a tripod, by far the best option for a tripod head is the Wimberley head.
The best light condition for flight photography is front lighting, with the sun at your back and the birds coming towards you or across in front. You need to become adept at changing the auto focus point on the fly for you to get good flight shots. If you try to focus only on a bird that’s close to your position, you’ll never get a good flight shot. Following through will keep that last shot in focus better than if you abruptly stopped the movement. Birds will always (well, almost always) take off and land into whatever wind or breeze there is. You have to think about how much you want the bird to fill the frame, what the background is like, and the direction of the subject in relation to the sun. I try to get caught up with what’s in front of me, fly with it, and become part of the action. Having a multi-point autofocus like the ones of the 7D or 5DIII would definitely be a plus.
A little over a year later, Nikon will give photographers a chance to push those old lenses to the limit with a new camera -- one that creates a tie for the title of the highest-resolution 35mm full-frame digital SLR on the market. With the D3X, Nikon has made its mark on the high-res full-frame market with 24.5-megapixel resolution -- tying with Sony's flagship Alpha DSLR-A900. If you're familiar with Nikon's previous D3 digital SLR, you'll be right at home with the Nikon D3X. Nikon has replaced the Enter button with an OK button, and they've moved the speaker below it to the rear Status LCD.
The Nikon D3X is identical in size to its sibling the Nikon D3, sharing essentially the same body with that camera.

As you might expect, the Nikon D3X retains the excellent 3-inch, high-resolution LCD previously featured in the D3 and D300 models. But even counting the three horizontal dots as one pixel, that's still 266 pixels per inch -- significantly finer resolution than your computer screen. Nikon brings its venerable 1,005-area metering sensor to bear on an old problem: AF tracking. Instead of flipping mirrors, the Nikon D3X simply reads data off the CMOS image sensor and evaluates how abruptly light to dark (or dark to light) transitions happen on the image plane. Because it's working with data coming from the main image sensor, contrast detection autofocus rules out any potential issues with front- or back-focusing.
Although Sony lists its camera as having 24.6-megapixel resolution, the image size of 6,048 x 4,032 pixels is identical -- the two companies just have a slightly different way of calculating effective resolution numbers.
Probably due to the higher resolution and the much greater demands this makes on the imaging pipeline, the Nikon D3X is rather slower than the incredibly speedy D3; but it's really no slouch when you consider the amount of data whizzing around. Nikon's proprietary processor makes a number of sophisticated in-camera processes possible. Nikon's Matrix metering system went through quite an overhaul for the D3, and gained a new name in the process: the Scene Recognition System. D-Lighting has proven a popular post-processing feature in Nikon's consumer digital SLRs, as well as some of the company's point & shoot models. While other cameras have had lens distortion processing built-in, notably the Olympus E-1, none until Nikon's D3 and D300 did the processing based on the distortion detected in the image. Another interesting feature is Vignette Control, first seen in firmware upgrade v1.11 for the D3, and then in the Nikon D700. Nikon has standardized its Picture Control system so that camera settings for tone, saturation, brightness, and sharpening can be set and ported to other Nikon digital SLRs. Battery life is expected to be just slightly better in the D3X as compared to the D3, with a CIPA rating of 4,400 shots for the newer camera versus 4,300 shots for its sibling.
Note that the GP-1 GPS unit isn't specific to the D3X; other Nikon SLRs including the D200, D3, D300, D700, and D90 are all compatible as well. As we proceeded with our evaluation and completed the analysis of our test images, nothing appeared to challenge that conclusion: Its combination of resolution, color fidelity, and noise performance puts it at the very top of its class. Capturing movement in photos is something that many photographers only think to do when they are photographing sports or other fast moving subjects. Photographing a bird in flight presents one problem, but capturing that one special bird-in-flight shot that’s in focus and has good composition plus good light can represent a whole set of problems. This setting allows the lens to keep changing the focus as long as the shutter button is depressed halfway and the subject is in the set auto focus point. While you’ll burn quite a few shots with this setting, it will allow more shots to choose from for the wing position and lighting you like best. The reason is that shorter focal length lenses provide easier tracking of the birds in the viewfinder. The gimbal action is designed for action photography and makes panning with the birds easier than you could imagine if you’ve never used one of these heads. Doing a little bit of testing with shutter speed and f-stop will help you determine what the ISO needs to be for you to obtain the desired shutter speed. The best light is still those two golden times of day when the sun is low on the horizon, but because the subject is high in the sky, you can extend your shooting time as the higher sun can still bounce nice light off the bird. As multiple birds are flying around your location, you have to be aware of which point you’ve selected for the best composition.
Your subject needs room to breathe, and continually changing the AF point for better composition will provide the space you need to maintain in front of the bird. While the eye will be in the middle of the frame, the majority of the bird will be behind it, so you’ll be keeping the full bird from being centered in the frame. As you see a bird coming in your direction, get it in the viewfinder, and track with it as it moves closer. It’s the same idea as a golfer doing a follow-through on her shot or a baseball player continuing with his swing. If the eye is out-of-focus, then the shot is not of a technical quality suitable for publication.
Since these variables change from picture to picture, you begin to understand that creating great flight shots requires more than just getting the subject sharp.
The next stop for me will be in front of my computer, looking at lots of shots of birds in flight and, hopefully, lots of keepers. Drop the resolution to 10.5 megapixels in DX crop mode, and the Nikon D3X will yield a fairly impressive seven frames per second. The cover over the Flash and Remote Terminal has a one-piece design, and the gold FX logo in the lower right corner indicates that this is a Nikon full-frame digital SLR. At approximately 922,000 dots, the D3X's LCD resolution matches the highest available in any current digital SLR.
Sometimes they focus in front of the subject, sometimes they focus behind the subject, regardless of what the AF system says.
What makes Nikon's Live View mode so effective are the two options it provides for autofocus operation. Contrast-detect AF isn't nearly as fast as phase-detect (which is why the shutter response of most digicams is so much slower than most digital SLRs), but at least Nikon's D3X can focus without interrupting the Live View display.
Given adequate light and a relatively static subject, the point of focus should be determined accurately regardless of issues with individual lenses.
The Nikon D3X's inherits the Nikon D3's pentaprism viewfinder, which delivers 100 percent frame coverage, 0.7x magnification at 50mm and -1 diopter, an 18mm eyepoint, and diopter adjustment range of -3 to +1. Nikon's D3X hence places right alongside Sony at the very top of the field among current 35mm full frame digital SLRs, at least in terms of resolution. The Nikon D3X is capable of capturing up to five frames per second at the full 24.5-megapixel sensor resolution. A new diffraction grating over the 1,005 area metering sensor allowed more accurate detection of color and brightness.
It's a quick software process that attempts to overcome underexposed images, and bring detail out of shadows. Past cameras (and most distortion-correction software) simply looked at which lens was mounted and perhaps the focal length if it was a zoom lens, and then applied a pre-set amount of correction; no image analysis actually took place. Three levels are available that attempt to reduce the effects of corner shading with certain lenses. The D3 was the first camera compatible with the option, and the Nikon D3X likewise follows the standard. Not only does the Nikon D3X sport an amazing 24.5 megapixels of resolution, it manages to wring more detail out of those pixels (particularly in its NEF-format RAW files) than anything else out there.
Once it’s in the position you like (the preferred frame size and in good light), you can fire away.
Putting yourself in the right position to get the best flight shots means having both the wind and the sun at your back, allowing the birds to come towards you. Meanwhile, in quite a turn of events, Nikon's tradition rival, Canon, is left lagging a fair way behind resolution-wise with its flagship EOS-1Ds Mark III still sitting on 21.1 megapixels. That's only two frames per second behind the D3's full-resolution speed, and could prove handy when raw speed is more important than resolution -- at least, if you don't mind the 1.6x crop that accompanies the speed.

It's hard to appreciate this improvement, but D2x users will notice the change immediately when they see an image on the screen. The Multi-CAM system can be set to four modes on the Nikon D3X, including 9-area, 21-area, 51-area, and 51-area with 3D tracking.
Camera companies are starting to acknowledge this, building in adjustments to compensate for front- and back-focusing problems. Traditional DSLR phase-detection AF sensors are blocked whenever a camera raises its reflex mirror to expose the imaging sensor. You do require Nikon's Camera Control Pro software to enable this feature, an optional extra that will cost around $60 at the time of this writing.
Measuring 35.9 x 24mm, the sensor size is not the exact dimension of a 35mm frame, which measures 36 x 24mm, but it's very close. Nikon doesn't specify the exact model or speed of processor in each camera, though, so we can't state with certainty if the D3X's processor is completely identical to that of the D3. At the same time, new firmware was capable of more complete analysis of scenes, improving white balance, focus tracking, and exposure. An improved version of D-Lighting appeared in the Nikon D3 and D300, including optimization of image contrast, helping to prevent overprocessing of shadows and flattening of overall image contrast. Nikon's Lateral Chromatic Aberration correction offered a more sophisticated approach, thanks to power of the camera's EXPEED processor, by actually analyzing each image after capture and fixing the chromatic aberration detected therein before saving the JPEG file. Designed for G and D Nikkor lenses, not DX or PC lenses, users can choose from High, Normal, Low, and Off for this setting. Slow Down Your Shutter Speed, Secure Your Camera, Shutter Priority Mode, Small Apertures, Decrease Your ISO, Try a Neutral Density Filter. You have to get them in view when they’re farther away and stay with them until they move close enough for you to take your shot.
However, auto focus does yield a higher percentage of acceptable images when you’re shooting birds in flight, especially if you have a camera body that can shoot upwards of eight frames a second or more. The last couple shots will be throwaways, but you’ll have included the shot you really want. If you can’t do this, at least get the focus on the neck, as the neck of a bird is on the same plane as the eye. Given that there's no noticeable difference with the Nikon D3, the remainder of this section will focus on changes from the D2x. As with the D3, the exterior shell of the Nikon D3X is made of magnesium alloy, and is sealed against dust and water. The D3X's LCD has a wide 170 degree viewing angle, and offers a 100% view whether looking at captured images or framing in Live View mode. In this latter mode, the Nikon D3X's EXPEED processor takes account not only of data from the AF sensor, but also from the 1,005-area RGB metering sensor. The Nikon D3X inherits a system from the D3 that allows it to separately store adjustments for up to 20 lens types. Since the imaging sensor constantly streams data for the LCD display during Live View operation, this means the mirror must be continuously held up while Live View mode is being used.
For moving subjects and the fastest focusing you'll want to stick with the optical viewfinder, but it's nice to have the Live View option (and the choice of AF modes) when your subjects allow its use. Also, when using Live View (Tripod mode), you can move the AF point anywhere you want within the frame area -- even right out to the extreme edges.
As an aside, it's also not quite the same size as the sensor used in the D3, which was 36 x 23.9mm. At the time of this writing, we are still waiting on confirmation of the burst depth in either mode. The processor in the D3X has a 16-bit pipeline and is the engine for processing the 14-bit color data from analog to digital at such a rapid rate. One of the chief benefits of the Scene Recognition System was highlight analysis, designed to prevent blown highlights in common situations by adjusting the tone curve to compensate. As with the Scene Recognition System, the D3X inherits Active D-Lighting from the D3 and D300 -- but this time with a slight improvement, in that as well as the previous High, Normal, Low or Off settings, the D3X will also offer an Extra-High setting, or the ability to automatically choose the D-Lighting strength on the fly. Cameras with full-frame, high-resolution sensors place a greater demand on lenses, and hence Lateral Chromatic Aberration correction could prove a particularly interesting feature on the D3X. You can't see the results in Live View, nor can the Vignette Control be applied to multiple exposures. After time and practice, you’ll find it easier to focus on them when they’re close, but even then you’ll miss some shots. With this extra information, the AF system can better select and track a subject, even when it leaves the AF area.
Not individual lenses by serial number, mind you, so note that if you have several of one type of lens, the Nikon D3X will only load compensation information for the individual lens with which compensation was initially set. Hence, the first focusing mode requires a brief interruption to the live view display -- during which time the camera drops the mirror, focuses, and then flips the mirror back up to resume viewing of the refocused scene. The Nikon D3X also provides up to a 10x zoom in Live View mode, providing excellent focus discrimination when focusing manually. It also enables such impressive features as the Scene Recognition System, in-camera Lateral Chromatic Aberration Correction, and Active D-Lighting, detailed below. The Nikon D3X inherits the improved Scene Recognition System functionality from its sibling. As with the chromatic aberration discussed in the previous section, vignetting is more likely to be an issue with full-frame digital imaging -- hence this could prove a very worthwhile feature. The Nikon D3X is also capable of writing to UDMA-capable cards, for faster read and write performance. The high-end SLR market often seems like a perpetual game of leapfrog, but for now, the Nikon D3X sits at the top of the heap, as the ultimate digital SLR. Longer focal lengths also allow you to work at greater distances with less change in subject position.
The vertical, or secondary AF-ON button in the lower right corner has been moved from below the Command dial to above it.
This is fine for relatively static scenes, but the resulting delay in focusing -- not to mention the interruption to your view of the scene -- can make it difficult to get a good shot if your subject is in motion or requires precise timing. This is pretty key, as less than 10x magnification really doesn't do the trick for getting the focus set right. Birds going across the frame are easier to track, particularly with a long focal length, than those coming directly into the camera, since they stay at roughly the same distance. That is because the design…Free Modern Corporate Business Card Template - 3 ColorsA free modern corporate business card template for you. Come with double sided busines card psd template in 3 custom…How to Create a Seamless Cute Birds and Owls Pattern in InkscapeThe first tutorial in Inkscape today, I want to show you how to create a seamless pattern.

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