Just a single image today, to illustrate a lesson I’ve learned before but “relearned” yesterday.
I shoot lots of birds at take-off, particularly raptors. For those larger subjects relatively slow shutter speeds will usually freeze the motion, even in the wings. Typically, 1/1200 or 1/1600 will do just that.
1/3200, f/5.6, ISO 500, 500 f/4, 1.4 tc, cloned out an OOF sunflower stalk to the right of the bird
So yesterday after I’d taken a few perched shots of this shrike I set up for a take-off since it was facing to my right and I figured it would take off in that direction, giving me both good light and a take-off posture that would require relatively little depth of field so f/5.6 would suffice. Then I noticed that I had a shutter speed of 1/3200 and I remember thinking that might be a little excessive and I should dial back to f/ 6.1 for slightly more DOF and less shutter speed. But I knew that if I took a moment to change my settings the bird would choose that instant to launch and I’d miss the shot. So I stuck with my settings.
I’m glad I did. Wing motion in these little birds is incredibly fast! Here, even 1/3200 didn’t completely freeze the wings.
Don’t get me wrong – a little motion blur in wings of birds in flight isn’t an issue with me and I’m perfectly happy with this image the way it is. But for my tastes I’m glad there’s no more motion blur than there is.