Birds in Flight - New Technique! - Nick Delany Photography

Photographing small birds requires adjustments to the camera that are quite different from that required to photograph animals. So much so, that you need to decide which one you are doing in advance as takes too long to configure the camera by the time the bird has flown away.

While on a photo safari in Tanzania, I came up with an idea that yielded me a few good photos but probably not the praise of the Audubon Society & it won't get me invited to lecture at the National Geographic Society !

When we spotted a good photo subject sitting close to our vehicle path, we would drive up quietly and park close by. At this time the photographers move to their perch and start setting up the cameras 

shutter speed : 1/4000

Aperture : 5.6

Max. of frames per second

Back button continuous focus AF-C


Our new method then required we commission our game guide on our signal to open his door and to frantically wave at the bird so it would take flight to the sound of a thousand camera clicks

The first time we did it, the three photographers fell down laughing as it was quite an event of rapid fire camera clicks and flying birds. However to our delight it worked even though on a few occasions the bird refused to fly off until our camera buffers filled up.

So with the blessing of our wonderful Game Guide, we named the new bird photography trick after him. Thus the "Kumbi Method" of bird action photography was born

Lilac Breasted Roller

This is my best & most commented on image 

Three photo sequence shows how far the bird can move in under a second

Hildebrandts Starling in flight

Hildebrandt's Starling in flight

Three photo sequence shows how far the bird can move in under a second