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Field Trip 2

Lesson 13 from: The Art of Photographing Birds

Frans Lanting

Field Trip 2

Lesson 13 from: The Art of Photographing Birds

Frans Lanting

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Lesson Info

13. Field Trip 2

After the morning shoot, return back to the wildlife refuge in the late afternoon for more opportunities to capture birds. In this behind-the-scenes video, gain additional insight from exposure to composition. Gain specifics like learning how to properly expose white birds like the egret.

Lesson Info

Field Trip 2

we have one more field trip to share with you. This is the second morning ban beaver in the Colusa Wildlife Refuge. So let's run it. We're out again at some rice. We've done a loop around Colusa. Yesterday we saw thousands of birds in the air, and this morning it's quiet, and that forces me to look differently at the landscape had a vision of seeing thousands of birds in the air and Justus many in the water, and they're simply not here. They've moved off. So after doing another loop, I finally found some stilts, and that provides us with the pattern that at least gives me an anchor in the landscape. Because, after all, over photographing birds and landscapes, the landscape by itself is not enough. The idea is to have enough birds in the scene and enough of a pattern to anchor the foreground in the background to you have beautiful light. Sun isn't up yet, but the bottom part of the frame needs to be organized and still to just getting up there, beginning to forage. I'm closing the apert...

ure because the idea Fionn Virgin landscapes is to create a painterly rendition off the scenery and the birds. We've got them read sticking out of the water, and they need to be sharp to just a sharp as the trees in the background. So I'm ending up at F 22. And because the stilts are moving using shutter speed of on 25 my I s O is now at which is okay. It'll freeze emotion and the birds. And now I can close the aperture all the way to after 32 60th at F 32. I like it is this Deck six will buy in the federal around. This makes let's just move along with the stilts, Matthew. Okay, Because if we let go the landscape of that idea, Then there's a new pattern a foraging stilts among the reeds. And they're becoming beautiful shapes on the nicely spaced out. They're moving all the time. So you've got a rattle off the frames. My just simply won't get the perfect composition. Not holding. Still still, at 1 25 we settled for a small group of stilts and of was still hanging on to the idea to you're framed them a spot of a landscape. And then they started moving. And now we're looking at an ever changing pattern of stilts foraging in shallow water. And it's actually quite nice. The challenge here is to get as many as you can, but in your frame and to create an an interesting pattern. But you're trying now. I'm trying to just get this one stilts right in the foreground. Okay, so I've actually gone up to the 400 millimeter with the two times Tele converter, and he's just poking along, okay? Oh, holy smokes. That tree is full of birds. The birds have been hiding in plain sight. It simply didn't see them. But, yeah, they're not snow geese there. Hundreds of blackbirds. There's other birds flying through the scene because we've got that hot sun in there. It's influencing a bunch of ducks and geese just yet. No, we've got critical mass. Okay, I'm going to a faster shutter speed. I just realized that the movement of those blackbirds is so fast that unless my shutter speed is over, you're faster than 1000. They're not gonna be crisp. Morning rush hour. I was hoping for snow geese, and they weren't here. Then we started looking at a small group of stilts, and that wasn't quite happy. That situation evaporated. And then just when the sun was rising, I noticed there was a three loaded with blackbirds, and that was the scene that made me happy, you know, had to use a very long lens because they're on the other side of the pond. I grabbed my 200 to 400 but the built in extender, So it became a 600 millimeter lens, put it on my window mount. And then, as luck had it, the G started moving in, so it became a more complex. Seen her ducks in the water, the tree loaded that black birds and geese in the sky. Finally, a landscape of birds. We came upon a great white egret foraging in shallow water, and he became our bonus birth. He was unexpected, but we had fun capturing him perfect reflection in the water. And there was a line of weeds in the foreground, and we ended up using those as ah, screen through which to capture the E grit, throwing the lens into a selective focus, smote capturing the bird sharp but shooting through the weeds, keeping the aperture white open created a bit of a veil. The light meters in our cameras render everything as a neutral. Great. So if you're looking at a great white egret and you expose it in a standard way, you'll end up with a gray. A secret. The standard rule is to open up by half a stop to a full stop in order to make it look really white. But you can also go against that rule under exposed, eager it. And what I ended up there to this a slightly under exposed, eager it that is surrounding that became pitch black. It's a creative, contrarian application of the standard exposure rules. All right, Should we move? I spotted a hawk in a tree. The light was great was early morning of Chile, and the Hawk really didn't want to move yet. He was just soaking up that early morning sun, so he was committed to being there, and that made it easy for us to approach him. We got closer and closer, and then I could get closer still by pulling out my long telephoto lens, that 200 to 400 millimeter lens. And then I added an extender so it was perfect. It became a classic portrait. We had so much time at this bird that I was able to run through a whole series of different aperture settings as well. I applied selective focus to blur out the background and the foreground. But then I went in the other direction. I closed my aperture all the way to F 45 then the bird became or part of the tree scape. My take away from this experience is this. Act quickly because you never know how long that bird's gonna be there. And of course, you want that close up. But then start thinking of other ways to apply other lenses and find other perspectives. Don't just leave that bird in the center of your frame took him away in a corner, and if it's a bird sitting in a tall tree, tuck him up high, so you see a lot of space below him. There are always a lot more opportunities than the image. You start off it all right, so we we went straight from birth and flight into another field experience. So should we scroll back a little bit and I would love to hear back from you because we haven't give you an opportunity yet to ask me questions about what to be covered during the bird in flight session. I see several hands go up and get it back. How many focal points? Focus points. Were you using for your bird in flight pictures? Um, you have for my 8 50 I applied 51 focus point. And, um and I know that this varies by camera, make by manufacturer. Actually closely related. I was just curious about the tracking modes that you use for for birds in flight. And you mentioned something about three D tracking and so on that I think that you may recall that very early on, then we went through the main camera settings. I recommend a dynamic area A f as the default. Then I do photography of birch in flight three D tracking. I alternate your that sometimes, but ah, by trial and error, I found out that the dynamic area tracking is is over expressed for me. I noticed when you were doing a lot of birds and flight work, you were hand holding. Do you ever shoot off tripod when you're trying to do flying birds and under what circumstances. Now that's an interesting question. Do you tell yourself to your tripod or do you go free form? What does the tripod accomplished for you when you're doing birch in flight E? I think the question is related to you know, what kind of rig do you have? So if it's a 600 millimeter lens, then you definitely want to stabilize it in some fashion video tripe out, orbit Amman apart, and then you contract the birds better than doing it handle. But as you could see in the video, been mapped the never standing there on the viewing platform tracking the Snow G's. You know, I had a 200 or 500 yet of 100 to 400 those you can handhold very easily. And what you didn't see in the video was how I was able to use that. A mirror lis camera at the 500 millimeter lens, which is very light and compact, perfect for birds in flight without a tripod

Ratings and Reviews

Carl Bergstrom
 

I was privileged to be in the studio audience for Frans Lanting's Art of Photographing Birds course, and it was amazing. The morning was a perfectly pitched lesson on the technical aspects of bird photography, intermixed with Frans's own photographs and excellent videos of him working in the field. The afternoon focused more on bird behavior, composition, and artistry, and was even more delightful. If you know Lanting's photography you already know about his ability to find unusual perspectives on the world. What really shone through in the class was his love for wildlife and especially for birds. His knowledge of natural history is as amazing as his photography, and I loved the message that to take great photographs of birds, one needs to understand them and their behaviors. I've admired Lanting as a photographer for decades. Today I learned that he is an equally talented teacher. I'll be purchasing all of his CreativeLive courses. Thank you, Carl Bergstrom

Marie Gessle
 

Amazing class! Mr Lanting is charming and full of knowledge about birds and of course photography. In every moment of this course you can see his great passion and love for these flying creatures. The course is full of tips for photographers who want to start capturing moments of birds life. Awesome!!!

André Audet
 

Great class, very inspiring. Packed with great tips and beautiful imagery. Frans is a great instructor. I enjoyed watching this class a lot, and will watch it again!

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