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Photographing Flying Birds

Photographing Flying Birds

Exceptional photography is a combinations of several things:  the skill of the photographer, his knowledge  and quality of his equipment, a lot of patience, and the luck of being in the right place at the right time.  Luck can be improved by good planning.

Bald eagles fly at speed of 35 to 45 miles per hour and dive at speed of 75 to 99 mile Per hour and can change direction very quickly.  Great blue herons and Great White egrets fly at 25 to 35 miles per hour and tend to fly in a straight line.  I have not found Osprey flying speeds anywhere on the internet, but my observations of them tell me they are much faster than bald eagle and can change directions much quicker than bald eagles.

Photographing a fast moving object such as a bald eagle requires skill in tracking the eagle and having very good equipment, but even with those two thing, there is still a lot of luck involved.  I can stand on the side of a river all day, but if the eagles aren't there or the wind is blowing in the wrong direction, I am not going to get a lot of photos.  Now let's assume everything is perfect and there are loads of eagles flying by to photograph.  I can shoot 1500 images on a good day, but I can only control the camera to a certain extent.  I can set the controls on the camera to the best possible setting for the shooting conditions and subject matter,  and I can tract that eagle exceptionally, but I can not control how the cameras auto focus works.  Let say I shoot 1500 images. Only 10-20% are likely to be in sharp enough focus to print a good photograph, and maybe 10-20% of those sharp photos will be sharp enough to print exceptional very large photographs.  Some photos can make good 8x10s, others might make good 16x20s but nothing larger, and the very best might have no limits.  I have estimated what I believe the size limits are for each photograph on baldeaglephotos.com, but I really can't be absolutely positive of those limits until I blow the photo up and look at it on my computer, and even then sometimes I have to make a sample print to be positive I am selling you the best quality photo available.  Please understand that occasionally, I am going to have to tell you that a photo you want at a given size just isn't sharp enough to make the size print you want.  When that happens, I will suggest one or more similar images that will make an exceptional print for you.