As Christmas 2018 project planned, I visited the nearby Park Mont-Royal on several occasions between Christmas and New Year with the intend to take photos of flying small birds like Chickadees, Nuthatches or House Finches.
It worked out pretty well. I have been struggling with low light though. On all my visits, the sun has been covered by clouds providing better lights only on rare moments. The setup and workflow didn’t allow me to use flash.
I placed my camera mounted with the 300mm prime lense on a tripod about 10 meters away from the feeder. I observed the birds to understand their preferred flight paths to and from the feeder and focused on that area. Then I waited until I saw a bird intending to get to the feeder to start taking burst of shots at Nikon D500 fastest speed. With this approach, I ended up with thousands of shots, most of them with no birds or with partial birds out of focus.
Nevertheless, some shots have been acceptable and among all the shots with birds in focus, a few even showed two birds in action. If I learned something from this project, it is that don’t rely on anything told on YouTube nature photography channels. They have been claiming to start at 1/1250s shutter speed for birds in flight which I learned already before this project is too slow.
My shots which show sharp images have been taken at 1/3200s, 1/4000s and 1/5000s. Having enough light at these shutter speeds is very important. I will return to this project in February or early March. Then, I should have more light available.