Choosing The Shot: Birds in Flight

Andrew Beck All Authors, Andrew Leave a Comment

For many photographers, the hardest part of their work-flow comes down to choosing the images that will “make it through to the next round” for editing purposes. This is a crucial part of any digital work-flow, and being able to cull the 40 or so images from that awesome cheetah sighting you witnessed down to a handful of images can be a tough process.

In this series of blog posts, I will run through some of the criteria that I like to use when working through and selecting my best images from sightings.

So far I have touched on selecting only images which you are sure are sharp and in focus, how the devil is in the detail, and implying movement. You should already be picking up a trend that it really does come down to the small details when choosing a single “best image” out of a sequence of images. I am going to stick with this theme and show you another example.

Birds in flight are a photographers delight and we are often left with a sequence of  images which we need to whittle down to just one. Here is a sequence I took during our Masai Mara Migration Safaris in kenya last year:

Choosing the shot - Posture & Positioning

Image 1

Choosing the shot - Posture & Positioning

Image 2

Choosing the shot - Posture & Positioning

Image 3

Choosing the shot - Posture & Positioning

Image 4

Choosing the shot - Posture & Positioning

Image 5

I am sure that many of us have similar images of birds returning to a perch, taking of from a perch or simply coming in to land. Which of these images would you choose as your “hero” shot?

Personally, there are two images from this sequence that stand out for me. Image 3 is striking as it helps to portray the size of the vulture with the wings at full spread. The light was in my favour here so there wasn’t any issue with the head being covered by shadows cast by the wings.

This is something to watch out for with images where the wings are in full spread as shadows often fall across the head of the bird in these sorts of situations.

Choosing the shot - Posture & Positioning

Image 3

Image 4 also appeals to me as it seems to convey the speed at which the bird was coming in, you really get a sense that the vulture was bombing in to land in this frame. Again, the head is not covered in shadow and the story is pretty clear.

Images 1, 2 and 5 don’t possess the same story telling attributes as 3 and 4 and this is purely based on the posture of the bird and the position of the wings.

Choosing the shot - Posture & Positioning

Image 4

The final result, Image 3 after a slight crop in from the top left hand side of the frame:

Final

I’m trying to find some more interesting examples to share with you guys but perhaps you have a sequence of your own which you are struggling to decide on?

If so, drop me an email and lets see if we can’t help you out!

Andrew Beck

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  1. Pingback: 5 Images from the Masai Mara that didn't make the cut - Wild Eye Photography

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