Brown-Headed Cowbird in Flight (Female)

Set-up in camera tent with tripod, no flash but fast speed and somewhat high ISO. Can anyone mention the need for the high (1/5000) shutter speed?

Specific Feedback Requested


Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Canon 5ds-r at f.7.1, 5000sec., and iso 1600 using 100x400x1.4 lens at 338mm. Used Lightroom, Photoshop for cropping and cloning out partial bird on left bottom, burned down some bright leaves and Topaz to remove noise.


Pretty cool to stop the wings, Wayne. If you have the canvas, I think the composition would work a bit better with the bird in the upper right portion of the frame. There also seems to be a lot of chromatic noise in the background.

Thanks Dennis, with my fast shutter speed, I wonder if pushing for a lower “f” stop might compensate for my low light and high noise. I’ve been playing with “manual” mode lately, especially with these action shots. I set the camera to focus where the birds will be when they attempt to land. It also helps when another bird is feeding on the target perch when the second bird tries to land but must hold off in flight for a few seconds.

Nice flight detail. It is a bit noisy in the background. I would agree with Dennis’s thought on more room for the bird to fly into. I was listening to a bird photographer yesterday who suggested 1/3200 as the maximum needed for a small bird in flight. I have no personal experience, though.

A very nice capture! I agree with more to the left and below – I’d remove the leaves on the left and add canvas. There is something bizarre still going on with your BGs. Relatively featureless areas should not look like that. Is it the camera or the processing – or both??

Nicely done John. Interesting method for getting your shots and a good idea. Even with the fast action and it being very close to you I think you could reduce the ss. I also think the first place you would see motion blur would be on the wing tips. Blur on the wing tips can add to the sense of fast action and motion. . I also think it is a bit tight.