Photographing birds whether at Walt Disney World or out in the wild is a challenge. While many birds at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are content to stand and be still for photographs. Others are not. If you have ever watched the Eastern Golden Weavers inside the Aviary of the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, you know what I mean. These little yellow birds fly in and out from their nests all day long. They rarely stop and pose for the camera.
To best capture a photo of moving birds, set your camera to Shutter Priority mode (or Sport Mode) and use a fast shutter speed. For the photo below, I used 1/500th of a second and let the camera choose the aperture and ISO. Continuous mode where you press the shutter and the camera fires off multiple exposures is a big help, too. I observed where the birds would often land on the fern. Birds often have favorite perches. They would only stay there for a second or two so I needed to be quick. I have a few lovely shots of the fern by itself when I was too slow. Persistence and patience paid off here.
Eastern Golden Weaver inside the Aviary of the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/500s, f/5.6, ISO 6400, EV +0.3, 300mm Focal Length.
When attending a bird show like the former Flights of Wonder (soon to be replaced by a new show featuring Dug and Russell, from Pixar’s UP!) you are often told where the birds will start from, fly to and land. This allowed me to capture this Harris Hawk landing on a handler’s glove. Notice I used 1/1000th of a second here to freeze the action. Again, continuous mode allowed me to get a sequence of photos as the hawk landed. This was my favorite one of the bunch.
Harris Hawk landing on a handler’s glove in the Flights of Wonder show.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/1000s, f/4, ISO 1800, EV 0, 120mm Focal Length.
While I do like to see a sharp photo of a flying bird, sometimes I want to convey the energy and movement of them. This is what I did for the launch of several Macaws during the Winged Encounters – The Kingdom Takes Flight presentation on Discovery Island. The slow (for bird movement) shutter of 1/125th of a second allowed the wings of the colorful birds to become blurred as they flew off.
Macaws fly in Winged Encounters – The Kingdom Takes Flight on Discovery Island.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/4, ISO 100, EV +0.3, 35mm Focal Length, Skylum Intensify CK.
Birds are easy to find around the world, not just in Walt Disney World, and are a fun subject to photograph.