Black Skimmers Return to Long Island

Every year photographers flock to the beaches on Long Island to photograph the Black Skimmers.  This summer will be no different as I'll likely return many times to document their behavior.  Since they fly at speeds in excess of twenty-five mph, they are a real challenge to track in the air.  With the camera mounted to the tripod, I use one hand to move the camera, panning along the horizon.  Meanwhile, I have the cable release in the other hand, squeezing the shutter button down halfway.  The trick is to keep the center focusing sensor on the bird.  This gets easier with practice and there will be lots of throw away shots.  Don't be discouraged as blurry birds in flight photos happen to all of us.  Keep at it, and you'll get what you are looking for.  Also, with birds that fly this fast, you'll want to make sure your shutter speed is at least 1/1000 or faster.  For this particular shot, I was at 1/4000, f5.6 and ISO 800.  As I continue to photograph these beautiful birds, I'll share some of the highlights here.  If you have any great bird species in your area, I'd love to hear about it in the comment area. 


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ChrisLong Island