Yesterday at Lake Jesup, a Bald Eagle flew very close to me. I was looking for ducks, loons and grebes sitting in the water at at the time, so I had my camera set for birds sitting still on the water. When shooting still birds, I normally select only the center focusing point and put the focusing mode on “One Shot.”
When shooting birds in flight, I want all the focusing points active with the focusing mode on “AI Servo” to better track birds in flight. It’s a little bit of a pain to switch between these two shooting modes. If you try to shoot the bird in flight with “One Shot” and one focusing point, you’re likely to get a lot of blurry photos. But if you try to change the focusing points and focusing mode, you’re likely to miss the shot all together.
There’s a solution to this problem, though. You can use the Custom Modes. Using custom modes, you just switch the dial on the camera to make all the changes. I use C1 for still birds and C2 for birds and flight. So yesterday when this Bald Eagle flew by, I quickly switched from C1 to C2 while swiveling my camera on its tripod and started shooting. It didn’t cost me any time.
Adult Bald Eagles can also be a little bit of a challenge to photograph, since they have dark bodies and white heads. It’s very easy to overexpose the head or under expose the body and/or wings. And on sunny days, you can also sometimes lose contrast between the white head and a bright sky. But this eagle was pretty nice to me. In the first photo, I had one shot with the eagle’s wing behind it’s head, giving me nice contrast. There’s still shadow under it wings, but I like the shot anyway.