Tag Archives: bird photography

Nikon Z9 Wildlife Settings Guide Update

Now Includes Settings for Nikon Z9 Firmware v2.1

I’m pleased to announce the immediate release of the second edition of Bird Photography with the Nikon Z9. This new edition is updated to include the new features (and their consequences) available with Nikon Z9 firmware version 2.1

What’s New in the Second Edition

  • I’ve fully updated the printable PDF guide to include new features in Z9 firmware 2.1, including:
    • Wide-area Custom AF
    • Recall shooting settings (hold)
    • Focus recall
    • Pre-burst capture
    • Focus point selection speed
    • High FPS viewfinder display
  • I completely revised my custom settings to incorporate the new features in the Z9 and my most recent control configurations for both BBF and Shutter AF
  • Updated camera file (.bin) includes my latest Z9 camera settings

Better Backgrounds for Your BIFs

The difference between a blue sky and a dynamic background in bird photos is amazing

Brown pelican on the southern California coast

Most of the time, when we photograph birds in flight, we simply capture an image of a bird against a blank blue sky. Maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll get a cloud or two in the background, too. If you can capture flying birds in front of an interesting background, your shots can be improved dramatically.

Southern California: The Perfect Coastal Backdrop for Bird Photography

Brandt’s cormorants near La Jolla, CA

The southern California coast is a great place to capture unique photographs of birds in flight. The high cliffs offer a vantage point where instead of pointing up into the sky, you can point down at the rocky shore below. The backgrounds can include waves, spray, and the coastline. These dynamic backgrounds make for interesting photographs that are so much more than just plain blue skies.

Join me to photograph birds in flight in San Diego, California, Jan 22-26, 2023.

Brown pelicans circling the beach near La Jolla, California

Birds in Flight Photography Workshop

January 22-26, 2023 in La Jolla, CA

Royal Tern, La Jolla, CA

Join me in La Jolla, California to immerse yourself in the art of bird photography. This exclusive instructional photo safari is limited to six (6) participants for a personal experience that you can’t get from the big tours. I offer “ask me anything” instruction during the safari to ensure you’re getting the best quality images. Because of the small group size, I’m able to offer a more intimate instructional style that allows each participant to get the knowledge they need to succeed.

Winter is the breeding season for the pelicans and cormorants in southern California, so we’ll be able to capture them in their colorful breeding plumage.

This workshop is perfect for intermediate to advanced photographers who wish to learn how to capture stunning images of birds in flight. We will have the opportunity to photograph numerous species, including pelicans, cormorants, gulls, and terns. We will also likely encounter sea lions and other wildlife on the beaches, and have the opportunity to get some nice sunsets and environmental shots.

Each day, we will download and process our images together as a group, get critiques, and learn new techniques to make your photos stand out. I will work with you to capture and process the best possible images into beautiful finished products.

Click the RSVP button to learn more, and to register! This event is limited to 6 photographers.

RSVP Now

Nikon Z9 eBook Released

The complete settings guide to bird and wildlife photography with the Nikon Z9 mirrorless camera

American coot © Jason P. Odell
Discover the secrets to bird photography using the Nikon Z9 camera.

I’m pleased to announce the official release of my newest PDF eBook, Bird Photography with the Nikon Z9. This comprehensive guide has all of the settings and customizations I use for bird and wildlife photography with the Nikon Z9 mirrorless camera. But this book is more than just a list of settings. I will walk you through not just which settings I recommend, but why I recommend them.

Bird Photography with the Nikon Z9 offers an in-depth look at the inner workings of the Nikon Z9 autofocus system, with detailed descriptions of all of its customizations. You’ll also learn how to optimize the buttons and controls on the Nikon Z9 for bird and wildlife photography, plus everyday settings. I’ve included sample configurations for both regular (shutter) and back button focusing setups, too. You’ll get shooting settings for exposure, frame rate, and metering for all types of bird photography scenarios, including birds in flight.

Beyond the camera settings, you’ll also get my tips and tricks for capturing dynamic bird photos with the Nikon Z9, and ways to improve your photography.

  • Includes a custom Nikon Z9 camera settings file, Adobe Lightroom develop presets, and a structured keyword list of over 10,000 bird species
  • View the table of contents here
  • Bird Photography with the Nikon Z9 is available now via digital download

What’s the best frame rate for photographing birds in flight?

Is 20+ frames per second really necessary in wildlife photography?

Brandt’s cormorant on final approach, La Jolla, CA | Nikon Z9 + 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6S VR Z Nikkor

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Introduction

Wildlife photographers love mirrorless cameras because many of them offer incredibly fast frame capture rates. I recently got the new Nikon Z9 mirrorless camera, and one of its best features is its ability to shoot RAW at up to 20 frames per second (fps) with no viewfinder blackout. Other mirrorless cameras, like the Sony A1 and Canon R3 offer frame rates as high as 30 fps. The appeal of such fast burst rates for still photography is that these speeds increase the probability that you’ll capture a moment of peak action, or a dynamic animal pose.

The downside to capturing images at these high frame rates is the sheer volume of images you’ll end up with. Not only will you fill your memory cards faster, but you’ll also have to slog through hundreds or even thousands of shots in your triage/culling workflow. Another challenge with setting your camera to high-speed frame advance is that it becomes nearly impossible to fire off a single shot. Even with practice and good shutter release technique, once the camera is set to capture images at greater than 12 fps, shooting individual images is really difficult.

Obviously, there are certain subjects and situations that call for fast burst rates, and for most wildlife photographers, flying birds are most frequently that subject. In most wildlife photography scenarios, super-fast frame rates just lead to lots of redundant images. But when you’re trying to capture flying birds, high frame rates do offer an advantage.

Continue reading What’s the best frame rate for photographing birds in flight?