Cliff Swallow

Posted by LynnS on Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:09 am

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SoCal, 1DX, 200 f/2 + 2.0XT, 1/4000 @ f/5.0, ISO 1000, handheld.

Optional Reading: Many years ago, I described the scenario of how I work on these guys in the spring.  Thought I'd humbly mention it again for anyone interested.  Basically, they nest under a retaining wall overhang next to a walkway in a marina; you've probably already noticed places like that, or even under small bridges.  There is a railing along the walkway, and it conveniently provides a resting place for my arms and rig between breaks of, at times, continous shooting.  The nests are actually right under my feet, beneath the concrete overhang, but I can't see the birds until they come flying out or flying back in.

The key thing I focus on, is making a split-second decision on which Swallow to follow when they first become visible.  After doing this for a while, I've discovered that the easiest target (relatively speaking) is when a bird flies out to do a nice banking "poop loop" turn (it's exactly what it sounds like :)), then flies back under, into the nest.  Another good situation is when they come flying back in from foraging - now remember I can't see what's happening due to the overhang, but I presume perhaps, they didn't get a good landing or perhaps landed in the wrong nest?  Anyway, that means they'll fly back out and make a nice banking loop before disappearing underneath again.  It's at times mind-numbing and frustrating work, and sometimes, all you get is a sore arm and neck.  But having repeated opportunities at a good location greatly increases your potential of getting something you like, and is something to hope for!
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by leigha on Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:18 am
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Wow beautiful, Lynn. I've tried shooting these guys a million times - there's just no way I can follow and lock onto these guys - epic fail every time. Great job.

by Debapratim Saha on Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:32 am
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Nice shooting techs and an excellent BIF shot!!

by John Meade on Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:46 am
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Nice shot, Lynn!

by Ron Day on Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:00 pm
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What a super banking pose! Love the soft light, the color in the swallow, and the perfect background. A difficult shot to acquire, and the information you shared will assist any of us who desire to give it a try. Congrats on this successful image, Lynn!

by david fletcher on Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:22 pm
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best Swallow shot I've seen Lynn. Outstanding. The added info is such a bonus can only say thanks
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by Jakejacoby on Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:11 pm
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Beautifully captured. And, great instructional information. Hope I could do half as good someday.

by James Vellozzi on Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:06 pm
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I have tried this and yet to succeed.. Someday I will.. but kudos your way for this incredible shot..
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by Carol Clarke on Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:50 pm
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Brilliant capture Lynn!  Your patience and hard work really paid off here, thanks for the information on your strategy - got to love the 'poop loop'..... perfect description! :D

Wonderful shot!
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by Tim Zurowski on Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:53 pm
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Simply outstanding Lynn!! Like Leigha, I have zero success trying to photograph any swallow in flight.
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by Doug Brown on Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:02 pm
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Impressive frame Lynn!

by KK Hui on Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:57 pm
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Awesome top flight, Lynn!
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by Axel Hildebrandt on Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:18 pm
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Very cool pose and eye contact, well worth the effort, Lynn! I particularly like the fanned tail in this one.
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by sirianul on Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:23 pm
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Great in flight bird picture and thanks for info.

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by colaleog on Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:59 pm
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Maravillosa !!!! and thanks for you explication

by c.w. moynihan on Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:09 pm
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Stunning !!!

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by David Salem on Tue Jul 18, 2017 7:38 am
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Beautiful capture Lynn!! Love the pose, head angle and the great details in this one. Not easy for sure. Thanks for the info. If I ever see a situation like this I will definitely give it a try. Interesting lens combo for this shot. Great job
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by Karl Egressy on Tue Jul 18, 2017 7:51 am
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Great write up and a truly amazing image, Lynn. I would also spend hours and days to get a shot like this.

by Denis55 on Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:41 am
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This is so gorgeous,Lynn!
These guys are tough,and the description of your location,and behavior matches what I have observed at my colony.Pays to stand back,and observe for a while,to see if a pattern emerges.bought the 400do few months ago,and was excited to go try these,but my colony is inaccessible this year,due to flooding of the road leading there!
Frustrating for sure,but you nailed this one.Perfect in every way.Love your choice of lens,keeping it light,and mobile for these speedsters.
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by clement on Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:57 pm
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This is beyond any of my imagination.. Standing ovation Lynn

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