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Keep your eyes on the target

January 25, 2010

Scott Bourne recently added a primer on taking pictures of birds in flight. One more thing I would suggest when taking pictures of fast moving objects is to keep both eyes open. If you’re like me, when my eye hits the eyepiece on my camera my head, hands and camera become one. If I want to look up, I tilt my head back and the camera and my hands go with it, I don’t just tilt the camera or my eye.  Sometimes I’ll look down to check exposure settings in the viewfinder but otherwise everything is tied together. Your head, hands and camera essentially become one big eye and looking through just the eye piece is like tunnel vision, you just don’t get the whole picture.

When you catch a bird in your sight with your camera they can be unpredictable and not always fly in a straight line. I find that keeping both eyes open helps you to track the bird, or object, much easier. When the view from your eyepiece is relatively close to the view from your other eye it’s pretty easy. It’s takes a lot of practice, though, when you’re zooming in. The bird can be a spec in your regular vision, but huge in the eyepiece. With some practice, though, you won’t need to pull away from your camera to try to find out where that bird went.

So give it a try. Find some birds and take some pictures with out this technique. See how many of your pictures turn out with the bird non-centered, half-way in the frame or not even in the picture and how many times you had to pull away from the camera to find your bird.  Then try with both eyes open. I think you’ll find that there will be a slight improvement.

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