Practice Makes Perfect
I'm not one for sitting on my arse waiting for the perfect shot, I have to get out there with my camera even if it is raining and the light is terrible. Wildlife photography is an addiction (to me anyway) if I haven't been out with the camera once in a week I start to get frustrated with myself that I should have put more effort into planning something to do. That's why every week I sit down at my desk and look at the local weather reports so I can plan exactly where I will be going that week. As I'm new to this area most of my days are spent finding new areas with wildlife that I may have not photographed before or subjects I want develop on that I've photographed in the past. Whichever it is, I have to stick to my plan and get out with the camera at least once a week.
One of the reasons I do this is so I don't start getting rusty with my technique, the more you get out there with your camera the quicker you are going to learn new things and start to really master your craft. Which is why I get frustrated with myself if I haven't been out photographing something that week as I feel I will be slowing my future career down and I won't be expanding my knowledge of the subject.
These shots were taken at my local beach in Ayr Scotland, it's a great place to practice as there are quite a few different birds to photograph like Gulls and Swans. The main skill I wanted to focus on was capturing birds flying at high speeds, trying different focus patterns e.g. the amount of focus points to have on or just to use the auto-select. After a few hours I decided the 51 points with 3D tracking is the best option that delivers in-focus images 9 out of 10 times! With this setup I found it easier to lock on to the subject and keep it in focus even if it left the area where the focus point is as the camera would automatically search for subject by using the other focus points to keep it in focus.
I'm now very confident that the setup that I'm using is working perfect for me, yes maybe I don't get all the shots in focus but if it was that easy then I wouldn't enjoy it as much as I love to challenge myself. Wildlife photography is never easy, there are so many elements that have to be right in order for you to be able to get the shot you want, that's why I always think it's important to plan the shots you want to create beforehand and learn as much as you can about the subject as well as master the gear that you use.