Photo by Scott Bourne – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons

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I’ve been in Alaska for almost a week. I head home today. While in Alaska, we’ve had everything from bright sunshine, to snow, to rain, to sleet, to dark ugly skies. On the last day of the trip, we had ugly, rainy weather. The choices are stay in the hotel or go out and shoot. I went out to shoot.

One of the things I like to do when there is poor light is use it as an excuse to get creative. Since there was no reason to try to shoot eagle portraits or fishing, I decided to do pan blurs.

Working with slow shutter speeds, I panned with the birds as they flew past me. Using shutter speeds between 1/15th and 1/50th of a second (in shutter priority mode.) I simply tried to keep the birds in the frame. The chances for success improve if you have the birds flying across your field of vision as opposed to right at you.

It usually takes several tries to get something that is both artistic yet still recognizable as a bird. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I consider this art so in my mind, anything goes. And it beats sitting in the hotel when you know there are hundreds of eagles nearby!

I made several attempts over a three hour period and the image above is my favorite.

Give this a try the next time you’re faced with less than optimal conditions. Who knows, maybe you’ll get something that you like?


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