Platform Feeder Auto Focus Method
While a large majority of my success has been with manually focusing on the feeder stand and begin shooting as a bird comes in, I found its a whole lot easier to photograph a bird leaving the feeder or prop than it is trying to photograph one coming in. The only drawback is keeping focus on the bird and waiting for it to leave. It’s a lot more bearable if you use live view vs staring through the viewfinder. Some birds only stay milliseconds and some birds stay for a while.
I have several Woodpeckers visit my feeder daily, because I took the time to study their behavior, I have learned when they are ready to fly away, or at least I think I have, and that’s when I capture them.
What I normally see is a woody land in or on the feeder, eat a few treats, then take one in its its beak and just sit there. That’s the point I know it is getting ready to fly away.
So while the woody has that last morsel in its beak that it wants to take with it, is when I begin to fire away, while it’s still sitting in the feeder. That’s right, while it’s still sitting in the feeder! Sure I get a few shots of the bird in the feeder but as it flies away I pan along with it and keep on firing.
Because I am already focused on it 9 out of 10 times I get a nice clear shot as shown below.
The more FPS (frames per second) your camera shoots, the better your odds of getting a good shot.
Here’s a few more using the same technique.