5 Tips for Making Images of Fast Moving Animals

This morning I visited one of my favorite wildlife photography spots – Yarra Bend Park in suburban Melbourne, Australia. It is about 20 minutes from where I live and has a colony of thousands of flying foxes. If you’d like more details about where to find Yarra Bend Park, please see this post.

I was there for about 1 hour and made a wide range of flying fox images. Here are 5 tips for making images of fast moving animals.


Flying Fox

Fast shutter speeds are required for fast moving animals

Tip 1 – Continuous Focusing Mode

When an animal is moving quickly, getting it in focus is key to a successful image. Use continuous focusing mode on your camera to track the animal as it moves, and to give you the best chance at an image in focus.

Flying Fox

Increase ISO to help with fast shutter speeds. This shot was taken at ISO400.

Tip 2 – Increase the ISO

To allow a fast shutter speed you may need to increase the ISO setting on your camera. In the images posted here the ISO ranged from 400 (for the images shot against the cloudy sky) through to 1250 where I was shooting against a dark green background.

Tip 3 – Fast Shutter Speeds

The combination of continuous focusing mode, ISO, and fast shutter speed will give the best chance for sharply focused images. In the flying images here I have used 1/2000s for the majority of these images.

Tip 4 – Expect Lots of Failures

When animals are moving quickly you will have a large number which are out of focus or not well composed. Don’t be upset, this is normal in wildlife photography. You will find that your percentage of good images increases with practice.

Flying fox

Be alert for the opportunity to shoot strong images when the animal stops

Tip 5 – Look for Strong Images When the Animal Stops

It can be tempting to only shoot the animal as it is moving. Resist this urge, and create some very different images when the animal stops. The flying foxes roost in the trees given an excellent opportunity for images as they hang upside down.

Thanks very much for reading 5 Tips for Making Images of Fast Moving Animals.

Flying fox

Practice will increase your percentage of successful images.

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