Bird photography and a bad surprise

Bird photography at Tokyo Port Wild Bird Park again! In the morning, I looked out the window and was thrilled. The weather was perfect, the exact type I liked. There were many big fluffy cumulonimbus clouds. I grabbed my Fujifilm X-T3 and put the 100-400 mm lens on it. Little did I know an unpleasant surprise was waiting for me!

In the morning, I was pumped. The last time I visited the park was in the summer of 2021. At that time, it was a cloudless and hot day. I didn’t get any good photos. It was disappointing. But now I had a chance to make up for it. I was determined to improve.

The day started well enough. It was early autumn. The sky looked great, and there were birds in the park. Most of them were great cormorants. The rest were spot-billed ducks. Great egrets and grey herons came later.

Birds were in the water, on trees, and flying around. I was happy. In my mind, I could see many awesome photos being uploaded to my computer once I got home. Well, as often happens, life had a surprise for me. And it wasn’t a good one!

Eventually, I checked my photos. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Many of the birds looked blurry. Well, some looked okay. What was wrong? Was I that out of practice? I pressed on. Honestly, I couldn’t understand what the problem was.

Finally, the pin dropped.  I forgot something. The Fujifilm X-T3 has three focus modes. It has single, continuous and manual. Can you guess what I did?

For most of my afternoon at Tokyo Port Wild Bird Park, I had my X-T3 in single-focus mode. Anything stationary looked great. Anything that moved was a different story. Most of those photos were blurry. I felt like such a dummy. It was a really horrible surprise. Well, maybe that was the wrong word in this case. But that is what it felt like.

So I changed to continuous. It improved my bird photography tenfold. But the weather had changed. So I got some nice pics, but not with the skies I wanted. Such is life.

Anyway, I accomplished my goal for the day. These photos are much better than my last visit to Tokyo Port Wild Bird Park. If only I had put my camera into continuous focus mode! It would have coped with flying objects much better.

Bird photography isn’t easy! But, the correct settings make it easier. Next time, I’ll use continuous focus mode. I hope I don’t forget!

By the way, do you do bird photography? If you do, let me know what lens you use. Maybe my 100-400 mm is too short? I need the 150-600. To be honest, I’m quite envious of Nikon, Canon, and Sony. Those three camera brands all have bigger and faster offerings.

What do you think of these photos? You can leave comments and questions below. And if you have been to the Tokyo Port Wild Bird Park, let us know your experience there. And if you have ever had an unpleasant surprise like mine, tell us about that too!

Bird photography and a bad surprise photo gear:

  • Camera: Fujifilm X-T3
  • Lens: Fujinon XF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 R LM WR OIS

For more bird photography articles, look at:

These photographs were taken on September 30, 2022.

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