As you frame the flying bird, put a focusing sensor on its eye, initiate tracking and compose your photo so there is space on the front… ‘Yeah right…. I shoot Swallows around here!’
I live on the Costa Rican mountains. No lakes and no ocean nearby. Birds in flight for me means Pigeons with tail-wind and fly-hunting Swallows. On top of that, most of the time trees only let me see the birds when they are almost on top of me.
I was testing my reflexes using two lightweight cameras, a Nikon D500 with the 500mm PF lens and an Olympus EM1-3 with the Panasonic Leica 100-400mm. I say reflexes because with these birds all you can hope for is to get the bird somewhere inside the frame, and completely trust the camera’s autofocus and automatic exposure systems to do their jobs.
Trusting the cameras is a must because… there is no way you can search for these fast birds with the camera’s viewfinder. There simply is no time! A Dot Sight is the only way to go.
After some days of practicing, I am confident that next time I photograph flying waterbirds on a trip to the coast… well, they will seem to fly in slow motion!!