Birds in Flight – Evening Light: Using the ‘Golden Hours’ to get great flight shots!

All photographers know that the opportune time to photograph birds is during the ‘Golden Hour’. These ‘Golden Hours’ occurs twice a day – an hour or so after sunrise, and an hour or so before sunset. The lighting is perfect; not too dark but also not too bright and harsh. Photographing birds during the ‘Golden Hours’ is also my favorite time to get flight shots of birds – the lighting is still bright enough that you can keep a high shutter speed and low ISO, but the sun is also low enough that it illuminates the undersides of the birds very well. Also, the best flight shots in my opinion are ones that show a natural deep blue sky in the background. This can be difficult to achieve during the middle of the day, or on overcast days. However, when the weather is nice and you are out during the golden hours, the sun casts a beautiful soft, warm color and the background can be a stunning blue color that really adds a lot to photos. Below are a few photos I took during my recent trip down to Florida, that demonstrate the benefit of photographing birds in the ‘Golden Hour’ right before sunset.

Black Skimmer - adult at Huguenot Memorial Park, Florida (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Little Blue Heron - adult at La Chua Trail, Florida (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Herring Gull - immature at Huguenot Memorial Park, Florida (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Brown Pelican - adult at Huguenot Memorial Park, Florida (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

American Avocet - Bear Island WMA, South Carolina (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)