Tips on Photographing Vultures in Flight

Photo Credit by Ned Harris.

I will provide some tips on how to photograph vultures in flight.  This image above is not mine, I am just using it as a example for my blog post, but if you want to view my work then scroll down to the bottom of this article and click the hyper link that links you to my website.  I have spent over a decade photographing vultures in flight and I have found them pretty easy to photograph over the years.  The image above is of an American Black Vulture and they reside as far north as southeastern United States and their range extends as far south as southern South America.  The American Black Vulture and many vultures in general mostly contain black or dark colored plumage which makes it pretty hard to photograph them against a bright sky with enough lighting to expose well under their dark colored underparts.  One way to avoid this dilemma is to photograph vultures around early morning or later in the evening when the lighting is most optimal for photographing birds in flight.  Vultures tend to leave their roost around early to mid morning and arrive to their roosting site to later in the evening before night fall.  Usually around mid day, vultures are flying really high up in the sky looking and scanning the terrain for carcasses so basically your main objective is to focus on positioning yourself during times when vultures are flying closer to the earth rather than during other times when they are soaring too high above.

Now you have to keep in mind that vultures are the highest flying birds with the Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture reaching heights of up to 37,000 feet and while the Turkey Vulture can reach heights of up to 20,000 feet in the air.  Vultures are one of the most challenging birds to photograph in flight but also the most rewarding.  One tip to keep in mind for when planning to photograph vultures during early or mid morning is to beware of the wind or updraft conditions.  For example, which way is the wind or updraft blowing and is the breeze blowing strongly or softly?  If the wind is blowing against you, position yourself and your camera towards that direction and look for closely approaching flying birds.  Try staying near open terrain where it is easier for you to photograph closely approaching flying birds.

Another great tip to keep in mind is to locate residential vultures’ roosting sites and this will increase you chances of photographing vultures in flight.  Try going to their roosting sites early in the morning before they start taking off to the skies or later in the evening when they are planning for roosting for the night.  You can also rack some luck by driving on the road and keeping an open eye out for dead carcasses and these are prime places for spotting vultures feasting on them along the roadside.

Here’s a youtube video of Giant Turtles vs Black Vultures:

Video Credit by BBC Worldwide.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my article concerning photographing vultures in flight and have learned something new from me and from perspective.  To learn more about me, then visit by clicking my Website.


Bird In Flight Photography

Photo Credit by Vic Berardi.

I have spent over ten years photographing nature and animals and from my long years of experience I will share with you readers some of my tips and advice concerning birds in flight photography.  This isn’t one of my images above, but I am using it as an example for my article, but if you want to see my work, then visit my Website.

Before I even picked up a camera, I have studied birds from researching and reading bird books  and to listening to bird calls on bird websites.  I first became an expert at identifying bird calls, their bird feathers, and comprehending their behavior so that for later on, I would be ready to start photographing them.  So first things first, if you want to get into bird photography, become knowledgeable about your subject.  The vital lesson here.  The hunter must know its prey before it can start hunting it down.  Trust me, my important advice will save you a lot of time and frustration.

My second advice is to pick the right telephoto lens that best suits your needs, your hunting strategies, your environment, and geographic region.  I have only two lens, my 18-55mm lens which is most suited for shooting landscape photography, and my 75-300mm lens which is suited for shooting nature and wildlife photography and that’s basically my camera equipment.  Of course I would rather possess a longer telephoto lens such as 1,000mm lens and a professional  camera like a Canon 5D Mark III, but I don’t have the funds to support my luxury photography equipment.  I have to make good use of the photography equipment that I do have.

I rely on my knowledge of birds to photograph and capture my bird images and this tremendously makes up for my small telephoto lens.  Now I’m not saying that you can’t capture marvelous birds images with a 75-300mm lens or even as small as a 200mm lens because you easily can.  You just have to know your subject well.  For beginners in birds in flight photography, I recommend that you start photographing sea gulls because they are more approachable and they are a lot easier to manage. Of course this can only make good use for you if seagulls reside in your region, but even if they don’t, I’m sure there are birds in your region that are easier to approach.  I photograph seagulls by throwing bread in the air to them to initially attract them to me, but then to also trick them into preforming different aerial tricks in front of me so that I can just start snapping pictures of them.  I usually preform routines with seagulls by myself because I love the challenge, but you can also bring someone along to have them throw the bread in the air while you just focus on snapping the pictures.

Your geographic region and environment can have an effect on your bird photography.  I spend more of my time photographing raptors in flight than any other bird and I reside in the east coast and because I reside on the eastern side of the United States, this has an affect on my chances of photographing raptors.  Raptors of the western part of the United States are tamer and easier to photograph and its a lot of easier to photograph them, but photographing raptors in the east coast can take decades and I am a perfect example of this.  There are many reasons why raptors on the west coast are tamer than the raptors in the east coast but I don’t have time to discuss that for this blog post. All of these factors have an affect on your chances of photographing and capturing birds in flight.  You have to study and know your subject.  Of course there are a lot more things involved in bird in flight photography, but my blog post will be too long to read so I will end it here guys.

Here’s a youtube video of Eagle vs Hare:

Video Credit by BBC Earth.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my article concerning bird in flight photography and have learned something new from me and from perspective.  To learn more about me, then visit by clicking my Website.