By Mike Busch

The Long Island Wildlife Photography group had another great week in the field, submitting a wide variety of quality images from both land and sea.

Going through this week’s photos I really felt bad leaving some potentially great shots behind due to focus issues.

I still include poorly focused images in this feature when the subject or the situation allows but for those of you new to wildlife photography, one of the most important things to get sharp are the eyes.  If your shutter is not fast enough or your focus points are off it is almost possible to get sharp images.  Another issue is the wrong focus point.  For example if a birds neck or wing is perfectly in focus but the head and eyes are blurry it really takes away from the overall image.

The best photography advice I have received and passed on to others is back button focus.  Every modern DSLR has this feature, you will need to do a Google or YouTube search for your particular model.   You are basically removing the focus from the shutter button and moving it to the A/E Lock button, which is in a great spot to handle with your thumb.  When you remove the focusing function from your shutter button you no longer have to worry about holding it down halfway to maintain focus on your subject.  When a bird is in flight, it is easy to push a little too hard and take an out of focus shot.  By the time you recover, the bird will be gone!

I set my camera to continuous single point focus.  That allows me to hold a different button (AE-Lock) and track the subject and maintain focus the entire time,  allowing the freedom to take the shot at the precise moment I want to or just spray and pray.

This is not just for wildlife photography, it will just become second nature and you will forget how to focus the old way.

It might sound complicated but once you get used to it I doubt you will ever go back!

Here is an article from Nikon that goes into more detail if you are interested.

Some of the highlights this week include Humpback Whales, Bottlenose Dolphin, Immature Bald Eagles, a Diamondback Terrapin, Red Headed Woodpeckers, and a nice variety of Butterflies.  I also included two excellent videos on page 5 of a Common Loon swimming under a boat from Thomas Sposato and Bald Eagle victory lap with a stolen fish from Natalie Ann.

This week’s cover goes to John Martello with a great shot of a flock of Black Skimmers.

Barbara Lash | Juvenile Bald Eagle

Artie Kopelman | Humpback Whale

Fred Kopf | Black Skimmers

Heff Stoppe | Cormorant

Jay King | Ruby Throated Hummingbird

Jim Botta | Laughing Gull

Ken Grille | Red Headed Woodpecker

Rainy Sepulveda | Green Heron

Steven Williams | American Coot

William Walsh | Box Turtle

More Images on Pages 2,3,4,and 5