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Gary Detonnancourt

Harrisville, RI 02830
United States

More Than A Snapshot provides online photography education.

Booth Bay Harbor 2013-5410-color enhanced.jpg


This is the blog for More Than A Snapshot's Online Photography Classes.  In these blog posts I will give photography tips, tutorials, and show images.

Filtering by Tag: birds

August Contest Theme and July Contest Results

Gary Detonnancourt


Every Month you may post 2 of your best images for our photo contest. To enter, please upload the images in the comment section below by clicking on the Landscape icon or you can use an image host like Flickr by pasting the embed link in the comment bar.  Please post each image in a separate comment for voting purposes.  A prize will be awarded to the first place image.

I will post a new subject on last Thursday of the month.  The previous month's contest will end on the last Thursday of the month at 5 pm EST.  I or a guest judge will select the winners.








The winner needs to email with your choice of the four courses listed above. Then I will respond with your coupon code.

Congratulations to Matt DiMaio for Fresh Fish Deliverd to the Misses.


Please post your entries in the comment section below.  Try to use an image that is at least 1024x768.

5 Tips for Capturing Better Action Shots

Gary Detonnancourt


1.  Use a Fast Shutter Speed

I like to have a shutter speed of 1/1000 second or faster for shooting action.

Canon 7D with the Canon 400 mm F/5.6

2.  Use continuous auto-focus and back button focusing

3.  Tap the AF button instead of holding it down continuously.

Many cameras will auto-focus better if you tap the AF button repeatedly during the action sequence rather than holding it down the whole time.

4.  Use the center auto-focus point

I like to use the center auto-focus point and then crop the image later for the composition I want.

5.  Use any custom settings available for tracking action.

Check out my post on optimizing your camera for shooting birds in flight.

Canon's Custom AF settings

Canon's Custom AF settings


Here are some more images from this shoot.


Wildlife Video

Gary Detonnancourt

Trustom Pond Wildlife Refuge, RI  You can view this video in HD or 4k.

I've been experimenting with a new lens for my Panasonic GH4, it's the Panasonic 14-140 F/3.5-5.6, and so far I think the lens is a great all-around lens.  It's small, lightweight and sharp, perfect for traveling.  I shot these videos with autofocus which is kind of a no-no in videography but I thought the lens did pretty well with these fast moving ird.  

I've been thinking about doing more wildlife videography and this is like a test video.


6 Composition Tips for Bird Photography

Gary Detonnancourt

Composition Tips for Bird Photography

Click this link to get more photography tips.

Details really do matter.  I find that people that specialize in something tend to really focus on details and that's what often separates them from the rest of the crowd.  I'm a bass fishermen, and I've seen two people in the same boat using the same bait and one person is catching fish and the other isn't,  something as simple as changing the size of the bait, can mean the difference between catching a fish or going home hungry.  The same holds true for photography, in this case, Michael specializes in bird photography and has learned through experience which small details can really improve his images of birds. 

1.  The bird should be facing directly toward the viewer or at a profile view, not flying away from the viewer.

Black Crowned Night Heron - Image by Gary Detonnancourt

Black Crowned Night Heron - Image by Gary Detonnancourt

2.  Leave room for the birds movement in the image.

Osprey - Image by Gary Detonnancourt

3.  It's often helpful to see the birds feet.

Heron - Image by Gary Detonnancourt

4.  Leave room in your composition for the feet, even if they are under water.

Egret - Image by Gary Detonnancourt

Egret - Image by Gary Detonnancourt

5.  Show a bird with some personality.  A head tilt or other interesting guesture can really add life to an image.

Mallard - Image by Gary Detonnancourt

6.  Try to capture a catch light in the birds eyes.  This can be done with front light, side light, or a fill flash.

Image by Gary Detonnancourt

Post your images and comments below.

Flight Line

Gary Detonnancourt

This is not a Photoshop trick, these birds were flying in this pattern.  However, I am considering filling in the hole on the left side of the image by cloning in another bird.  What do you think, should I fill in the space or leave it the way it is now?

I'm guessing these are Whimbrel.  Post in the comments if you can identify these birds.  Thanks!  Click on the image to enlarge it.  The body of the bird looks like it could be red.