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A guest blog from Better Photography contributor, Nick Melidonis.

On a recent trip (before COVID ) to the Kimberley and Karijini National Parks, we stayed in some amazing campsites with lots of trees and many by rivers and streams. I like playing with blur shots or what I call the photographic version of 'time and motion' studies and fortunately, most of the campsites had a few flocks of screeching Corellas flying around. I spent many an hour watching them dart in and out of the trees, as well as shooting past us in mid air. I used a Canon 70-300mm lens and decided to try and track the birds as they flew in and out of trees, or as a flock went past. I experimented with shutter times and this was at best 'hit and miss', but I found a sweet spot was around 1/15 second. This was enough to blur the birds into a pleasing abstract and still retain enough detail to make the image decipherable as to its content.

Of course, of the hundreds of images I took, I was only really happy with a few. In the composite above, the left image of a bird skimming the grass was taken at ISO 100, 116mm lens, f22 (to slow the speed down enough) @ 1/13 second. The image on the right of a Corella coming out of a tree was taken at ISO 400, 105mm lens, f10 @ 1/15 second. Processing in lightroom, I added some contrast and Vibrance and found by using the new 'texture' slider to the right, it added some definition to the blur which I thought looked good. 

In the composite below of three images, the left image shows a blurred Corella in mid air, panning as it flew past. Settings were, ISO 100, 170mm lens, f25 @ 1/15 second. This time I was quite pleased with the definition of the bird's feathers in mid flight. The middle image is of Windjana Gorge at sunset. By pulling my camera down, the striking red hues of the cliff walls came out with good definition with a pleasing wavy blur. Settings, ISO 100, 25mm lens (Zeiss 24-105mm on a Sony A7R II), f22 @ 1/15 second. The final image on the right of trees in the campsite was taken with settings ISO 400, 105mm lens, f10 @ 1/15 second.

You can see more of Nick's work at and you can also find out about his workshops, photo tours and one-on-one mentoring,

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