I first started photographing birds in flight (BIF) in 2017 in Cape Town. I had previously been concentrating only on sea and riverscapes, and street photography. The word was that proficiency in BIF was hard, and expensive as it needed special lenses, great technique and high-speed cameras for any kind of success. I rapidly found out that this was extremely true.

Technology and my technique have improved massively since then, and this trip I returned to again photograph the mighty Sacred Ibis, an amazing bird, which congregates in significant numbers very close to our house in Noordhoek. While in pre-Covid times, I would often return from a photography session with no usable photographs at all, the situation has changed such that I now get literally thousands of them. Don’t worry, you don't have to look at them all, but it has enabled me to focus in on the real magic of these very special creatures. I have written an extensive post on the improvements in cameras, lenses and technique over the last seven years here, and it's worth a read if you want to understand how these shots were taken

As with Gannets, the appearance and aerodynamics of the Sacred Ibis are startlingly different between their flight mode (legs straight out)and their landing mode (legs down). The first half of the album shows their beautiful wings in flight. The second half shows the apparent utter disarray of their landing. What looks like chaos in the wing department is a actually very effective selection of flaps, ailerons and spoilers to slow and control the descent of a pretty large chunk of bird. You absolutely cannot see this display with the naked eye, so as with long exposure, the camera can enable you to see the otherwise unseeable.

Touch or click any image to go to a lightbox view and then touch the full screen icon in the top right hand corner to get the best viewing experience. And for information on the shot and the location, be sure to click the little 'i' icon