Sunday 6 September 2009

Keep em peeled and take advantage

When i ever i am out i take a pair of binoculars with me, I always have my eye out for whats around me-even when i go to the shops i look at the birds nesting in the signs and when i see something of interest i will go back and work out the best way of getting good shots, A couple of weeks ago i was walking my dog around one of the local lakes when i looked over at a small dead tree that was on the opposite side, I could see a white blob on top so i stopped and looked through the 'bins' and noticed a Belted Kingfisher on the top, Firstly i was very excited by this as i had only seen one since moving here a year ago and secondly i was very surprised as this is an incredibly busy place with dog walkers and joggers every minute of the day, I made my way around to where the dead tree was and found a small track through the lakeside trees that fishermen had handily made, The kingfishers instantly saw me and flew off, I kept it in mind and would look at the tree when ever i was there, A couple of days ago after seeing the bird there again i decided that mornings would be best for the light and set up early,3 hrs later and nothing so before leaving i thought it best to be totally hidden and made a hole on the trees and bushes for the lens to poke through, I returned that afternoon and set up, I took a few test shots but now the light was in front of me meaning that the bird would be back lit, I would need fill flash and so put the flashgun and better beamer on and fired off a couple of test shots to make sure that the light hit the perch through the foliage and that the exposure was ok, I was concerned that if i gave too much flash that the whites of the bird would burn out, I was also concerned that the flash would spook the bird and that it would fly off after one shot, I was there about 45 mins when the bird arrived and landed on the perch, Luckily it was facing me, I let it settle and then took a shot, The bird jumped but stayed put, so after checking the screen for exposure and making sure that there were not any highlights blinking i carried on, The bird stayed about 1.5hrs and in that time i managed 187 shots, It also caught 2 fish, I noticed that when i caught a fish i would land back on the perch for a few seconds before going to another branch sticking out of the water to beat its brains in and swallow it before coming back, I will need to have a look and see if its at all possible to get a position on the other branch as its very low to the water and you will get nice a reflection, So an amazingly succesful first session and i will be back tonight for another go, I have some shots that i would like in mind so now i have some shots in the bag maybe time to be abit more adventurous, I used the Nikon D3 body as the light would be low, Now everybody nows what a great camera this is and how good it is at high ISO,Well i started shooting at ISO 400 and soon upped that to 800 but i still like to keep the ISO as low as i can so i dropped the ISO back to 400 and once i had the focus point over the birds eye i would use a remote cable to fire the shot so getting a sharp image at very low shutter speeds for the length of the lens (600+1.4x), The shots here were about 1/60 @ F11

1 comment:

  1. Well spotted Dave,

    I have never seen one of these before so thanks for posting the pictures, It must have been such a treat to see, I used to laugh when my dad always insisted on taking his Binoculars out with him each time we went out walking his dogs, He would even take them if he was just walking round to the shops....

    A lesson to learn :-)