Saturday 12 September 2009

Local Patch-Kingfishers

Kingfishers can be very difficult birds to photograph but if you keep am eye on them and find their favorite perches then your chances of getting some shots in are very good as long as you either use a hide or some kind of concealment, The lake where i have been shooting is a very busy joggers lake so a hide is out, I dress in full camo and have made a small gap between the trees/bushes for the 600 to get a clean shot as well as making sure that the flash/beamer isnt obstructed, The bird that uses the perch is a male and unusual for a bird the males are more drab that the females, The Belted Kingfishers here in the states are big birds-similar to a blackbird size in Europe, I have managed a few sessions at the lake in the evening when the bird seems to use the perch, Early last week we had some rain which was good as the lake was very low but the increase in water height for some reason made the kingfisher arrive later, Instead of around 5.30pm it was coming at 6.30-7pm which meant very low light and shooting at ISO 1600 i was getting between 1/40 and 1/60, These low shutter speeds along with a 600 + 1.4x meant that if i was in any hope of getting a sharp image i would need to use a remote release cable and not touch the camera at all, So after composing the shot it was hands off and a quick shot with the remote and check the screen, This way of shooting means fewer images but 100% sharpness which is fine for me, Flash as well is the order of the day and the SB900 and better beamer has been working over time, The bird at this time of day is heavily back lit so a good burst of flash is needed to balance the front of the bird making sure that the bright white chest doesnt blow out, The kit works very well at sorting it out, I am using AV mode and compensating up to -1 2/3 to stop the neck from blowing then using the fill flash to lighten the bird hopefully without giving the impression of too much flash-a difficult balancing act and i am grateful for digital so i can quickly adjust the exposure if needed, I will continue to shoot this bird into the Fall (Autumn) and hope to get some shots with a nice golden background-fingers crossed