Tony McLean's East Yorkshire Wildlife Diary

Wildlife photography in East Yorkshire

Kingfisher flight (rear view)

Kingfisher flight (rear view), originally uploaded by Tony McLean.

I actually regard this as a ‘fun shot’, but as it seems quite popular, I thought I would post it here. Why a fun shot? Well, I’ve captured so many photographs of the rear ends of birds and animals—usually because I was a just a little too late with the exposure. Our feathered friends can be very quick off the mark and even though I try to anticipate their action, the birds and animals don’t always seem to co-operate.

Setting up your camera for wildlife photography is a critical part of making good images. For bird-in-flight shots, I always try to use a shutter speed of at least 1/1000 of a second. Even a perched bird (they can be rather restless with twitchy tails and heads) will often require a minimum shutter speed of 1/250 second. I nearly always use aperture priority and select the maximum aperture (f4 on my 500 mm lens) unless d.o.f. requires a smaller aperture to cover the whole bird. Of course, using a relatively fast shutter speed requires a sufficiently high ISO (film speed) setting to balance the exposure. Photographing at anywhere up to IS0 3200 isn’t a problem with my D3 but I will usually try to reduce the resulting noise in Photoshop using a plug-in.

Post processing is very critical but if you get most of the important factors right ‘in-camera’ it certainly makes life so much easier.

Well, that’s enough for now. I’m off to Welsh Wales tomorrow night for a few days including a visit to Gigrin Farm to photograph the Red Kites. The weather doesn’t look too promising but I’m sure I’ll have fun!

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