Always something new to learn

I’ve been getting my eye back in with a very obliging male Kingfisher.

By getting my eye in, I mean retuning my responses and also re-learning the technobabble associated with using digital SLR cameras and lenses. It is light years away from but so close to using skills and techniques with large format film. Here I have to be lightning fast with my responses but I have to understand plane and depth of focus just as with the large format gear.

Reaction time with these birds is paramount, but it does take some preparation. The preparation here is studying the likely perches that the bird uses and being able to focus on them whilst trying to maintain a steady hand with a great lump of glass at arm’s length. One second exposures on a a tripod as big as the Eiffel tower are out of the question. I have to trade that for 1/1000 second and a monopod for agility. That said, I have been taken back by the losers compared to the keepers so I have taught myself to experiment with back button focusing, something that comes into its own with perches in particular.

Here are a few images from that experiment today. It was great being alone doing this as the bird and perches were the focus of my attention. I also reverted to trying a DX body with an FX lens giving me an effective 900mm focal length.
Male Kingfisher hovering by th estern of a rowing boat
Male Kingfisher perched on transom of rowing boat
I’m quite pleased with the experiment

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