Tag Archives: “Birds of prey”

Birds on Sticks – the Judge’s favourite…

At the camera club we get to see a fair share of bird photographs – usually a bird perched on a stick. Easy to focus because it doesn’t move… Judges seem to love them. I don’t get it myself. This is one area of photography that flies straight over my head (ahem…)

 

But hold on! Before I get all snooty about avian snaps, maybe I should have another go myself…? So I did. And bloody hell, it’s hard. Especially if the damn blighter has taken off and started flying. Above is a Harris Hawk, and as you can see I haven’t managed to keep him very sharp in the image. A “fail” in the eyes of the judge.

The Peregrine is even harder (faster, a lot faster…), and that wall doesn’t do anything for the picture – nothing to set the bird apart from the background. Another fail…

What about some bird portraiture? A bit better this one (Lanner Falcon). Interesting face on shot, but what’s that blur in the bottom right? (It’s the handler’s shoulder…) Another fail.

Ooooh, getting better now with the owls (European and Tawny) In the eye of the Euro Owl you can even see my reflection… But hang on, this is bird on a stick territory. I’m trying to get away from that! (Self: Fail!)

Close up and semi abstract – now that’s more satisfying. And don’t those claws look sharp…

Here’s perhaps the most dramatic image. Great pose, half way between flight and stick (glove…) And the bird looks suitably Bird Of Prey-ish. Mmm, quite happy. But it’s not good enough for competition entry. I’m just going to have to leave that to the experts….

 

 


Red Kites in Wales

I’ve never done any real wildlife photography before. Couldn’t see much attraction in sitting in a hide for hours on end to get a fleeting glimpse of the back of some bird. And, frankly, bird on a stick photos are just so commonplace in club competitions. And yet…. I thought I should have a go. And Lord love a duck, it was the hardest shoot I’ve ever done! Shows how good the pros are…

These are from Gigrin Farm in Wales, where they feed the Red Kites at 3pm every day. A pell mell, hectic, confused, frenetic chaos of birds swooping down for gobbits of flesh. Extraordinary & amazing! Impossible to focus clearly on anything. Tracking a bird is ridiculously hard. Exposure is a nightmare as the birds dive from sky to ground. But what a spectacle!

No copying and cloning here. Just a bit of tweaking on the saturation to get the best out of the plumage on a grey grey grey day in Wales. One that will live long in the memory…