Oct 042011

I picture it before I take it.

When shooting the Terns I had a specific shot in mind.  The Terns circle above the water about 25′ in the air.  When they see their catch they turn and dive straight down.  Almost 100% of the time they completely submerge.  I envisioned the Tern coming up out the water with wings stretched to the sky.  And water thrown upward from the wings and the ability of this bird to quickly get airborne again.  Fish (dinner) in mouth!    About 5400 shots later……


Yes he is dead center.  And the background is quit busy.  But it is exactly what i was trying to get!


 Posted by at 10:17 PM
Oct 032011

These crazy Terns.

Man they are so difficult to trap in the point of focus.  Most of the time I have spent with the Terns has been looking through 600mm glass.  A very narrow field of view.  And I have had a 1.7 teleconverter.  Following them in focus is borderline impossible.  They are swift flyers and turn 90 degrees instantaneously.  The best method I found was to flow the Terns watching just over the top of the lens.  When the made the inevitable pause to dive I dropped my eye dropped with them to the water.   The exposure is critical here.  The Terns are white with small patches of black.  Yet the background is mostly darker shades.  To not over expose the Tern I dropped the exposure compensation by -.7.   Most all shot had no highlight “blinkies”.  I shoot wide open.  Adds to the difficulty of getting a sharp/in focus Tern.  The 600mm lens and teleconverter makes the minimum aperture f/6.7.    The time of day I am shooting the light is dropping quickly.  I start at an ISO of 800 and usually end up at ISO 3200.   I always try and keep the shutter speed above 1/2500 in aperture priority.   Each night I shoot between 600 and a thousand frames.  Of those 60% were out of focus.  The rest ….boring!

Once in a while you get ……..


Or this shot from a slightly different angle…..


 Posted by at 9:38 PM
Oct 022011

I often embarrass myself. I am fortunate to receive compliments on my photography.  A gentleman would respond Thank You when receiving compliments like this.    In my case, I explain that photography is nothing more than an odds game.   To a great extent this is true.  If you shoot enough pictures of a subject eventually you will get an acceptable photograph.  Here is an example.  I have been going after work for the last week or so to get pic’s of Terns fishing.  Terns are incredibly fast flyers than can turn on a dime.  Very difficult to shoot.  Thousands of shots gave me a few keepers like…..


Mush easier to shoot is the slower flying seagull family of birds.


This guy was leery about landing right on the fish and then taking off.   So he did a fly-by-catch.  Almost a silhouette.

The shot of the tern was taken from across the water with my 600mm lens.  The seagull shot was with my 70-200.  Why the different lenses and nearly same results.  More to come……

 Posted by at 9:15 PM