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

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