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Kingfisher in February gloom
Lens: DA* 300mm Camera: K5 ISO: 3200 Shutter Speed: 1/1000s Aperture: F4 
Posted By: MetteHHH, 02-25-2014, 02:07 PM

I know I am pushing it with the high ISO, and that my 300mm is on the short side for this - but I love kingfishers. They provide one of the few gleams of actually colour this February. As for the short focal distance, well, the tree roots were pretty as well!

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02-25-2014, 02:10 PM   #2
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Cool shot, Kingfishers are awesome, I have to agree with you!
02-25-2014, 09:06 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by First Poster Quote
I know I am pushing it with the high ISO, and that my 300mm is on the short side for this - but I love kingfishers. They provide one of the few gleams of actually colour this February. As for the short focal distance, well, the tree roots were pretty as well!
Well since you mentioned it neither the ISO nor the focal length bother me in the least. I just wish you'd stopped down just a wee bit more as the roots are in sharp focus (and interesting in their own right), but the kingfisher is just a wee bit fuzzy.
02-26-2014, 03:02 AM   #4
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Thanks, MSL, but the imprecise focus is linked to the rest of the exif, really. My ISO is maxed at 3200 (going beyond that is hopeless when your focal lenght nearly always dictates a bit of cropping). So, with my camera appraising the light as -2EV at 1/1000 and f4, AF gets imprecise on my camera. I do not have a fancy focusing screen, just the one that came with my K5, and if the focus is off by as little as this, I really can't tell until I get home and upload the images to my pc. Anyway, you might find the roots in sharp focus, but to my eye everything is slightly fuzzy here due to the loss of detail at ISO 3200.

I only just got the blind last week, and my blind-shooting-skills might improve, but for now, shooting something that moves about as much as a kingfisher, and perches for 10 seconds on 20 difference stumps and roots, I just can't make it work with a tripod in the hide. And, even if I could, kingfishers move. Even when they sit still, they do little fast jerks of their heads. Lower than 1/1000s will only yield more frustration due to motion blur. Which means that ISO3200 / 1/1000s and f4 seems like the best I can do. Except moving to a country with proper sunlight, which I do consider now and again...

K-3 is supposed to excel at finding precise focus at low light. I put a lot of hope into that, for when I can afford to upgrade...

02-26-2014, 08:02 AM   #5
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I think these are the cutest/prettiest birds. Our kingfishers are not as colourful, and much bigger. We recently watched a program filmed in England in which the fellow followed a Kingfisher family, and he ended up with a baby (looked just like this) with a broken wing. They are really interesting birds. Thanks for sharing your photo. The moss on those roots is gorgeous too.
02-26-2014, 08:39 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by MetteHHH Quote
Thanks, MSL, but the imprecise focus is linked to the rest of the exif, really. My ISO is maxed at 3200 (going beyond that is hopeless when your focal lenght nearly always dictates a bit of cropping). So, with my camera appraising the light as -2EV at 1/1000 and f4, AF gets imprecise on my camera. I do not have a fancy focusing screen, just the one that came with my K5, and if the focus is off by as little as this, I really can't tell until I get home and upload the images to my pc. Anyway, you might find the roots in sharp focus, but to my eye everything is slightly fuzzy here due to the loss of detail at ISO 3200.

I only just got the blind last week, and my blind-shooting-skills might improve, but for now, shooting something that moves about as much as a kingfisher, and perches for 10 seconds on 20 difference stumps and roots, I just can't make it work with a tripod in the hide. And, even if I could, kingfishers move. Even when they sit still, they do little fast jerks of their heads. Lower than 1/1000s will only yield more frustration due to motion blur. Which means that ISO3200 / 1/1000s and f4 seems like the best I can do. Except moving to a country with proper sunlight, which I do consider now and again...

K-3 is supposed to excel at finding precise focus at low light. I put a lot of hope into that, for when I can afford to upgrade...
I feel your pain but I think you did a good job given the set-up and conditions. I know, I have the same set-up myself and it can be frustrating when nothing comes out right but rewarding when it does. I love the green moss against the colors of the bird. Can't believe you found the little guy sitting still as ours rarely do.
02-26-2014, 03:13 PM   #7
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Thank you slowpez. You are right, our kingfishers do compete well both on colour and cuteness. They are my favorite motive, but at the very limit for both my skill and my equipment. Nearly a year ago now, I was lucky enough to see a pair in a half-courtship, half-territorial battle drama, and I got a few action shots that are lacking in technical perfection, but still some of my favourite photos ever... (And also the snow helped out a bit with the lack of light last year)



---------- Post added 02-26-14 at 03:16 PM ----------

Oh, but I should say: I really love YOUR kingfishers too (the new world kingfishers). They are colourful too, and they have lots of personality, and some of them are BIG! Here is a banded one from Argentina last year:

02-26-2014, 03:50 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by First Poster Quote
Kingfisher in February gloom
Aye they're twichy wee fellows at the best of times, hard to get spot on.

02-26-2014, 09:07 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by MetteHHH Quote
Thanks, MSL, but the imprecise focus is linked to the rest of the exif, really. My ISO is maxed at 3200 (going beyond that is hopeless when your focal lenght nearly always dictates a bit of cropping). So, with my camera appraising the light as -2EV at 1/1000 and f4, AF gets imprecise on my camera. I do not have a fancy focusing screen, just the one that came with my K5, and if the focus is off by as little as this, I really can't tell until I get home and upload the images to my pc. Anyway, you might find the roots in sharp focus, but to my eye everything is slightly fuzzy here due to the loss of detail at ISO 3200. I only just got the blind last week, and my blind-shooting-skills might improve, but for now, shooting something that moves about as much as a kingfisher, and perches for 10 seconds on 20 difference stumps and roots, I just can't make it work with a tripod in the hide. And, even if I could, kingfishers move. Even when they sit still, they do little fast jerks of their heads. Lower than 1/1000s will only yield more frustration due to motion blur. Which means that ISO3200 / 1/1000s and f4 seems like the best I can do. Except moving to a country with proper sunlight, which I do consider now and again... K-3 is supposed to excel at finding precise focus at low light. I put a lot of hope into that, for when I can afford to upgrade...
Well you can always try my technique which I find useful when shooting macro in a strong wind - take bursts of images and hope that the object moves into focus either through its own motion or that of the photographer so that 1 shot out of some massive number is a success.

Or just keep taking the great photos that you have been. The extra set that you posted, even if not technically perfect are wonderful images to view, full of personality.
02-27-2014, 06:11 AM   #10
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Nice capture. I'm just starting to get some Kingfisher shots on the river here - they tend to be a bit more shy than some of the other birds.
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