Fan-Tastic fun

Happy New Year!!! to everyone and may 2016 be fun, fulfilling and packed with photographic goodness.
So lets get straight into it, after a cool short break over the Christmas period I have set myself a goal to spend time in pursuing wildlife and nature like my photo buddies (Will Mays, Rob Wood and Mark Griffin).
Whether making regular trips to the Zoo, local bush or the Gannet colony out West, I’m keen to give the old wildlife a crack.
Over the Christmas break I spent time with my brother travelling to the far north of New Zealand and this area has some wonderful natural wildlife especially in the bird section so plenty of opportunities abound.
After a short debate we opted to go bush and look to capture our wonderful Fantails.
For those of you not familiar with Fantails, these are crazy but wonderful little birds that can move at lighting speed and love swooping and diving to collect small flying insects.
They are also very friendly around humans and love to check you out when you pass through the bush. Mainly because you have just disturbed the under growth and food so food is suddenly in abundance J
Visiting a local bush reserve about 30 minute walk from our location, we came across a nice crop of ferns under the main tree canopy.  The fantails soon surfaced after giving the surrounding shrub’s a little shake to release the bugs, and after roughly working out their general flight path I setup my tripod, and manually focused my lens on an area of activity.

For my camera settings I used TV, with the ISO set to Auto. The white Balance was set to shade with my AF set to  9point.  I then attached my remote trigger and moved back out of the way.
Well no sooner had I retreated they swooped down in good numbers to collect the bugs I had disturbed. So I clicked away.

After a few minutes we reviewed the photos and surprisingly the results where good. With the fantails not overly bothered with me being around I release the camera from the tripod and composed away.
So what did I learn?
The ISO adapted well considering the variable light under the canopy, with the average shutter speed performed between  1/250 to 1/400
Be prepare to watch and observe before making your move (might not be the case for other types thou)
Zoom lens required?   Ultimately yes but will depend on your subject.  Fantails are very friendly and will come really close so most of my shots where under 100mm
And finally I did have to do a few tweaks on the computer to pull out the shadows and lift the exposure on some but very little required an y serious digital tweaking.

f5.6, ISO3200, 1/200, 300mm (Credit B Jacques)

F5.6 ISO800, 300mm, 1/250, +1/EV, Single AF, WB Shade

f5,6 ISO1600, 1/100  135mm (digital tweak)

Next mission will be capturing our wonderful Tui bird. Pop back soon