Monday, 11 January 2016

Tui's and more Tui's

Following on from my previous post (Fan-Tastic) , later that day we moved on in search of our native birds the Tui.
I was once told that the Tui is extremely versatile and that it is one of only a handful of birds around the world which change it's call tune and feather colours based on it's region.

This means that you can view a Tui in Auckland then drive 1 hour North and see and hear a different tune...well fancy that

Tui's love to feed on a variety of plants and one particular plant is the flax. During spring and early summer they grow long stems which have bright reddish flowers. These are filled with nectar hence why the Tui's like to stop by for a drink.

It didn't take us long to find a few flax bushes still in bloom and within a few minutes the Tui's dropped by for a drink.

Conditions on the day where slightly overcast with the odd blue sky popping up occasionally.
I did have a polariser on my lens but opted to remove it as from experience it had muted some of the brighter colours, evident across the feathers.
Being overcast did work to our favour as the sun was mostly behind the subject, however we did manage to get across a creek and work our way to a slightly better vantage point. Only downside was that most shots meant working at our maximum zoom. Nevertheless we are happy with the results.

Shot one.
Tripod was setup and focused on the main group of flowers. Then using a remote trigger waited patiently for him/her to pop back.

f5, 1/640 , ISO800, 300mm +1ev,
Shot Two
Following a similar theme but this time increasing the shutter speed and dropping our EV to normal (0). This one I actually like because it wasn't until we underwent some minor post processing that we noticed the small insects flying close by.

f5.6, 1/800, ISO800, 330mm, (credit B Jacques)
Shot Three
This has to be the miracle shot of the day, but it goes to show if you are prepared to wait then they will perform. As mentioned the Tui is extremely fast when flying so very high ISO and shutter speed for this shot. I'm happy my Canon 7D works well with high ISO.

f6, 1/1250, ISO1800, _1ev, AWB 300mm ( Shadows and Highlights adjusted)

Shot Four
My final shot and one that highlights the points raised early in my article, the Tui have contrasting colours and as you can see on these birds, a very bright orange colour is evident on one but not noticeable other.  This image has good contrast and wit the main light source behind us topped of a good day.
F5.6, 1/1250, ISO800, 330mm,(Custom WB)
Camera Settings Summary:
AV, using auto ISO or most. EV adjusted depending on strength of light source.
Auto Focus using 9 AF, some of the more stationary ones we did shoot manual.
Zoom at the high end 250 - 400mm on average.
Lenses used Canon L 100-400mm, 28-300mm, Sigma 17-50mm

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

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