The Great Journey in Photography

Less “Getting Away”

American Kestrel with Lizard

420mm f8 320iso 1/1,200sec

If you have been visiting regularly you will know that the past several months I have been in pursuit of a great Kestrel image. You can read bit about that in my previous post Littlest Hawk and the One that Got Away. At least one pair of the birds have nested in a palm tree below the nest of a pair of Great Blue Herons. While it is not possible to get close to the nest I am sure that the are young there because the female is bringing food to the nest. On this day, rather than fighting among themselves this  Kestrel was busy fighting off Black Birds to bring food home. In the past post I was lamenting the fact that I let a really good opportunity get away from me. A great image that was technically flawed.

I have been closing in on getting a shot or maybe I should say “the shot”. It has been a while now but I settled in on using the unusual looking trees to frame the shot. I don’t know much about foliage and these few trees show up in a lot of my images always appearing to be dead. The Kestrels’ like them and they don’t block the action too much. I have been trying to use the branches in images without cluttering the background. The image above is a better attempt. Technically, I think it is pretty sound, nice clean composition and good exposure and focus. A couple of things I did a little different this time around is that I stopped down to f8 to get a little bit more depth of field and I used continuous focus. Focusing like that can be tough as birds weave through the branches you will often loose focus to the branches. It is a nice image but not great by any means. The two big flaws strictly a matter of circumstance. The lighting is harsh. This photo was made a short time before the golden hour hit and if you examine the shadows the sun is too high in the sky. It is particularly important in bird photography to shoot late into the golden hour so that sunlight can get under the wings and illuminate the bird better. Sadly, on this day the Kestrels’ had other plans for golden hour. The other drawback, well this is a female Kestrel. The males have more color, a lot more orange, and would have made a more colorful image really complimenting the blue of the sky. You may also notice that even with a shutter speed of 1/1,200sec there is motion blur in the wing tips. Fast little critters I say!

Hey Now, thanks for stopping by everyone. Once again it has been a pleasure and until next week-Be good.

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2 responses

  1. Terrific shot of the kestrel.
    Are you using a 300 with a 1.4?

    May 22, 2013 at 11:41 am

    • Thanks Phil,
      Yes that is my favorite combo.
      Nice glass.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:45 am

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