kahi
kahi

Vantage point



Lilac-breasted roller, one of the most beautiful birds in the world (at least in my opinion), in wonderful late afternoon light. He is always perching on the to...
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Lilac-breasted roller, one of the most beautiful birds in the world (at least in my opinion), in wonderful late afternoon light. He is always perching on the topmost tree branches, therefore it is almost impossible to get another background than sky-clouds. That was also the case here.
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Featured
Contest Finalist in 850 Birds On Branches Photo Contest
Peer Award
Evgeniylord Isshin immaginEmozioni grandpa_Vlad chiphendershot Causetta Mandarinetto1965 +29
Top Choice
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Superb Composition
SublimeExposures DebbieA1994 Charlene-Shelby SusanBurroughs lovelife13 CURUTCHET harrielise +17
Absolute Masterpiece
Chickey jackdalby jackyschoonbaert Ha7an pcruickshank Annateune MaggieMays +16
Outstanding Creativity
brynjarrnbjrgvinsson kudasmiklos katieboesch john_arsenault ingevandermerwe PinaRojas brandongunter +2
All Star
pauljackson_4080 shaundasmithroberts LaurieandGregClayton b2bjacks michellerafter alistairhunt Terrywinkle
Magnificent Capture
dmmacdonald berniehowe davidbasson Pixelbug terryc clandestino
Genius
ChrisKIELY
Jaw Dropping
LaurasArt
Great Find
KristinaOers

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Anything Animals Photo ContestTop 10 class
Anything Animals Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Birds On Branches Photo ContestTop 10 class
Multicolored Photo ContestTop 20 class
Multicolored Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
The Beauty Of Birds Photo ContestTop 10 class
The Beauty Of Birds Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
850 Birds On Branches Photo ContestTop 10 class
850 Birds On Branches Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Color Explosion Photo ContestTop 30 class
Color Explosion Photo ContestTop 20 class week 1
Amateurs Vol 5 Photo ContestTop 20 class
Amateurs Vol 5 Photo ContestTop 20 class week 2
Natural Light Photo ContestTop 20 class
Natural Light Photo ContestTop 20 class week 2
Natural Light Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1

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6 Comments | Report
suesmith
 
suesmith April 21, 2015
I agree with you. One of the most beautiful and one I have never seen before. Such vibrant colours. Fantastic shot. x
1quietlady
 
1quietlady April 21, 2015
Congrats! Beautiful bird!
terryc PRO+
 
terryc April 21, 2015
Congrats on your finalist!!
claudia_lothering_1704
 
claudia_lothering_1704 April 22, 2015
Congrats! Stunning shot
JDLifeshots
 
JDLifeshots April 22, 2015
Great shot. Congrats!
Defo23
 
Defo23 April 22, 2015
Wow this is so pretty. Nice shot and congrats!!!

Behind The Lens

Location
The photo was taken in the central region of Kruger National Park, South Africa.
Time
It was late afternoon and we were already on our way out of the park. We had seen many of these birds during the previous days, but always in bad light. This time it came all together and I managed to capture the bird bathing in late afternoon sunlight, which brings out the beautiful colors.
Lighting
I always use natural light. And of course, golden hour is best. But it is not always easy to achieve, especially when dealing with national parks and their strict opening times. So you need a bit of luck, too.
Equipment
I used a Nikon D7100 and a Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6. I shot handheld @400mm and ISO200. No filters or other stuff was used. I love the fast and reliable autofocus and brilliant sharpness of the lens. The image stabilizer (although it was not necessary in this shot) is amazing, too.
Inspiration
We had been self driving through Kruger for some days, and the colorful birds catched my eye right from the beginning. I wanted to capture it in good light and bring out all the colors in the feathers. I have also tried to capture it in flight, but I did not succeed. I am still learning how to do that...
Editing
I did not do much. I use DxO as raw converter, and do a bit of contrast,vibrancy and histogram adjustments. Most of the time, that's it. If I need to do some layer masks or larger areas of cloning, I use Gimp (a free alternative to Photoshop, not as advanced, but it was always sufficient for me). In this image, no layer masks were necessary. I only did some minor cloning of some little twigs, and removed some dust spots.
In my camera bag
I upgraded last year from crop factor to full frame (a Nikon D750), but I kept the D7100 for the longer reach in the telephoto range, and I still use it for wildlife. But I sold all my DX lenses, and invested in some high quality glass: the Nikkor 20mm f/1.8, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 ART, and the Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8. I am still very happy with the telephoto zoom I used in this shot, so I have no plans exchanging that. Besides that, I own a Lensbaby Macro Kit, a set of extension tubes, a couple of filters (polarizer and NDs), a tripod and remote control. Of course, I do not always carry around all this stuff. I try to plan what I might encounter on hikes, and select the lenses I carry accordingly. Most of the time, I choose one or two lenses to carry around. But when I am travelling by car, I have all equipment with me (just in case).
Feedback
In national parks with free roaming dangerous animals (as in Kruger), it is usually not allowed to leave the car (not even lean out of the car). So you are somewhat limited in terms of composition, because you cannot easily change your position, you can just point the lens outside the window. A patient driver (my husband in this case) comes in handy, so you can fully focus on taking pictures. And of course, two pairs of eyes see more than just one. For birds, a long telephoto lens is essential. Use bird hides where they are offered. If you are not an experienced wildlife photographer, shoot even in bad light, so you can practice and are prepared when the light is good and the perfect subject presents itself.

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