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Kingfisher's coupling

Lucky observation of Kingfisher's coupling

Lucky observation of Kingfisher's coupling
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2 Comments | Report
chuckrickman Premium
chuckrickman November 06, 2015
One in a million. Nice done!
jipi PRO
jipi July 06, 2018

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Behind The Lens

I took this photo from a lookout point in a natural open bird reserve named "La Sauge" in Cudrefin, Switzerland. A well known place to see Kingfisher.
It was the 5th of June 2014. I packed my camera bag with tripod and telezoom early in the morning and took my scooter for an hour drive to the place. Once on place, it was too early, the center wasen't opened yet, then I did a walk along the river next to the center and there, the zip of my backbag broke and camera and lens falled down. Result: AF and IS misfunction that made me do all the shots in MF mode. The photo was took the 5th of June 2014 at 9:46 AM. In the lookout, I was however rather lucky, waiting less than one hour to catch that scene.
In that place, you can't control anything about lighting except choosing the time for your shoot, with the hope to get a subject to shoot... Morning light, Kingfishers and coupling, everything was fine to get the perfect shot.
I used a Canon EOS 1D Mark IV, with a EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM lens and a multiplier EF 2.0x III. Camera and lens mount on a Gitzo tripod with a Wimberly tilted head. 800mm, f/5.6, 1/640s, ISO 400.
I was gone to try to catch some nice photo of Kingfisher, a bird I really like with all its colors. It's also a kind of challenge to get it cause of it's small size and speed. I knew that place to find him, but the two first attempts were unsuccesful. That was my third assay and luck was with me. I saw my first Kingfisher almost as soon as my camera was ready on tripod, and maybe half an hour later, I catched that coupling scene.
The original photo is a little croped (about 70% of the original size). Only standard post-processing such as white balance, exposure and contrast. Everything done in Lightroom.
In my camera bag
My equipment if fully depending on my aim in photography. Heaviest will be with two camera bodies, Canon 1D Mark IV and Canon 5D Mark III with grip, zomms EF 24.70mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8 and prime telezoom 400mm f/2.8, multipliers 1.4x and 2.0x, carbon tripod and tilted head. For portraiture, generally a Canon 5DsR with grip body, and primes lenses of 35mm f/1,4, 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1,2 and 135mm f/2, and flashes, either Speedlight 600RT, or Ranger Quadra from Elinchrom.
To get such a picture in nature, you need to be very patient... Luck will help for sure, but patience and obstinacy will always pay. You also have to be ready, cause such a scene won't come again every minutes or every hours. The whole coupling scene lasted about 3,5 seconds ! For beginning, when getting a sharp photo is the most important, I recommand to work in Aperture mode and set the ISO high enough to get a shutter speed at least twice your focal length. Later, once you are able to catch sharp photos, you can switch in all manual mode, trying to lower the shutter speed to catch movement in the wings. Turn AF mode in high speed mode. I always use one single AF spot which I place on the subject eye.

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