Kingfisher, Redux !!! (large)

Discussion in 'Birds' started by PJohnP, Aug 23, 2005.

  1. PJohnP

    PJohnP

    Feb 5, 2005
    With apologies to Harry for showing more kingfisher photos (well, I didn't exactly promise in a cross-my-heart kinda way that I wouldn't show more), here are another sequence of shots that I captured in my long kingfisher shoot in Cranmoor of central Wisconsin.

    As others have commented, shooting kingfishers is difficult. Most shots are at a distance, and the lines of sight are not the most desirable. Great moments, like a Reznick Flip, are fleeting and hard to nail.

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    And even cropped, the details are just not what we want.

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    But there are moments where the spheres align, the Moon is in the Seventh House... Oh wait, that's a flashback to another moment.

    Ahem.

    As I watched after my previous series, the same female Banded Kingfisher plunged into the water of the cranberry bog, to ascend to the wire with an immature small Northern Pike in its grasp.

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    The kingfisher twisted around, to and fro, as the pike twitched alarmingly, and then it flew off.

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    <insert music for a long pause>
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    But it flew to another wire, perhaps not so close, but still in reasonable range of my lens. Again, contre-jour, but now, I had hopes that I could get a series of shots, so I quickly changed ISO back to 200. The light was changing from the west as the sun went in and out of full cloud, and this made things a touch complicated.

    I've omitted the series of shots of the kingfisher systematically beating the small Northern Pike to death against the wire. It took some time, and the kingfisher was relentless in this action. Instead of the Reznick Flip, one gets to watch a Wisconsin Smack which is most probably not terribly fun for the fish (and I saw this repeatedly, so it's not an isolated way of dealing with the fish).

    Finally, the pikelette (is that really what I should call it?) was quiescent, and it was time for dinner. In eating, just as it does in flight, the Banded Kingfisher extends its neck and stretches out its body from the usual stocky position into a more streamlined position. Absent the identification, one could take the silhouette as a completely different bird.

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    And with a final wiggle, that was it for that meal. After a few moments of contemplations and digestion, it was time to find more food.

    To my annoyance, I was only able to land a few flight shots. Most of the flying was at a distance and the light was pretty low. I assuaged myself with the hope that I'd get at least a couple of the other photos. Little did I know that the yield on the feeding shots would be reasonably solid.

    And so I flew out of there myself...

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    D100, 200-400mm AFS/VR, TC17E, ISO200 except the last at ISO400, processed in NC, cropped/resized in PS-CS

    Someday, I'll be in a great spot and get all these shots in full sunlight, probably to grouse that the stronger light blows out all the highlights, instead of losing the shadows on the head. Welladay, that'll be a different challenge for a different moment, leading me to my usual closing.

    Always shoot.



    John P.
     
  2. bfjr

    bfjr Guest

    Great series from start to finish. Normally I won't care for wires but not a problem here at all :smile:
     
  3. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    Great series John. Now I'm really jealous. :rolleyes:
     
  4. Some excellent shots of this fine looking bird. Well done.
     
  5. PJohnP

    PJohnP

    Feb 5, 2005
    Ben :

    Thanks for the kind thoughts.

    I think I observed in another thread that the kingfishers have made a highly successful adaptation to the power lines over the waterways - they can much more clearly spot the fish below.

    Neat critters...


    John P.
     
  6. PJohnP

    PJohnP

    Feb 5, 2005
    Frank :

    Well, we just have to get into the same spots to shoot together. You can tutor me on those great flight shots, and I'll make you invisible to kingfishers.

    Hmmm...

    I just have to hope that I can reverse that effect for when you rejoin your wife... :eek: :wink: :smile:


    John P.
     
  7. PJohnP

    PJohnP

    Feb 5, 2005
    Gordon :

    Thanks for the kind thoughts.

    Now, if I just had such a pool of lovely ladies to shoot as you do...


    John P.
     
  8. jfenton

    jfenton

    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA
    John

    Excellent plus!
     
  9. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    Wow, great stuff John

    Very well done with a good story to accompany it. Love the fact the fish is easily identifiable as a pike too!
     
  10. HarryB

    HarryB

    Jan 28, 2005
    Viera, Florida
    Now you have done it John. I thought we had discussed this. I have been tracking this one kingfisher for a year now and can't get a shot. When I got the 500 I figured he was toast but as soon as he saw the lens he started staying further away from me. If that wasn't bad enough I have to wake up and see these fabulous shots before my morning coffee. You are a very cruel man.
     
  11. Oh to dream well someday this will happen to me, great series I bet you are thrilled I can imagine how you felt as this unfolded around you
     
  12. PJohnP

    PJohnP

    Feb 5, 2005
    Mike :

    Yah, there's something rather special about these moments. I've had several such experiences while shooting with the D100...


    John P.
     
  13. PJohnP

    PJohnP

    Feb 5, 2005
    Harry :

    Well, you're not the first to accuse me of being a cruel man... and likely not to be the last. :Whistle: :rolleyes: :Whistle:

    And I think you're also 100% correct about the response of the kingfishers to lens size. When I had a 70-200mm on the camera, they came closer, then moved away when the lens was changed over to the 200-400mm ! I also found that they were highly attentive to movement of the lens, flitting away if I moved it quickly to track them.

    As to the morning coffee, I'd recommend taking a thermos of that over to Viera. I just looked at the egrets post you made - I think you trumped one kingfisher with your flocks of cattle egrets. :wink: Great kingfisher photos are obviously just around the corner for you.


    John P.
     
  14. Fantastic series, John!!! You must've been thrilled when viewing the images on-screen and seeing the fruits of your labor! Nicely done!!
     
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