Like many folks after I’ve been working hard, either physically or mentally, I like to grab a camera and relax by capturing a few images. This afternoon I finished building a ‘honey-do’ project in the backyard and I had a little bit of available time. So, I grabbed one of my cameras and headed off to Hendrie Valley where I spent an interesting hour capturing some images of birds in flight.
I’ve visited Hendrie Valley quite a few times and very seldom see any osprey. And, when I have seen them they are just flecks in the sky and not worth even trying to photograph. For some reason today I was greeted by a pair of osprey both flying reasonably low, making good image subjects.
The osprey made a number of good passes overhead which allowed me to capture a few AF-C image runs at 15fps with my Nikon 1 V2.
I was feeling quite fortunate to capture some reasonable osprey images when I noticed a few terns fishing. Low and behold they had some success – which I was able to photograph.
Not only did I get a few decent images of terns flying with fish in their mouths, but I also got a nice AF-C run of a bird adjusting the hold it had on a fish, moving it from a horizontal position in its beak, to vertical in preparation to be swallowed.
Another AF-C run yielded some images of a tern actually swallowing a fish.
I was having a difficult time believing the luck I was having in such a short time…but it wasn’t over yet! I captured another AF-C run of a playful tern doing something I had never seen before – what appeared to be a barrel roll!
To cap off my hour long visit to Hendrie Valley a gull flew by carrying a fish it had caught in its beak.
Without question this was the most productive hour I had ever spent photographing birds in flight in terms of the number of species and the variety of behaviours captured. It was one of those hours that you’d like to seal up in a bottle for future use!
Article and all images Copyright 2016 Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, adaptation or reproduction of any kind is allowed without written consent. Photography Life is the only approved user of this article. If you see it reproduced anywhere else it is an unauthorized and illegal use.
Interesting hour indeed :) The barrel roll is really very cool. Why would a bird do that?
I have no idea…perhaps birds just like to have some fun too!
Neat! Congratulations on the terrific hour Thomas, what a gift. I love the playing tern rolling.
Thanks Sean – glad you enjoyed them!
I have a very technical question. I was taking the photos at sunset. I wanted the warm colours and as the result of the low light source the strange transparent shines through the flowers. Obviously the camera with auto white balancesets itself to very low colour temperature, and basicaly adding more blue, or filtering out the red. So I got pictures without the warm temperature. Obviously i can set it to high in post processing, but i continously feel, that the pictures straight from camera are too bluish, to cold. So how do You handle the colour temperature? (if it is not secret know how :) )
Thanks in advance,
How a photographer wants an image to look is a very personal choice so what one person likes another may not. There are a few simple things you can try to see if you get the effect you desire. You can set your camera’s white balance to ‘cloudy’ or ‘shade’…or try other white balance settings on your camera to see what happens. You can use a graduated neutral density filter to help underexpose the sky. Or, you can purposely underexposure your entire image and adjust elements in post. Some folks take a range of exposures then combine them in post with HDR software.
Loll, just yesterday, I did the same, after work ~8pm i went out to relax and taking some pictures, but with much less success :(
Grats for the great pics!
Success is a relative term, and enjoying being out with a camera relaxing is success in itself!
Thomas. Some time earlier you mentioned that wiyh the nikon 1 system, tracking objects in motion could be difficult so you prefocussed on a point and then took your bird photos. Now it seems you use autofocus to grab on to the bird and then track it like people would with a dslr. That is very exciting with a mirrorless camera.
Hi Muhammad Omer,
Pre-focusing a lens does help a camera acquire a subject. I use that technique regularly with whatever camera I am using.
Awesome, great photos. Here in NZ we don’t have Ospreys, but I enjoy watching terns fishing, too quick for me though.
Thanks Ben – I appreciate your comment! My wife and I have visited your remarkable country twice and would love to visit again sometime!