Friday, February 17, 2017

Pygmy Swiftlet in good light

Aside from its very small size (3-1/2 inches total length) and erratic flight behavior, what makes this bird tough to catch in mid-air is its dark plumage - a difficult job even for the 7D MII's excellent AF system. In addition, one has to be extremely lucky with the direction of light to illuminate the dark face well.

This Valentine's Day, I saw a few of these microbirds flying around Bued River. It took many tries and misses before I managed to get one sharp, with the light angle just right to bring out the bird's dark features.

_____

Pygmy Swiftlet (Collocalia troglodytes, a Philippine endemic)

Habitat - Fairly common, smallest swiftlet in groups flying low over forest, clearings and logging roads (total length = 3.5 inches) 


Shooting info - Bued River, Rosario, La Union, Philippines, February 14, 2017, EOS 7D MII + EF 400 f/4 DO II,
400 mm, f/5.0, ISO 320, 1/2000 sec, hand held, major crop.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Stripe-headed Rhabdornis

I have not done a lot of forest birding in the last few years, so I was extremely delighted to see this endemic bird perched  low at Subic last weekend. 

I initially had a naked 400 DO II mounted on the 7D MII, quite short for such a subject whose total length is just a bit over 6 inches. Just the same, I took insurance shots before quickly mounting a 1.4x TC III, and taking more shots. Fortunately, the bird stayed long enough for me to change the 1.4x TC III to a 2x TC III. This time, at 800 mm, the bird filled the frame well enough.


_____

Stripe-headed Rhabdornis (Rhabdornis mystacalis, a Philippine endemic)

Habitat - Lowland forest and second growth. 


Shooting Info - Subic rainforest, Zambales, Philippines, February 11, 2017, EOS 7D MII + EF 400 DO IS II + EF 2x TC III,
800 mm, f/9, 1/320 sec, ISO 320, manual exposure in available light, hand held, near full frame resized to 800 x 533.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Full framing a Philippine Woodpecker in golden light

I got quite close to this micro-jackhammer feeding at a low tree branch  in Subic rainforest this weekend. Formerly called Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker, it's the smallest Philippine woodpecker at about 5-1/2 inches in total length.

Light was golden and sweet at just past 4:00 pm, and the hand held 400 f4 DO II at 560 mm was enough reach to fill the frame with the small subject. I used AI servo AF to maintain precise focus on the active forager and to compensate for my hand holding movement. Of the many 10-fps frames that I shot, at least one caught the bird while it paused pecking for a split second.

No pixel was harmed nor thrown away in this full frame capture.

_____

Philippine Woodpecker (Dendrocopos maculatus, a Philippine endemic)

Habitat - Smallest Philippine woodpecker, common in lowland and montane forest and edge,
in understory and canopy.

Shooting Info - Subic rainforest, Zambales, Philippines, February 11, 2017, EOS 7D MII + EF 400 DO IS II + EF 1.4x TC III,
560 mm, f/6.3, 1/640 sec, ISO 320, manual exposure in available light, hand held, uncropped full frame resized to 800 x 533.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Large-billed Crow in flight

Certainly not the most colorful nor the prettiest one in our islands, this black bird passed near me while I was enjoying the early morning sun along the banks of Bued River. Its wing beat above the horizontal plane, massive bill and larger size are diagnostic, separating it from the smaller Slender-billed Crow.

My camera's exposure settings were manually set for birds with midtone plumage, so these captures were underexposed. I had to push the exposure by one stop during RAW conversion. Luckily, the favorable direction of light (morning sun at my back) provided decent illumination on its head area, as well as parts of the wing and body.

_____

Large-billed Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos, resident)

Habitat - open country.


Shooting Info - Bued River, Rosario, La Union, Philippines, February 7, 2017, EOS 7D MII + EF 400 DO IS II,
400 mm, f/5.6, 1/2000 sec, ISO 320, manual exposure in available light, hand held, major crop resized to 800 x 533.
 High res 1500 x 1000 version 

Shooting Info - Bued River, Rosario, La Union, Philippines, February 7, 2017, EOS 7D MII + EF 400 DO IS II,
400 mm, f/5.6, 1/2000 sec, ISO 320, manual exposure in available light, hand held, major crop resized to 800 x 533.


Shooting Info - Bued River, Rosario, La Union, Philippines, February 7, 2017, EOS 7D MII + EF 400 DO IS II,
400 mm, f/5.6, 1/2000 sec, ISO 320, manual exposure in available light, hand held, major crop resized to 800 x 533.


 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Olive-backed Sunbirds of Bued River

I haven't made a bird video in a while, as I'm too busy with other things lately. Filming birds and editing the footage require a lot of effort and time, two commodities which I have in short supply.

However, these tiny birds are too incessant with their early morning calls, and my resistance finally gave way a few days ago. I had to devote three mornings to filming the birds to get enough footage for this short video.

_____

Olive-backed Sunbird (Nectarinia jugularis, migrant)

Habitat - Common lowland sunbird.

Shooting Info - Bued River, Rosario, La Union, Philippines,  December 21 - 23, 2016, EOS 7D MII + EF 400 2.8 IS + EF 2x TC III + EF 2x TC II, 1600 mm, f/13 - F/14, 1/125 sec, ISO 160 - 200, manual exposure in available light, 475B/516 support, 1080/59.94p capture, processed to 720/23.97p.





Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Feather detail with 4x worth of teleconverters

I was filming birds with a 4x TC when this Brown Shrike perched nearby for quite a few minutes. This gave me the opportunity to try the 4x TC on shooting stills, probably my first time to use the combo in this application.

The video quality with the stacked doublers is still quite good, considering that the 7D MII down-samples the original sensor capture to 1080p video by a little over 3 stops. This effectively nearly offsets the 4 stops loss due to the stacked 2x TCs.

However, at full-res 20 MP stills, viewing the 7D II's tiny pixels at 100% should be another story IQ-wise. Even the super-duper sharp 400 2.8 IS should suffer from the 16x dilution of its optics, which is equivalent to using a 320 MP APS-C sensor on the naked lens, and viewing the image at the pixel level.

Here's analyzing one of the sharper frames I got.

Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus, migrant, male)

Habitat - Common in all habitats at all elevations. 

Shooting details - Bued River, Rosario, La Union, Philippines, December 22, 2016, EOS 7D MII + EF 400 2.8 L IS + EF 2x TC III + EF 2x TC II, 1600 mm, f/14, ISO 200, 1/200 sec, 475B/516 support, manual exposure in available light.

Uncropped full frame resized to 800 x 1200.

100% crop  (actual pixel view at original capture resolution).

100% crop  (actual pixel view at original capture resolution).

50% crop (original capture resized to 50%, then sharpening applied).

My conclusion?

The 50% crop is much sharper than anything I can get with a single 2x TC on the 400 2.8 L IS. This means that the second 2x TC is still significantly adding captured details when focal length limited, at least on a very sharp lens like the 400 2.8 L IS.

In other words, 4x TC > 2x TC > no TC, IQ-wise when focal length limited. This field experience mirrors exactly the results I get in more controlled tests:

Of course, with each doubler mounted, shot execution (shake control and focusing) becomes more difficult. Hence, I'd probably use this combo only when the subject is static and it allows me enough time to practice careful long lens technique.

Eye contact with a fishing raptor

It's not very often that I manage to get a good eye contact with this migratory fishing raptor in flight. The angle of the sun on the head area has to be just right so details of the piercing eye can be captured well. This is one of those lucky occasions. 
 
_____
 
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus, migrant)

Habitat - Associated with water both along coast and inland. 

Shooting Info - Sto. Tomas, La Union, Philippines, December 3, 2016, EOS 7D MII + EF 400 DO IS II + EF 1.4x TC III,
560 mm, f/6.3, 1/2000 sec, ISO 320, manual exposure in available light, hand held, major crop resized to 800 x 533.
 
 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

A banking Bee-eater over Bued River

Sorry, I couldn't resist the opportunity for an alliteration. 😊

During a short walk along the banks of the Bued River early this morning, this bee-eater passed near me, did a U-turn in the air and banked away at a nice angle relative to the sun.

I quickly fired a short 10 fps burst, and one of the frames caught the subject in a photogenic full wingspread.


_____

Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus , resident)

Habitat - Open country usually associated with water along rivers, marshes and ricefields. 



Shooting Info - Bued River, Rosario, La Union, Philippines, December 11, 2016, EOS 7D MII + EF 400 DO IS II,
400 mm, f/5.0, 1/2000 sec, ISO 320, manual exposure in available light, hand held, major crop resized to 800 x 533.


Labels

1.4x tc iii (20) 16-35 f4 L IS (3) 1d miv (4) 2x TC (5) 2x tc ii (3) 2x tc iii (6) 400 2.8 IS (11) 400 5.6l (2) 400 f/4 do is ii (36) 4c tc (1) 5D MIII (3) 70-200 2.8 l is ii (2) 7d (5) 7d m2 (1) 7d mark ii (39) 7d mii (3) 7d2 (1) Acridotheres cristatellus (1) Acrocephalus stentoreus (1) action photography (1) Aethopyga bella (1) Aethopyga flagrans (1) Alauda gulgula (1) Alcedo atthis (1) Alcedo cyanopecta (1) Amaurornis olivaceus (1) Amaurornis phoenicurus (1) Amur Falcon (1) Anas clypeata (1) Anas luzonica (1) Anser serrirostris (1) Anthus rufulus (1) Aplonis panayensis (2) Arachnothera clarae (1) Ardea cinerea (2) Ardea purpurea (1) Ardeola bacchus (1) Ardeola speciosa (1) Asian Glossy Starling (2) astro (6) Australasian Grass-Owl (1) Barn Swallow (4) Barred Rail (1) bee (2) binmaley (1) bird video (41) birding places (4) birds in flight (61) Black Bittern (1) Black-chinned Fruit-dove (1) Black-crowned Night-Heron (1) Black-Headed Gull (1) Black-winged Stilt (2) Blue Rock-Thrush (4) Blue-headed Fantail (1) Blue-naped Parrot (1) Blue-tailed Bee-eater (2) Bolbopsittacus lunulatus (1) Brahminy Kite (4) Brown Hawk-Owl (1) Brown Shrike (5) Bubulcus ibis (1) Buceros hydrocorax (1) bued river (13) Butorides striatus (1) butterfly (1) canon workshop (2) Caprimulgus manillensis (1) Cattle Egret (1) Centropus viridis (1) Charadrius dubius (1) Chinese Egret (1) Chinese Pond-Heron (1) Chlidonias hybridus (5) Cinnamon Bittern (1) Circus spilonotus (1) Cisticola juncidis (1) Clamorous Reed-Warbler (1) Coleto (1) Collared Kingfisher (3) Collocalia troglodytes (3) Common Kingfisher (1) Corvus macrorhynchos (1) Crested Myna (1) Dendrocopos maculatus (2) Dicaeum austral (1) Dicaeum australe (1) Dicaeum pygmaeum (1) Ducula aenea (1) Dupetor flavicollis (1) Eastern Marsh-Harrier (1) Egretta alba (4) Egretta eulophotes (1) Egretta garzetta (1) Elegant Tit (1) endemic birds (40) Eurasian Hobby (1) Eurasian Tree Sparrow (1) Falco amurensis (1) Falco peregrinus (1) Falco subbuteo (1) Flaming Sunbird (1) Gallirallus torquatus (1) Geopelia striata (1) Gerygone sulphurea (2) Golden-bellied Flyeater (2) grasshopper (1) Great Egret (4) Greater Sand-Plover (1) Green Imperial-Pigeon (1) Grey Heron (2) Grey Wagtail (1) Grey-tailed Tattler (1) Guaiabero (1) Halcyon smyrnensis (3) Haliastur indus (4) Handsome Sunbird (1) haradrius leschenaultii (1) Heteroscelus brevipes (1) Himantopus himantopus (2) Hirundo rustica (4) Hirundo striolata (2) Hoopoe (1) Hydrophasianus chirurgus (1) Indigo-banded Kingfisher (1) Ixobrychus cinnamomeus (1) Ixobrychus sinensis (1) Java Sparrow (2) Javan Pond-Heron (1) la union (3) Lalage nigra (1) Lanius cristatus (5) Lanius schach (1) Lanius validirostris (1) Large-billed Crow (1) Larus ridibundus (1) Larus saundersi (1) lightning photography (1) liquidstone (1) Little Egret (1) Little Heron (1) Little Ringed-Plover (1) Little Tern (1) Lonchura punctulata (1) Long-tailed Shrike (1) Lowland White-eye (8) Luscinia calliope (1) Luzon Hornbill (1) macro (5) Macropygia tenuirostris (1) Marsh Sandpiper (1) Merops philippinus (2) Microhierax erythrogenys (1) migratory birds (53) Monticola solitaries (1) Monticola solitarius (3) moon (1) Motacilla cinerea (1) Mountain Shrike (1) Mountain White-eye (1) Naked-faced Spiderhunter (1) Nectarinia jugularis (2) Ninox scutulata (1) Northern Hobby (1) Northern Shoveler (1) Numenius phaeopus (2) Nycticorax nycticorax (1) Olive-backed Sunbird (2) Oriental Honeybuzzard (2) Oriental Skylark (1) Osprey (5) Otus megalotis (1) Padda oryzivora (2) Paddyfield Pipit (1) Pandion haliaetus (5) pangasinan (1) Parus elegans (1) Parus semilarvatus (1) Passer montanus (1) Penelopides manillae (1) Peregrine Falcon (1) Pernis ptilorhynchus (1) Pernis ptilorhynchus philippensis (1) Phaenicophaeus superciliosus (1) Pheasant-Tailed Jacana (1) Philippine Coucal (1) Philippine Cuckoo-Dove (1) Philippine Duck (1) Philippine Falconet (1) Philippine Nightjar (1) Philippine Pygmy Woodpecker (1) Philippine Scops-Owl (1) Philippine Serpent-Eagle (1) Philippine Woodpecker (2) Pied Bushchat (1) Pied Fantail (1) Pied Triller (1) Plain Bush-Hen (1) Porphyrio porphyrio (1) Ptilinopus leclancheri (1) Purple Heron (1) Purple Swamphen (1) Pycnonotus goiavier (2) Pygmy Flowerpecker (1) Pygmy Swiftlet (3) Red Turtle-Dove (2) Red-crested Malkoha (1) Red-keeled Flowerpecker (2) resident birds (56) Rhabdornis mystacalis (2) Rhipidura cyaniceps (1) Rhipidura javanica (1) Richard's Pipit (1) romy ocon (2) Rufous Hornbill (1) Sarcops calvus (1) Saunders's Gull (1) Saxicola caprata (1) Saxicola maurus (1) Scaly-Breasted Munia (1) Siberian Rubythroat (1) Siberian Stonechat (1) spider (1) Spilornis holospilus (1) Spotted Dove (1) stacked teleconverters (1) Sterna albifrons (1) Streptopelia chinensis (1) Streptopelia tranquebarica (2) Striated Swallow (2) Stripe-headed Rhabdornis (2) subic rainforest (2) supermoon (1) surfing (3) Tanygnathus lucionensis (1) telephoto (1) Todiramphus chloris (3) tplex (1) Tringa stagnatilis (1) Tundra Bean Goose (1) Tyto longimembris (1) Upupa epops (1) video (1) Whimbrel (2) Whiskered Tern (5) White-breasted Waterhen (1) White-fronted Tit (1) White-throated Kingfisher (3) Yellow Bittern (1) Yellow-vented Bulbul (2) Zebra Dove (1) Zitting Cisticola (1) Zosterops meyeni (8) Zosterops montanus (1)