Saturday, March 8, 2014

Full framing a Whiskered Tern in flight

It's not often that I get a BIF shot whose framing out of the camera is already ok to my taste, and there's no need to crop (and throw away information) to strengthen the composition.
 
I previously noticed on Google Earth that there is a wide area under water at the western seaboard of Sto. Tomas town, La Union. This March 8th (2014), I did a scouting run in that place and found out that good concrete roads lead into the middle of what turned out to be many hectares of fishponds. It is a promising spot for water birds in flight, and I'll be back there soon for more BIF shots.
 
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Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybridus, migrant, non-breeding plumage)

Habitat - Bays, tidal flats to ricefields.
 
Shooting info - Sto. Tomas, La Union, March 8, 2014, 1D Mark IV + EF 500 f4 IS + EF 1.4x TC II, 700 mm, f/7.1, ISO 640, 1/1600 sec, manual exposure in available light, 475B/516 support, uncropped full frame.
Larger version
 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Eastern Marsh-Harrier in flight

This medium sized, migratory raptor (wing span - 1.22 meters) is often seen flying low over the ground, searching intently for prey such as small mammals, frogs and birds. With its eyes fixed on ground targets most of the time when in flight, it is tough to photograph with a nice eye contact.
 
I had the good fortune of catching this individual in mid-bank, with the sun behind me, on New Year's Day way back in 2008. I got the much coveted eye-contact, and captured a lot of detail in the underparts. The 1D MII's 8 fps allowed me to shoot a long burst (all frames in good focus), and then  to choose which frame has the most photogenic wing position.
 
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Eastern Marsh-Harrier (Circus spilonotus, migrant, sub-adult male)

Habitat - Uncommon, primarily in wetlands and grasslands.
 
Shooting info - Candaba wetlands, Pampanga, January 1, 2008, Canon 1D MII + EF 500 f4 IS + EF 1.4x TC II,
700 mm, f/7.1, ISO 320, 1/1600 sec, manual exposure in available light, 475B/3421 support, major crop.
 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The rare Siberian Stonechat

Taken at the sprawling Diliman campus of the University of the Philippines over six years ago, this is among the rare local photographs of a species newly added to the Philippine bird list. This bird was not included yet in the Kennedy Guide which was published in the year 2000.
 
Thanks to Prof. Gerry de Villa of UP-Diliman for discovering the individual bird and sharing its location. His digiscoped photos of the bird are the first I've seen from the Philippines. 
 
There is renewed interest lately about this bird among bird experts because of the recent split of the species into two different ones. This photo could shed light on which form was seen in our islands.
 
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Siberian Stonechat (Saxicola maurus, migrant)
 
Habitat - Grasslands and ricefields. 
 

Shooting info - UP-Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, November 20, 2007, Canon 40D + EF 500 f4 L IS + EF 1.4x TC II, 700 mm, f/7.1, ISO 400, 1/320 sec, manual exposure in available light, hand held, major crop.

 



 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Pond-Heron in flight at San Juan, La Union

I visited the swampy field near San Juan town proper (La Union) this weekend, and I was pleasantly surprised to see a Pond-Heron in the area.
 
It's virtually impossible to differentiate from afar a Chinese Pond-Heron from a Javan Pond-Heron when in non-breeding plumage. Whatever it is, this could just be the first record of a Pond-Heron species in my home province.
 
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Pond-Heron, either Chinese or Javan (Ardeola bacchus or speciosa)

Habitat - Ricefields and marshes, rare in the Philippines. 


Shooting info - San Juan, La Union, Philippines, January 26, 2014, Canon 7D + EF 400 2.8 IS + EF 1.4x TC II, 560 mm, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/1600 sec, manual exposure in available light, 475B/516 support, major crop.
 
 
Shooting info - San Juan, La Union, Philippines, January 26, 2014, Canon 7D + EF 400 2.8 IS + EF 1.4x TC II, 560 mm, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/1600 sec, manual exposure in available light, 475B/516 support, major crop.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Red Turtle-Dove in flight

Whoever included the word "turtle" in this bird's name must not be describing its speed in flight, as it can whiz by like a lightning bolt from nowhere. I got lucky to catch this incoming one in Candaba under good light, thanks to the amazing AF capability of the 1D MIV plus the venerable 500 f4 IS.
 
This species ranges in a wide area in Asia, where it is usually found in open areas in the lowland. It has a total length of about 9 inches.
 
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Red Turtle-Dove (Streptopelia tranquebarica humilis, resident)

Habitat - Open country or lawns. 
 
Shooting info - Candaba wetlands, December 29, 2013, 1D MIV + 500 f4 IS + Canon 1.4x TC II, 700 mm, f/7.1, ISO 640, 1/2000 sec, manual exposure in available light, 475B/516 support.
 

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