Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The tough-to-expose Brahminy Kite

I've always considered a Brahminy Kite in flight as among the toughest exposure jobs a birdshooter can encounter in the field.
 
The adult bird's white head and breast are in extreme contrast to the dark wings and the rest of the body. In addition, this raptor prefers to come out in the air at mid-morning to early afternoon, when a breeze is blowing. This is to save energy during the hunt. It can just ride the air currents with motionless wings like a toy kite (that's probably where its name came from?).

The trouble with such flight time is the harsh light - it wreaks havoc on the exposure of the bird's contrasting plumage.
 
Imagine my joy when this individual came out earlier that usual over the fishponds of Sta. Cruz, Zambales. Light at half past seven in the morning was still reasonably decent. This allowed me to expose the dark underparts well, while controlling the highlights. The catchlight in the eye and the photogenic full wing spread showing the primaries nicely are welcome bonus.
 
This raptor at 20 inches total length is considered medium sized. Its wingspan is a tremendous 48 inches, and that gives it enough wing area to glide and soar at the slightest breeze. It ranges in most Philippine islands.
 
__________
 
Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus, resident)

Habitat - Open areas often near water, and also in mountains to 1500 m.
 
 
Shooting Info - Sta. Cruz, Zambales, Philippines, April 26, 2011, Canon 1D MIV + EF 500 f4 IS + 1.4x TC II,
700 mm, f/6.3, ISO 400, 1/1600 sec, manual exposure in available light, 475B/516 support.



1 comment:

Majesta Ellker said...

That is a neat picture! Amazing!!

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