Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Red-keeled Flowerpecker in sweet morning light

Nothing can be more flattering to a bird's appearance than being illuminated in sweet golden light, either in the early morning or late afternoon.
 
I got very lucky this morning to catch this little fellow in first light (6:36 am). There was a very thin overcast in the east and that helped tone down a bit the overly warm illumination in that golden moment. This species, normally a four-inch long perpetual motion machine, was feeding on a fruiting tree when it decided to rest on a branch for a few seconds. That was enough time for my 7D's AI servo AF, slowed down by the 2x TC, to lock on target.

The direction of light was also very advantageous - it hit the dark upper parts head on, exposing it well, while the white underparts were away from the light, preventing over-exposure. I wish though that the red keel was more visible.
 
No pixel was harmed nor wasted in this uncropped full frame capture.
 
 
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Red-keeled Flowerpecker (Dicaeum australe, a Philippine endemic)
 
Habitat - Canopy of forest, edge and flowering trees.
 
Shooting info - Bued River, Rosario, La Union, Philippines, October 29, 2015, Canon 7D + 400 2.8 IS + Canon 2x TC II, 800 mm, f/5.6, ISO 640, 1/250 sec,
475B/516 support, manual exposure in available light, uncropped full frame resized to 800 x 533.
 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

White-throated Kingfisher

For a couple of weeks now, I've been stalking this individual along Bued River, but it's very shy and would always fly away when it notices me pointing my birding rig in its direction. To make things worse, it prefers to perch in the dark understory, where photons are a very scarce commodity.
 
I had to stack two teleconverters on the 400 2.8 IS to get 1,120 mm and be within full framing distance, plus I had to shoot in high ISO (as high as ISO 3200) and at wide open aperture to illuminate the bird reasonably well. I normally film in 1080/30p with a shutter speed of 1/60 second but  sometimes, I was forced to shoot in 1080/24p with a Tv of 1/50 sec for the extra 1/3 stop of light.

This footage was filmed in the last couple of days. I hope to catch it in better light in the coming weeks.

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White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis, resident)

Habitat – Clearings, along large streams and rivers, and in open country.

Shooting Info - Bued River, Rosario, La Union, Philippines, October 21 - 22, 2015, Canon 7D + 400 2.8 IS + 2x TC II + 1.4x TC II, 1120 mm, 1080p capture,  475B/516 support, manual exposure in available light.

Music - "Life of Riley" by Kevin McLeod




Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Blue Rock-Thrush In The Rain (HD Video)

I finally caught this bird on a photogenic perch this morning, while it was raining over the Bued River. The video quality with the stacked 2x/1.4 teleconverters is still decent, even with the 7D's tiny pixels.

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Blue Rock-Thrush (Monticola solitarius, migrant, female)

Habitat - Rocky exposed slopes, road cuts, and along rocky streams and rivers.

Shooting Info - Bued River, Rosario, La Union, Philippines, October 14, 2015, Canon 7D + 400 2.8 IS + 2x TC II + 1.4x TC II, 1120 mm, 1080/30p capture, 475B/516 support, manual exposure in available light.

Original Musical Score - "Inside View" by R. B. Ocon III, Paper Focus





Thursday, October 8, 2015

Portrait of a Blue Rock-Thrush

This female migratory bird has become a temporary resident in a certain area along Bued River very near the junction of Kennon Road and Manila North Road (aka McArthur Highway).
 
For the second time this season,  it allowed me a portrait session. Light wasn't ideal, as the bird was perched in the shade and the distant foliage was sunlit. I had to do some meticulous post-processing to lift the shadows and pull back the bright background. The back-to-the-camera pose shows some interesting feather pattern, while the open bill and catchlight are welcome bonuses.
 
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Blue Rock-Thrush (Monticola solitarius, migrant, female)

Habitat - Rocky exposed slopes, road cuts, and along rocky streams and rivers. 
 

Shooting Info - Bued River, Rosario, La Union, Philippines, October 8, 2015, Canon 7D + 400 2.8 IS + 2x TC II,
800 mm, f/5.6, ISO 320, 1/200 sec, 475B/516 support, manual exposure in available light, near full frame resized to 800x1000


HD Video Footage of the Blue Rock-Thrush

Monday, October 5, 2015

Zebra Dove in full speed flight

Called "pagaw" or "turokutok" in my native Ilocos, this common, garden-variety dove is about 8-1/2 inches in total length. Its second name in our vernacular is probably derived from its call. It's found in most Philippine islands.

This individual zipped by while I was waiting for birds in flight along Bued River. My hand held BIF combo (1D MIV and 400 5.6L) had no trouble locking its AF on the target given the plain sky background. A short 10 fps burst allowed me to select a frame with a photogenic wing position, while the 7 am morning sun provided good quality illumination.

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Zebra Dove (Geopelia striata, resident)

Habitat: Common in open country, cultivated areas and gardens. 
 
Shooting info - Bued River, Rosario, La Union, Philippines, October 6, 2015, 1D MIV + 400 5.6L,
f/5.6, 1/2000 sec, ISO 400, manual exposure in available light, hand held, major crop.
 

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