Monday, November 7, 2016

Whimbrel evades the 'delete' button

I noticed this Whimbrel only after it  had flown way past my position, and its flight attitude was no longer photogenic. Just the same, I instinctively raised my shooting gear, acquired the subject in a split second, and fired a couple of frames.

I intended to delete the shots immediately, but when I reviewed these in the 7D MII's LCD, I noticed some redeeming qualities of the captures, especially the second shot. Yes, the flight position was bad and most of the wing feathers are tattered (a result of the long migration journey). But light on the subject was good, and the background was pleasing. So, deletion was postponed until after I've looked at the image on my processing computer.

Later, during pixel-peeping in post-process, I saw the detail captured, as well as catchlight in the eye. I decided to stay the obliteration of the files for good. This image gives me something to aspire for on my next visits to the fishponds of Sto. Tomas. When light is golden and the feathers are replaced by new ones in time, the gear and the operator seem capable of catching this flying wader against a non-sky background. 

The ingredients for a great keeper will be in place - I only have to wait for a well-groomed Whimbrel flying towards me. Eternal hope that the next shot will be better than the last is what makes a birdnut continue doing and enjoying this tough pursuit.

_____


Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus, migrant)

Habitat - Along the coast in grassy marshes, mud and on exposed coral flats, beaches and sometimes in ricefields. 

Shooting Info - Sto. Tomas, La Union, Philippines, November 5, 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.

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