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.

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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.


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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.

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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.

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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.


 

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