Friday, November 23, 2018

Scale-feathered Malkoha along Bued River

I was pleasantly surprised to see this endemic skulker along the banks of Bued River this morning. I usually see this bird only in the forest and edge. I hope it stays around in the next few days so I can get better captures.

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Scale-feathered Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus cumingi, endemic to the Philippines)

Habitat - Fairly common in forest, edge and second growth up to 2000 m.

Shooting info – frame grab from a footage filmed in natural habitat on November 24, 2018, along the banks of Bued River, La Union, Philippines,
Sony RX10 IV + Uniqball UBH45 + Manfrotto 455B tripod, 600 mm (equiv.), f/8, ISO 100, 1/60 sec, manual exposure in available light,
Steadyshot off, 4K/29.97p capture processed to 800 x 533.



And the full HD footage from which the frame above was grabbed:



Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Whiskered Tern in flight with a non-DSLR

The Sony RX10 IV is an excellent camera in for filming, macro work and bird photography, but capturing birds in flight (BIFs) is not its strongest suit. 

It has great phase detect AF with numerous points, a blazing 24 fps ARW with deep buffer, and a 600 mm (equiv.) lens which is sharp even wide open. However, its EVF stutters after a short burst, causing disorientation to my eyes when acquiring and tracking the moving subject. Worse, its viewfinder is much darker than the OVF of DSLRs (the latter always have the lens wide open during tracking regardless of exposure settings).

Those said, with persistence, the RX10 IV can still catch BIFs, albeit not at the success rate of a DSLR + a good prime, like my Canon 7DII + 400 f/4 DO II. I'd still opt for the latter combo when the birding sortie is primarily intended at BIFs.

Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybridus, migrant, non-breeding plumage)
Habitat - Bays, tidal flats to ricefields.

Shooting Info - Sto. Tomas, La Union, Philippines, October 16, 2018, Sony RX10 IV,
600 mm (equiv.), f/5.6, 1/2000 sec, ISO 320, manual exposure in available light, hand held, 9 MP crop resized to 800 x 450

  
Click the larger 1920 x 1080 version for more detail




Whiskered Tern (Chlidonias hybridus, migrant, non-breeding plumage)
Habitat - Bays, tidal flats to ricefields.

Shooting Info - Sto. Tomas, La Union, Philippines, October 16, 2018, Sony RX10 IV,
600 mm (equiv.), f/4.5, 1/2000 sec, ISO 200, manual exposure in available light, hand held, 9 MP crop resized to 800 x 533



The RX10 IV is the best BIF camera when it's the only gear available, especially at times when accidental birding happens and it's conveniently packed in the car's trunk. Also, it's the only BIF rig that I can safely pack in my bike's luggage box when riding (Kit A below, kit B needs a bigger vehicle for carriage).

Click for the larger image


And here's my birding bike whose top box can easily accommodate the RX10 IV bag, some drinking water and other small stuff.

Kawasaki Versys X 300, with Givi E19N top box and Oxford M4R tank bag
Shooting info - Sony RX10 MIV, 24 mm equiv., 1/60 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, manual exposure, fill-in flash (in-camera), near full frame resized to 1500 x 1000.


A good DSLR + a fast focusing prime lens is still the best BIF system on the planet, as long as you have this available when a BIF shooting opportunity materializes.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Brush Cuckoo (a video lifer)

This individual is an immature, and may easily be confused with the hepatic female of the larger Oriental Cuckoo. I saw it for three straight days along the banks of Bued River, after which it was gone. Solitary and secretive, it has a total length of 9 inches. This was the first time I got some video footage of this species.

Many thanks to Rob Hutchinson (www.birdtourasia.com) for confirmation of the bird ID. 

_____ 

Brush Cuckoo (Cacomantis variolosus, resident, immature) 

Habitat - Coastal mangrove to montane mossy forest.
 
Shooting info - Bued River, La Union, northern Philippines, September 21-23, 2018, Sony RX10 Mark IV + Uniqball UBH45 + Manfrotto 455B tripod, 600 mm (equiv.), various ISO and aperture settings, 1/60 sec, manual exposure, 4K/29.97p capture processed to 1080/23.976p.


Monday, September 24, 2018

Full framing a Red-keeled Flowerpecker


I managed to get quite close to this micro-dynamo of a bird, possibly within 3 meters. The RX10 IV's superb continuous AF, close focusing ability and the 24 fps RAW bursts made it quite easy to capture the decisive moments, as the bird was actively feeding on some Kerson fruit (locally called mansanitas or alatires). Total length of the bird from tip of tail to tip of bill is about 4 inches.

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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, September 25, 2018, Sony RX10 Mark IV + Uniqball UBH45 + Manfrotto 455B tripod,
600 mm (equiv.), f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, manual exposure, ARW capture, near full frame resized to 800 x 533.



Shooting info - Bued River, Rosario, La Union, Philippines, September 25, 2018, Sony RX10 Mark IV + Uniqball UBH45 + Manfrotto 455B tripod,
600 mm (equiv.), f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, manual exposure, ARW capture, uncropped full frame resized to 800 x 533.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Scratching a kingfisher's itch (240 fps slomo)

It's amazing to see some details that are only visible when things  are slowed down to 1/10 of real life speed. 

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis, resident) 

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

Shooting info – filmed in natural habitat on September 24, 2018, Bued River, La Union, Philippines, Sony RX10 IV + Uniqball UBH45 + Manfrotto 455B tripod, 600 mm (equiv.), f/6.3, ISO 200, 1/500 sec, manual exposure in available light, Steadyshot off, 1080p/240p capture processed to 720/23.976p. 

Music - "Hyperfun" by Kevin MacLeod, www.incompetech.com (RF)


White-throated Kingfisher in low key

This bird was perched in a shaded area under some trees along Bued River, but small parts of it were lit by the morning sun.

I exposed manually for the sunlit portions of the bird, consequently turning the environment very dark. The resulting low key scene presents an interesting and mysterious footage of this beautiful kingfisher.

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White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis, resident) 

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

Shooting info – filmed in natural habitat on September 23, 2018, Bued River, La Union, Philippines, Sony RX10 IV + Uniqball UBH45 + Manfrotto 455B tripod, 600 mm (equiv.), f/8, ISO 100, 1/60 sec, manual exposure in available light, Steadyshot off, 4K/29.97p capture processed to 1920 x 800/23.976p (cinematic 2.4:1 aspect ratio).


Monday, September 17, 2018

Long-tailed Shrike (Full HD)

A short clip of this predatory species, a common resident of the Philippines, filmed in natural habitat. The total length of the bird, from tip of long tail to tip of bill, is about 9.5 inches. 

Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach, resident) 

Habitat - Open country and scrub. 

Shooting info - Bued River, La Union, northern Philippines, September 17, 2018, Sony RX10 Mark IV + Uniqball UBH45 + Manfrotto 455B tripod, 600 mm (equiv.), f/5, ISO 100, manual exposure, 4K capture processed to 1080p.


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Escape from the raging Bued River (Supertyphoon Mangkhut)

At the tailend of supertyphoon Ompong (Mangkhut) on September 15, 2018, heavy rains fell non-stop for at least 5 hours over the tributary area of Bued River. This river lies at the boundary of Pangasinan and La Union (Philippines) and it was along its banks where Kennon Road, one of the major routes to Baguio City, was built. 

Enormous quantities of storm water raged down river from the Cordillera mountains. I was staying in an industrial facility near the river at that time. When the water level passed a certain threshold, it triggered an evacuation of men and equipment to higher grounds. The danger of our area being overrun by the swollen river was a distinct possibility. 

This footage was taken with my Transcend DP200 dashcam as I was driving my Mitsubishi Montero 4x4 to a safer spot. The only route out was through a narrow concrete road near the bank of the river, but the turbulent flowing water had started to erode the road's base. 

I've sent several vehicles through the route ahead of me, and I was the last one that managed to get through before the road was totally destroyed. 

Radio IDs: 
0-1: Myself 
0-4: Our assistant plant manager 
S-1: Safety and security officer 
S-2: Security officer 

Late in the afternoon, the rains weakened and another route which was under water earlier in the day became passable. We used this route to return to the facility later.




Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Portrait of a Dragonfly

Barely 2 inches long, this tiny dragonfly fills the frame, thanks to the close focusing distance of the Sony RX10 IV at the long end that results into some decent magnification. I must've unintentionally touched the zoom lever a bit - the EXIF data reported only 595 mm equivalent focal length, instead of 600 mm. 

The focus magnifier and peaking level make precise manual focusing a breeze at such a static subject, rendering the head area and both wingtips sharp.  I positioned the camera such that the foliage at the back is a good distance away - the outcome is a wonderfully blurred background that imitates what can be achieved with a DSLR and a telephoto lens.


Shooting info - Bued River, Rosario, La Union, Philippines, September 5, 2018, Sony RX10 Mark IV, 595 mm equiv., f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/60 sec,
manual focus, manual exposure in available light, Uniqball UBH45 + Manfrotto 455B tripod, uncropped full frame resized to 800 x 533. 


Friday, August 31, 2018

Slow Wings (Butterfly slow motion)

Some slow motion footage of a butterfly filmed at the banks of Bued River, Northern Philippines. 

Shooting info – filmed in natural habitat on August 31, 2018, Sony RX10 Mark IV + Uniqball UBH45 + Manfrotto 455B tripod, 600 mm (equiv.), manual exposure, various settings, one clip at 4K/30p, another at 1080/120p, the rest 1080/240p. 

Music – “Montauk Point” by Kevin MacLeod, incompetech.com (royalty-free). 


Monday, August 13, 2018

Swollen Bued River

Some FHD footage of the swollen Bued River at Camp I, Rosario, La Union, Philippines, filmed on August 12, 2018 at around 3:00 pm to 4:00 PM. The flooding was caused by heavy moonsoon rains. 

Shooting info - Sony RX10 Mark IV + Uniqball UBH45 + Manfrotto 455B tripod, various settings, manual exposure in available light. 



Friday, August 10, 2018

A Butterfly's Amazing Proboscis

Note - the video was titled "A Moth's Amazing Proboscis" but it turned out that the subject is actually a butterfly species. Hence, the title is now corrected.

Some close up FHD footage of a Philippine Swift (Caltoris philippina) sipping nectar out of tiny flowers, using its very long proboscis. With its flexibility, light weight, suction/pumping system and fine controlability - all run by a "primitive brain" - this proboscis is an impressive example of nature's outstanding engineering. I recommend watching it in FHD (1080p) to see the fine details.

Filmed in natural habitat at Bued River, La Union, Northern Philippines on August 10, 2018. 

Shooting info – Sony RX10 Mark IV + Uniqball UBH45 + Manfrotto 455B tripod, 600 mm (equiv.), various settings, manual exposure in available light. 

Music - "Starry" by Kevin MacLeod, www.incompetech.com (RF).



Monday, August 6, 2018

Amazing Bugs of Bued River

Some HD footage of various insects filmed in natural habitat at Bued River, La Union, Northern Philippines on July 28, 2018 to August 6, 2018. 

Shooting info – Sony RX10 Mark IV + Uniqball UBH45 + Manfrotto 455B tripod, 600 mm (equiv.), various settings, manual exposure in available light. 

Music - "Willow and the Light" by Kevin MacLeod, www.incompetech.com (RF)



Saturday, August 4, 2018

A butterfly's proboscis at work

The RX10 MIV seems to me an ideal butterfly-catching rig. Its quick PD AF in continuous mode and close focusing ability have made it easier for me to capture these critters as they flit from flower to flower. 

Bursts of 24 fps feel almost like cheating - the ideal wing/antennae/proboscis position may be selected quickly from numerous frames taken a split second apart.

Shooting info - Bued River, Rosario, La Union, Philippines, August 5, 2018, Sony RX10 Mark IV, 600 mm equiv., f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/1000 sec,
continuous focus, manual exposure in available light, Uniqball UBH45 + Manfrotto 455B tripod, near full frame resized to 800 x 533.
Larger 1575 x 1050 version



Shooting info - Bued River, Rosario, La Union, Philippines, August 5, 2018, Sony RX10 Mark IV, 600 mm equiv., f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/1250 sec,
continuous focus, manual exposure in available light, Uniqball UBH45 + Manfrotto 455B tripod, near full frame resized to 800 x 533. 
     

Larger 1500 x 1000 version

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Two Butterflies and a Flower

Note - the video was titled "Two Moths and a Flower" but it turned out that the subjects are actually butterflies. Hence, the title is now corrected.

A close up footage of two butterflies taking turns in sipping the nectar of tiny flowers. Shooting in 4K and processing to FHD allow additional magnification for macro footage, plus the flexibility of zooming and re-framing in post process.

Shooting info – filmed in natural habitat at Bued River, Northern Philippines on July 28, 2018, Sony RX10 Mark IV + Uniqball UBH45 + Manfrotto 455B tripod, 600 mm (equiv.), f/5.6 - f/7.1, ISO 100, 1/60 sec, manual exposure in available light, manual focus, Steadyshot off, 4K/29.97p capture processed to 1920 x 800/23.976p (cinematic 2.4:1 aspect ratio).



Saturday, July 28, 2018

Lowland White-eye (immature)

Lowland White-eye (Zosterops meyeni, a near Philippine endemic, immature) 

Note - the white eye ring (from which its name was probably derived) is not yet developed in this immature individual. 

Habitat - Second growth, scrub and gardens. 

Shooting info – filmed in natural habitat at Bued River, Northern Philippines on July 28, 2018, Sony RX10 Mark IV + Uniqball UBH45 + Manfrotto 455B tripod, 600 mm (equiv.), f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/60 sec, manual exposure in available light, manual focus, Steadyshot off, 4K/29.97p capture processed to 1920 x 800/23.976p (cinematic 2.4:1 aspect ratio).
 _____




Monday, July 23, 2018

Pygmy Flowerpecker

(Note - the video was titled "Red-keeled Flowerpecker" but it turned out that the subject was misidentified; it's actually a Pygmy Flowerpecker. Hence, the title is now corrected.)

I got quite close to this immature individual while it was feeding on a succulent fruit we locally call "mansanitas" (Kerson Fruit or Muntingia calabura). 

The total length of this bird (from tip of bill to tip of tail) is less than 8 cm (3 inches). For a sense of scale, the size of the fruit being eaten is just a bit over 1 cm across.

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Pygmy Flowerpecker (Dicaeum pygmaeum, a Philippine endemic)

Habitat – Forest, edge and second growth.

Shooting info – filmed in natural habitat at Bued River, Northern Philippines on July 24, 2018, Sony RX10 Mark IV + Uniqball UBH45 + Manfrotto 455B tripod, 600 mm (equiv.), f/5.6, ISO 200, 1/60 sec, manual exposure in available light, manual focus, Steadyshot off, 4K/29.97p capture processed to 1920 x 800/23.976p (cinematic 2.4:1 aspect ratio).

Music - "Easy Lemon" (by Kevin McLeod, www.incompetech.com, RF)


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Rains, blooming flowers... butterflies!

With rains saturating a wide area of Luzon in the last couple of weeks, plants are in full bloom along the banks of the Bued River. 

When flowers appear, so do butterflies. The hand held Sony RX10 Mark IV, with its close focusing distance, long reach, competent AF and 24 fps burst rate, is well suited for capturing these colorful creatures while they hop from flower to flower.


Shooting info - Bued River, Rosario, La Union, Philippines, June 16, 2018, Sony RX10 Mark IV, 600 mm equiv., f/4, ISO 200, 1/500 sec,
continuous focus, manual exposure in available light, hand held, near full frame resized to 800 x 533. 
Larger 1500 x 1000 version


Shooting info - Bued River, Rosario, La Union, Philippines, June 16, 2018, Sony RX10 Mark IV, 600 mm equiv., f/4, ISO 200, 1/500 sec,
continuous focus, manual exposure in available light, hand held, near full frame resized to 800 x 533.

Larger 1500 x 1000 version

Thursday, May 24, 2018

A double treat of colors over Bued River

With thunderstorms starting to be more common over Bued River in the late afternoons, rainbows have appeared with more frequency too. Yesterday's colorful eye candy in the eastern sky was a rare double rainbow.

My color-blind eyes may not be able to recognize and fully appreciate each individual color, but my engineering mind is certainly awe-struck with the graceful and perfect geometric shape of this natural phenomenon.

Shooting info - Bued River, Rosario, La Union, Philippines, May 24, 2018, Canon 5D MIII + EF 16-35 f/4 L IS, 16 mm, f/7.1, ISO 100, 1/60 sec,
manual exposure in available light, hand held, near full frame resized to 800 x 450 pixels, with perspective correction.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Portrait of a Butterfly

After a couple of weeks of not touching my photo gear, I took a walk this Sunday morning to exercise my old legs, and to make sure that the electro-mechanicals of my camera are still in working order. This small butterfly (wing size is about an inch at the longest portion) provided a convenient target practice.

At f/5, full zoom and near minimum focus distance, the DOF is just good enough to render details sharp where it matters, while melting nicely the out of focus foliage in the background.

Shooting info - Bued River, Rosario, La Union, Philippines, March 18, 2018, Sony RX10 Mark IV, 600 mm equiv., f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/80 sec,
manual exposure in available light, manual focus, Uniqball UBH45 + Manfrotto 455B tripod, major crop resized to 1500 x 1000. 
   

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Surfin' Baler

Some surfing footage filmed at Sabang Beach, Baler, Aurora, Philippines on February 16 and 17, 2018.

Captured with a hand held RX10 Mark IV, manual exposure in available light, various focal lengths, apertures and shutter speeds, filmed in 120p and 240p then processed to 1920 x 1080/23.976p (cinematic 2.4:1 aspect ratio).

 (It seems Youtube's compression algorithm struggled with the many details in motion, and has discarded a significant amount of data.)

Monday, February 5, 2018

White-throated Kingfisher at Bued River

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis, migrant) 

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

Shooting info – filmed in natural habitat on February 6, 2018, Sony RX10 Mark IV + Uniqball UBH45 + Manfrotto 455B tripod, 600 mm (equiv.), f/7.1, ISO 100, 1/60 sec, manual exposure in available light, Steadyshot off, 4K/29.97p capture processed to 1920 x 800/23.976p (cinematic 2.4:1 aspect ratio).


Thursday, February 1, 2018

The super blue moon of January 2018

Thick clouds obstructed the eastern skies early last night, and I initially thought I would miss the rare lunar spectacle that happens only once every 150 years. Just before the start of the eclipse, the heavens cleared, and I was able to get a few photos of the lunar show using my birding gear.


1. Start of the eclipse:

LUNAR ECLIPSE OF JAN. 31, 2018 (07:59:37 pm, Manila Time).  Observed from Rosario, La Union, Philippines Canon 7D II + 400 2.8 L IS + stacked Canon 2x II/1.4x III TCs, Manfrotto 475B/516 support 1120 mm, f/11, ISO 100, 1/80 sec, manual exposure, cropped and resized to 50%.


2. The last slice of sunlight leaves the lunar disk:

LUNAR ECLIPSE OF JAN. 31, 2018 (08:49:05 pm, Manila Time). Observed from Rosario, La Union, Philippines Canon 7D II + 400 2.8 L IS + Canon 1.4x III TC, Manfrotto 475B/516 support, 560 mm, f/4, ISO 1600, 1/25 sec, manual exposure, cropped and resized to 800 x 533.  


3. Total eclipse begins, no direct sunlight falls on the lunar surface:

LUNAR ECLIPSE OF JAN. 31, 2018 (08:56:05 pm, Manila Time). Observed from Rosario, La Union, Philippines, Canon 7D II + 400 2.8 L IS + Canon 1.4x III TC, Manfrotto 475B/516 support, 560 mm, f/4, ISO 6400, 1/25 sec, manual exposure, cropped and resized to 800 x 533. L

4. And some FHD footage of the astro show:


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Scaly-Breasted Munia (2) Siberian Rubythroat (1) Siberian Stonechat (1) sison mango farm (1) slomo (1) slow motion (1) spider (1) Spilornis holospilus (1) Spotted Dove (1) stacked 2x TCs (1) stacked teleconverters (1) Sterna albifrons (1) Streptopelia chinensis (1) Streptopelia tranquebarica (4) Striated Swallow (2) Stripe-headed Rhabdornis (2) subic rainforest (2) super blue moon (1) super moon (1) supermoon (1) supertyphoon (1) surfing (4) surfing slomo (1) taboc (2) Tanygnathus lucionensis (1) telephoto (1) ten-four (1) ten-four readymix (1) time lapse (1) Todiramphus chloris (3) tplex (3) tplex terminus (1) transcend dp200 (1) Tringa stagnatilis (1) Tundra Bean Goose (1) Turnix suscitator (1) Tyto longimembris (1) Upupa epops (1) versys x300 (1) video (1) wasp (1) wasp macro (1) wasp video (1) Whimbrel (2) Whiskered Tern (7) White-breasted Waterhen (1) White-fronted Tit (1) White-throated Kingfisher (7) Yellow Bittern (1) Yellow-vented Bulbul (3) Zebra Dove (1) Zitting Cisticola (1) Zosterops meyeni (10) Zosterops montanus (3)