Kingfishers on the River Usk, Episode Three.

03rd July 2015
What a difference this morning;
I was out again at 05.00am but this time I had to wear wellingtons to get to my Kingfisher site. The other morning the grass was bone dry, this morning it was absolutely soaking and in addition the ferns seemed to be a foot higher today and were also sodden, the result of a heavy overnight mist. I got quite wet getting down to the river but I was under cover quickly and soon dried out. I had to wait for the light to improve, however, I was sure the gloom would lift as soon as the sun got up. Around 08.00am the Kingfishers started flying onto my perches, I shot both the male and female birds quite quickly, although disappointingly the light was still not the best. After some time, things began to slowly improve and I now had a juvenile bird on the perch, three different birds, quite nice. Unfortunately when the sun came up over the canopy things started to get more challenging on the lighting front. A harsh sunlight was now hitting my perch making correct exposure very difficult indeed. My only solution was to drop the ISO setting down and also underexpose by a stop and two thirds, using the camera exposure compensation, thereby taking some of the harshness away from the birds when they landed on the perch. As I always mention I try to get an uncluttered background if possible and I could achieve this because I set up the perches. I previously went into the river and removed all the stones that were just breaking the surface and in-line with my shooting area. I also cut down some straggly hanging branches that were over twenty yards away. These may seem insignificant but they will come back to haunt you because the stones show up like snowballs in the background of your images and the branches are like spaghetti, horrible!
The result of this underexposure was the brown background of the woods now becoming black and the Kingfishers shining like beacons against it, very pleasing indeed!



For Info;
Camera settings;
ISO 200
AV Mode
Aperture f5.6
Focal Length 840mm
Under exposed by one and two third stops.
Shutter speed 1/640 sec.

If you have the opportunity to achieve this it is well worth the effort. I took many shots at various lights and it turned out to be a very productive morning.
Please see Favourites, Kingfishers.