Friday, 3 February 2017

Goldfinch aerial combat

   With the rough weather conditions yesterday getting out and about was difficult and most wildlife had gone to ground to avoid the high winds and rain that covered the county,  One of the wet weather projects on my hit list was to try and capture the Goldfinch aerial disputes over pecking orders on the feeders at the southern cut-off hide at Stithians Reservoir,

I had already experimented with creating a few montage images by merging two of three single bird images as in the picture above but in general they lacked the feisty aggression shown by these birds when challenged at the feeders.
Using my camera on a tripod I set my frame composition so that the feeder was at the extreme left or right leaving plenty of negative space for the fighting birds to fly into and once a goldfinch had landed on the nearest vacant perch to feed I set my focus on to it.

Two things soon became evident,  Firstly the lower bird in these three images was always the one that came off of the feeder which helped because it had provided the focus point for the camera but secondly the other bird was always flying into the frame area and my reaction time while looking through the viewfinder at this small frame area was not quick enough,

I set my camera to fast multiple frames and added a remote shutter release so that I could watch the compositional  area directly to determine when the birds would cross it and fired  away at 11 frames a second to be sure of eventually catching  the right composition ,  These three frames  were best out of around 300 frames,

Working with these birds made for an interesting challenge and in between working with them I was also treated to a Sparrow hawk, Two Great-spotted Woodpeckers together and the ever faithful Water Rail,  All in all.  Not bad for a blustery wet day!

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