Sunday, 1 June 2008

AF challenge

Black Terns (Chlidonias niger/Zwarte Stern) return from end April into May. In The Netherlands they breed colonially in well-vegetated lowland lakes, e.g. cut-off branches of the big rivers. They have a light jaunty flight, hunting insects over the water surface like a big leisurely Swallow. The AF of my Canon EOS 40D camera had a hard time to capture this foraging behaviour. First of all shutter time must be 1/800s of faster to avoid motion blur (with a 500mm tele). The best strategy is to use the central AF point, set the camera in servo high-speed mode, dismount any converters and try to keep the bird in the middle of the viewfinder. The composition can be made later on in Photoshop by cropping. During postprocessing I also flipped this image horizontally, so that the birds flies to the right. This makes the picture easier ‘to read’. The blurry circles in the background are flowering Yellow Waterlily (Nuphar lutea/Gele Plomp).

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