Images of a Big Island

Who’s a Pretty Boy?

As I mentioned last post, it is as dry as a chip here at the moment, so for wildlife, water is pretty scarce! I have friends who are part of a wildlife rescue network here in the Whitsundays. As they have an interest in birds, often when I visit they have birds that they are attempting to nurse back to health before release back to the wild. Mostly they are successful but unfortunately there a times when they are not.

Around their home they have some birdbaths that the local avian population take full advantage of to cool down and have a drink during the early morning and late afternoon. After seeing a great image years ago of a Kestrel coming to roost in a tree taken with the aid of fill flash, I wanted to have a crack at a similar image with off camera flash. Not as easy as it looks , you need to have lightning fast reflexes to catch them as they land or take flight! Still, I managed to to capture a few nice images of two Australian Icon birds as well as a few shots with tail feathers exiting the frame!

Rainbow LorikeetThis image of the Lorikeet came out much better than expected as the lens is a kit 75-300mm lens that I did not have a high opinion of at all!

Thirsty Work,MateThe Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is the raucous clown of the bush and was a pleasant surprise. He didn’t appreciate the flash going off and you could see him visibly start every time I tripped the shutter!

Both are wild birds and were not harmed in the making of this blog post!

Canon 5D II, 580 EX II off camera flash, Manual mode, triggered by Yongnuo RF-603 remote triggers


2 responses

  1. Great shots! I’m interested in a bit more technique if you’re happy to spill the beans! How were you operating the camera? Manually or firing it remotely? Where was the flash? Right by the bath? Anything else you’re happy to pass on would be much appreciated as I’ve been thinking of doing this myself and any help would be much appreciated.

    December 6, 2012 at 10:42 pm

  2. Sure Noeline, the first image was shot with the lens at 300mm so due to small DOF it was easier for me to focus and fire the camera manually with just the flash being remotely triggered by a trigger on the hot shoe and one on the flash unit. All manual so you will need to do some test shots to work out ambient/flash mix.
    The second image was shot the day before with the camera set closer to the birdbath and triggered remotely with a third RF-603, you will need a synch cord between the hot shoe mounted trigger and remote release port on your camera for that.
    Not as flexible a set up as you need to wait for the bird to be in the right spot before taking the shot, and the shutter sound spooked the birds as well as the flash.
    IMO 300mm is the minimum size lens although with a crop sensor that works out equivalent to about 480mm. Ideally a 500mm lens would work pretty well but you would need to be changing focus constantly as the birds move and they move fast!
    Flash was set about 3.5-4 m away and at half power that gave me f8@ISO200 1/200s to underexpose the background by about 1 stop.
    A great deal of patience and quick reflexes help as well! Good Luck!

    December 6, 2012 at 11:24 pm

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