Monday, 3 June 2013

Red Kites

On Saturday a friend celebrated her 40th birthday with a party in Oxfordshire, providing the perfect excuse to stay overnight and shoot Red Kites in The Chilterns on the Sunday. And what a day it turned out to be, with high temperatures and a near pristine sky (image three was shot against one of the few clouds that bubbled up). There was activity all day, but in reality there is little point attempting to photograph Kites – or any other large bird against the sky – other than early in the morning or in the late afternoon, early evening. The results at other times tend to be a black silhouette against an over-bright backdrop. When the sun is lower, the birds' underside is lit and the pictures are so much more rewarding, revealing the Kites' subtle plumage variations and those piercing eyes constantly on the lookout for food scraps or carrion.

All shots taken using a Canon 1Ds MkII twinned with a Canon 100-400mm IS USM L lens












7 comments:

  1. You did very well Tim, I can never get them in shot. Aren't they a magnificent sight there? So many flying at once that you can't really count them.

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    1. Thanks Toffeeapple. You're right – at one point, I'm sure there were two dozen or more circling overhead. I find there are a few tricks of the trade that help capture them in shot: 1. As above, choose the right time of the day when the sun is low; 2. Don't attempt to zoom in too close. Instead, accept you will have to do a little cropping and give yourself more space to work with by not going in too tightly to the bird itself; 3. Watch the birds carefully for a while and learn how they are moving around. They tend to whirl on warm currents and so it's fairly easy to predict where they will be next and then track their movements through the lens as your fire. Hope that helps. All best, Tim

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  2. Brilliant Tim, this is one of my favourite birds and you really have done it justice :-)

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    1. That's very kind, Alan, many thanks – Tim

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  3. Brilliant flight shots Tim,love the action captures.
    John.

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  4. Tim, I'm not sure how I missed this post. Superbly shot and if I ever get close to this quality I'll be jumping for joy.

    I have fond memories of visiting the area around Wattling Hill during the second round of the Kite re-introduction programme with high hopes for their success AND now it is difficult to visibly count the numbers in the sky.

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