Little Visits: Kingfisher Feeding

Still continuing with the Kingfisher Nursery.
The young had been hatched about 3 weeks, and were now quite grown. But almost impossible to see as the tree opening had a rather large lump of wood that covered part of the hole, and it was difficult to get a glimpse.

Kingfisher young fly pretty much complete, in that they are capable in a few days of fledging to be self-sufficient. Although the parent birds keep up a good food supply.

Here then is a selection from that last week feeding.  

The setup is pretty much as described previously.  Main flash high and to the left. Using the Auto FP setting on the Nikon D500 to override the usual problem of working with faster shutter speeds.   On Auto FP, the SB910 Flash-units fire multiple times in what seems to be a continuous stream of light from the beginning to end of the exposure so all the sensitive chip receives an equal amount of light without any part ‘blacking’ out.   Downside is that the poor old SB’s have to drain the charge, and I can only get two or three frames per in or out flight. Then of course the battery has to recharge the unit, so it’s a few seconds delay.  I’m sure that Eric Hosking with his half ton of batteries or Steven Dalton in his studio set up didn’t have that problem 🙂



9 thoughts on “Little Visits: Kingfisher Feeding

  1. Superb images, David! They are such beautiful birds! Great use of the flash, and yes, battery life is an issue with them in the field!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks David. I think we were a little bit lucky, and also well prepared. Worked this time.
      That most camera mount flash are using AA batteries is probably as much the problem as the solution. The old SB800 had a beaut ‘extra’ external pack, and would have been really useful here. But, its a one off use. I much prefer to work with existing light for the form and tone.

      My old Metz 502s were powered by impossible leadacid battery packs, But they did pack a punch and could go a whole wedding or interior shoot.
      Glad to hear Di is out of danger. It is always a relief to hear good news.


  2. Fantastic photos, David. I admire your confidence and know-how using the flash. This is still a very underdeveloped skill in my case. One day…
    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Adam, ah. Thanks for that. To tell all the story, I’ve been working with flash for many years, don’t often use it for birds, as I like the much more natural light.
    We once used to use flash for just about every job, and have developed some techniques with the Nikon system to ensure that the results look as close to natural as possible. The Auto FP setting on the pro cameras has always been helpful in keeping a balance of flash to daylight.
    I’m not much of chess player, don’t do surgery, can’t work out how to set our microwave sometimes, so its a matter of skill set practice.


  4. Beautiful captures as usual David, and lovely to see a little head poking out as the mouth gets filled. I love how you capture the colours so vividly and fine detail. Part of the reason I never get such colourful photos is my not using flash, as the Australian eucalypts are so dark and light restricting, where most of our birds live beneath the canopy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hello Ashley, Thanks for that. Yes, it is one of the difficulties of working with forest birds. The light can be so frustrating as it not only is non-existant, but very contrasty with washed out hightlights and deep shadows.
    I’ve not used flash for birds for quite a long time, but this seemed to lend itself, and we had plenty of set up time once #kneetoo had made her discovery.
    Also because it was easy access we were able to visit regularly which gave us a real advantage, of not only were the birds accepting of our presence, but also we could work out some of their feeding strategy.
    And finally the flash setup was all off camera, which did I think maintain the feather colour

    Surprisingly, it was all over too quickly and they went back to their leisurely use of the forest while they get ready to depart north.


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