Getting low down is the only way to go sometimes. Shooting this nightjar from above would have been impossible as I wouldn’t have been able to approach this bird from a standing position. I decided to get down low and commando crawl up to this bird that I spotted perched next to the road whilst I was in Kenya. The red eye is a result of the reflection of the flash from my camera…. should have used red eye reduction mode 😉
Montane Nightjar, Caprimulgus poliocephalus, Kenya.
With Christmas just around the corner it was time to celebrate early with a trip to see the female Desert Wheatear on Titterslee Clee Hill. Although finding it was a problem as it had decided to do a vanishing act about a minute before I arrived, I finally located it around 90 minutes later. Such an obliging little bird which allowed a very close approach. With the winter sun being so low in the sky, the lighting on the bird was perfect, giving nice saturation to the background vegetation aswell. I used an angle finder to help me compose the images and also to try and get the camera and lens either at eye level with the bird or slightly lower, making for a better portrait.
Desert Wheatears usually frequent North Africa and the Middle East so to see one in Shropshire is very lucky indeed.
Top: Canon 1d MkIV, Canon 500mm F4 L IS lens with 1.4x, 1/1000sec at f/7.1, ISO 800, tripod and angle finder.
Bottom: Canon 1d MkIV, Canon 500mm F4 L IS lens, 1/400sec at f/8.0, ISO 400, tripod and angle finder.
Also, if you want a laugh (I did when I saw it!) have a look at the image below. This was the first Desert Wheatear I saw whilst in Tunisia in 2004. It was taken when I first started photography using the digiscoping technique! It was taken with a Nikon Coolpix 4500 and Swarovski AT80HD telescope. Hopefully you will see a huge difference to the work I am producing now!!