ImageSpotlight: Great Kiskadee

Great Kiskadee. Canon 7D | 500/4.5 @ f7.1 | ISO 400 | 1/2000

Great Kiskadee. Canon 7D | 500/4.5 @ f7.1 | ISO 400 | 1/2000

Here is another image from my recent visit to South Texas. I frequented one of my old shooting locations (Estero Llano Grande State Park), where I captured the dueling ducks in a prior post. As I was surveying one particular pond from an observation deck, this kiskadee landed on a log in front of me, quickly swooped down on the water, snagged a frog, and flew off. It was great action but I did not act quick enough. A few minutes later he would return and this time I would be ready.

How I got the shot:

In order to get this shot, I needed a fast shutter speed and a decent depth of field. I typically shoot at around f7.1 to f8 for my wildlife/bird images, adjusting up or down depending on the conditions. I shoot a Canon 7D and while I will bump the ISO to 640 or 800 on occasion, I do not like to go above ISO400, which is the setting I was using on this day because I had great light. Given the lighting conditions, I could achieve a shutter speed of 1/2000 or better with my desired f-stop and ISO. With the bird surveying the pond from its perch, I had to make a decision as to where I believed his flight path would be once he took off. I noticed he was scanning the pond to his right, which was where he had snagged a frog earlier. I focused my image on the bird, switched the lens to manual mode, and recomposed the shot to the right (no bird in the image). How far to the right is a function of lady luck as I’ve often done this and had missing body parts. Once recomposed, I put my finger on the shutter. When the bird moved, I pressed and held the shutter down. To my good fortune, this was the result.

Until next time, good light and keep shooting. –KEVIN

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