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Do you want to know how to photograph a Kingfisher catching a fish? Then read on!
Photographer: Janet Smith
Camera Settings: 80mm focal distance, auto ISO, f5.6, 1/1200th. Camera set to manual and continuous silent shooting.
Shropshire Photography hides, Market Drayton near Shropshire and Staffordshire borders, 6 July 2019, around 3:30 pm.
This is my bucket list shot – a shot that I thought I’d never be able to take because I could not afford to buy a fast lens which I was told is required in this type of shot.
Then almost a year ago, Brendan Van Son gifted me his old Canon 70-200mm f2.8 lens after learning I’ve wanted one but could not afford it. Having the lens opened up a whole new world for me. I saved and booked a hide day at Shropshire Photography Hides that got canceled three times because of bad weather and Minks decimating the Kingfisher nest and killing all the birds.
On the 6th of July, I finally managed to get to the hide. The day was overcast, drizzly, and windy. I set up the camera at water level and wrapped in a black bin bag to keep it dry. Then I set the camera to manual, f5.6, auto ISO and 1/1200th, set up the remote trigger and waited.
It took nearly six hours of waiting and shooting before I got this shot. I could not get the timing right, and this bird was super-fast. The light was also very low, and the drizzle persisted.
I ended up with more misses than hits, but it was well worth it. One thing I learned is patience and determination pays off. And maybe nicer weather would have helped as well.
I prefocused on the area where the bird was likely to enter the water with the camera set on silent continuous shooting to minimize noise.
There was very minimal post-processing. I did a close crop to show more of the water movement and the bird. Also, I lightened-up the shadows +25 on the photoshop slider, pulled up the vibrance to +15, and exposure to +5.
My tip is to be patient, ask for advice from seasoned bird photographers and observe the bird’s behavior. I learned that this bird would move three paces either left or right and bob it’s head down before diving. As soon as it does that, I pressed the remote and continue pressing until it was back on the branch.