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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Photographing a Kingfisher (1 Viewer)

McHeath

Registered User
Supporter
Hi all!
I'm very new to the game of photographing birds, and I'm fascinated by it. I'm also completely new to photography. I bought a Lumix FZ300 a few weeks ago and have spent many hours both reading the manual and about basic theory, then just taking the camera out and trying to put it all into practice.
I've found a beautiful stream and want to attempt to photograph one of the Kingfishers which I often see there. Based on my present knowledge, I'd go about it the following way:
Position myself in the vegetation on a bend at the end of a longish straight stretch. Use a moderate zoom and manually focus on the middle of the straight. Shutter speed of 1/2000+ (?), aperture as wide as possible for depth of focus (?), and let the camera take care of the ISO. Mode on 4K start/stop; then just fire a burst every time I hear an approaching whistle.
I'd be very grateful for suggestions which could increase my chances of success!

Regards,
McHeath
 

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
Hi McHeath and a warm welcome to you from all the Staff and Moderators.

I'm sure you will enjoy it here and I look forward to hearing your news. I've no doubt someone will be along soon with some advice for you.
 

MalR

Well-known member
Hi McHeath, and welcome to BirdForum. 👍

You seem to be confused by a couple of things here. First of all, you say "aperture as wide as possible for depth of focus". In fact, the wider the aperture (i.e. the lower the F number), the shallower the depth of field will be. Stopping down a bit (i.e. using f5.6 or f8) will give you a bigger depth of field and therefore more chance of getting the bird in focus. The trade-off is that less light will be hitting the sensor, so your camera will raise the ISO – not good on these small-sensored bridge cameras.

The other thing I was puzzled by was "Mode on 4K start/stop". 4K is a video mode. I would suggest using aperture or shutter priority mode. I would also think that you might need a faster shutter speed than 1/2000th to freeze a kingfisher in flight.

You've set yourself quite a challenge. Best of luck, and let us know how you get on.

Malcolm
 

McHeath

Registered User
Supporter
Hi McHeath, and welcome to BirdForum. 👍

You seem to be confused by a couple of things here. First of all, you say "aperture as wide as possible for depth of focus". In fact, the wider the aperture (i.e. the lower the F number), the shallower the depth of field will be. Stopping down a bit (i.e. using f5.6 or f8) will give you a bigger depth of field and therefore more chance of getting the bird in focus. The trade-off is that less light will be hitting the sensor, so your camera will raise the ISO – not good on these small-sensored bridge cameras.

The other thing I was puzzled by was "Mode on 4K start/stop". 4K is a video mode. I would suggest using aperture or shutter priority mode. I would also think that you might need a faster shutter speed than 1/2000th to freeze a kingfisher in flight.

You've set yourself quite a challenge. Best of luck, and let us know how you get on.

Malcolm
Hi Malcolm, thanks for your quick reply and advice.

Yes, I'd got the relationship between F and depth of field the wrong way round, so thanks for clearing that up for me.

The mode I was meaning is called "4K Photo" on the Lumix and takes a fast burst of stills for as long as you hold the button. Sorry for the confusion!

Thanks again, and yes, I'll let you know how I get on.

Andrew
 

MalR

Well-known member
Sorry, Andrew. My misunderstanding over the 4K Photo Mode. I'm guessing that's similar to the Pro Capture mode that some high-end Olympus cameras offer? Sounds as if it might be very useful for this sort of shooting.

Malcolm
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
I agree that might do it, but I also agree that this is a tall order you have set as an early goal. Do mix in periods where you try to get stationary birds.

for the shooting of the kingfisher: I assume you cannot use raw for photos shot in this way? It might still be worthwhile to test if you can get better results dialing back noise reduction in the camera and judicially apply that afterwards in a program.
Niels
 

McHeath

Registered User
Supporter
I agree that might do it, but I also agree that this is a tall order you have set as an early goal. Do mix in periods where you try to get stationary birds.

for the shooting of the kingfisher: I assume you cannot use raw for photos shot in this way? It might still be worthwhile to test if you can get better results dialing back noise reduction in the camera and judicially apply that afterwards in a program.
Niels
Thanks Niels, and yes, I agree - I'm going to have to lower my sights. I spent three hours lying in the vegetation yesterday for a couple of stills sequences with undefinable blue blurs on them, but at least I learned a lot more about my camera - the necessary combination of settings simply won't work.
There was however a branch over the water to one side of me which seemed to be popular as a perch (was used 3 times in the 3 hours), so I'll change my setup and have a go at simply getting a good shot of a sitting Kingfisher.
The day wasn't a complete failure though - I got some beautiful close-ups of accomodatingly static sitting damselflies :)
Regards, Andrew
 

McHeath

Registered User
Supporter
I agree that might do it, but I also agree that this is a tall order you have set as an early goal. Do mix in periods where you try to get stationary birds.

for the shooting of the kingfisher: I assume you cannot use raw for photos shot in this way? It might still be worthwhile to test if you can get better results dialing back noise reduction in the camera and judicially apply that afterwards in a program.
Niels
So, the first sobering results! I set the camera up on a tripod, focussed on the branch which I was hoping would be used, and waited. A slightly different perch was chosen, thus the unfocussed and partially obstructed sitting bird. The one in flight was pure luck. I changed my position after this to get a clear shot of the new perch, but didn't get any more visits. Back soon to continue experimenting,
 

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njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
So, the first sobering results! I set the camera up on a tripod, focussed on the branch which I was hoping would be used, and waited. A slightly different perch was chosen, thus the unfocussed and partially obstructed sitting bird. The one in flight was pure luck. I changed my position after this to get a clear shot of the new perch, but didn't get any more visits. Back soon to continue experimenting,
You did choose a difficult target!

I notice you upload images in format .png. I think most of us would use .jpg for the final copy to upload. This makes no difference for the quality of the image though.

Niels
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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