Tag Archives: Ade Hall

Sometimes it is good to get a good hiding…

A trip to Malaysia in April was on the radar for some time and eagerly anticipated, and at the end of it I bought my first portable hide. In May, however, I was treated to an early birthday present which was a trip to a farm in Worcestershire, UK, that had a number of hides set up to both observe and photograph wildlife.

Exciting! ESPECIALLY, as the two hides I had selected were to photograph Kestrels and Little Owls. Both of these species were high on my list of favourite British birds to see, let alone photograph, so this was a treat indeed. I awoke at 4.30 am on the day, having had little sleep owing to sheer enthusiasm and unbridled excitement. The first hide I visited was the kestrel hide. I’d planned to spend an equal time in both hides, subject to the birds actually showing up. The hide was a tad “vertically challenged” for a guy of my height and so making my way into the height took on some strange postural positions. At the time I imagined to an observer, I most likely would have looked like a diseased John Cleese and auditioning for Monty Python’s famed “Ministry Of Funny Walks”. Thankfully, no one was around to witness my contortions and heavy metal-less ‘head banging’. I set up my gear, Canon 1DX body, 600mm f4 lens and bean bag – there was no room for a tripod really, despite me being the only occupier inside the hide.

A39T7761The bird appeared not too long after getting set up, a male kestrel, in stunningly attractive and well conditioned plumage. I’d tried to prepare for Bird In Flight (BIF) shots, yet the proximity of the hose to the bird precluded these, as wings were not accommodated within the viewfinder and subsequent shots.

The bird was truly magnificent and despite me having set up the camera for BIF photography I had taken care to position myself to give a good opportunity for good bokeh.

I wasn’t disappointed and some folks have suggested that i have photoshopped the background. I haven’t… this is straight out of the camera and achieved by shooting with the lens ‘wide open’ for minimal depth of field (this corresponds to high shutter speed and I had selected that in light of trying BIF shooting and the requirement to freeze the wings.

The owner of this place that organised the hides had pointed out probable perches for the bird and i hoped it would be possible to photograph the bird with some prey. My wishes were soon granted as the male kestrel appeared around half an hour later, to make short work of a mouse that it held firmly in its talons.

A39T7922I was lucky to have the bird in front of me and with wings spread, in decent light.

Given the opening for my lens and the range of movement i had with it from the hide, I had resigned myself to the likelihood that my goals for BIF photography were merely aspirational as opposed to realisable. Nonetheless the bird appeared with talons gripping a rodent and I managed to capture a few shots with which i was pleased.

A39T7917The bird used its wings to provide lift whilst its talons held the now dead prey firmly, as if it was thrusting upwards to rip the prey apart. After each “thrust” the male kestrel then proceeded to wield that flesh tearing bill with much gusto, effectively ripping the rodent apart, piece by piece. It’s rare that I get the opportunity to photograph my favourite birds and this was an absolute treat. The bird was visiting in near proximity – not at the minimal focusing distance of my lens, but within a distance where a 600mm prime lens requires managing in order not to cut off part of the bird in the frame.

A39T9008In the early afternoon I went to the Little Owl hide. I did not expect this bird to appear when the sun was still vigorously warming the earth and casting shadows that were extremely short. Unsurprisingly the first bird I was able to photograph was not a little Owl, or any other kind of owl. A male Greater Spotted Woodpecker put in a welcomed appearance and started drumming old logs, posts etc., in search of grubs or whatever food it could find. once food had been obtained, a pattern of behaviour emerged… savour the caught food himself, and then proceed to gather and hold in the bill, accumulating quite a mouthful at times. This always led to a flight, one direction, across an adjacent field. Trademark woodpecker flight undulation was exhibited, with three wing flaps, an undulating down and up ‘dip’ (with wings pulled in), followed by this pattern repeated. Each time the woodpeckers would follow thus route ad the terminus was a bough in a tree around 150 metres away.

A39T8448The woodpeckers definitely had a nest there and chicks to feed.

Whenever “dad” had gotten food and left for the nest, “mum” would appear shortly afterwards, eagerly seeking out food for the chicks on surrounding tree stumps, posts and decaying logs that were on the ground. Once food had been gathered, then the male’s path was imitated with precision and stylistic accuracy.

I’ve always loved seeing woodpeckers, so my far was illuminated just enough to reflect my level of pleasure, but not quite enough to show birds outside the hide that a satisfied and keen observer was in his element.

The woodpeckers cam and went with what became predictable frequency, and I wondered at what time the Little Owl would appear. The farmer began herding sheep in the next field, ably accompanied and supported by a Border Collie sheepdog. What an awesomely skilled dog this was too. Ever rounding them, shaping them, corralling them, until eventually they’d all been accommodated per the farmer’s desires.

A39T9376Only at this point did the little Owl put in an appearance. Not for too long. But in any event, long enough for me to marvel at its beauty and ponder if I had the courage to take my eye off the newly arrived owl, as I began to visit the viewfinder and voce beauty into my viewfinder.

What a little stunning bird!

I’d heard them calling as a boy, on many an occasion. Had seen them take flight too, as they precluded me from close viewing and inspection.

But now, in my viewfinder, this gorgeous little bird as plain to see, my 600mm prime lens gathering detail of the bird, the camera sensor appreciatively subjecting the lens’s capture into a digital reference of the event. WOW!

A39T9377The owl may be ‘Little’, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in stature and grandeur. This bird brought gravitas to the perch and my camera.

I was amazed by the ‘hunting accessories’ and functionality that this bird takes for granted, most likely.

Those piercing eyes that have acuity that most any human would give their right arm for. That flesh tearing beak, singularly designed for tearing prey to pieces, as one might expect for such an accomplished hunter.

A39T9352And finally its talons… gripping and ripping is the name of the game for this piece of equipment…

So despite its seemingly ‘less than potent’ size, this bird is marvellously adapted to hunt at will, easily gaining meal from its choice of prey in general.

A portable hide was obtained. A visit to a farms’ hide made me feel ordained. What a treat! Happy Days indeed…

Whydah Heck would you want to photograph an escapee?..

SUPER early start for me today. AND, I’m far from a ‘morning person’. so what dragged me kicking and screaming from a super comfy bed and restful sleep you may ask?
A39T3561Hmm. Pin Tailed Whydahs. Not endemic to Singapore. Escapees. Probably have Permanent Resident status by now. So many might think, as mere escapees, WhyDah Heck would you want to go photograph this. Haha.I guess it’s about beauty. And behaviour that’s awesome to watch and compelling to photograph. “Whydah” is actually pronounced ‘widder’, phonetically, though you’d never know that from how it is spelled.

A39T2917Pin Tailed Whyndahs have elaborate mating rituals which may make one imagine that parenthood is taken seriously. It is taken seriously… these responsibilities are seriously DELEGATED to a surrogate pair of birds. I.E. the Whydah parents lay their eggs in the nests of other hapless birds, who then proceed to take on the parental duties and responsibilities of the Whydah, on a surrogate basis, and akin to the behaviour of a cuckoo.

A39T3757The mating process is systematic and whilst appearing wonderfully romantic given the elaborate displays that the male Whydah performs before females, actually has circumstantial process steps that either enable, or prevent, mating from taking place.

The ritual performed by the male Whydah is jaw-droppingly elaborate and joyous to witness, as flight patterns that are not typical of birds are performed with adeptness that defies all but spiritual consideration.

A39T2901Laws of physics and as an extension flight, appear to be subordinated to mere ‘considerations for other birds’, as the male performs manoeuvres that defy logic and feed the optic nerve with sensorial bliss for the onlooker. Dips and dives, with plumage a flutter – never a stutter, as descents are traded for ascents, a flick of the tail and gravity assailed.

A39T2899Only when the female has located suitable surrogate parents will she give herself to the male, and it is at this point that all that motion splendid aerial posturing may be even entertained, let alone considered.

A39T2892Furthermore, the male is then further vetted for suitability based on its choral mimicry ability – he has to be able to imitate the surrogate parents’ calls, in order to ensure the surrogate nest is not abandoned once egg placements has occurred.

When the female is satisfied that the male can suitably match up to all these criteria, then a mating session occurs and unwitting surrogate parenting ensues from unsuspecting birds of carefully selected species.

A39T2898What a convoluted process to procreate. One might say the male is led on ‘a merry dance’. And after procreation and the mating season ends, those resplendent tail feathers that provide such motion to the dance of passion, merely are shed until next breeding season.From my perspective, witnessing and capturing this display surpasses mere merriment and paints the sky with an aerial ballet that is lacking purely in the absence of music.

A39T3767If I were to add music to the scene, it would not be from a ballet. I’d choose Strauss, and By The Beautiful Blue Danube.

This music has crescendos, grace, an enveloping quality that simply draws you in and caresses your senses.

A male Pin Tailed Whydah’s display grabs me like that too. So WhyDah Heck would I get up so early before work to photograph this bird? Well now you know… and here’s some closer shots from earlier that morning… Happy Days.
Pin Tailed Whydah, Punggol, Singapore, April 2015.

 

 

Joy in the Park, a sunset lark and stars after dark… great fun!

Having “reccied” the park previously, we thought it would be nice to revisit, stay overnight at the local inn (within the park itself) before heading to Margaret River region, shoot birds in the daytime at the park, catch the sunset at Two Rocks and maybe try and capture the starscape at the park that evening.

A39T7555-impThe first bird that really caught our attention were, unsurprisingly, Galahs.

I love the pink and grey colour combination of these birds and hoped to capture them with wings open and crests standing. Despite their commonality, they gave me much pleasure as it is not usual for me to see this bird – there are no such species in Asia, that’s for sure. It was early morning and ducks were in flight aplenty, though at distance.

A39T9192-impI kept my camera settings ready for BIF shots and was happy to see a flock of Grey Teal come into view, though not very close by any means. Those trademark, giveaway teal coloured wing bars gave away the species readily, but then a small group of Pacific Black Ducks winged their way onto the water.

A39T7349-impI was able to shoot these too and was astounded at how pretty the wing bars were – teal coloured too, though far prettier than the Grey Teals. What a lovely surprise that was!

A39T8963-impA White Headed Stilt proceeded to put on a show for me, posing nicely. There were plenty of them though in the main were at distance, so it was nice to see and shoot one a little closer.

A39T9275-impWhen it then proceeding to have a scratch and a stretch, this provided for some less than typical stilt shots…

A39T9276-imp

At one point a whole bunch of waders and ducks in the distance took to the air en masse. Evidently something had caused them to be disturbed and it was some time before I could figure out what may have done this. Then all became clear and eventually this gorgeous raptor came reasonably close to me, against an unruffled sapphire sky… a Whistling Kite had flushed the alarmed birds, and what a beauty it was too!

A39T0131-imp

Accommodation for the evening had been arranged at the Yanchep Inn and apparently there’s three levels of accommodation, including one that’s a tad ‘more luxurious’. I opted for that one and was glad I did… if that was luxurious, I shudder to think what the others would have been like. The important thing, though, was to be there.

During lunch at the Yanchep Inn we ate outside. This action alone seemed to provide an alarm call for some of the local birds, who were extremely awake and aware to the presence of humans and the offerings that may follow.

A39T8150-impA few birds came either up close or remained on the periphery, in nearby trees and grass, so see what scraps may be made available. Red Wattlebirds seemed to be everywhere. Pretty aggressive too, as they seemingly drove all but crows away when anything in the way of food had been seen.

A39T7769-impAustralian Ringneck parrots came from far and wide and initially took up situ in nearby flowering trees, proceeding to remove colourful buds and leaves with verve.  At this point we were having coffee after lunch and an Australian Ringneck came close and landed on a chair.

A39T9486-imp I thought nothing of it as there were no morsels to provide anyway as all the meal was finished. This didn’t deter the parrot who simply hopped onto the table and grabbed a tube of refined sugar from the saucer of the coffee cup. I was very surprised but didn’t expect the parrot to be able to do much with a sealed tube of sugar. How wrong was I?!!! He opened the tube with consummate ease and proceeded to enjoy the sugar with careless abandon. I had to chuckle at seeing this.

A39T8866-impI noticed a flash of white on the grass and caught sight of a Little Rosella. I’d seen a few earlier but as they were perched high in trees and against a sky background, couldn’t shoot them clearly at such distance.  This time proximity was less of an issue and aside from having a white bird lit by a brilliant sun (never a winner for bird photographers), I was able to capture this fellow.

It was time to make our way out of the National Park and visit Two Rocks, a nearby location where we thought an ocean backdrop may provide a nice sunset shot opportunity, if we were lucky. It wasn’t a long drive so we left late in the afternoon.

Two Rocks was a rock structure upon which many cormorants had come to roost. Shooting into the falling sun didn’t provide chances to capture them in detail and in any event, it was the sunset I wanted to shoot most of all. Landscape photography is totally new to me and I’d just acquired a new Canon L series 16-35mm f4 landscape lens as the reviews it had received were excellent – apparently this lens is reportedly sharper that the more expensive f2.8 version. I’d also equipped myself with Lee graduated Neutral Density filters and Circular Polarisers, along with all the lens adaptors. Had absolutely NO IDEA how to use all these properly, and figured the experimentation would be fun. It was…

A39T8536-impWe arrived at Two Rocks as the sun was beginning to leave us for the day, illuminating one of the rocks (shot at distance) with a 500mm lens – not exactly the typical landscape set up one might expect!

A39T8539-impI set up the landscape gear and proceeded down to beach level, with the main subject for the sunset foreground already being cast into shadow, revealing the cormorants atop. The sun began to descend quickly and whilst there were no cloud artefacts in the sky to bring greater depth and focal points to the shot, the sky took on beautiful changing hues as each minute passed. I decided to change the perspective of the shot and defocus the gap between the two sets of rocks, bringing into view more of the ocean and the wake of the incoming waves. It was a real “first attempt” at a landscape shot using the tools of the trade and I was desperately trying to recount the articles I’d read and videos I’d watched in order to get a nice rendition of the beauty before my eyes.

A39T8639-imp

 

I’d seen many shots taken of Two Rocks before and invariably the sun is depicted setting to the right of the rocks. Personally i liked the view above better, shot a little wider, and with the light from the ebbing sun and the lines from the tidal wash drawing you into the rocks themselves. Like I said, it was an experiment. I envy those that can “just see” the shot without much thought. I have to think a lot, which tells me that I either do not have much artistic ability, do not really know what I am doing with landscape photography, or maybe both. My money’s on both… LOL. Nonetheless, the shot above, whilst the foreground is a little underexposed, is pleasing to my eye. I simply lightened the rock artefact and haven’t changed the colouration or photoshopped the shot to death. A simple ND filter was used to balance the exposure disparity between the shadowed foreground / beach and the highly illuminated sky. It’s pretty much is how I saw it at the time. And it was, beautiful.

After dinner we thought we’d try and shoot “Milky Way” type starscapes at Yanchep National Park, where we were staying. I’d never tried this before, either. All I had done was read some tutorials and watched a few “do’s and dont’s” type videos, and had written key pointers down in the Notes section of my iPhone. After all, how much can any one person remember?

My darling kept reminding me that foreground subjects and artefacts were every bit as important with starscapes as with general landscape photography. And I forgot what she said. So I had lots of shots in the viewfinder of distant tree horizons and a starry sky. It felt bland, empty, lifeless. Nothing was drawing me to the stars when I looked at the shots. And then I remembered what she said – at exactly the point when she said “this bare tree may make an interesting  foreground” … haha. Oops. SO with notes and phone in hand, camera settings were adjusted to give base points for shooting, with experimentation to follow from there. It was a first try, so I had low expectations. But upon reflection, and given I’d never done, nor seen anyone else do this type of photography before, I was very happy what the “noob in me” had managed to capture…

A39T8653-imp

Sure it could have been better. Yup it would have been nicer if those ambient lights on the horizon, presumably from Yanchep town, had not been in the shot (i couldn’t figure out how to cause a general area power failure and NOT get arrested, LOL). But as a first attempt? I like this. I’m VERY happy with this to be honest. Not because it’s a wonderful picture, even though it’s pleasingly eerie to me. But because of the experience. Coordinating with my darling to make sure we shot at the same time and didn’t introduce any light to the scene at all. Taking note of things around you. Having your headlamps reveal kangaroos foraging in the darkness.

And perhaps most of all? Because this is a type of photography I will now do again in the future. Whenever I see a foreground subject that is distinctive I’ll consider “what if I shot the stars above this?”

A new concept. A new genre. A new challenge. And enthusiasm rekindled anew 🙂  .

Happy Days 🙂

 

Boyhood dreams come true, become rekindled, and live on, anew.

As a boy, my Birding tomes of reference were the Field Guides to the Birds of Britain & Europe, published, I believe, by the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), and by Collins.

RSPB
A Ready Birding Reference…

Whilst reviewing the pages to identify what birds I had been lucky enough to see, I’d often see birds that, for Britain at least, were described as “Accidentals”.

You know how it is when ‘the grass is always greener’? Well with some of my boyhood birding dreams, that was surely the case. Birds that could only be seen in the UK by pure chance, if the bird ‘had somehow gotten off course’, maybe even ‘lost’, seemed to captivate me… especially as some of those birds were plainly beautiful to the eye.

Whilst these ‘accidentals’ were many, one family of birds that always remained etched into my memory, were BeeEaters.   The reference guides mentioned that Bee Eaters could commonly be seen in continental Europe, and North Africa, and in the UK on rare occasions, in the very south of the UK. I paid little heed to this as I’d not heard of them ever being seen in the UK. What I did notice, is just how pretty these birds were, despite not being able to see them and not knowing if I ever would… I just hoped, one day, I’d get the chance to see them.

In recent years, I’d seen Bee Eaters on many occasions in Asia, launching from high, bare branch type perches, and usually at distance. Early attempts to photograph them were unsuccessful as the lenses I had were insufficiently long and against a bright sky background, my ‘starter level’ photography equipment coupled with extremely limited knowledge and skills, produced frustratingly poor images. I began to think that maybe “Bee-Eaters are just not for me” and perhaps I’d never get to shoot them. Until a few months ago…

In Singapore we are blessed with Bee-Eaters all year round, with Blue Tailed Bee-Eaters gracing our shores between September to March and then the rest of the year with Blue Throated Bee-Eaters. So I began my quest in trying to shoot these birds, to experience their beauty, their aerial majesty and dexterity, and to bring those boyhood yearnings to fruition.

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 10.59.44 amI’d heard that a wetland reserve in the North East of Singapore, Lor Halus, had Bee-Eaters resident there. So off I went, to try and capture these beauties on my camera’s sensor…

I’d been told  that there was a “botak” tree near a pond there, (botak means bald or balding in Malay – a bit like me 🙂 ), and it reportedly was a favourite place for the Bee-Eaters, so I searched it out and waited. Then I waited. After that, I waited. Until finally, I had just waited. For several hours. No Bee-Eaters came anywhere near where I was waiting and I was beginning to lose the will to live! No Bee-Eaters, but no other birds either! Finally a fellow bird photographer approached and asked me what I had been shooting. I said I had been trying to photograph Bee-Eaters but was rapidly starting to think that I’d have more chance trying to photograph Elvis. Thankfully,  the photographer told me I was in the wrong place – this was a botak ‘perch’ that a year or so previously a photographer had placed there, not the famed botak tree. I was directed elsewhere and off I went.

I found the ‘famed’ botak tree and noticed it was in the middle of a pond. My birding lens was a Canon EF300mm f2.8 and I had a 2x teleconverter fitted – so I was shooting with a focal length of 600mm.  I noticed straight away that if Bee-Eaters showed up, then they were likely to be so small in the viewfinder and that pictures most likely would need to be cropped to death. Anyways, I thought I’d ‘give it a go’ and at worst case, I’d get to see these wonderful creatures. The light intensity, after all, was pretty good.

After a short time,  in the corner of my eye I caught the briefest ‘blue flash’ and I wondered, as my heart started to race, whether this may have been  the bird I was so keen to see. Alas No. It was a White Throated Kingfisher, as identified by its’ familiar cries. A further twenty minutes or so passed and then suddenly I recognised sheer beauty. Not one Blue Tailed Bee-Eater, but two landed on a perch in almost instant succession…

A39T0248
Not one… but TWO?!! OMG… I must be dreaming…

My viewfinder became awash with colour and I can only imagine my smile was so wide, that I’d naturally created ‘fill in flash’.  Finally, after all those years, I’d managed to see these beauties and appreciate them in front of my very eyes. To see a little more detail than I’d seen before was simply joyous. But I was still quite a long way away from these captivating birds. What to do? Well, If I’d not been alone, I’d perhaps have been a little more adventurous and waded out into the pond. But I had no idea how deep the muddy pond bottom was, and dare not risk getting stuck, or worse still sucked under.  I did, however, have the option of climbing a tree. Hmm. After contemplating whether my slight frame (yeah, right!) could even climb this tree, and also whether there was anything natural that I might disturb or damage, I thought that little or no harm could come of this. So up I went… thank the Lord no-one was around to see what surely would have been an interesting spectacle of comedic proportions.  Yet eventually I managed to manouever myself into position, AND get my tripod and camera gear safely with me, and in position (albeit precariously).

I’d just gotten my bird photography set up nice balanced, awaiting the return of the Bee-Eaters, when in a nearby tree, an adult Blue Tailed Bee-Eater perched, resplendent with the spoils of its’ recent hunting foray. I tried to shift my angle whilst precariously balanced in the tree, and was extremely mindful that I could easily fall, along with all my bird photography gear. So I moved very carefully indeed, until I could get the Bee-Eater in view.

A39T0358
Blue Tailed Bee-Eater with hunting spoils…

And there it was. A lot closer this time. Yehey! Maximum awesomeness! I was So-ooo happy.

Finally I had managed to capture this lovely bird that had previously been carved into my memory. Wow. I was aghast, whilst gingerly pressing the shutter release on my camera. Happy Days indeed!

What happened next surprised me a little. I thought momentarily that I was watching a Kingfisher undergo its’ process for getting a fish ready to swallow. The Bee-Eater proceeded to smack the large insect that it had caught onto the thickish branch it was perched upon.

A39T0371
Blue Tailed Bee-Eater juggles prey with Cirque De Soleil precision…

Then instantly the bird deliberately chose to manoeuvre the prey into  different position – by tossing it into the air and catching it as it was in midair. I researched later what the Bee-Eater was doing, and WHAT a smart bird! They know which insects have stings and therefore which can be swallowed immediately, and which ones need ‘some preparation’. Whenever Bee-Eaters catch prey that potentially could sting them, they manipulate the prey to protect themselves.

A39T1711
Bee-Eater stuns an Asian Banded Hornet by smacking it onto its’ perch.

I watched this process with another Bee-Eater… after capturing their prey, they either squeeze the abdomen, smack the prey on a branch, or both, in order to cause the insect sting to protrude, which can then be removed upon strongly pressing the abdomen of the insect.

A39T1720
Bee-Eater squeezing the preys’ lower abdomen to finally remove sting and venom.

The next step is to further squeeze the insect abdomen at the very bottom,  until all the  sting has been ejected and the venom removed too.

It’s a very smart bird that has learned this process to make sure a meal can be enjoyed heartily, whilst simultaneously protecting itself from harm.

I climbed down from the tree after taking these shots, as I was for some reason feeling a little precarious and somewhat uncomfortable. I focused back on the original ‘botak’ tree and noticed a juvenile Bee-Eater. It probably hadn’t left the nest too long ago and whilst I couldn’t see it fly off and go hunting it in my viewfinder, I did see it emerge at distance, flying low and fast over the surface of the pond. It banked hard in pursuit of a large insect but then seemed to lose control, with the change of direction causing it to lose momentum, the ability to remain airborne, and thus it took an unplanned dip into the lake.

A39T0482
I DID NOT plan to go diving… oops!

The bird quickly returned to its’ perch and I smiled when I saw it through my lens.

What only moments before was the epitome of aerodynamics, now looked somewhat unkempt and definitely none the prettier for its’ unscheduled swimming lesson. Haha.

 

With fluffed up feathers to aid the drying process, the young Bee-Eater looked kind of cute to me.

A39T0478
Getting dry and soon to be ready to ‘launch’.

It didn’t take too long though before the bird began to dry its’ feathers and resume the more familiar, slicker, Bee-Eater shape.

Bee-Eaters’ wings are almost perfectly triangular and in flight the bird has the aerial manoeuvrability of a modern fighter plane. Somewhat surprisingly, during the entire drying process, the bird did not open its’ wings to dry them… it’s as if the wings didn’t get wet at all.

 

 

A39T1580
A pair of Blue Tailed Bee-Eaters jointly arrive at their favourite perch.

The Blue Tailed Bee-Eaters were seen on many occasions by me through March, when they left Singapore’s shores and were seemingly replaced by a different Bee-Eater species, the Blue Throated Bee-Eater.  I’m looking forward to the Bee-Eaters returning in September, as maybe now I have a longer lens, I can capture them more closely and improve on the bird in flight (BIF) shots I took previously.

I thus far haven’t seen too many of these more recently arrived Blue Throated Bee-Eaters  up close, despite several occasions watching them hunt from a distance.

A39T5320-imp
Blue Throated Bee-Eater, perched on high against a blue sky background.

On only one occasion so far have I seen them in a place where I could shoot them without a grey or white cloudy background, coupled with a super high perch. And even then, this shot was at distance – I’d estimate at least 60 metres away.

But Hey! It’s only July and these guys will be in Singapore for at least another month… there’s time to shoot them and I think I know exactly where to do that, AND get shot without the sky for a background. If I find and manage to shoot them, I’ll post a few shots in coming blog-postings. Meanwhile, My boyhood dreams have largely been fulfilled, or so I thought until recently. Friends of mine have been shooting different Bee-Eater species in Malaysia – and these birds, are simply stunningly pretty. I just HAVE to go find these beauties and get some shots of those!

So I guess a boyhood dream ends, gets rekindled, and a further boyhood dream now begins… it’s just that the boy is a little older. The enthusiasm, however, remains every bit as young ;).

Happy Days!