Bird photography with Canon DSLR | Behind the scene

We’re going to an area where we see raptors such as ospreys, harriers, and peregrine falcons. While still operating his boat, Nitin spotted a bird miles away. And I mean, miles away. The bird was sitting on the bark of a tree jutting out of the water. It appeared like a little dot, it could be any bird. But Nitin suspected that it was an osprey and asked me to take a test shot with my camera and zoom in to see if we could identify it. I clicked a test shot and magnified the picture fully. Even then it occupied a very small portion of my screen, but we could tell from the shape of its body that it was indeed an osprey.

It took us about three minutes to get closer to the bird, that’s how far it was. Once we got closer, Nitin switched off the engine and rowed closer towards it. I clicked a few pictures, but then the osprey flew away and sat on top of an electric pole miles away. So we turned towards that direction hoping that I could click more photos. But before we could get to it, it flew away again and sat on top of another pole, even further away.

But Nitin was confident that it would soon fly back towards us, because there were some fishermen fishing in that area, and that would disturb our osprey. Nitin was right, yet again and the osprey came and sat on top of the tree where we had first seen it.

I was using a Canon 100-400 Mark II lens with a 1.4 extender, and a Canon 300 millimeter f/4 prime lens on Canon 7D Mark II cameras. The 1.4 extender extends the 400 millimeter focal length to 560 millimeters. I like to photograph a creature’s habitat along with it, and I used the 300 millimeter lens for wider photos.

The light got better for photography as time went by. We were cautious not to go too close to the osprey too quickly. Nitin is an expert at maneuvering the boat with his oars, inching closer towards birds. 

I didn’t stop clicking.

Learn photography with Girish Menon

I teach photography online via live video calls—not pre-recorded videos that you sit and watch by yourself. You can be based anywhere in the world, own any camera, and still learn photography from me—HOW COOL IS THAT!

Please see www.girishmenon.com to know about the courses that I offer.

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Canon EF 1.4x III Extender review using Canon 7D Mark II and Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 Mark II

I was walking towards the jetty at Kumbhargaon near Bhigwan in India to photograph birds. It would be the day when I will use the 1.4 extender for the first time—It’s a Canon 1.4 extender Mark III on a Canon 100-400 Mark II lens. Now my 400 millimeter 5.6 lens is a 560 F8 lens, 1 stop down.

I will be able to autofocus at F8 on a Canon 7D Mark II body using the centre point and four assist points.

Now I know what you’re thinking—it’s a bad idea to use an extender on this lens—but I have a plan. I’m going to photograph birds in flight against the bright blue sky when the sun’s out. So that way I won’t need a ridiculously high ISO for a fast shutter speed.

I’ve never done this before so I’m looking forward to seeing the results; so let’s watch the video.

I have more wildlife vlogs on my Youtube Channel, The Open Image.

Learn photography with Girish Menon

I teach photography online via live video calls—not pre-recorded videos that you sit and watch by yourself. You can be based anywhere in the world, own any camera, and still learn photography from me—HOW COOL IS THAT!

Please see www.girishmenon.com to know about the courses that I offer.

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Bird photography | Canon 7D Mark II camera, 100-400 mm Mark II lens

Passeriformes contain about half the total number of living birds that’s almost 6,000 species! We see about a thousand species of Passeriformes in the Indian Empire. Some are residents, others are seasonal visitors.

Passeriformes contain about half the total number of living birds. That’s almost 6,000 species.

Over two hundred and fifty species of birds — in a five square kilometer radius!

That’s Kumbhargaon — a fishing village that sits on the banks of the backwaters of Ujjani Dam. Less than 2,000 people live in this village — they encourage avian tourism and take us on their little boats to get closer to the birds.

On one of my visits to Kumbhargaon I was walking through the woods in the evening when I saw a Yellow-eyed Babbler bouncing from one twig to another and finally perched and looked straight at me—like a cartoon character who was very happy to see me.

That brought a bright smile to my face. It seemed to like me. Did you ever think that a bird or a wild animal liked you? Did you have such an experience?

A week later when I got back home and looked at the photo, I noticed a string of small eggs sitting on the underside of one of the twigs. The eggs were of some insect—and that’s what delighted the babbler more than my presence!

Very often I know nothing about the birds I see and photograph. But everytime I come home and look at my pictures, I learn something about them. I found out that babblers are Passerines—of the order Passeriformes—also known as songbirds or perching birds. 

Passeriformes contain about half the total number of living birds that’s almost 6,000 species! We see about a thousand species of Passeriformes in the Indian Empire. Some are residents, others are seasonal visitors.

Passerines can perch in awkward positions because of well adapted feet (the first toe faces backwards and three other toes face forward). 

This kind of an adaptation helped this Yellow-eyed Babbler reach its supper that evening.

More wildlife photography vlogs on my youtube channel, The Open Image.

Learn photography with Girish Menon

I teach photography online via live video calls—not pre-recorded videos that you sit and watch by yourself. You can be based anywhere in the world, own any camera, and still learn photography from me—HOW COOL IS THAT!

Please see www.girishmenon.com to know about the courses that I offer.

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Wildlife photography | Russell’s viper snake | Canon 7D Mark II, 100-400 mm II

We continued rowing towards a flock of whiskered terns when suddenly something long and slim popped its head right out of the water, about a foot out. It was a snake — not any snake — one of the most venomous snakes in the world — Russell’s Viper!

That Russell’s Viper better not get into our boat! 

It was the 8th of November in 2017. I was on a boat photographing birds! During November and March we see over two hundred species of birds on and around a lake near Pune which is about a hundred and fifty kilometers away—93 miles.

The monsoons had lingered on until the end of October. The lake was brimming with bright blue water — and bright green water plants appeared to be glowing the glorious evening sun.

There were lots of dragonflies of different descriptions flying right in the middle of this big lake — far away from its shores. I found that very surprising — that a small creature like dragonflies were able to fly such large distances. But then I found out that female dragonflies lay their eggs in or near water, often on water plants. So all these water plants play an important role in the lives of dragonflies! 

We continued rowing towards a flock of whiskered terns when suddenly something long and slim popped its head right out of the water, about a foot out. It was a snake — not any snake — one of the most venomous snakes in the world — Russell’s Viper! That Russell’s Viper better not get into our boat! 

It kept popping its head right out of the water, looking at dragonflies sometimes playfully, sometimes lustfully. The dragonflies too seemed to fancy the Russell’s Viper — but they didn’t appear to be a match made in heaven!

I have more wildlife vlogs on my Youtube Channel, The Open Image.

Learn photography with Girish Menon

I teach photography online via live video calls—not pre-recorded videos that you sit and watch by yourself. You can be based anywhere in the world, own any camera, and still learn photography from me—HOW COOL IS THAT!

Please see www.girishmenon.com to know about the courses that I offer.

Continue Reading