Monday, 13 April 2009

Starling (in a flash!)

With a trip to Thailand immanent and a realisation that photography may be difficult in dark heavily forested areas I sought advice and help from several other north-east birders/photographers this weekend about the use of flash for bird photography.

I've never used a flash before but am well aware that many of the stunning shots that are featured on sites such as Artie Morris's "birds as art" or Glen Bartleys' website use flash. Indeed, I've witnessed such photography in Central Park during spring migration. Yet it never seems to be be used in the UK. Is it "taboo"?

Colin Bradshaw came to my rescue with an offer to lend a Canon 580 EX flashgun (an a few other bits and bobs, including a "better beamer" flash extender for use with lens over 300mm) - so it's been a couple of days garden birding for me - practicing set up and use of the flash. I've got to say it's not straight forward (for me at least), but with a bit of determination the results are starting to appear. The image of the starling was taken this morning in flat grey light - isn't he pretty? The flash certainly helped bring out the colours - and the bird was not bothered in the slightest.

Technical details for photograph: Canon 1DIII camera body, Canon 500mm IS F4 lens, Canon 580EX Flash Gun (mounted direst to camera body), Better Beamer flash extender. ISO250, Flash compensation -1 stop, exposure compensation -1/3 stop, exposure 1/800 sec.
There is no doubt in my mind that there is a "time and place" for the use of a flash... but it's certainly opened my eyes to the enhancement that can be made to an image.


Ipin said...

Starling, often overlooked birds, but close up they are truly stunning - cracking shot!

Alan Tilmouth said...

Don't know how your on for Field Guides but I have a 'Field Guide to Birds of Thailand' which your welcome to borrow if it's of any use.