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Superb Fairy-wren

Superb Fairy-wren (Image ID 41975)
Photographed byIan Wilson on Tue 18th Aug, 2020 and uploaded on Wed 19th Aug, 2020 .
Resolution1800x1235
Viewed120
ID41975
CommentFor most of the year this is how we see our resident male fairy-wren and it has long been my intention to take this picture. COVID-19 lock-down and a new camera provided the incentive to get on with the job. There were a few technical challenges associated with the lighting. In direct sunlight the light-blue plumage behaves like polished metal causing flecks of blown highlight in these parts. I wanted to avoid this so chose to shoot in overcast conditions. This led to another problem, the need for longer exposure times and higher ISO. The bird moves very erratically and I found 1/250 sec too slow with many frames suffering movement blur. I therefore progressively shortened the exposure time, first to 1/500 sec and finally 1/800 sec. The shorter exposure gave me more 'keepers' but the ISO needed for proper exposure started going through the roof, sometimes as much as ISO 20,000! To manage this issue I needed to open up the lens aperture which started to reduce the depth of field to the extent that at f/5.6 only side-on shots like this one were acceptable.

This little project also gave me an opportunity to try out the eye detection AF and the silent electronic shutter. The electronic shutter in the R5 has a frame rate of 20 fps. Now one would not normally contemplate shooting with such a high frame rate but I found it unexpectedly useful in nailing this erratically moving little bird. Between frames there was a surprising amount of movement, especially the tail and wing-tips, so having lots of frames from which to choose was very handy.
EquipmentCanon R5 + 600 mm f/4 III, tripod.
Manual, partial metering, servo AF with eye detection, f/5.6, 1/800 sec, ISO 5000.
Processed using DPP4 and PSE14 with Neat Image plug-in.
LocationBelgrave Heights, Victoria
Keywordsmale, breeding plumage/features, behaviour/display
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