Belted Kingfisher (female)

This is as good as I have gotten thus far, even if I have seen far better posted. Given this is a huge crop (21%), it has held together quite well. I can see where I might have gotten better detail, especially in the neck band. I’ll be happy with this one until I luck up on one closer!:eye:

What technical feedback would you like if any?

Any solid recommendations on stalking these suckers for a closer shot. A larger lens is not a feasible answer. I wonder if a polarizer might help on the blown highlights.

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Any pertinent technical details:

Camera Info: Nikon D500, beanbag in SUV window
Lens: VR 300mm f/4E + 1.4x TC
Focal Length: 420mm
Focus Mode: AF-C
AF-Area Mode: Dynamic, 25 points
Aperture: f/6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/1250s
Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority
Exposure Comp.: 0EV
Metering: Spot
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 400
21% of full frame
PP in LR/PS CC 2018, Topaz Studio, TK sharpen for web @ 45%

Hi, Phil. I haven’t participated here yet, but I wanted to offer this thought to you. During the last year and a half before I moved from Florida to Georgia I had started going to Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, which was 3 hours away. I’m not suggesting you go there. But what happened there was that I was able to get four different Kingfisher shots that I was able to get the presentation size your image has with about 45 to 50 percent cropping.

The reason was that it’s a drive, like the Laurel Hill Wildlife Drive, but it is right on the northern edge of Lake Apopka. There were Kingfishers there that, while skittish, often came back to the same perch in the way that, for instance, dragonflies do. I only got the images I got from the car, not out of the car.

I don’t know whether there is a wildlife area in southeast Georgia that has roads to drive on and that has good access to a lake or even a large pond so that there will be more than one Kingfisher there. But maybe you could check that out. That would be a solid recommendation that worked for me even though I wasn’t specifically looking for it.

The Kingfishers on the road from the NWR into Savannah are crazy skittish. I’ve stopped on the shoulder there (taking my life in my hands) several times, only to have them fly away before I even touched the car door. Those at Laurel Hill may be the same. I’m not sure. But it may just be a matter of seeing if you can find a different location that would allow driving access to several Kingfishers.

Hi Phil. Nice shot with pretty good detail in the plumage. The blown whites look pretty minor. I have no idea if a polarizer would tame them.

Barbara has a good suggestion. From what I’ve seen, the only way to get good kingfisher images is a pond or creek with a blind, which could be your car, and lots of patience.

Alan Murphy posted an article in one of his newsletters where he was trying to get the shot of one entering the water. It was pure setup stuff with a minnow cage and perch placed in known Kingfisher ponds and a camera prefocused on the arena with a remote shutter release. It still took him over 2 years of on and off attempts to get a shot he liked.

You actually got some very nice light and detail on this one considering the size of your crop. I think you could actually use the adjustment brush an Adobe camera raw to tone down the blown out whites. You might even be able to bring out some detail. I might do a little cloning to remove the branches that are crossing in front of the head and behind the beak.

Yeah, these are tough birds to get close to. I’ve gotten a few good shots, but only because I happened to be standing still when one flew in. They seem to fly off at the first sign of movement. I think you captured this when pretty well. The color and detail look pretty good and the pose with the open mouth is nice. I agree with David’s thought on cloning some of the branches away from the bird.

Hi Phil, I agree with David’s suggestions on processing. I also agree with others about a blind. I have tried to get a good image of these guys for 10 years now. I think I have a couple, but compared to how many of them I sat and waited for, it is a very small percentage. But you would benefit by finding a spot you normally see them hunting in and wait. Sometimes for a very long time. So no real secret and I would bet I didn’t tell you anything you already didn’t know. :slight_smile:

HI Phil
I like the head turn, detail and framing. I white patch in the neck is a light blow out and maybe adding some contracts would help.