13 December 2010

Kotare (kingfisher) chicks

As I picked my way down the sheep track onto the remains of the old road cutting, I heard faint cheeping. I looked around, noticed a hole in the bank. The cheeping seemed to be coming from within the burrow. Serendipitously, I'd been prowling for photos of invertebrates, so I had the camera fitted with the 100mm macro and the flash (strobe), diffused and on an extension cord. I could see nothing inside the burrow and was conscious I was probably alarming some anxious parent nearby, so I quickly set the lens to autofocus, aimed it directly towards the hole, tried to angle the flash as best I could to get light down the burrow, and hoped the autofocus would do the job. I then immediately moved well away, and shortly after saw the adult kotare (Todiramphus sanctus; New Zealand sacred kingfisher) return to the nest.

All I could see on the antiquated little LCD panel was a dark blob in the centre of the frame. But when I downloaded the photo into Lightroom and played around a little with exposure, vignetting and fill light, this is what I saw.

Cute, eh?

[12 December 2010, Canon 20D, 100 mm f2.8, ISO 200, 1/500s at f16, flash (strobe)] 

 All content © 2010 Pete McGregor

12 comments:

Relatively Retiring said...

Oh, well done! What a wonderful photograph.
But it's hard to believe that anything as beautiful as a king-fisher could develop from these babies!

leonie.wise said...

I can't decide if they are cute or just look like weird googley-eyed alien thingys.

I'm glad they're not 20ft tall or I'd be afraid rather than intrigued!

What a fabulous find Pete.

Barbara said...

Faces only parents could love, eh? This seems a very hopeful photo and I think it will be in my mind's eye for quite some time. Thanks!

Zhoen said...

That's some fancy shootin', Pete.

Barbara said...

Back again ... this photo is mesmerizing, to say the least! ARen't you glad you were paying attention to the world around you ;0

pohanginapete said...

RR, thank you. They do look very unkingfisher-like, don't they?

Leonie, alien thingys was one of my first thoughts on seeing the photo ;^)

Barbara, true — I'm very glad I noticed the cheeping. It would have been easy to overlooked it, to have allowed it to remain as part of the background noise.

Thanks Zhoen. Actually, it was very much the equivalent of shooting from the hip. I was lucky.

Paul said...

You won the lottery on this one. And no red eye to fix!

pohanginapete said...

Well said, Paul!

Alistair said...

Splendid photo. Looks like a still from Alien 4

pohanginapete said...

Thanks Alistair. They definitely look like something from another planet. I'm just glad they don't act in a similar way to the Alien ;^)

Jonathan Harrod said...

Awesome shot! Really great to see what young kotare look like!

pohanginapete said...

Thanks Jonathan. A case of being in the right place at the right time, with the right gear.