Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Swallow in Flight

Pilansberg National Park has a lot of bird life - one of the more common is the Lesser Striped Swallow.  What's interesting about these tiny highly mobile birds is that they rarely touch land - every day I could see them skimming the pool for water.

I took these sequential shots of the birds drinking form the resort pool and after about a half hour of waiting got these quite surprising shots.  Although the AF response on the EOS5D MkIII is fast it's not that fast, plus it's nearly impossible to frame the subject and activate the AF in the time it takes for a swallow to round the corner, dip into the water and be off. 

To make it easier, I went to manual focus, prefocussed on a spot where I thought where the swallows would fly and pushed up the ISO to get a decent f-stop (f11) in case my pre-focussing was out of line - which it was on several attempts.

Although they do spend a lot of time flying, you can also see these tiny birds at rest in small trees about the place.
A perfect approach to the pool
A not so perfect scoop of water.
If they get it right, the beak breaks the surface briefly and they are away.
This one was an inch too low!
But speed and I guess flying dexterity saved the day and the swallow pulls out amidst a flurry of wings and water
A full recovery and it is off in search of food again...

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