The Kingfisher, a blue rocket that dives at incredible speed and precision to catch the fish. This beautiful bird is not rare but being able to see it fishing is not that easy, especially considering its speed. I have seen this bird diving from the top of a big tree, 15 meters high, into a small pond and still catch the fish, of course all in a flash.
Taking pictures of the Kingfisher is great: the shape and colors of this bird make it a perfect subject for a nature photographer. However, even if a portrait shot is already a great picture – considering the beauty of this bird – taking a shot in flight is the ultimate goal of every photographer. And considering the speed of the Kingfisher, that is no easy task. So... of course I tried to do that.
Because of how fast it is, the camera must be set on a very fast shutter time – to be sure to freeze the bird's flight 1/3500-1/4000 sec is recommended – and it must be pre-focused on the spot where we think (or hope) the bird will dive. Autofocus would be really tough and all the water drops would anyway fool the lens view and make the camera focus off the real subject. The fast shutter time often prevents the photographer from being able to use a small aperture and depth of field is critical, especially when using a telephoto.
Here are my first results in this attempt of taking a good photo of the Kingfisher either diving or emerging from the water with the catch. The light was not that much, and to try and have a good depth of field I had to raise the ISO quite a bit. I even risked lowering the speed to a value, still pretty fast, but not completely safe. However, the fact that I took the bird while exiting the water, allowed for shots with no motion blur because the bird was slowed down by the fish and by the effort of flying out of the water.
They are not perfect, but I am pretty satisfied at the moment. And of course I will try again, looking for the perfect shot... wish me luck!