African Spoonbill

Bird photography is my passion, although I love wildlife photography as a whole, the technical skill required with bird photography is a challenge and the fact that your subject never sits still for a moment makes it worth getting right. Seeing the results makes all the patience worthwhile. We are very blessed that we have approximately 300 bird species found within our reserve. As seasons change and pans and rivers dry up, we occasionally get different birds coming to harvest the bounty of fish and frogs.


This African Spoonbill which is a specie we do not often see, was doing exactly that. I only had a few minutes of light left so I rushed to get myself in position and as low to the ground as possible without disturbing the feeding Spoonbill. Using my 600 f4 lens I set the camera to speed priority S. This way I could control the shutter speed as I wanted the shutter to shoot no slower than 1/2000 of sec. ensuring that the movement in low light would be sharp. The next challenge I had was that the bird was moving in and out of light being filtered by the trees on the horizon. Exposure was of outmost importance with the bird’s white plumage against the dark background. I therefore used the camera’s spot meter on the bird, using this value to set the aperture to f6.3 and -1/3rd of a stop. Then I just spent time, taking as many shots as I could.

Here is the result, the background almost black – not what I was expecting.

Happy snapping!

Rod Wyndham


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