A Long ShotLately, I haven’t been very succesful with feathered subjects. Most of the time, I just cannot find any interesting birds to photograph. And in the rare case I do find one, it just won’t cooperate.

Yesterday, I gave it another try and went for a local heathland in search for Stonechats. Within minutes I had found three male individuals. Over the course of the next hour, I found out that the first one lived way too far into the heathland, number two got scared by the mere blink of an eye and the third resorted in a heavily shaded part of the heathland.
How nice.

I had already given up and drove home when I spotted another male Stonechat. It just sat there, intensely gazing at a potential evening snack, a cloud of mosquitos. I got out of the car and tried to sneak closer, slowly of course. But no matter how hard I tried, it would not let me get closer than about 20 meters. As it sat beautifully against the setting sun in glowing heath, with a backlit mosquito crowd, I desperately wanted to get a shot. So I did something I rarely (if ever) do: I stacked both extenders on the 500mm.

I had to focus manually as AF at this focal length and shooting directly into the sun just does not work. The final result is not 100% tacksharp, but in my opinion, ultimate sharpness is not a critical factor in a backlit, moody shot like this one.

Stonechat in heathland; Canon 1D Mark III w. 500/4 IS, stacked converters; 1/125s at F11 and ISO 800; Gitzo tripod


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