One of my current projects is take-off shots of Loggerhead Shrikes and I’m finding it to be unexpectedly difficult to get the quality I want. Take-offs of small birds are challenging by definition but I have quite a few that I like of other species so I’m a bit surprised that I’m struggling so with the shrikes.
This past week I’ve had at least some success and these two are the best of the lot so far.
1/3200, f/6.3, ISO 500, 500 f/4, 1.4 tc
On Tuesday morning this shrike gave me nice eye contact as it launched from its perch and I had good light and a clean background but I’m a bit surprised that the wings aren’t sharper. I doubt that it’s motion blur at 1/3200 and I was far enough away from the bird that I thought f/6.3 would give me more depth of field than this. Live and learn…
1/2500, f/7.1, ISO 500, 500 f/4, 1.4 tc
Two mornings later I was photographing this shrike perched when an insect that interested it flew overhead. The bird has its eye on the bug as it’s taking off.
This has been the best year on Antelope Island for Loggerhead Shrikes that I can remember as they seem to have had very good success so far in raising their broods. And with the plethora of huge orb-weaver spiders just coming on, things should only get better out there for shrikes. They love to eat those nasty looking spiders and feed them to their chicks. Which should mean more practice for me with the take-off shots.