Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Oriental Pied Hornbill Nesting at Changi Village

Am now going on to my next phase in birding - bird photography! I am still a birder at heart, and will binocular the bird first before photographing it. Still, I'm tired of taking crappy, noisy photos with my old Canon S5 IS 12x zoom prosumer, and would like to take beautiful, crisp, handheld photos, especially of birds seen during my travels.

So after much research and some advice from friends, I almost impulsively bought a Canon EOS 50D DSLR camera, a Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS USM Telephoto Lens, a Canon Speedlite 580EX II Flash, and a not-so-good Manfrotto tripod (would want to upgrade to a proper, lightweight, sturdy Gitzo/Markins tripod soon) on 21 March 2009.

Have gone out on some shooting trips already, plus also photographed the birds seen at my bedroom window. Have also been reading wildlife photography books. Here are some of my better shots and some not-so-perfect-shots-but-it-captures-behaviour.

A male Oriental Pied Hornbill regurgitates a red cherry to feed his mate who is sealed inside the treehole of an Angsana tree in Changi Village. Too late to set up my tripod when the bird flew in, so this shot was handheld...results not too bad lah...but not that sharp yet. Taken at f5.6, 1/250 on 12 April 2009. Notice the drizzly weather.

The same Hornbill crouches to get closer to his beloved, who is literally imprisoned by love.

This photo was taken the week before on 4 April 2009, with my shaky tripod at 1/60 I think. Lena, Tim and I were drinking teh si and eating prata at the coffeeshop while getting up and down to take photos of these lovely birds. Over here, the male is bringing back what we think is mud to seal the female in. If not, it is probably helping to clear the goo that has accumulated in the nest hole.

We see the beak of the female here inside the treehole, also with the same mud/goo(?) mystery material, together with the male and his mud/goo(?) offering. Taken on 4 April 2009 on my lousy tripod. I hate this tripod, but must learn to overcome its severe shortcomings.

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