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Thread: Peregrine Falcon with American Golden-Plover

  1. #1
    BPN Member Jack Backs's Avatar
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    Default Peregrine Falcon with American Golden-Plover

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    I'll admit not not much of a BIF guy and I wasn't really prepared for this chance encounter. I had been scouting for migratory wading birds at the confluence of the Mississippi and
    Missouri rivers. I found some American Golden-plovers foraging on a mud flat pretty close to a boat ramp. I sat down at the water line of the ramp and stated observing them to
    see if they would forage towards me. I don't know about anyone else but I take my glasses off if I'm going to be looking through my viewfinder for a extended period as it's sharper
    without them. Anyway, I was observing through the viewfinder when the birds suddenly bolted. I looked to the side to see if if a nearby fisherman had startled them. Nope, and when
    I looked up there was a raptor with prey heading towards me a a pretty fast clip. I couldn't tell what it was without my glasses. I wasn't even sure of what my exact exposure settings
    were at the time but I wheeled up the shutter speed a couple clicks as I figured I had some latitude. I was was on single point AF as I am for the majority of the time. I have the Pv
    button set to group AF when depressed for this type of situation. I was so concentrated on just acquiring the bird in the viewfinder...I forgot to do do it. I acquired the bird fairly
    quickly and got a few frames before I lost focus lock. I didn't have the focus limit set so even the single cycle it took to reacquire focus lock seemed like an eternity. I did manage to
    capture a number of frames. Not exactly tack sharp. I wish I had bumped the shutter speed one more time. Some of the softness is from a pretty heavy crop. 30% of the original
    image(70% crop?). I don't know If I'd have gotten any images if the bird had been any closer. The bird was all over the frame as it was, clipped the the wings a couple times. This is
    actually a composite of two images. I have similar image with the front wing fully up and a little more in front of me but I like the bent wing position as it seems to impart a better
    sense of motion. I did a search of Peregrine Falcon images and while most are of better quality than this image, images with prey in flight are apparently a lot less common. Sorry for
    the long dissertation.
    Nikon D500, 500mmF4VRII, TC-14EIII hand held
    f5.6, 1/2500s, iso800

  2. #2
    BPN Member Brian Sump's Avatar
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    Jack, for a shoot-on-the-fly (no pun) grab this is decent. Sure, it has a few shortcomings but you captured a rare moment and actually the head area is still quite sharp and IF!

    Cool story and quite an action shot. I'd much rather have this one than have gotten nothing!

    What kind of bird is the babe in its talons?

  3. #3
    BPN Member Jack Backs's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure the prey is an American Golden-plover.

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    BPN Member William Dickson's Avatar
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    That would have been a great feeling getting that shot Jack......Agree with Brian, that the image has shortcomings, but, I would take a moment like this any time.....Well captured ...

    Will

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    BPN Member Dorian Anderson's Avatar
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    Yeah, there are some technical issue, but the action alone makes this a keeper. I have a similar frame with a PEFA decapitating a tern. It wasn't quite 'postable', but I held onto it for my collection since it was such a great moment. I can almost feel the plover giving up in this instance.

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    Perfect pose and head angle of the falcon. The image quality isn't too bad for that big of a crop.

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