Monday, June 1, 2009

Black-tailed Godwits

The weather is very nice again here in the Netherlands and with the long weekend I had to go and shot some picture. As it turned out it has been a little more than "some" in the last 2 days I shot about 2000 pictures and a lot of them were taken of Black-tailed Godwits.
Photographing Black-tailed Godwits here in the Netherlands is not such a difficult task. The Netherlands are the msot important country in Europe for Black-tailed Godwits. The major european population is located in the Netherlands. They can easily be found all around the polders within the Netherlands. They can be very noisy so it is quite is to find them and they have the habit to rest on poles, which it makes it easy for the photographer to capture an image. So I went to the Arkemheen Polder this weekend to photograph these birds. After arriving at the destination it didn't take more than a minute and the black-tailed Godwits were already ready for the shooting.

The birds were very tame and I could approach them easily with my car. This was since a long time that I was able to use nealry my whole euipment available. I used my new 50/1.8 lens to get some more environmental shots and also my 100-300/4 which I haven't really used lately. I even used my Sigma 500/4.5 EX HSM with the 1.4x and the 1.7x converter attached at the same time to get some special portraits. The light was beautiful the last days and I had a lot of fun with the Godwits.

There was one image which I wanted to take really badly of this bird. I got inspired by Miguel Lasa's backlight shot of a polar bear and I wanted to try something similiar with the Godwits, but my first attempt failed. The Godwits where there, the light was perfect for this kind of backlight shot, but the Godwits were sitting all the time on the wronf side of the road, in beautiful evening light. So I tried it again this morning, but this time with the sun rising and hopefully the Godwits sitting on the right side. I got up really early to be there before the sun rises and find a good spot with a Godwit. I found it :-) not the perfect spot but very good one.
The Godwit was als overy cooperative and I was able to get some really nice backlight portraits.

I wasn't able to get the shot I wanted due to a metal pole right next to the Godwits head, but I think I made the best out of this situation. For those shots I used the Simga 500/4.5 EX HSM with a Kenko 1.4x and Soligor 1.7x converter on a beanbag from my car. Autofocus still works with this combination, but in this situtation it was better to manually focus the lens.

I was also able to get some nice shot of Marsh Harriers and I hope to get some more this evening. I will show some of those images later.

Sebastian Erras
Wildlife Photography - Sebastian Erras


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