One of the hardest challenges I have set for myself is to capture a clear sharp shot of a kingfisher diving for food. Each time I get one that I am happy with, instead of satisfying the challenge it just makes me want to improve on it some more.
It has been a couple of years since I have really put any effort into this challenge but today saw the start of a new attempt at capturing an image I would be proud to see hanging on my wall. I missed many good opportunities before realising that the longer focal length was making it hard for me to ‘see’ the bird through the lens in time to focus on it.
There is only a split second of time to focus on the bird when it touches the water and if you miss that, then it is all over and you may was well take your finger off the shutter. It is crucial to capture the focus as the bird enters the water to have it sharp and still in focus when it leaves the water – letting the camera track it’s movement beyond that moment.
There are a number of factors that are required for these images. The depth of the water, the amount of sunshine, being able to sit with the sun behind you, a fast focusing camera and lens, and of course a good amount of cooperative kingfishers. Getting to know your subjects will help you to identify where to attempt the challenge, and if you do… good luck!