This post is all about the images and how I took them when trying to keep up with fast moving birds and the settings I used for each one. All of the images were shot with my Lumix G9 and the Leica 100-400 lens. This lens is my most used and is perfect for photographing birds. I spoke to a guy at Zealandia who questioned me about my gear (he was also a lumix user), he mentioned that he really wanted that lens but couldn’t afford it. So he had just bought a point and shoot with long reach as a compromise. It is working for him but I am sure if he had a play with the real thing he would never touch the point and shoot again.
The light in the area I was photographing the hihi in was constantly changing, so no two images really had the same light conditions. Often I will pick a setting and stick to it but if the shutter speed gets too slow I will adjust to suit. Fast moving birds often require fast shutter speeds. The top image in this post was taken with ISO 1600, 120 mm, f/8.0, 1/125 sec. The second image has softer light as the sun went behind the clouds, making the area darker so I adjusted to ISO 2500, 195 mm f/8.0 and only achieved 1/80 sec. I fired off several images, only a few of them were fully in focus. I have very shaky hands so the slower speeds are very difficult for me.
This above image was taken at ISO 2500, 100 mm, f/8.0, 1/100 sec. It should be pointed out here that I am using a micro four thirds system, so when I put 100 mm, you have to double this for a full frame camera equivalent. Essentially a 200 mm lens would be perfect in this area of Zealandia, you don’t need the long reach zooms if you are patient and wait for the birds to come closer. The next image however is at the full length of my zoom.
At the full reach of my 100-400, essentially giving me 800mm reach, the image is still sharp as a tack and I love that about the lens. Doesn’t matter where I stop it at, it is always sharp. This image was taken with ISO 2500, 400 mm f/8.0 and 1/50 sec.
I love the feather detail in this image next to the soft light background. I still managed to get catchlight in the eye which is something I always strive to achieve. ISO 4000, 350 mm f/8.0, 1/100 sec.
ISO 2500, 350 mm f/8.0, 1/100 sec.