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Yorkshire based Professional Landscape and Wildlife Photographer

Kingfisher Fun

Posted on 28/06/15

This morning I packed all my kit and headed over to Mark Hughes kingfisher hide. I've been a few times before and always got great results and last year he had added a diving table. But when I went last year although I got some amazing perched shots I struggled with the diving shot. This year he has made some changes and the diving shots are much easier. I shall let the photographs do the talking there though!

Also the kingfishers have young in the nest and the male is fishing like mad! In the 5 hours I was there I must have seen him dive well over 40 times! It's probably only about 3 weeks till the chicks fledge so if you are interested I would get in there quick. Mark's website is at HERE.

To start with I wanted to use the new Canon 5DS and try to nail some 51 mega pixel perched kingfishers. The light was not our friend this morning so I had to use quite slow shutter speeds. I also wanted to get full frame kingfishers so this meant using the 500mm f/4 and a 36mm extension tube. I was only getting about 1/200 of a second shutter speed on what is effectively a 500mm macro lens so this was very tricky shooting. I was having to use live view to lock the mirror up and a remote release so the camera and lens were as steady as possible. Any movement with that lens combo and 51 mega pixels means the images would not be sharp and it took some doing. But on the other hand the results are gobsmacking!

The below image is a tight crop showing the feather detail.

Again the below image is a tight crop showing the feather detail. I think I may have to get a full A0 print of this image once properly processed smile

We then changed the set up to try and catch the kingfisher flying back to the perch after a dive. I swapped to the Canon 1dX as I needed the fast frames per second this camera is amazing for. As the light was still poor I had to ramp the ISO to 3200 to get enough shutter speed. I also changed the lens to a 300mm. I won't go into how Mark has set the site up but if you go you will see how much hard work he has put into it and again pictures speak louder than words.

The beauty of Mark's set up was then he changed things around again so we had a different angle and background. As the male was so active we got so many opportunities! It was absolutely bonkers and I'm over the moon with this series below!

If you have any interest in photographing kingfishers I would get your self to Marks site asap whilst there is such good feeding activity going on. I could not recommend it enough!

Any feedback or questions let me know.

Happy clicking,

  • Got to be the best shots of king fishers I’ve seen. Wondeful stuff Oliver,

    geraint evans - 28 June, 2015
  • Fantastic !!!!  <3

    nicaise - 31 August, 2015
  • these are by far the best shots i have seen of a kingfisher, its beautiful how you have captured such incredible detail.

    matthew casey - 10 February, 2016
  • Awesome shots! Im photographing the Kingfisher on Friday and cannot wait. Ive hired the Nikon 40mm f2.8 so hoping to get some crisp shots with soft backgrounds smile

    Matt - 04 April, 2017
  • Oliver,

    Thank you for sharing these stunning shots. They are brilliant and you must be delighted.
    I am off to a hide in Worcestershire this week and wondered whether you could give me an indication of the settings you used to get such laser sharp action shots. I have a canon 7d mark 11 and a 100-400 canon lens.
    Many thanks.

    Sara Woodward

    Sara Woodward - 29 July, 2018
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