Catching 2 Dropping 1

This short article features an egret simultaneously catching 2 fish and dropping 1 while fishing at Grindstone Creek in Hendrie Valley. All of the photographs were captured handheld using Pro Capture H technology.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 321 mm, efov 642 mm, f/8.6, -1 EV, 1/2500, ISO-800, Pro Capture H, subject distance 29.5 metres

I had been watching this egret fish for a while with most of its successes being with individual, small fish. It wasn’t until I noticed that it had caught 2 larger fish simultaneously that my interest piqued.

My E-M1X was set for Pro Capture H in anticipation of photographing the egret flipping a fish in mid-air to properly align it in its beak so it could swallow it head first.

As the egret contemplated how it was going to devour its catch, I fired off successive Pro Capture H runs of 15 images. I used my standard Pro Capture H settings with my Pre-Shutter Frames and Frame Limiter both set to 15. I used a small, single auto-focus point and used a frame rate of 60 frames per second.

E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 321 mm, efov 642 mm, f/8.6, -1 EV, 1/2500, ISO-800, Pro Capture H, subject distance 28.4 metres

A number of years ago I had photographed a great blue heron which had simultaneously captured 2 fish.  This was the first time I had the opportunity to photograph an egret doing so.  Unlike the great blue heron which ended consuming both fish after dropping one, the egret lost its second fish.

Let’s have a look at 12 consecutive images of the egret catching 2 fish and dropping 1.

E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 321 mm, efov 642 mm, f/8.6, -1 EV, 1/2500, ISO-800, Pro Capture H, subject distance 28.2 metres
E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 321 mm, efov 642 mm, f/8.6, -1 EV, 1/2500, ISO-800, Pro Capture H, subject distance 28.2 metres
E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 321 mm, efov 642 mm, f/8.6, -1 EV, 1/2500, ISO-800, Pro Capture H, subject distance 28.2 metres
E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 321 mm, efov 642 mm, f/8.6, -1 EV, 1/2500, ISO-800, Pro Capture H, subject distance 28.2 metres
E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 321 mm, efov 642 mm, f/8.6, -1 EV, 1/2500, ISO-800, Pro Capture H, subject distance 28.2 metres
E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 321 mm, efov 642 mm, f/8.6, -1 EV, 1/2500, ISO-800, Pro Capture H, subject distance 28.2 metres
E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 321 mm, efov 642 mm, f/8.6, -1 EV, 1/2500, ISO-800, Pro Capture H, subject distance 28.2 metres
E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 321 mm, efov 642 mm, f/8.6, -1 EV, 1/2500, ISO-800, Pro Capture H, subject distance 28.2 metres
E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 321 mm, efov 642 mm, f/8.6, -1 EV, 1/2500, ISO-800, Pro Capture H, subject distance 28.2 metres
E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 321 mm, efov 642 mm, f/8.6, -1 EV, 1/2500, ISO-800, Pro Capture H, subject distance 28.2 metres
E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 321 mm, efov 642 mm, f/8.6, -1 EV, 1/2500, ISO-800, Pro Capture H, subject distance 28.2 metres
E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 321 mm, efov 642 mm, f/8.6, -1 EV, 1/2500, ISO-800, Pro Capture H, subject distance 28.2 metres

Being able to photograph the egret catching 2 fish and dropping 1 was an interesting ‘slice of life’ moment. The 12 consecutive photographs of the egret losing its second fish were captured in a total of 1/5 of a second.

One of the things that I absolutely love about my E-M1X is being able to capture these types of ‘precise moment’ photographs with confidence and consistency by using Pro Capture H technology.

Technical Note:

Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard approach in post. Images were resized for web use. I used my typical settings for Pro Capture H with my Pre-Shutter Frames and Frame Limited both set to 15. A small, single auto-focus point was used, along with a frame rate of 60 frames-per-second. This is the 1,208 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.

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2 thoughts on “Catching 2 Dropping 1”

  1. Great images. I haven’t quite mastered the H ProCapture yet – as you note, the whole series was only a small fraction of a section so even 15 pre-frames does not seem like enough. L-ProCapture is fantastic but I’ll try to step it up!!
    Two tech questions – you said single focus point but was it continuous autofocus or was the DOF enough to just use the first frame focus point – I think Pro-H only allows S-AF not C-AF.
    Second how do you find focus distance in the EXIF info in Lightroom if that is what you use.

    1. Hi Randall,

      You are correct that Pro Capture H at 60 fps with my E-M1X locks focus and exposure based on the first frame… i.e. it is not continuous auto-focus. If the subject bird is not moving towards or away from the focal plane of my camera’s sensor this is a non-issue.

      We also need to keep in mind the focal length used, as well as aperture and subject distance. A M4/3 lens used at 321 mm with an aperture of f/8 focusing on a subject 29.5 metres away, will have a total depth-of-field of 2.14 metres. So, even if the egret had moved somewhat there was still sufficient potential depth-of-field to keep the bird in focus.

      The EXIF data is revealed when I view a file that I’ve completed in post using DxO PhotoLab etc. in Windows Explorer. My guess is that the subject distance data is released by DxO… if that information is estimated by a particular camera.

      Tom

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