This article features some images captured at Bird Kingdom using the MC-20 teleconverter with flash. These photographs are from my archives.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
When photographing captive birds in indoor settings we often face rather poor lighting conditions. If allowed by the facility, it can be an interesting experience to use a teleconverter along with flash.
I have always enjoyed getting in tight to bird subjects so I can capture head and feather details . The short minimum focusing distance of the M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 coupled with the M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter is a great combination for this type of photography.
I find birds very expressive, each with their own personality. When possible, I choose subjects that I can frame with an unobstructed, somewhat distant background. This helps to reduce distracting shadows caused by the flash.
Depending on the backgrounds chosen, dramatically different compositions can be created. This can be seen when comparing the image above with the one below.
I specifically look for birds that are up against very strong sunlight. This causes them to be back lit, with the subject bird often looking like a black, almost totally unexposed shape in my viewfinder. In these instances using the focus clutch on my M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 comes in handy. The result of combining the harsh back lighting with the use of a flash, results in photographs like the one above.
The photograph above is another example of using this technique.
Using the M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter with flash can help to capture interesting body positions when birds are in tricky lighting conditions. I noticed a couple of speckled mousebird (above) positioned against a darker background, with bright sunlight streaming in from both sides.
This species can be fairly skittish. I was pleased that my M.Zuiko FL-700 WR recharged rapidly so I could quickly capture a range of photographs.
The speckled mousebird was moving from branch to branch. Using a zoom lens with a teleconverter allowed me to adjust my focal length so I could shoot between branches in the foreground.
When opportunities present themselves, I love capturing portraiture style images of birds.
Using the MC-20 teleconverter with a flash also allows for full body images of birds positioned in poor light, both in indoor and outdoor situations.
It is important to test your camera gear configuration in advance to make sure that the lens/teleconverter combination used isn’t too long physically, as this can cast shadows from your flash hitting the end of your lens, onto subject birds.
Before leaving Bird Kingdom, I spent some time in the main aviary, specifically looking for portraiture style image opportunities.
When photographing birds, especially when moving in fairly tight to them, I use Center Weighted Average metering.
Using a lens that has a short minimum focusing distance is also helpful when trying to create these types of images.
My favourite image during this particular visit to Bird Kingdom happened when a Laughing Kookaburra landed on a hand railing less than 3 metres away. I was able to slowly move in a bit closer, and positioned the head of the bird against an appropriate background. The result was the photograph above.
Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process.
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