This article features a selection of aggressive crops of osprey fishing images, captured handheld with an E-M1X at Hendrie Valley last week. Each of us have our own style of photography. For me, ‘aggressive’ crops are anything less than 3000 pixels on the width of a M4/3, 20 MP, 5184 x 3888 photograph.
I always prefer to get as many pixels on a subject bird as possible, especially when photographing birds-in-flight. Unfortunately the photographs of the osprey fishing in this article occured with the bird towards the middle to rear area of the pond. This meant that the closest the osprey came to me was about 70 metres (~230 feet) away. My E-M1X estimated that the bird was well over 100 metres (328 feet plus) distant in many of the images.
I wouldn’t normally capture images of birds-in-flight that I deem to be too far away. As I’ve become more comfortable with Bird Detection AI Sucjbect Tracking my definition of ‘too far’ has been expanding to include more aggressive crops, which I sometimes use in my online articles.
When I returned home, I took a quick look at a few of the osprey photographs and was encouraged with what I saw on my rear screen. So, I decided to process them, even though they would require aggressive crops. To give you an idea of the distance to subject, here is a full frame capture of one of my images.
The photograph above was captured handheld with an M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS zoom lens fully extended, and with an M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter attached. This created an equivalent field-of-view of 1120 mm. Here is an aggressive crop of the above image. My E-M1X estimated that the osprey was 136.5 metres (~447 feet) away.
I’ve been using Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking for all of my bird photography for a number of months now. The only time that I deviate from that is when I use Pro Capture H. Continuous auto-focus is not available in that mode.
I’m continually amazed with how well Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking performs. These aggressive crops of an osprey fishing were particularly eye opening for me. Not only did my E-M1X grab good auto focus, in a few of my aggressive crops I could actually see when the osprey’s translucent nictitating membrane was covering a portion or all of its eye.
Being able to discern that amount of detail when shooting handheld at an efov of 1120 mm, using an M.Zuiko 1.4 X teleconverter, and with the osprey usually being more than 100 metres distant, is interesting to say the least. My aperture was wide open at f/9 with the 1.4 X teleconverter.
I’ve included two of the ‘nictitating membrane’ images in this article. The osprey is over 100 metres away in one of them, and closer in the second one. See if you can pick out the two photographs in this article where the osprey’s translucent nictiating membrane is visible.
Rather than just show you a few photographs of the osprey fishing, this article features a selection of 23 images. I think it is important to share a good selection of photographs with readers when illustrating photographs captured under real life field conditions.
If my memory serves, I used a series of quick Pro Capture L/Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking ‘pulse’ image runs, at 18 frames-per-second using silent shutter. My Pre-Shutter Frame setting was 10. I recall that after the osprey initially caught the fish, it inadvertently dropped it. The osprey circled back to retrieve it, then made a few fly-bys around the pond carrying its catch.
All of the photographs featured in this article were captured in just a couple of minutes. 🙂 Sometimes Mother Nature smiles down upon us!
It does take some time and patience to adapt one’s technique to Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking. Once a photographer gets used to working with the technology, and not fighting against it by using old shooting habits, results can improve. From my perspective, I simply can’t imagine using any other camera gear or technology for my bird photography needs.
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. Crops are noted. This is the 1,024th article published on this website since its original inception.
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