Ospreys with Fish

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to photograph some ospreys with fish during a visit to Hendrie Valley. The water in Lake Ontario has been quite high again this spring which has negatively affected the number of birds in the area.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-200

I’ve been to Hendrie a few times and had no luck at all spotting any opreys in the area, let alone ospreys with fish. The first hint that I may have some luck on this particular morning was capturing some images of an osprey flying relatively low. This behaviour usually preceeds ospreys fishing. About 25 minutes later the bird did end up catching a fish, but way off in the distance.

Luckily for me the osprey banked around and flew past me with its catch. It was over 100 metres distant, but I still managed to get a few photographs. The images that follow were all cropped aggressively.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-100
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-125
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-100

It didn’t take long before a few more opportunities to photograph ospreys with fish presented themselves.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-160
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-125
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-125
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-250
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-250
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-250

My final images of ospreys with fish happened about an hour after I captured my first image of an osprey in flight that morning. The subject bird had snagged itself a meal of catfish.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-125
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-125
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-125
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-125

Like most photographers my preference is to capture action images of ospreys catching fish. Opportunities like that eluded me on this particular morning, so I had to settle for ospreys with fish flying past me. It still made for a wonderful hour with my camera gear!

Technical Note

Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Image were produced from RAW files using my standard process. Photographs were cropped to approximately 3500 pixels on the width, then resized for web use.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-125

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Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-320

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6 thoughts on “Ospreys with Fish”

  1. Mr. Stirr,

    Thank you for that detailed explanation, much appreciated.

    I don’t have the lenses you have for BIF at this time. The best lens I have for any kind of reach is the 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 II. My favorite lens is my 60mm f2.8 macro and the 12-100 f4.

    1. Hi Bob,

      I’ve never tried the 75-300 f/4.8-6.7, but I did have the opportunity to try out the 12-100 f/4 which I found to be a very nice lens! I own the 60 mm f/2.8 macro and love that lens.

      Tom

  2. Mr Stirr,

    Thank you for your beautiful Osprey photos.

    You make these seem so easy but I don’t believe that for a minute.

    I too have converted from 35mm Nikon gear first to the Nikon 1
    because of your inspiration and now I have converted to Olympus. I owned the E-M1, E-M1 Mark II, and now the E-M1 Mark III. The E-M1X did not fit my style but the Mark III is perfect as was the Mark II.

    My only question on the Osprey images would be if you used continuous AF or single first image focus for higher speed greater than 18fps.

    Regards,
    Bob West

    1. Hi Bob,

      At the time that these photographs were created, my bird-in-flight experimentation was really focused on the possibility of using AI Subject Tracking Airplane mode for birds in flight on a more regular basis. So, I can tell you that all of the osprey images in this article would have been captured using continuous auto-focus at 18 frames per second with silent shutter.

      What it difficult for me to confirm is whether I used AI Subject Tracking or not. I have been regularly switching back and forth between this and standard CAF during BIF photo sessions. I currently have the C1 mode on my E-M1X set for CAF with single AF, and my C2 mode set for CAF+TR with Subject Tracking Airplanes using a custom 3×5 AF spread. My get tells me that I probably used Subject Tracking Airplanes for these osprey images… but again I can’t confirm that 100% as I switch back and forth so frequently. I must confess that when using AI Subject Tracking Airplanes for birds-in-flight it does make capturing these types of photographs ‘easy’. The trick is to know when to use this setting, and when to use standard C-AF.

      Now that Olympus has announced that Bird Subject Detection will be available for E-M1X owners later this year there is no point in me doing any more experimenting with AI Subject Tracking Airplanes mode. As a result I will be making some changes to my C1-C4 modes and adding a custom setting that utilizes 60 frames per second with AF only. You can expect to see some articles in the future using this particular setting. I did use 60 FPS with my Nikon 1 gear on a reasonably frequent basis with good results. Switching back and forth between frame rates wasn’t as convenient with my Nikon 1 gear as using my Olympus gear with my C1-C4 custom modes.

      There’s little doubt in my mind that in the future my primary E-M1X bird-in-flight setting will utilize the Bird Subject Detection AI Subject Tracking. My C2 setting will likely be 60 FPS with single point AF. My near term challenge is to get past a recent knee injury so I can actually get out with my camera gear again.

      Tom

      1. Hi
        I noticed that you are shooting at f5.6. I have found that the same lens setup on my EM-1. 3 I gets sharper focus at f7.1.

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