Sunday 11 February 2024

Kingfisher - Otterbourne, nr Winchester - 15 January 2024

It was as long ago as summer 2021 that I last visited Pete Whieldon's Kingfisher hide at Otterbourne, near Winchester, so another session was long overdue. Despite the bird being present since last summer, the hide was still quite popular, so I needed to book well in advance. Hence  I had no control of the weather on the day.

This proved be very dull with low light levels more or less all day. It did brighten up around midday but at that time the bird was on an extended (4hr) lunch break! Hence most of the visits were relatively early morning and late afternoon when it was very dull indeed. 

This turned out to be a mixed blessing as the dull conditions from this hide produced nice soft lighting conditions for photos of the perched bird. Action shots were however challenging and, to freeze the bird's motion, I had to use up to ISO 25,600 on both the Canon R5 and R7. As the photographers among you will know, such a high ISO generates very high noise levels, especially on images from the cropped sensor on the R7. 

But it is amazing what the latest AI noise reduction software can do with these types of image. My preferred combination for such photos is to use DxO Pure Raw 3, followed, if necessary, by Topaz AI noise reduction.

I was also keen to try out to the pre-capture option on the R7 - which allows collection of images taken before the shutter button is pressed - potentially useful for Kingfishers diving in a fixed direction off a perch.  

Here is a selection of photos I took through the day. Click on any of the captions to go to my website and see larger images. 

Also, go to my Kingfisher gallery for more high res. versions of all the photos from this and other occasions. 

Kingfisher just of the perch, taken with the R7's pre-capture  © Stephen Burch

A couple of frames later by which time it had drifted slightly out of focus © Stephen Burch

Contact! Taken with the R5 by pre-focussing and blasting away at 20 fps! © Stephen Burch

Just about to return to the perch with a fish (R5) © Stephen Burch! 

Early morning perched. © Stephen Burch

Early morning with a fish. © Stephen Burch

Later on in the day. © Stephen Burch

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