<< Previous Next >>


Photo Information
Copyright: Rob Nicholls (nixpix) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 67 W: 26 N: 121] (444)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-05-13
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon D60, Canon EF 300mm f2.8 USM IS
Exposure: f/8, 1/500 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): The predator with the Prey [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2005-07-31 10:16
Viewed: 7140
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 80
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Whitefronted bee-eater with unknown prey (apologies to the insect members but Gerhard did suggest we wear helmets). Taken from a small boat on the Chobe River in the Chobe National Park. A great area for bird photography all year round and the option of land based game drives and water based cruises gives one a variety of options for getting good shots.

The wonderful thing with bee-eaters (merops bullockoides), and especially the white-fronted, is that they often come back to the same branch to perch. This chap had flown off and returned four times and as he was evidently hunting we waited it out till he eventually rewarded out patience with his catch. He bashed it on the branch a few times to soften it up before slugging it whole. It only took two minutes from the time he settled till it was all over. In that time I had shot 45 images and this was on eof the better ones. With digital I have a simple philosophy - when you got something good, shoot a lot and then more. It is seldom that I get the best shot in the first 10 or so images taken. At this scene I shot a total of 90 images of the bee-eater and to me the overall best were numbers 26 and 78.

This image was taken with a 300mm lens. I was already long lens allowed me to get in and capture all the detail. With no distracting backgound I was able to shoot with a fair amount of depth at f/8 and at reasonable speed. The mid-morning side light was not perfect but at least allowed good light on the main subject of the insect and the birds head. The bottom half of the bird is a little dark. Despite the image stabiliser and the 1/500th of a second shutter speed the rocking motion of the boat still placed some pressure on the overall sharpness of the subject. This goes to show that while shooting from boats can get one in really close it does challenge in certain aspects. While the sky presented no distractions it was quite warm so placed some pressure on overall metering and forced me to go a little darker on the bird than I would have preferred.

Post work included a little sharpening here and there and I cropped to a square format. Fortunately there was no need to adjust contrast or saturation but I saw no effective way of improving the lighting without damaging the image in some other way.

If you look really carefully you will notice the bird's tongue, it is the thin line just to the right of where the bill opens but to the left of the insect.

Regards, Rob

jstewart, electra, christophe, liquidsunshine, scottevers7, coasties, radz, hummingbird24, dew77, gerhardt, wallhalla15, momos, TAZ, carper, Leace, goutham_ramesh, pablominto, peter_stoeckl, Tamrock has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To gerhardt: WS - go fot itnixpix 1 08-01 08:35
To AdrianW: Thanksnixpix 1 07-31 23:30
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

Great shot! You've captured this bee-eater almost perfectly. Colours, sharpness and DOF are spot on. The catchlight is a very nice extra touch. Background is plain and non-distracting. About the only thing I'd suggest is brightening it up a little, it seems a bit dark to me - try Shadows/Highlights, Shadows 75% - or Curves (one point up/left). Excellent capture :-D

Hi Rob: Great shot - the unfortunate insect makes it even better, of course. Absolutely crisp focus. I lived in Kenya for a couple of years and took shots of bee-eaters, but none approaching this.
Technically, I agree with AdrianW that the bird's colours are a bit dark. Another way of dealing with this in Photoshop is to use the dodge tool on those darker areas.

Great shot, Rob.
You've captured this bee-eater in a great moment.
Very nice colours, great details and well composed.
Also agree with Adrian about to bright up a little.
Excellent work.

Hi Rob, what a great shot. It is sharp and detailed with great exposure and colours. Great BG too. Gorgeous :)

Hi Rob,
great Shot, Wonderful Bird, perfect timing. Great Colours. Well done and TFS.

  • Great 
  • VeTTe Gold Star Critiquer [C: 162 W: 0 N: 0] (684)
  • [2005-07-31 12:27]

Great shot!!!
wonderfull composition!


  • Great 
  • klemmg Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 302 W: 40 N: 484] (1719)
  • [2005-07-31 13:16]

Wonderful composition and colours (even though a bit dark), great detail. A good "catch" too. The green hopper makes a good contrast to the red feathers. The lines of the grasshopper-wings and the lines of the opened beak make a nice optical repeat that draws attention in addition to the colour contrast. Well spotted and excellently executed!

fantastic shot Rob, very good exposure, great composition. TFS!

  • Great 
  • PDP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 2821 W: 344 N: 3779] (11769)
  • [2005-07-31 14:39]

Hello Rob, excellent capture here. The bee-eater is fantastic but he must have got a little bored of bees because that's looks like grasshopper of somekind in it's beak. I actually don't think it is too dark - I like shadows...Although I'm often reading comments on my photos that they are too dark too - maybe we have sensitive eyes :-) The composition is excellent and the details are terrific.

Beautiful shot.

Hi Rob
Excellent capture, colors and sharpness
In a friendly way Christophe

Superb capture Rob, Very nice work! Wish it was mine...

Hello Rob
Great moment !
With excellent colours and sharpness.
Great picture TFS

  • Great 
  • japie Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1814 W: 100 N: 1904] (5187)
  • [2005-07-31 16:08]

Stunning work Rob, just as good as the Bokke!

I love the composition and you captured the moment perfectly.

Very well done and thanks for posting.

  • Great 
  • zakiwi Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 154 W: 20 N: 274] (1309)
  • [2005-07-31 16:14]

Hey Rob,

What a perfect capture. Well done. This is absoulutly awesome. Well done

Good shot Rob,
Good sharp detail and good POV. Nicely exposed and superb colours. Good composition.
Well captured, thanks for posting.
Have a good week

Hi Rob,

Superb capture!! The detail and colors are perfect. I love the tight framing. Just Excellent!


Hello Rob

Lovely shot. Especially with dinner in the beak. Good details, sharpness and clarity although a bit dark for my liking. Well done. Thanks.

  • Great 
  • optic Gold Star Critiquer [C: 322 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2005-07-31 22:18]

Hi Rob,
What a great action shot, i like the composition & colours, razorsharp details, dof & pov.

Very well done & Tfs,

  • Great 
  • radz Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 598 W: 11 N: 72] (436)
  • [2005-07-31 22:20]

Wow wowexcellent shot,great D0F&what a moment to capture.Composition is very nice with wonderful bokeh.

  • Great 
  • jossim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1538 W: 5 N: 2240] (12636)
  • [2005-07-31 22:56]

Quelle belle prise ! Les couleurs, la netteté, et l'action de l,oiseau en font une très belle composition.

Félicitations !!!

A superb capture of both the bird and its meal, Rob!

Great composition, details, color, BG, and POV.

Well done, and thank you!

  • Great 
  • halki Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 242 W: 9 N: 105] (471)
  • [2005-08-01 2:19]

Hi Rob!
Wonderful close up.Excellent composition and colours.
Thaks for posting.

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2005-08-01 2:40]

Hello Rob!
Wonderful shot.Moment you caught,clear details,colors,sharpness,POV and composition are perfect.TFS...:-)

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2005-08-01 3:41]

Super shot of that bird and worm, Rob. Very sharp details, gorgeous colors, interesting pose. Well done and TFS. : )

Hi Rob, this is an exceptional moment. You came in very close to the action. The details and composition is very nice. I have to concurr with it being "shadowy". I tried dared a WS but saw that the option is not allowed. I will mail it to you if you are interested.

I agree with the others, a great shot but a touch dark. Good details of this unique moment. Well done.

Incredible shot, Rob. I can see from the lighting that it was late afternoon. The focus and DOF is fantastic. Well done.


Hi Rob. Very good shot. Great POV and very good details. Excellent colours.

  • Great 
  • momos Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 57 W: 55 N: 171] (705)
  • [2005-08-02 18:11]

Εξαιρετική φωτογραφία Rob!!!
Τα χρώματα πολύ ωραία και η λεπτομέρεια άψογη!!! (gr)

  • Great 
  • TAZ Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2241 W: 47 N: 3167] (10926)
  • [2005-08-08 4:24]

What a wonderful and interesting shot ! I like the composition for this bird with its prey. The colors are beautiful, sharpness is very good too ! Thanks for sharing Rob.

Just and spectacular capture.
No nits! As Gerhard says, print it and hang it on the wall.
Excellent work, thanks very much for sharing.

wauw Rob,
what a fantastic capture you made here,
the details are super, even as the good composition, the pov is great and the dof is supere, so you did a very good job here,
gr. Jaap

Hello Bob, good timing on a great capture, very sharp with a good DOF. Regards, Iris

Fantastic shot Rob! I aggree that taking a lot of shots is a good idea and that usually only one or two are really excellent. This one is a beauty. A little more space on the right hand side wouldn't hurt but it's still a wonderful photo. TFS!

Superb shot, Rob.You've captured this bee-eater in a great moment. The colors, details and Composition is good.
Goutham R

Hello Rob,
An awesome capture!
POV is very good... Colours and details are textbook quality...
Superb work!
Pablo -

Excellent capture, Rob.
absolutely perfect, very well decribing both the bird and its prey, and outstanding in catching the right moment.
Wonderful contribution. Thank you!
Best regards,

hi rob!
what a great capture!
perfect sharpness and
fine exposed with a good
nice with the food in the beak
very good!

Fantastic quality, perfect, exceptional catch.

Howzit Rob,
Great capture of this bee eater having lunch.Nice angle and fine details against an African sky,well doone.Vat vyf,

Calibration Check