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Bee Eater (Merops bullockoides)

Bee Eater (Merops bullockoides)
Photo Information
Copyright: Dan Bachmann (danbachmann) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 74 W: 19 N: 151] (571)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-03-21
Categories: Birds
Camera: Pentax *ist D, Pentax F 100-300
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/350 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2006-04-02 14:37
Viewed: 6972
Points: 2
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The White Fronted Bee Eater (Merops bullockoides) is easily spotted once you know to look for the red spot above the yellow chest. Its diet is 87% bees and the rest probably other flying insects.

As with all of the flying bird images I have taken, I've cropped the image significantly. If any of you are taking bird images without the need to crop, I'd be interested to knowing what you are using (lens & support).

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Its hard to get close to some birds though I find that a car is one of the best 'hides' you can use to get close...and patience is an essential requirement to bird photography!! :)

I use a Canon 300D with the Sigma 50-500 lens. This combined with the 300D's 1.6x field of view crop gives a useful 800mm lens which allows me to fill the viewfinder with the bird alot more frequently than I used to be able to with just a 300mm lens on a film SLR. You do have a 1.5x FOV crop so you get a decent 450mm lens but I find the extra 250mm make alot of difference.
As a support I have a manfrotto tripod though I usually use a bean-bag when in the car. I made them myself - just buy 1kg of rice and sew a bag round it leaving enough room to 'bed' the lens in for support...

I would crop an image only if the photo is sharp enough - if not then I would try and use the photo to show more of the habitat of the bird rather than trying to fill the frame with it. Otherwise I scrap the image and go out and shoot some more!! My main problem is camera shake when using a big telephoto lens - the beanbag helps eliminate this (and make sure the car engine is off too!!).

Hope this helps someone out there!!

TFS - pity you couldnt get closer as these are beautiful birds!!


Hi Dan,
'Shooting' birds from a car or a vehicle is not easy, especially when there are more people in that vehicle. Using a tripod or a monopod or even a beanbag isn't always possible. You could invest in a lens with vibration reduction (eg. Sigma 80-400 OS for Pentax), which gives you a certain amount of 'freedom'. As for this picture, you could try to enhance contrast and sharpness a tiny bit.

Calibration Check