Both professional and amateur bird photographers often have their favourite subjects – and many have a special affinity for birds of prey. I was extremely fortunate to capture a range of images of osprey in flight during a recent morning visit to Mountsberg Conservation Area, near Campbellville Ontario.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
I have visited this facility about a half dozen times over the past number of months and only once did I even catch a glimpse of an osprey that was actually close enough to photograph. By the time I got my camera out of my bag it had vanished.
As everyone who takes photographs of birds in flight knows, the opportunities we are afforded to capture images are often few and far between.
Each time I visit Mountsberg Conservation I visit the Raptor Centre and view the various birds on display. And, being an optimist, I also trek out to the observation blind at the reservoir.
There is a nesting box out over the water that can be observed from the blind. The last time I visited Mountsberg it had been commandeered by some Canada geese which defended it vigorously every time an osprey ventured anywhere close by.
Not wanting to miss any opportunities during this trip to Mountsberg, I prepared my Nikon 1 V2 in advance of visiting the blind, using manual settings and auto ISO.
I set my aperture at f/5.6 and used a shutter speed of either 1/1250 or 1/1600. Since the blind is a fair distance from the nesting box all of my images in this article were shot with my CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 fully extended.
I used AF-C with subject tracking and set my Nikon 1 V2 for 15 fps. Based on past experience I figured that I wouldn’t have that many chances to capture these magnificent birds in flight and I wanted to get as many frames as possible.
Since the lighting was quite bright I wanted to try to ensure good exposures on potential subject birds so I set my V2’s metering for centre weighted.
I also turned the VR off with the in-camera setting of my Nikon 1 V2. This was to help ensure the maximum number of images with the birds fully captured in each frame.
As expected, the number of opportunities to capture osprey in flight was quite limited. Total viewing time was less than 5 minutes spread out over a couple of hours. During each brief osprey encounter my V2 dutifully acquired AF-C and rattled off images at 15 fps. As a result I was able to get just over 400 images of osprey in flight during my morning visit.
As luck would have it, the birds were in the process of nest building and I was able to get some images of osprey carrying twigs to the nesting box. Overall, it was an enjoyable morning and I was able to get a number of usable images.
The more I use my Nikon 1 V2 with the Nikon 1 CX 70-300 lens for birds in flight, the more confident I have become with this gear, It has now become my preferred birding set-up. I love the lightweight and easy portability, as well as the effective AF-C performance. When needed, shooting at 15 fps is simply fantastic!
Technical Note: All images in this article were captured hand-held using a Nikon 1 V2 with a Nikon 1 CX 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 VR lens. Images were created from RAW files processed through DxO OpticsPro 10 including PRIME noise reduction. A DNG file was then exported to CS6 and Nik Suite for additional adjustments as required.
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Article and images Copyright Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, duplication of any kind, or adaptation is allowed without written consent.