Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 17/07/2011

King of the Skies?


A slight departure from my batch of photos from Africa, I thought you’d probably had enough for the moment, normal service will return tomorrow (don’t think you’re getting away that lightly). I have uploaded a batch of photos from Kenya but having been to the Hawk Conservancy I just had to upload a photo taken today.

I have written a blog about the King Vulture before, but I couldn’t resist this one; they are such striking birds and the vulture (and all the other birds) at the Hawk Conservancy is in such good condition, I just had to keep snapping it.

What the more observant of you out there may have spotted, the bird has moisture on the fine top head feathers as well as on the grey collar plumage. It had just been raining rather hard, and as I took the picture, the sky was a dark grey colour promising more. The photo, in my opinion, doesn’t seem to reflect the inclement weather, you could swear (which I was doing each time it rained) that the sun must have been present to light the image so well.

Part of the benefit of using the manual mode on the camera is that you can decide exactly what ISO, shutter and f-stop to use to produce the image you have in mind or are presented with. I purposefully chose a slightly slower shutter speed to help lighten the bird – the only problem when photographing unpredictable moving objects is that, well, they move and they usually move just when you’re about to press the shutter button (I won’t tell you how many of these types of photos I have… a lot (damn, I said I wasn’t going to tell you!)). I was very lucky the King Vulture was as patient with me as I took the photos, some of the birds weren’t so accommodating, but the beauty of digital is that these don’t cost anything to develop and can be simply deleted (or stored on a large server for no reason, until the server is nearly full and there’s a batch of important photos to upload so that the whole batch of photos has to be reviewed to sort the wheat from the chaff and so free up space… I think I hit a raw nerve of mine there!).

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