Yes I know, not the first time I have posted a pile of pictures of the Longtails in Bermuda and yes, they have been good pictures, but not exactly what I have been looking for. To see them, just search “longtails” in the search at the top of the screen. I packed the sunscreen, a water bottle, a hat and off I went to Cooper’s Island on the far east end of Bermuda. A good spot to watch these amazing birds.
The Bermuda Longtail is a beautiful bird. In my opinion only 2nd to the Canadian Loon 🙂 They fly around and play for hours. They dart in and out of the cliffs checking on their nests. But unlike that slow Loon, getting pictures of these birds, even surrounded by them, is a major challenge. For more information about the Longtail, visit here.
So what was I looking for? Well, most of my pictures of Longtails have been highly cropped. These birds almost never stop moving, are always dancing around the sky and getting one that fills the frame of the camera is next to impossible. There were over 30 birds flying around and yet getting that pictures is so difficult.
This situation is one where I almost wish to have a DSLR again. Just for the speed of the autofocus. I shoot mirrorless and my body (the Fujifilm X-T1) is around 4 years old now and my “zoom” lens is a 55-200mm. Not a fast lens. Slow lens with slow autofocus = you need a pile of patience.
If you ever want to learn how to use your camera properly, come to Bermuda and try and take pictures of Longtails. You will dig into all the different focus types, zone modes, tracking features, manual settings, ISO’s, spots on the sensor, burst modes, single shots, continuous features and a pile of other stuff. I even got to the point where I had to factory default cause I had changed so many settings.
Did I get my picture that needed no crop. No, not really, but I definitely got much closer and got some images that I am happy with and there is still enough resolution left that I can print large images if I wanted to. I would like better. It is all about balance of exposure in the sun, speed of these birds and focus speed. Some would say get a bigger and faster lens but these birds are so fast that even at 200mm you can’t get the shot, 300 or 400, forget it. In the end I found about 100mm was about the best I could do and I had to run burst mode, jpg only. 1800 jpg images were then culled to around 150 images with my favourites below (and there are still too many).
Four hours sitting in the sun on a rock in one of the most beautiful spots you can image. Taking pictures of the same thing for 4 hours is not my usual thing but this was relaxing, a joy and a learned a ton about my camera, all while watching these amazing birds play and chirp all around me.
I apologies for so many images but I just can’t pick and choose 🙂