Wednesday 18 September 2019

White Stork after midnight

Twitching a bird after midnight is a hoot!

After seeing a report on Birdguides of a White Stork roosting in Lyme Regis I picked up Dad and we headed over. It was a clear night with a fairly full moon and with the bird being pale, I knew there was a decent chance we'd be able to see it, even in the middle of the night. It didn't take long to find; the Stork was still on the Power Boat Club House as per an earlier report. We kept our distance in an effort to make sure the bird wasn't bothered by us (not that it necessarily would have been, others before and after us had seemingly approached it much closer).

I wanted to try and get some pics of it. Yeah, I know, wildlife pics after midnight. It is doable; camera sensor technology is improving and night photography has been 'my thing' for the last 15 months. The wind made it pretty difficult to get sharp shots as the bird and its feathers were rarely still. Low light on its own is easy enough to deal with, but low light and a moving subject is not so easy. 

I tweeted a pic of the back of my camera whilst taking some video footage last night and included most of the settings so that people could see how I was taking my pics/footage, but I did still get someone suggesting that I was using flash. I wasn't. When asked I always do my best to educate and help people understand how things were done etc. Not everyone knows how to take pics in certain conditions, or what cameras can do, and I appreciate that. If you have any questions, I am happy to help!

No torches or flashes were used in any of my pics or videos of the White Stork. The bird was lit by moonlight and light from nearby buildings only.

ISO was between 20,000 and 32,000 for video footage (not processed it yet), and between 5,000 and 10,000 for stills, with further exposure boosting in post-production. I have an ISO invariant camera so I deliberately underexposed the photos at the time of capture.

Specific settings for the shot below are:
1/2 second shutter speed, f4 aperture at ISO 6400, then exposure pushed a further 1.5 stops in post.

Whilst watching the Stork I said to Dad that it may well be on patch later, and indeed it was according to multiple reports on Birdguides. As with most White Storks seen in the UK, it looks as though this is not a properly 'wild' bird (@Wawlee on Twitter has an excellent open-wing shot). Still, I'm glad we made the effort to see it at Lyme and get some shots which are different from the norm!