Freeze nature on the wing
THE CAMERA’S ABILITY TO freeze time remains one of the most appealing aspects of photography, and bird photographer Roger Hunt (instagram.com/rmhphotographic) has honed his shooting skills to the point where he can stop a bird in flight and present these beautiful and graceful creatures as static works of art.
“My passion is to capture birds in flight in the wild and to date, I’ve photographed over 60 different species in the UK in the last four years. It can be extremely challenging and so it helps to have good technique and also know about their different habitats and behaviour.
“The image of the common tern hovering was taken early afternoon in June, at RSPB Middleton Lakes. I very rarely shoot towards the light, but on this day, although very bright, the sky was slightly overcast. Terns make perfect subjects for high-key images set against a light, bright sky because their form and elegance is often portrayed at its best. This particular tern had been flying at speed over the lake and I tracked the bird in the viewfinder until it spotted a fish below and proceeded to hover. “It’s not possible to know when the action will take place, or at what distance from you, so a good telephoto lens is an essential – for all of my flight photography I use the Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, sometimes coupled with the 1.4x III converter. Technique and patience are also key. “The image of the red kites coming together in flight was taken at Bwlch Nant yr Arian in Ceredigion. These birds can often be seen in aerial playfights and even exchanging food on the wing. This behaviour happens in an instant and so to improve the chances of capturing the action I made sure I was zoomed out before spotting the action and then firing off a burst of high-speed shots.”
Above A pair of red kites caught playfighting in the air.
Left A versatile 100-400mm lens like this is ideal for nature shots.