Raptors!

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Check out the vlog to go with this post:  https://youtu.be/geT7-4MIhmA

I recently visited a local mountainside to spend an evening with a pair of kestrels I’ve noticed there.  I did get some nice shots, but I also learnt some valuable lessons and had a surprise visitor to my raptor party!

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These birds are so beautiful, I love watching them in their distinctive hover in the evening light.  I was using my Canon 7D and a Canon EF 100-400 f4.5-5.6 IS which gave me an effective focal length of 640mm at full reach.  I’d previously used my 5D MkIII with a Canon 1.4x MkII extender, but I think the extender in combination with the relatively poor aperture of the 100-400 was inferior to the 7D/100-400 configuration.

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Only one of the kestrels seemed to be hunting, but he was really tolerant of me; running around in the short heather nearby before returning to his vole vigil.

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Just as I was packing up, this guy appeared – seemingly very interested in my drone which I got out of his way in short order.

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The red kite was also quite obliging and photogenic.  Unfortunately I’d left my ISO in auto and I ended up with very noisy shots once I’d recovered the underexposed birds.  Passable for Instagram and blogs, not so good for saleable prints!  Lesson learned.

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