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Old Jan 31, 2008, 5:01 PM   #1
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... so I went for a very short walk looking for red kites. OK, so I was tipped off that there were 2 or 3 sitting in a nearby tree. Now for some reason I don't associate kites with trees so I grabbed the GX-10 and went to look. When I arrived there they were, 2 red kites sitting in a tree. But no sooner had I taken a photo of the first it flew off. What's more the photo wasn't very good (so no change there then!). I did manage to get a photo of the other kite:

But it too was camera shy ...

... and off it flew.

A bit later a couple of kites flew fairly close overhead. Now, am I the only one who finds it very tricky to point the 300mm lens almost straight up, following the unpredictable path of a bird, and finding that the results are usually very disappointing? I guess it would have helped if I had remembered to set the ISO to 400. Anyway I did find 2 or 3 keepers although only 1 was really sharp out of the camera.

Finally there is this. Now I know that it's not a red kite. And I know the bird is hopelessly out of focus but I quite like it.

This little fellow was sitting on the roof until I pressed the shutter when it flew off! What I didn't notice until I looked at the pic on the computer is that initially it just jumped off the roof, you can see that its wings are still folded.

So, ignoring the last shot, that was a success rate of about 15%. I'm fairly certain that the Sigma 70-300 prefers sunny conditions but the combination of pointing the lens almost straight up, plus getting the GX-10 to lock focus and exposure on something that just won't stay still means that many shots are just rubbish. But hey! That's why I now love digital.

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Old Jan 31, 2008, 7:31 PM   #2
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Hi Keith,

I'd consider this to be a VERY successful shoot. The flying kite shots are spectacular (#4 [actually #5] is my favorite), and #5 (actually #6) is a keeper in my book, because I especially like to capture animals doing unusual things. I've never really seen that before -- and I watch birds a LOT! Having your subject in focus is overrated. . . :-)

A very nice day's work I'd say. . .

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Old Jan 31, 2008, 8:02 PM   #3
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I can now appreciate just how hard it is to do these shots myself. Awkward is not strong enough of a word to describe it. Like them all myself but 4 and 5 are good keepers to me. No matter how slow they are gliding they are hard to keep focused as it is changing many times a second. Good work in my book! Practice will make it easier. Soon like riding a bike or roller skating it becomes a muscle reflex and you won't think it awkward at all.! Keep on Keeping on!!

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Old Jan 31, 2008, 10:06 PM   #4
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I quite agree with Scott - these are neat pictures, and your flying kites are far better than anything I've managed trying to do the same thing with the red-tail hawks around home.

I once got a picture of a bird hopping off a branch, rather than flying. It wasn't as good as yours, though - mine was further away and the bird (and the branch) are just silhouettes. At least yours looks like a bird rather than a cut-out.
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