Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Swift Focus

Ever wonder where our swifts used to hang out before they had our towns and cities? Well, every time I walk in the Blue Stack mountains in mid-summer on a (rare) good day, there they are, hawking for insects right up on the exposed heights at over 2000 feet.

I hadn't thought of photographing swifts before, but then I'd never seen them quite so close as they skimmed around me with ground-hugging dashes that would make a Tornado pilot weep. My first efforts were predictably rather dire: autofocus in 'sport' mode might be adept at tracking my son sprinting up the left wing or even our dog chasing the cat, but it failed miserably when confronted with a swift, transforming these streamlined flying machines into shapeless UFOs.

Switching to manual focus at least ensured that about one in ten shots was in focus. But there was still the problem of keeping the swift in the viewfinder while staying upright on the rough ground, and all the while ensuring that the fun didn't come to a swift and untimely end over the nearby cliff.

Having bagged a satisfying number of shots, I paused in my singleminded antics only to find another walker observing me rather quizzically from the nearby summit. I waved cheerily, but instead of coming over for a chat, he promptly turned and headed down the other side. I guess he hadn't seen the swifts...

1 comment:

Erewash Birder said...

Cracking photos, to be honest I'm normally like you're initial efforts. Must try harder.