Learning new skills

Happiness comes when we test our skills towards some meaningful purpose – John Stossel

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On Saturday I went out in the dark to my favourite bird of prey place and was stunned by the number of birds that appeared as soon as the sky lightened. At first light, there was a layer of fog on the ground, the moon was up and the birds were flying. I was thrilled to see some Black Kites (I have only seen them once before in my area as they mostly live in northern Australia (especially around the canefields) and inland Australia.

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On Sunday, I was so keen to relive the previous day’s experience that I went out again, even though there was a heavy cloud cover. I was satisfied with my sightings, if not with my photos. Here is another Black Kite …

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I posted some photos on a bird forum and some to the photographers gave me valuable information about exposure compensation for this Brown Falcon photo.

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On Monday, I went out in the dark again, ready to put what I had learned into practice. I had some unexpected luck with a White-bellied Sea-eagle – I managed to get detail in a photo of one flying …

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and detail in a photo of some that were perched in a tree with the sun about to rise behind them!

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I also did a much better job with a different perched Brown Falcon.

STOP PRESS!!!!!

I looked at the photo below again a couple of days ago (April 18, 2013) and realised that the bird was much darker than a brown falcon and I couldn’t see the double cheek-marks very well. So I posted it on a bird photography forum and asked the members if they thought it was a Black Falcon. They all said it was! YAY!!!!!

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Things started to fall apart as the sun rose. I had the camera settings ready for a Black Kite and I suddenly saw one White-bellied Sea-eagle steal food from another. The photo is way overexposed but what a moment!

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For the photos of White-bellied Sea-eagles that follow, I thought my exposure was spot on.I checked each photo on the LCD screen and it looked perfect. I checked each histogram and thought I understood what I was seeing.

I thought that I would get some of my best photos ever. But when I looked at the photos on the computer, they were all overexposed. I’ll show you anyway, because photos aside, there is nothing as glorious as the sight of a White-bellied Sea-eagle flying towards you.

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My skills do need work, but it’s work I’m happy to do.

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