Belted Kingfisher

This was by far the most difficult that I’ve ever gotten. As almost anyone who has had experience with a kingfisher can attest, they are extremely flighty. I scouted this kingfisher for years and attempted to stake it out numerous times. You could set your watch by its morning routine. But it always busted me as soon as it showed up and flew to a different part of the lake. One summer, the water was up higher than normal, and I was staking out a great egret at that lake (they are not tame here like most other places). I was in full camo and had camo netting and fake grass covering my camera and lens. The kingfisher flew in and landed in this tree to my right. It stayed there most of the morning. I was completely unprepared for it, and there was no way I could have turned without scaring it off. So I didn’t even attempt to take any shots. I came back the next morning–full camo and netting and fake grass for my camera and lens. The kingfisher did not seem to notice me and actually lit in the perfect place and let me take a bunch of photos of it. Probably my favorite morning of bird photography ever.

ISO 800

In post, I brought up the shadows a good amount because they were too dark after exposing for the whites. I then resized, sharpened, and decreased noise on the BG. I dodged some of the grays on the head with a darks 4 mask, and I burned the white patch on the bird’s face with a lights 1 mask. All feedback welcome.

I like this shot fine, and have Kingfisher shot envy! I concur completely on how hard these guys are to get. They are high on my list of local birds to get a decent shot of. They are frustratingly uncooperative.

It’s so satisfying when perseverance pays off. And it did in this case. He’s on a beautifully lit perch with a great background. And such sharpness and detail. Really nice.

It’s always great to get close enough to these guys - what a tough species to photograph! Great job on the field work. No nits from me - really nice background, detail, and exposure.

I shoot these guys a lot in the summer using perches I install in our neighborhood pond from a portable ground blind. Works pretty well. A little more DOF could keep the perch in focus, The bird appears overly bright on my monitor, but a nice pose on this little gal.