White-fronted Bee-Eater

A white-fronted bee-eater in the Marakele National Park, Limpopo. 

Nikon D610

Tamron 150 - 600mm lens at 600mm 


ISO 1100

f8 1/800 

-0.3 exposure compensation 

Beanbag support 

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    I know the feeling all to well -:(( With the settings I gave you, the bird will be sharp on take-off as well. Make that your mission next time....I am waiting for your shot!  Depending on the light, you might have some blur on the wings which is nice. 

  • Thank you Bruna. Always learn something new from you =) Much appreciated. I think I panic shoot especially if I think this bird might leave at any second... 


    You did - 0.3 compensation, but I would like you to consider the following when shooting small birds like the Bee-Eater. Look at your background and the size of the bird first. Select your shutter speed according to the focal length of your lens (600 x 4 = 1/2400sec) for action, then consider the size of the bird and the background you are dealing with.

    For such a small bird and a busy background, you can still get the entire bird sharp in focus as well as blurring the background even more by widening your Aperture. Small birds and busy backgrounds work best at F/5.6 with a focal length of 600mm. Only then, balance the exposure depending on the available light with the ISO. If you need more light compensate with your shutter speed, that is why I recommend that you start with 1/2400sec as it gives you room to adjust. Just sit back and think about it carefully, also remember you can always get more detail back in the shadows (blacks) but not in the highlights (whites). Do this in Lightroom afterwards, so rather underexpose slightly whilst using the correct settings as suggested.

    Hope I have answered your question Landie, let me know if there is anything ells I can help with.You are doing well Girl!!



  • Thank you Bruna. I tried under exposing a bit at -0.3. Should I then underexpose even more to retain detail in the whites? Was my ISO too high? 


    Beautiful sharp image and I enjoy the natural framing of the Bee-eater. It tells me that you have planned the composition before you decided to press the shutter.  The background is nicely blurred away so as not to take the eye away from your subject, it works well.  Lovely catch-light in the eye of the bird and the colours of the Bee-eater is spot on, well done Landie.  Although your exposure is good, keep in mind that you need to expose for the highlights (whites), you have nearly lost detail in the white feathers, also visible on the branches.  You are shooting Nikon and therefore you are able to pull more detail back in the black feathers of the bird in Lightroom. Well-done Landie!! Keep up the amazing work!


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