Nature clicks #168 - Cliff Swallow

Cliff Swallow  

The cold and rainy weather continued today but it didn't stop me from going out and paying a visit to the Green Island Wetlands. It seemed everything slowed down in the rain. You can hear the birds but they seem to stay away from the open water. I tried it anyway and was even blessed with another first sighting of a bird. It was a dark day again with a strong overcast and I knew light would not be sufficient for working with the long lens in the wetlands. Just putting on a flashlight does not do the trick either because the distance between the camera and the birds exceeds quite often the range of a flashlight. The solution for today's shooting conditions was the attachment of a flash extender. This is basically a fresnel lens, made out of plastic, that is mounted about 8 inches away from the  front of the flash head. I'm using the Better Beamer flash extender and this inexpensive device is able to increase the flash output by about 2 to 3 f-stops. Using the flash in TTL mode helps to get the right amount of light to your subject.


Cliff and Barn Swallow


When I saw the Cliff Swallows flying around my "car blind" I was first a little confused. I saw swallows with squared tails and I also saw swallows with deeply forked tails. It wasn't until some of them were sitting down in a bush right beside the water that I realized that some Barn Swallows were among the Cliff Swallows as you can see in the second image.

It is 9:30PM and I just checked the weather forecast for Memorial Day. It looks like it is not a good idea to stow away the flash extender, and oh, there is a "flash flood watch" in effect for our area.... What a lovely holiday weekend.... ;-) Enjoy yours anyway!