As the spring hots up and with the prospect of an exciting day ahead with Charlie Bishop doing one of his excellent Kingfisher courses, I have been honing my skills and developing new equipment to try to catch one of those jewels of the river bank in full flight.
At the moment I am experimenting with a Doppler radar element, similar to the ones they must have in the roadside cameras to catch speeding motorists. This device detects the birds as they approach the feeder or perch and, using my home-made electronic control box, fires the camera.
The difficult part is getting the focus right. There is no time for autofocus, so I have to pre-focus manually on the spot where I expect the bird to be when the camera fires. There is always a short delay between detection and shutter firing so it is really a matter of guess work.
The best that can be hoped for is to get some of the shots in focus and just get used to the fact that many will have to be thrown away as not sharp enough. Sometimes it breaks my heart to have to throw away what would have been a beautiful shot except for the dodgy focus.
One day one of these photos will be of a Kingfisher approaching to land on a riverside twig. I can only hope that it will be in focus!
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