Selection of Philippine avian wildlife all captured in habitat, plus nature and miscellaneous images.

Luzon Hornbill

This male Luzon Hornbill was hopping from branch to branch, feeding on the fruits of a balete tree (local fig tree) at Mt. Makiling in 2007.

I was following it through the Canon 20D’s viewfinder (my camera was in portrait orientation), wishing that it pauses for a moment. My shutter speed was at 1/80 sec because I wanted to use a maximum of ISO 400 for better processability of the RAW files later. But this shutter speed was way too slow for an active subject…. the bird better stop moving otherwise I wouldn’t get a chance. Even bumping the ISO to 800 and opening the aperture to f/5.6 from f/6.3 would only yield 1/200 sec – still slowish to stop subject motion.

The birding gods must have heard my wish.

For a couple of seconds, the hornbill stopped hopping and feeding and briefly stared at me. That was enough window of opportunity to get a shot that I like – with strong eye contact, good detail even with the slow shutter and a “well groomed” branch/foliage surrounding the subject.

Shooting info – Mt. Makiling, Laguna, Philippines, Canon 20D + EF 500 f4 IS + Canon 1.4x TC II, 700 mm, f/6.3, ISO 400, manual exposure in available light, near full frame, 475B/3421 support.

Luzon Hornbill (Penelopides manillae, a Philippine endemic, male)

Habitat – Forest and edge up to 1500 m.


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