This unidentified tiny spider was resting on a leaf of one of my garden plants when I snapped this photo. I kinda like the effect of the natural sidelighting, the reflection of the sky on the multiple eyes and the subtle detail of the fine hair.
I got this Cinnamon Bittern as it was flying with a slightly upward trajectory over Candaba’s ricefields in 2009.
The 5D MII’s AF using the center point with surrounding assist works very well for flight shots, even with a 1.4x TC on the 500 f4 IS. The camera actually has the same reach as my old 20D in terms of pixel density. What’s deficient in the 5D MII for BIFs is the slow 3.9 fps frame rate. I was just extremely lucky to get a good wing position in this shot despite the anemic fps.
Cinnamon Bittern (Ixobrychus cinnamomeus , resident)
Habitat: Ricefields, marshes and mangroves.
Lighting and shooting angle were pretty bad on this one, but it’s not often that I get the chance to catch extreme action like this – just milliseconds after the Bittern’s bill has speared the gourami fish.
The spearing motion was so quick that 1/800 sec wasn’t fast enough to fully freeze the bird’s head and neck, though quite good enough to stop the wriggling fish and the water droplets.
The clear plastic-like dome at the lower right was actually the frozen splash of the luckier second gourami which jumped and dove back to the safety of the water, while its schoolmate was destined for lunch.
Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis, resident)
Habitat – Freshwater wetlands.
This colorful endemic dove was captured in the foothills of Antipolo mountains in 2009. A birdshooter friend ( Ding C.) informed me that these birds were frequenting a certain fruiting tree beside his house. I immediately convinced Ding to “invite” me to his abode. He did just that and I “accepted” the invitation pronto.
The challenge in capturing decent photos of this species in-habitat is how to find a fruiting tree they feed on. Once the feeding area is known, it becomes a pretty easy job – just go to the spot before sunrise and wait for the doves to come in and feed in the early morning golden light.
Many thanks to Ding for the hospitality, the sumptuous breakfast and the exciting birding tales. Ding’s very nice house is situated at a hillside, surrounded by bird-laden vegetation and trees, and overlooking Metro Manila.
Philippine Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia tenuirostris, a Philippine endemic)
Habitat – Lowland forest to montane mossy forest.
How I wish I had a 1.4x teleconverter mounted!
I was shooting birds in flight at a mangrove area in San Juan, Batangas, way back in July 2009. Light was low and I needed the brightest aperture I can come out with, so I mounted the bare 500 f4 IS on the 5D MII.
Certainly not my intended subject, this bird flew in and started foraging among the foliage near my position. It was very active in nature, hence I had to shoot right away with whatever gear I have set up, no time to add a TC.
Philippine flowerpeckers are quite very small, with the largest just around four inches in total length. In this lilliputian family, the tiniest is the Pygmy Flowerpecker at circa 3 inches total length.
Despite the deficient focal length used, there’s still enough detail left after massive cropping for a decent-sized web display, or for small prints. As posted here, the bird should appear a bit larger than lifesize on a 96-dpi display.
Pygmy Flowerpecker (Dicaeum pygmaeum, a Philippine endemic)
Habitat – Forest, edge and second growth.
And here’s the full frame (resized to 800×533) from which the version above was cropped, showing the extreme detail gathering capability of the 5D MII’s 21 MP sensor.
Found nowhere else in the world but in Luzon and some islands in the Visayas, this fantail prefers to stay in the dark understory. There, its colorful plumage is often not seen in full glory because of the dim lighting.
I got lucky to catch this bird in the open, under partial early morning light, while I was birding at a mountain trail in the Cordillera mountains (North Luzon). The bird is not large, measuring just 180 mm in total length from the tip of the long tail to the tip of bill.
Blue-headed Fantail (Rhipidura cyaniceps, a Philippine endemic)
Habitat – Forest up to 2000 m.
This tiny bird (110 mm total length) just caught a spider-like insect, but it is confronted with a juicy bug nearby.
In the end, the bird decided that a bug in beak is worth two in the grass.
The 400 2.8 IS + 2x TC’s minimum focus distance of 3 m allows amazing magnification at 800 mm…. perfect for small birds such as this.
Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis, resident)
Habitat – Ricefields and wetter grassy areas.