Northern white-crowned shrike

Northern white-crowned shrike (Eurocephalus rueppelli)

Sometimes you get lucky.   I had the lens trained on this small bird,  a northern white-crowned shrike (Eurocephalus rueppelli),  as it sat perched on a spiny acacia bush and could see that it was poised ready to take off.   Fortunately,  even with the long telephoto lens in use,  my framing was a little “loose” and so there was room in the frame for the bird to fly into.  I already had a fast shutter speed selected,  essential if you hope to freeze a fast-moving bird in flight,  and had acquired focus.    It was then a matter of trying to capture the right moment and hoping for the best.   I’m pretty happy with the result,  the shutter speed was enough to get the head, body, and legs of the bird sharp,  whilst not freezing the fast-moving wing tips which show a touch of motion blur.

Compositionally I’m happy with the image too.   I written about selective focus and de-focused backgrounds before and this is another example of that.   I’m also pleased with the repeating lines in the image,  where the curve of the bird’s wings is echoed in the curved lines of the acacia branches.

Northern White-crowned Shrike, Serengeti National Park.  Canon 5D with 500mm lens at F4,  shutter speed 1/1000 second at ISO 100.    Image cropped slightly.

Addendum (Dec 2010) :

This species,  northern white-crowned shrike (Eurocephalus rueppelli),  is common and found throughout Tanzania and other East African countries.    The image was featured in my blurb book and remains one of my own favourite pictures from the Tanzania trip.      KD.