A return trip to The Hawk Conservancy Trust has been on the cards for a while (following an excellent, bespoke Photography Day a while back) And, once again, it delivered a great mix of set-up shots and challenging, birds-in-flight practice.
This time around I had a couple of shots that I was after. The bright, end of summer day meant that a decent, action freezing, shutter speed wasn't a problem. The hazy, bright white sky though would've confused any metering system. A quick shot of the grass in Av mode gave me a meter reading that I could transfer to Manual mode and be comfortable that I'd get enough detail on the underside of the birds.
I also wanted to try to capture more of the motion than is apparent in a "normal" in-flight shot by dropping the shutter speed and introducing some motion blurring. A Harris Hawk being used in a demonstration gave me an opportunity to turn off image stabilisation and practice my panning and framing. And practice was clearly required as I binned around 95% of the images from this one display alone.
Photographically the stars of the day are always going to be the owls. For some reason, they immediately lend themselves to black and white images. The textures in their plumage and complete silence in flight just seem to fit with the aesthetic of black and white imagery. I did try black and white conversions on some of my other images from the day, but only the owl shots felt like they were "meant to be" monotone.
Once again a great day out, the full set of images is up on Flickr now too.