On a rainy day I saw this female Plum-headed Parakeet (Psittacula cyanocephala) perched on a slender branch. I was standing very close to the tree. If you are in such a situation then the photos will come out like what I have here today. It shows that you have shot them from a lower angle. When you photograph any animal, it is advisable to be at the eye level of your subject to produce a better perspective. For birds which are perched high up on the tree, it is difficult to follow that principle. Here is a trick I usually follow. Go away from the bottom of the tree the bird is perched, so that you are around 45 to 60 ° angle from the bird. By using long telephoto lenses the photos you take will look as though taken at the eye level. Telephoto lenses have two distinct advantages. They allow higher magnification of the subject as well as they compresses the perceived depth in the photo. So the subject looks far closer than it actually is. This compression fools our eyes that we feel that we are almost near the eye level of the subject. Unfortunately in my case when I left the tree to photograph from that angle parakeet flew away and I was not able to get the view I wanted.
That day I got the overcast white cloudy sky as the background. Metering is tricky in such a situation. If you are using Matrix metering then your camera meter is going to evaluate all the areas in your photograph. Since the sky is brighter than your subject, it will under expose the subject while exposing sky correctly. These are the times when you need to override the meter. You use the exposure compensation setting and dial in exposure shift as you want.
Rule of thumb in overriding meter is as follows.
- If your overall image is whiter than grey, then over-expose from the meter reading.
- If your overall image is darker than grey then under-expose from the meter reading.
How far you need to override meter depends on the brightness or darkness of the scene you are shooting. Spot metering is another option which is better than Matrix metering in such situations. Spot metering usually measures the center 3% of the screen and if you put your subject there and meter you get accurate meter reading of the subject. This allows you to avoid pitfalls of matrix metering.
The Plum-headed Parakeet is a mainly green parrot, The male’s head is red, becoming purple-blue on the back of the crown, nape and cheeks. There is a narrow black neck collar and a black chin stripe. There is a red shoulder patch and the rump and tail are bluish-green, the latter tipped white. The upper mandible is orangish-yellow, and the lower mandible is dark.
The female has a grey head, corn-yellow upper-mandible and lacks the black neck collar, chin stripe and red shoulder patch. Immature birds have a green head and both mandibles are yellowish. The different head colour and the white tip to the tail distinguish this species from the similar Blossom-headed Parakeet (Psittacula roseata). The Plum-headed Parakeet is a gregarious and noisy species with range of raucous calls. The usual flight and contact call is oink? repeated now and then. The Plum-headed Parakeet is a bird of forest and open woodland.
EXIF info – Aperture : ƒ/5.6 | Camera : Canon EOS-1D Mark IV | Taken : 31 July, 2011 | Flash fired : no | Focal length : 420mm | ISO : 100 | Location : 12° 55′ 20.028″ N 74° 51′ 55.2096″ E | Shutter speed : 1/800s | Images and content Copyright © Krishna Mohan. Please contact me to purchase prints or for image publication license.