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Holding hands

Holding hands
Photo Information
Copyright: Andy Cole (flagman) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 351 W: 44 N: 607] (2408)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-09-01
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 20D, Sigma 100-300 f/4 EX HSM, Hoya Super HMC Pro1 67mm Sky1B
Exposure: f/8, 1/800 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Flagman, sAndra & sAner in Whipsnade! [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-10-11 7:54
Viewed: 6875
Points: 28
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
2 Scarlet macaws 'holding hands' as they fly during the bird display at Whipsnade Wild Animal Park, Bedfordshire.

I spent the day at Whipsnade with Pieter and Sandra, (TN members sAner) who had come over to visit me on their way to their holiday in Dartmoor.

The bird display is probably the highlight of a day at Whipsnade for a photographer, as he or she tries to get that 'perfect' flying shot. So far I haven't managed it but I like this one as it shows us how close together the Macaws fly, just like holding hands, as the demonstrator explained. They even fly close enough to touch wingtips. This is how they fly in the forests, but in much larger numbers. It must be quite a sight!

sAner and I shall be posting more shots from our day in the theme we have set up for the purpose.

Shooting information:
RAW mode,
Manual exposure (a must when tracking fast moving birds!)
AI Servo focus - helps but it's not infallible!
Conditions: Sunny!
I used sAner's Sigma zoom lens which I was trying out for the day.

General information on the species, according to wikipedia:

The Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) is a large, colourful parrot.

It is native to humid evergreen forests in the American tropics, from extreme eastern Mexico locally to Amazonian Peru and Brazil, in lowlands up to 500 meters (at least formerly up to 1000m). It has been widely extirpated by habitat destruction and capture for the pet trade. Formerly it ranged north to southern Tamaulipas.

It is about 81 to 96 cm (32 to 36 inches) long, of which more than half is the pointed, graduated tail typical of macaws. Average weight is about a kilogram (2 to 2.5 pounds). The plumage is mostly scarlet, but the rump and tail-covert feathers are light blue, the greater upperwing coverts are yellow, the upper sides of the flight feathers of the wings are dark blue as are the ends of the tail feathers, and the undersides of the wing and tail flight feathers are dark red with metallic gold iridescence. There is bare white skin around the eye and from there to the bill. The upper mandible is mostly pale horn in color and the lower is black. Sexes are alike; the only difference between ages is that young birds have dark eyes, and adults have light yellow eyes.

Scarlet Macaws make loud, low-pitched, throaty squawks and screams.

Wild Scarlet Macaws eat mostly fruits and seeds, including large, hard seeds. A typical sighting is of a single bird or a pair flying above the forest canopy, though in some areas flocks can be seen. They may gather at clay licks.

Like most parrots, the Scarlet Macaw lays 2 to 4 white eggs in a tree cavity. The young hatch after 24 to 25 days. They fledge about 105 days later and leave their parents as late as a year.

RAP, horia, kaparu2, navnith, pvb, marhowie, coasties, traveller, nardophoto has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Scott: Noise around wings?flagman 1 10-12 04:55
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • RAP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2524 W: 345 N: 2373] (7405)
  • [2006-10-11 8:06]

Maravillosa captura en vuelo Andy... tener la oportunidad de disfrutar un espectáculo así es envidiable realmente.
YO he visto alguna vez un ave similar en un parque de Orlando, pero nunca sobre un cielo azul totalmente despejado.
Buen agudeza, colorido y el encuadre es amplio pero no existen muchas alternativas.
Un bonita presentación.
Saludos... Ricardo

Wonderful capture in flight Andy... to have the opportunity of to enjoy a show is this way really enviable.
I have seen a similar bird at some time in a park of Orlando, but never on a blue completely clear sky.
Good sharpness, coloring and the framing is wide but not many alternatives exist.
A nice presentation.
Greetings... Ricardo

  • Great 
  • mamcg Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 333 W: 13 N: 91] (9843)
  • [2006-10-11 8:28]

For this long NOTE, I do salout you and for perfect timeing once more..

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2006-10-11 8:43]

Hi Andy

Great in-flight here with these two beautiful macaws!
Excellent POV and sharpness, lovely colors and a super perfect blue BG to go with it all.
Very well done!

Bravo and TFS

  • Great 
  • Scott Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 225 W: 0 N: 356] (1752)
  • [2006-10-11 9:27]
  • [+]


My posts, or attempted posts of flying birds seem to have the same noise around the wings .. i have tried and then deleted a few .. i am sure the originals look crisp on your screen yet they are fussy noisy on mine ..
why is that

Nice shot Andy - the diagonal to forward line across the frame is great and the interlocking of the wings in the air is really well caught - great timing!

best wishes Kev

Hello Andy,
Nice colorful birds inflight. Well composed picture. Admiring work. Regards,

Hi Andy,
What a marvellous action shot.The lovely colours of the birds stand out in thge blue sky back ground.Good DOF and POV.

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2006-10-11 11:22]

A great in-flight photo. The colors are wonderful.


  • Great 
  • pvb Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 385 W: 16 N: 531] (1981)
  • [2006-10-11 13:56]

Sharpness and details are great, very good job. Good timing
TFS paula

Hi Andy,
Exposed well with clear details and nice color. I like the way you've caught the two in tandem flight, and your composition. Great job, especially handheld.

Hi Andy

Perfect in-flight shot. Love the composition. Pretty colours and nicely presented. :-)

  • Great 
  • sAner Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1455 W: 74 N: 1426] (4750)
  • [2006-10-12 10:43]

Hi Andy,

This picture turned out very well. I think the exposure is very decent, altough I think underneath the wings pixels are a little pale. Did you adjust the exposure a lot in the raw conversion tool? The sharpness is very good (nice lens eh? ;)). I love the blue sky and I absolutely adore the pose of the two birds, bloody marvelous. I saw the exact same birdshow, but wasn't able to capture something close like this. I guess my excuse is that I had a way shorter lens, eh? :)



How nice! I know how difficult it is to capture birds in flight well! I like the symmetry of their bodies on the photo. I would just leave a li-ittle less sky at the bottom, just maybe 1 cm, ...but maybe you are right.

very nice, I would crop more the sky, TFS Ori

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