How I Got the Shot: “Early Bird”

Early one morning I noticed a Kurrichane thrush busily scurrying around and repeatedly pecking at the grass in the playground. It seemed totally oblivious of the children playing close by. It appeared that there was a glut of earthworms in the lawn, and it was gathering them with haste.  
I ran to my house and got my camera. I quickly set the parameters for a grounded, moving bird. As I was expecting the bird to fly away, I took a couple of “bank shots” - quick fire shots to at least get something. I realised that the bird was not at all interested in me and only in the beak full of earthworm.  
I then lay down on the wet grass and leopard crawled towards the bird, to get as close as possible. My camera has a crop sensor of 1.6 so if you multiply this by a focal length of 200mm you theoretically have a lens equivalent of 320mm so I managed to get within about five metres of the bird.  
The low angle - almost eye level- enhanced the shallow depth of field and threw the background nicely out of focus so the bird and worms stood out. A few frenetic few minutes ensued as I focused on the bird’s eye and rattled off about 100 shots. Only when reviewing the shots later on my computer, I noticed that one of the worms appeared to be levitating. I chose this shot for this month’s set subject of “Catch the Action” as it was the most interesting of the bunch.
In post-production, and because the bird was still quite small in the frame, I cropped quite aggressively, with a letter box shape 19 x 6 as the regular aspect ratio was too close to tail and worm and restricted the feeling of movement to the right. I then sharpened the image and added some contrast.  
Although I ended up very soggy, sometimes it pays to go that extra mile to get an interesting shot.


Camera: Canon 7D Mark 2  
Lens: Canon 70-200mm EF L  2,8 IS Mark 2   
F stops: 3.5
ISO: 100
Exposure Bias: 0.3 Shutter Speed 1600th sec
Focal length: 20mm Aperture Priority  
Focus Centre Point: AI Servo

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