SEL100400GM

A perfect catch

With Sony A9 Full Frame Camera & SEL100400GM

Story By Diinesh Kumble

A perfect catch

About Diinesh Kumble

Diinesh Kumble is a nature and wildlife photographer, who also holds photography workshops at a premium film institute. He has documented three books about wildlife, in association with an African organization. Moreover, his impressive portfolio consists of thrilling stills from wildlife & nature. This self-taught photographer is certainly an inspiration to one and all.


Observe. Grasp. Evolve. Repeat.

It’s selective pressure of the lifestyle that shapes an animal, not the shape of the animal that dictates the lifestyle. For instance, the African Fish Eagle has its own story of evolution, its habitat and eating preferences. Their feet have rough soles equipped with powerful talons to enable the eagle to grasp slippery aquatic preys.

There is more to a bird than simply feathers. You only have to have a closer, a more detailed look at it.

Observing, or birding, to know your subject is the key to detail and freezing the truth of the moment. One fine day, on August 23, 2018, a boat ride to Lake Naivasha, Nakuru County, in Kenya, Africa got me to observe closely its vast density of African Fish Eagles.

Gather Insights before Capturing

Aconservation success and fishermen’s hotspot for their catch of the day, Lake Naivasha boasts over 300 species of birdlife and hippopotamus. It is a haven for photographers to gather insightsand manoeuver around for experiments.

To be able to catch as much, and as varied action as possible, it helps to know the most active hours of these eagles. It’s, in fact, interesting to know that the African Fish Eagles spend a lot of time perched than flying, and usually settle for the day by 10am. Although they will kill at any time of the day, having made their kill by 10am, they’re quiet the early birds, which means being ready before they begin preying increases your chances to get the ‘perfect catch’.

That particular morning was cloudy, with extremely low-light condition. As it improved later on, it became favourable for the eagles to identify their prey in the murky waters. The eagles would swoop down at breakneck speeds to grab their prey out of the water. The action is so rapid that if you blink, you miss it!

Swift as a bird’s flight

The human fascination with the need for speed and precision stands true to numerous inventions and times. It stands true even at the intersection of science and technology. Just as this African Fish Eagle, usually in pairs, stays perched on the trees for an eagle eye view, then spots, targets and swoops in at the right moment to go for the kill, so does the Super Telephoto Zoom 100-400mm G Master Lens, paired with Sony Alpha A9.

Now, these raptors are the perfect example of successful opportunists; no matter what the weight of their catch, they always get it home and get it right. If the fish is ten times the weight of their body, it catches it and drags it or paddles its way to the shore with its wing.

So is the case with the compact, lightweight and mobile SEL100400GM that has an innovative modular exterior construction. Made of magnesium components, it weighs only 1,395gm without a tripod mount! Its reduced weight and size only add to a photographer’s agility through improved portability and mobility.

While I prefer wildlife action shots at an angle that’s partially lateral to depict an angular, a more 3D effect, any fast action scene is a challenge for a photographer to freeze that decisive, split second. However, given the number of ways, the African Fish Eagles choose to prey and when two or more eagles take a dive, it difficult to select any one; it’s a chanced opportunity.

To track it all the way from its perch high above the waters swooping down at breakneck speeds in a dive to eventually when it hits the water surface and emerges with the fish in its talon, is a challenge. For these high on action scenes, the A9 Full Frame Mirrorless Camera, with the SEL100400GM lens, ensured that the eagle stays in the blackout-free viewfinder at any given point of time.

To capture an erratic action sequence, the combination of double linear motors and a direct drive SSM actuator eases your process with quick response, high accuracy and tenacious tracking.

In fact, a versatile and sharp coverage across 100mm to 400mm range renders an extraordinary resolution with a fast and precise autofocus in capturing distant action such as in this shot. For a professional demand, it exceeds the expectations with outstanding quality and immediacy.

It ensured that the focus is consistently locked-on continuous 20fps burst shots of the dive until it flew away with its catch, even in low ambient light conditions. Combined with the Sony A9 camera body, these lens features worked perfectly to the core.

The A9 and the Super Telephoto lens combination ensured that I didn’t miss any frame ‒ right from the actual sequence of the eagle’s swoop, its expanded talons hitting the water, grabbing the fish by its belly, and taking off with streaks of water droplets spraying all over ‒ it’s all etched in my memory and stored in my cards.

Equipment used in story

ILCE-9

SEL100400GM

Diinesh Kumble's Gallery

The Pride of the Wild – A Masterpiece

With Sony A9 Full Frame Camera & SEL100400 G Master Lens

Story By Diinesh Kumble

The Pride of the Wild – A Masterpiece

About Diinesh Kumble

Diinesh Kumble is a nature and wildlife photographer, who also holds photography workshops at a premium film institute. He has documented three books about wildlife, in association with an African organization. Moreover, his impressive portfolio consists of thrilling stills from wildlife & nature. This self-taught photographer is certainly an inspiration to one and all.


12 wild life pictures in a year

Wildlife photography is one of the most exciting genres of photography. As wildlife brings you face to face with the creation of God and mesmerises you with breath talking moments. As the saying goes, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever" and nothing is more beautiful than an encounter with nature. It takes a lot of time to shoot good pictures and if you are able to shoot 12 good wildlife pictures in a year, call it a successful photography year. Sometimes, it takes days and months to wait for your subject as nature is something which is not under your control. It’s like hunting without killing. When you shoot the wildlife, it’s all about action. If you miss it, you miss it forever. Nothing in this world can bring that moment back.

 

The wait

In wildlife, the shyest animals on land are cats and to shoot them is a work of patience and luck. One wrong move and you never see the cat. I was shooting on Sony A9, I waited for a few hours pointing my camera toward the dense shrubs with my finger on click button and waiting for the cat to emerge from the dense cluster of greens. The lightweight camera design did not exhausting me and helped me to hold my position for longer.

 

My decisive moment

Equipment plays a very important role in wildlife photography; this genre knows no compromises. The Sony A9 is unarguably the best camera available to shoot action as it allows shooting 20fps in RAW format. I was shooting in the burst mode till this wild cat came under the shade of willow tree. With G-master SEL100400 F4, I was able to compose my frame as the changeable focal length allowed me to transit from a tighter to wider composition, depending on the ambience.

Becoming a photographer was not easy 10 years down the line as photography was linear and the digital revolution gave every one of us leeway to shoot. I had used many cameras before shifting to Sony and it was not an easy call. And now, I use Sony and my loyalty is earned forever. Without the right combination of lens and camera, being a wildlife photographer would have been a distant dream. I strongly recommend Sony A9 Full Frame Camera with G-Master SEL100400 lens.

 

The iconic shot

The treasure of nature is infinite. However, it is not always possible to capture it in a lens, from an intimate angle. Thankfully, the advancements in the area of technology can now help us achieve the ‘impossible’. A tiger is a fiery being, it certainly is a task to photograph this creature.

In this shot, I have used the focal length of 400mm with the shutter speed of 1/500 to make sure I freeze the shot with no blur. The Sony A9 allowed 800 ISO with an advantage for writing images to memory cards providing add-on buffer storage on the sensor. Even if I shoot 900 frames without break, the camera will not hang, so all I need to do is to focus on my subject. The G-Master SEL100400 Lens is engineered to shoot the best possible resolution. Shooting with a conventional lens may give you lot of colour cast in the picture, but my experience with the G-Master lens has been more than satisfactory. Sony A9 Camera with G-Master SEL100400 Lens helped me shoot warm and colour cast-free pictures. Thanks to the exclusive autofocus technology used in G-Master lens, that makes it easier to lock focus on the subject while shooting in the continuous autofocusing mode. The desire of getting closer to the subject is obvious while shooting cats. The G-Master lens offered me an edge-to-edge sharpness so that I could later crop and recompose the picture.

Besides, this phenomenal portrait easily explains the story!

 

Equipment used in story

ILCE-9

SEL100400GM

Diinesh Kumble's Gallery

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