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Wow - 1st red Kite

By BlackNinja

Manys for comments and votes on Yesterdays Ospreys .

Yesterday as I got home from School a Red Kite flew over our house . Was a bit short of of breath after running home to get my camera and he was flying a bit close to the sun, but got one or two shots - my 1st ones of a red kite - yesssss!!!!!

If you look closely it seems to have a baby bird in its talons , so he wont go hungry tonight.

Many Thanks Charlie

Tags: Red kite Wildlife and nature

Voters: CherryMartin, boony, janty66 and 105 more

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boony 11 978 3 United Kingdom
13 May 2008 3:34PM
like the way youve blown the sky on this

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janty66 11 3 England
13 May 2008 3:36PM
excellent capture. One keeps flying over my house but i haven't managed to capture it yet. Well done..
NEWMANP 10 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
13 May 2008 3:39PM
Good effort Ninja, i like the white background too.
ps, i see he has a tag on his wing.
dickiedriver 12 212 United Kingdom
13 May 2008 3:43PM
Brilliant shot Charlie nice detail on the Kite well done

rmr 11 1 Wales
13 May 2008 3:57PM
super capture well done
ringyneck 11 315 18 United Kingdom
13 May 2008 4:05PM
Brilliant detail.

13 May 2008 4:10PM
now this is worth running home for, well done Charlie
13 May 2008 4:14PM
Scaramanga Plus
10 56 6 United Kingdom
13 May 2008 4:59PM
Great capture.
13 May 2008 5:11PM
I did a search on red kite wing tag and looked at some other shots- it was white with letter D on it - white on left means it comes from east midlands ( rutland ) couldnt see right hand which gives year of hatching
stevieasp 11 7 England
13 May 2008 5:11PM
Well done Charlie,
anpix 10 88 United Kingdom
13 May 2008 5:55PM
Great photo you have got this spot on you have got the detail and colour which is really hard to get right in this situation
Bob_V 10 1 2 United States
13 May 2008 6:11PM
Superb action capture.
13 May 2008 6:27PM
Great shot
norton 14 6 United Kingdom
13 May 2008 7:04PM
Excellent capture Charlie.............

lonely_oryx 10 61 55 England
13 May 2008 7:08PM
Superb shot
pink Plus
14 5.3k 7 United Kingdom
13 May 2008 7:15PM
great shot-well done indeed
csurry 16 9.2k 92
13 May 2008 7:34PM
The important thing with this type of shot is to retain detail in the bird. The fact that the sky is white is just unfortunate and happens so often in the UK that we have to learn to live with it.

It certainly looks like you got the exposure well as there are no signs of adjustment in imaging software, so well done on that.

If you want to have a fun couple of hours photographing more red kites than you could wish for, check out Gigrin Farm . Well worth a visit if you are ever in that area.

13 May 2008 7:57PM
thanks Cheryl did go to +2 . Dad has promised to take me to Gigrin Farm in July
13 May 2008 8:03PM
Nice one Charlie, you handled the exposure well, while under pressure.
Paul Morgan 17 19.1k 6 England
13 May 2008 8:04PM
You have done really well here, first time of seen a tag on a wing like that. I took a few pics of kites on sunday and binned all mine Smile
bryanmw 11 England
13 May 2008 8:16PM
great shot they are hard shots to get right Bryan
Gezina 11 3 6 United Kingdom
13 May 2008 8:19PM
Gosh Charlie I'm seriously impressed, and to be able to identify the tagg - well done. Ina
whiteswan01 10 13 England
13 May 2008 8:24PM
great shot nice and sharp Dawn
13 May 2008 8:28PM
Excellent shot Charlie... well spotted and well worth the effort
Steve_S Plus
12 181 3 United Kingdom
13 May 2008 8:49PM
Great capture
ESP 11 26 England
13 May 2008 9:06PM
Wonderful capture , the colours are really good and details are clear need to join E2 so we can see it large Wink

IFIMAGE 10 143 Wales
13 May 2008 11:36PM
Great Shot! I think you should go out on your bike , play footie,
or do your homework, Because you are getting to good and making me look bad! LOL
Well Done!
Julian 13 76 3 United Kingdom
14 May 2008 4:09PM
I'm jealous
vparmar 13 7 United Kingdom
14 May 2008 4:32PM
superb capture - well timed shot

ginz04 14 281 20 United Kingdom
14 May 2008 5:59PM
an excellent picture - agree dont worry about blowing out sky the bird is the main focus and theres lots of detail there.

Herge88 11 40 4 England
14 May 2008 7:01PM
This is a great capture, so much so that the sky is incidental, nice one.

Best Matt
Valerie1 10 68 Northern Ireland
14 May 2008 7:20PM
Great shot.
audi_db 11 8 United Kingdom
14 May 2008 7:33PM
Great shot of a magnificent bird, well done. You will enjoy Gigrin.
dmhuynh72 10 44 3 United Kingdom
14 May 2008 7:41PM
great shot
dathersmith 11 559 12 United Kingdom
14 May 2008 7:54PM
An excellent shot Charlie, well captured.

piccy 12 8 Wales
14 May 2008 8:49PM
So well caught.
vandalp 10
14 May 2008 9:27PM
What a great portfolio, and at such a young age. Keep at it. Fantastic. Vanda
AlistairJ 12 6 England
14 May 2008 11:04PM
Excellent capture Charlie, not easy against a bright sky. You will love Gigrin.
anpix 10 88 United Kingdom
15 May 2008 4:24PM
Wow your on 60 votes well done
FeatherFriend 10 38 217 England
15 May 2008 5:45PM
A very impressive shot.
photophantom 10 108 3 Philippines
15 May 2008 9:38PM
ShedMan 12 3 2 South Africa
16 May 2008 8:40AM
Superb shot, you've managed to get a good amount of detail in the bird. As others have said, it's difficult not to burn out the sky in a shot like that because if you expose correctly for the sky all you get is a silhouette of the bird. I had similar problems getting shots of White Backed Vultures because of a bright white sky (yes, it's not sunny and cloudless every day here!), I wish they had turned out as well as this.

16 May 2008 5:31PM
Thankyou for all of your comments and votes on this shot . I was really pleased with it to and it was my 1st red kite photo. I will post more photos in a couple of weeks when Ive been back to rutland again.
csurry 16 9.2k 92
16 May 2008 8:16PM
Charlie, you'll definitely enjoy Gigrin.

If I can find it I'll post the guide I did to taking photos there, because the first visit is always a bit overwhelming.

Thanks for all your comments on my work - much appreciated.
16 May 2008 8:39PM
yes please cheryl - its quite a long way for us so want to make the most of it
pluckyfilly 11 351 33 United Kingdom
16 May 2008 8:53PM
awesome shot I know your going to enjoy Gigrin you must tell us about it on your return - I hope to go there myself one day - this year for me its the Farne Islands that will be exciting to
sneal 10 5 7 United Kingdom
16 May 2008 11:25PM
Well done Charlie.
I think it's all been said already; but I have to congratulate you on being bold enough to set the camera to +2 to capture the detail in the bird.
You're teaching this old dog a few tricks - keep up the good work and enjoy Gigrin.
16 May 2008 11:50PM
What a beautiful photo you sure do have an eye for a good picture ,(david bailey watch this space you have competition).keep up the good work charlie......kaz.
brownsilent 11 7 2 United Kingdom
16 May 2008 11:56PM
Excellent capture, your pf is amazing Charlie,
Go on, keep them streaming!
OAKEY 10 United Kingdom
17 May 2008 1:08PM
Stunning capture, Great detail its all very professional captured. Very very well done.Shaun
17 May 2008 4:38PM
Stunning, well captured.
Portknockie 13 48 Scotland
17 May 2008 5:12PM
Fantastic shot ..the detail is so good you can see the tag on the wing...

franfoto 10 2 32 England
18 May 2008 12:48AM
Just looked through your PF Charlie and it's getting very impressive
Keep it up
m3lem 12 England
18 May 2008 12:29PM
Fantastic - your port folio is very very impressive
Andrea x
csurry 16 9.2k 92
18 May 2008 6:01PM
Hi Charlie, not really the appropriate to place to put this amount of text, but we'll give it a go.

This is one of the drafts for the Gigrin article for Photography Monthly, not sure if it is the final one or not, but it won't be far off.

If you want it in print with pics, you need the December 2007 issue.

Gigrin and the Red Kite
Whilst every nature and wildlife photographer knows of places that are good for particular species at certain times of the year, none are guaranteed. In fact there are very few places that can guarantee an appearance by the local wildlife on a daily basis. One location that flouts this rule of wildlife photography is Gigrin Farm in Powys, Wales.

Gigrin has long been a favourite haunt for nature photography for the reason that no matter what the weather or in which month you choose to visit, at 2pm GMT or thereabouts you will see red kites. And not just one or two, but many more, and in winter especially, sometimes in excess of 200!

A short history of Gigrin and the red kite reveals that the kites have been feed there officially since 1992, though Eithel Powell, the previous farm owner had in fact been feeding the local kites for some time before that. The formalisation of the process into what we see today happened in support of the reintroduction programme that is continuing across the UK.

The red kite was once a common bird, but due to persecution numbers diminished such that only a handful were left in mid Wales before the reintroduction programme began in earnest in the late 1980s.

Photography at Gigrin
The first time you visit Gigrin it is easy to be overwhelmed by the action that unfolds in front of you. Understanding the kite behaviour can help to make capturing the action easier. The first time is often a confusing affair with a mass of kites circling and diving at random, or so it seems. However, if you observe more closely you will see that the sequence of daily events is predictable and knowing and understanding the patterns can make achieving better images easier.

About twenty minutes before feeding a small number of kites will begin gathering above the adjacent hillside. At 2pm GMT (3pm BST) the noise of a tractor moving from the farm buildings to the field will be heard above the calls from the crows, ravens and kites.

Chris, who now runs the feeding station, drives the tractor and it is the herald of the arrival of the food and the start of the main action.

It also signals your last chance to make sure that your equipment is properly adjusted for the task in hand. For me this involves a final check of the exposure by taking a reading from the grass and then a couple of test exposures of the field, sky and a combination of tree and sky. A quick confirmation of the shutter speed and an ISO adjustment if required and Iím ready. I prefer a shutter speed in the region of 1/800th as a minimum, faster is better for stopping the action, but slower makes for a more challenging afternoon. Now it is just a matter of waiting patiently for the kites to feed.

First the crows and ravens will flock onto the recently dispersed food and quite often nothing else seems to be happening. Indeed it can sometimes take up to thirty minutes before the first kite will make a swooping dive to pick up a piece of meat. Patience is a key commodity at Gigrin as will become apparent later.

The feeding is hierarchical. The older kites will arrive first and the younger ones must wait their turn. Knowing this explains the apparent pause after the initial frenzy of activity. During the lull many of the other visitors will leave, do not be tempted to leave with them as you will miss the best of the skirmishes between kites, crows, ravens and buzzards.

After the pause, which can be as long as thirty minutes, the younger kites will begin feeding. There may well be more pauses in the activity, but feeding will continue on and off long after the centre is closed to the public at 5pm.

Once you have observed the red kites for a while you will begin to be able to predict when a kite is preparing to dive for food, and whilst this will not guarantee that you get them as they swoop it does give you the opportunity to try.

Another signal that you will become aware of, is that often, above the sounds that can be generally heard will be what can only be described as an alarm call. The shrieking will pierce the air and if you can find where the noise is coming from you will be able to watch a kite or crow being mobbed for itsí food. This mobbing tends to happen more later in the afternoon and is a key reason for not leaving early. If you have been shooting on a long lens you may struggle to fit the action into frame, but it is worth persevering as it is one of the more spectacular sights if two kites go talon to talon over the meat.

New Hides
Shooting from the standard visitor hides is more than possible, and until recently was about the only option available. The main downside to the visitor hides has always been the restricted view and for longer lenses the restricted range of movement afforded by the balancing the camera and lens on a bean bag on the sill of the window. It is also sometimes hard to find enough elbowroom as visitors can be crowded in two deep on busy days. So the good news is that a centre that has always been good for photography, just got better.

The new purpose built photography hides have recently been erected. They both have open front aspects and enough floor space to accommodate tripods, something that was never possible in the normal hides. The floor is solidly built and was designed with videography in mind where vibrations can be translated onto the film sequence.

Entrance to the new hides is a little more expensive, but if you want to use a tripod is really the only option. It is worth remembering that each entrance fee contributes directly to feeding the kites and promoting the reintroduction of a beautiful bird of prey not only in Wales but also throughout the UK as some of the young are used to help spread the population.

Equipment Used:
Nikon D2X
300mm f/2.8 plus 1.4 or 1.7 convertor
Gitzo Tripod
Kirk BH-1
Wimberley Sidekick

Photography Tips:
Careful metering is required
Try and follow one kite at a time
Keep panning with the action past the point of pressing the shutter
Keep an eye on shutter speed to ensure that it does not drop too low
Try and keep the bird in the frame, easier than it sounds
Watch out for the crows and ravens in the background as they can look like large dust bunnies

Other Wildlife at Gigrin

Kite feeding 2pm GMT, 3pm BST
Entrance £3 for normal hides (£2.50 Concessions)
Lower Hide £10
Upper Hide £15

Unrestricted View
New Vantage Point
Tripod Use Possible

Additional Cost
Max Occupancy
Open to Elements
BERTRAM 10 United Kingdom
19 May 2008 5:10PM

Quote:What a great portfolio, and at such a young age. Keep at it. Fantastic. Vanda
i agree you are very good
JudeC 11 6 3 England
19 May 2008 5:17PM
Hi - excellent shot - well done - Jude.
User_Removed 10 78 1 United Kingdom
19 May 2008 5:42PM
absolutely first class work.. well done

fossilized 13 79 United Kingdom
19 May 2008 6:13PM
Lovely capture. Well done.
VNelson 13 3 United States
19 May 2008 7:46PM
You have a real talent. Great shot.
BeiK 12 7 Scotland
19 May 2008 9:05PM
Brilliant shot, great work Charlie ! You'll go far !
baxster 10 England
19 May 2008 10:01PM
great capture charlie,well done.
nickyv32 Plus
10 135 England
19 May 2008 10:32PM
Lovely shot, very well taken.

20 May 2008 1:13AM
Wow what a shot great detail and colour love it

jamil 12 4 Scotland
20 May 2008 8:23PM
This is just a wonderful shot.The red kite is my next mission.Love your portfolio.
20 May 2008 8:45PM
What a super score, time though to send us in some more of your images, well done, will watch out , when I return from hols.
Paul_cats Plus
12 61 22 Scotland
20 May 2008 8:54PM
A fine in flight capture.
csr 11 3 England
20 May 2008 9:50PM
Super capture well done
SKavanagh 10 312 5 England
21 May 2008 7:01AM
Excellent capture well done
21 May 2008 11:19AM

Quote:What a super score, time though to send us in some more of your images, well done, will watch out , when I return from hols.

I agree . Im going On holiday to and hope to post more when I get in a week or so . Thanks for your support and comments
chezza 10 United Kingdom
22 May 2008 6:18PM
WOW charlie i'm very impressed with your portfolio. Thanks for such a lovely welcome to the site and hopefully i'll be able to learn some great stuff off you, keep it up chuck. Chezza x
MrsS 11 4.5k 18 England
1 Jun 2008 12:23PM
Superb exposure, Charlie Smile

Fran x
gerrymac 10 10 1 United Kingdom
2 Jun 2008 6:08PM
Superb capture
9 Jun 2008 9:01PM
Found the red kites - fantastic
bebbf8 10 United Kingdom
12 Jun 2008 6:20PM
for only 13 all your pics are very good
reminds me of my youth i started about the same age

love the position in the frame and fine detail on this one


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