Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Rarely Shown Bird Photos

-->Some friends have been rather unhappy with me for not posting photos of my birds. Well, here are six of them. These are some of my best bird photos that have never before been shown. I am finally posting these to pacify those friends who seem to have missed seeing my birds.

Please click on the image to see all six in a slideshow.


The first image is that of a Scarlet Finch. Actually I had been chasing a pair of Gold-napped Finch - for two hours - without any success. Then, all of a sudden, this stunning bird appeared on the scene and captivated me. For the next one hour or so, I chased it around the forest. It moves fast but once it perches on its feed, it didn’t seem to care that I had a bazooka trained at it, allowing me to shoot at a leisurely pace. I must have shot over 300 frames - this bird is so beautiful, you want to keep shooting even when you know that you got the best shot you are ever likely to get.

The second bird is called Crested Bunting, a cute little bird mostly confined to warmer places. Many a times I tried to photograph it in Wangdue area but the cheeky fellow always managed to give me the slip. But I finally nailed it in Lemithang, Mongar. It likes to strike quite a pose and sings a nice song too.

The bird below took me by surprise. It is so small - only 10CM - and it was fleeting around with a bunch of Warblers. I have had enough with Warblers - they are such great teasers and I am so angry with them. I will not shoot them unless there are no birds left to shoot. But the little fellow below somehow caught my eyes because of its straightforward black and white markings. And, it did not behave like a Warbler - so I decided to take a closer look. Lo and behold, it was a Little Pied Flycatcher. I had never seen it before, let alone photograph it. This was a real find.

One time I was parked by the roadside in Yongkala in the hope of seeing one of my most favorite birds - the Sultan Tit. The yellow-turbaned black Wazir never showed up. However, in its place, I landed myself another of my life birds - the sly looking Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher shown below.

There are two birds that I particularly loath photographing - the Verditer Flycatcher and the White-throated Kingfisher. I have never been able to reproduce their colors accurately - it always comes out yucky - I think it is their shade of green. However, I finally managed to get it right in my following photo of the White-throated Kingfisher. As you can see, I managed to get the details quite well and the sharpness is darn good too. And, I dare say, the exposure is near perfect too!

And finally, Bhutan’s MUST SEE bird: the Satyr Tragopan. Some believe that this bird is Bhutan’s most beautiful bird. But photographing it is not easy - particularly in Sengore where you can see these birds. The area is always wet and, even worst, it is foggy most of the time. This makes it extremely difficult for photography. I must have exposed a few thousand frames shooting this bird but I have barely 4-5 images of the bird that are, what I consider, keepers.


  1. Beautiful!! Both the birds, and the photography.

    Growing up in the jungles of Chimakothi we were lucky to see beautiful wild birds.. like the long tailed magpie, the asian flycatcher, bird of paradise etc.. especially the long tailed ones. Unfortunately at that time we took those sights too much for granted, given our age. Now I miss those sights..

    Thanks for sharing..

  2. Hi Anuj,

    Thanks for the comment.

    As some one who is interested in photography, you must know how much hard work it takes to photograph the restless birds in a way that presets their beauty from the best angle – an angle that presents to the viewers all the major features of the bird. The forests where the birds dwell are cluttered with trees and branches and leaves and vines. When I photograph my birds, one thing I try to do is ensure that the birds are captured without any objects in the front or side or back – obstructing a clear view of the birds.

    Somebody one day told me that it seems like the birds love posing for me. He is clueless as to how much hard work goes into acquiring an image that is sharp, clear and detailed. But getting a great bird image is truly satisfying. All the hours and days and weeks of toiling in the forests and roadsides is worth it – when I am able to nail a bird exactly in the pose I want it to be in.

  3. Thanx for sharing these wonderful pictures. Truly, the birds do appear to be posing for you and quite smugly too! I love the fluffy lil ball of a bird (Pied Flycatcher). Anon.

  4. Acho Yeshey,
    I am working on moving towards photography. I have a budget of USD 1200-1600, which camera body and specification of lens would you recommend me to buy. I will be using the camera mostly to take pictures of birds, animals and flowers.

  5. Dear Sangay,

    In recommending the camera gear, I am keeping two things in mind:

    Your budget: US$ 1,200.00 – 1,600.00
    Use that you will be putting the gear to – to shoot birds and animals and flowers.

    Your budget of US$ 1,200.00 to US$ 1,600.00 is pretty substantial, if your interests were those of the regular shooters. However, the moment you step into wildlife photography, the budget requirement goes up – primarily because shooting birds and animals require super telephotos that are super expensive. As a result, your budget is not enough – not by far. So what I am going to do is suggest a system that will be geared towards macro photography - flowers, butterflies and insects – to start with. But the important thing is that your camera body choice should be for one that will also be suitable for wildlife photography – when you upgrade to that category of photography in due course.

    So, first and foremost – choice of camera body. As I said, the body should be suitable for both macro and wildlife photography. Therefore, I suggest:

    BODY: Canon EOS 60D Digital SLR body (US$ 900.00)

    I chose the above body because it is a APS-C format camera – meaning it has a crop factor of 1.5x. This crop factor is specifically designed to take you closer to the subject – in other words, your lens’ focal length will be multiplied. It will take too long for me to explain to you – so read:

    Next, as I said, your present budget just about allows you to build a system suited for marco photography. So this means that next on the list is a macro lens. I use it myself and so I suggest:

    Sigma 70mm F2.8 EX DG Macro (US$ 500.00)

    Because of the camera body’s crop factor of 1.5x, this 70mm lens will actually behave like a 105mm – thereby taking you closer to the subject.

    I would have loved to suggest a general-purpose lens … but in its place, I think it is more critical to buy back-up accessories since you will be shooting in the wild where there is no power supply. Therefore, with the remaining money, I suggest as follows:

    Extra Battery:
    Canon LP-E6 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery – 2 Nos. @ $60.00 each

    Memory Card:
    SanDisk – 8GB SDHC Memory Card – 3 Nos. @ $ 15.00 each

    Oben AC-2320L 3-Section Aluminum Lateral Tripod with BA-2 Ball Head Kit from B&H – $ 213.00

    Camera Bag:
    Canon Deluxe Backpack 200 EG – US$ 40.00

    The total works out to US$ 1,758.00 - Add to that shipping and duty.

    I know that the total is slightly over your allocated budget – but as you can see, that is the bare minimum you need.

    Does this help?


  6. Acho Yeshey,
    Thank you so much for you reply. I will definitely work on it and hopefully I will have budget in future to buy tele-lens to shoot wildlife.
    Thank you for your help again,

  7. Hi Aue Yeshey,

    Amazing and interesting capture as usual.

    Hey, know anyone willing to part with a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L? I'm thinking of possibly getting myself a quality lens in the all purpose focal range. Price, most certainly will be the deciding factor (^__^)!

    Best regards,

  8. These pictures are wonderful - and reading your explanations & comments make them especially interesting.
    Thanks for sharing! sa

  9. Hi Lakey,

    Thanks for the comment.

    Re the lens, I am sorry I do not know of anyone wanting to sell that lens. However, I do know a person who has a lens that is even better than that which you mention. Let me find out if he wants to sell it.

    Hi Anon,

    Thanks for your comment.

  10. Lakey,

    The lens I am talking about is:

    Canon Zoom Wide Angle-Telephoto EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Autofocus Lens. Will that interest you?

  11. Umm....with additional wider aperture of f/2.8, I guess it's going to be outta my reach!

    I was thinking the 24-105 would be a versatile one in terms of the range and of course the quality (being an L series one)!

    Anyways, what kinda price range am I looking at, Aue Yeshey? :)

    Thanks and regards,

  12. Hi sa,

    Nice meeting you yesterday. OK .. I finally see your comment and thanks for it :)