On the day I shot the exposed posts the tide was out and we walked further out on the beach at Westward Ho! than I have ever done before, far down to where the Taw/Torridge make their way out to sea between exposed sandbanks. I have to say that you get the impression down there that the tide might well come in about as fast as you can walk.
River estuaries are always a good bet for birds so I had taken the 75-300mm ii with me for the walk. In a massive open space like this you have little or no chance of creeping up on shy birds like Oystercatchers. As soon as I got within a hundred yards of these two, even though they were separated from me by a channel of water, they were off. This, then, was pretty much a snatched shot (the E-M1 was Single AF mode rather than Continuous AF, though I note from the forums that many people who specialise in BIF prefer Single AF + Manual to Continuous).
Nevertheless, the camera managed to focus on the first bird and I got the shot. This was handheld with the 75-300mm at 300mm (a full frame equivalent of 600mm) so it is not a bad result at all. The 75-300mm image quality drops sharply after 220mm so it is not perfect, but I’m happy with the shot, which works fairly well due to the combination of horizontal lines and horizontal movement.
Westward Ho!, Bideford, Devon, UK
Camera: Olympus E-M1
Lens: Olympus M 75-300 mm f/4.8-6.7 II
Focal Length: 300mm
Shutter Speed: 1/800s
Not a bad lucky capture for a BIF shot but it needed some work to sharpen things up as there was a combination of slight lens softness and motion blur. In this type of situation you really don't want to be sharpening or correcting the background so everything was done to the masked birds only. A combination of Focus Magic Out of Focus and Uwe Steinuller's Optimal Sharp script was used to combat the lens softness and then the lefthand bird had 4 pixels of motion blur corrected (the camera had focused on the righthand bird). After that the beach was cleaned up a little before a black and white conversion was done in Alien Skin Exposure using an Agfa Scala 200 slide film preset. The colour in the bird's beaks and eyes was then painted back in and the whole layer opacity lowered to 72% to give the desaturated look that I wanted.