More known for his underwater photography, this Singapore-based marine fish hobbyist discovered avian photography purely by accident when his diving friend convinced him to visit Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and even lent him a set of telephoto lens to use during the trip. Even though he finds avian photography so much more challenging than underwater photography, that trip left him hooked.
Some of his favourite avian subjects to photograph are raptors, which he finds “fascinating” and owls as they’re “exceptionally alluring because they’re so difficult to find and shoot”. For his avian photography sessions, he uses Canon EF600mm f/4L IS II USM, Canon Extender EF 2xIII, Canon EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM.
He recommends the EOS-1D X Mark II for photographers who seek the very best in their equipment’s performance. He adds, “those into extreme situations will especially appreciate the improvements found in the EOS-1D X Mark II, as it is these differences that will determine whether you get the image or not”.
Some of the improvements he notes include a faster auto focus and reliable tracking, as the focusing tightly follows the subject and swiftly reacts to changes when shooting in difficult conditions. The EOS-1D X Mark II is also able to burst close to 14 frames per second at high speed during continuous shooting. He observes that even with a teleconverter added to the lens, hence bringing the maximum aperture to f/8, the EOS-1D X Mark II is still able to support all 61-point AF.
When it comes down to the EOS-1D X Mark II’s best function, there’s no hesitation. “The focusing speed! The rare few subjects that the EOS-1D X would have problem focusing on, the EOS-1D X Mark II is now able to nail them with ease,” he marvels.
Here are some tips on how to make your avian shots look great. William advises to blend in with the surroundings and not to stress your subjects. “Allow them to behave naturally and do what they do best. Always be ready to capture special moments when that happen,” he concludes.
EOS-1D X Mark II
William Tan has been fascinated with the creatures of the sea since childhood. While studying at the Johns Hopkins University, much of his spare time was spent gazing at the extensive marine collection of the nearby National Aquarium in Baltimore. Currently a violinist with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, William earned his scuba diving certification in 1994. Thereafter, without his prized antique Italian violin, he travels extensively between concert seasons throughout the Pacific region photographing marine life for scientific institutions, camera manufacturers, tourism organisations, dive magazines and resorts.