Three seconds game!

Lessons from the field on how to capture the image of the elusive Indian blue robin hunting for prey, as experienced by Pratik Humnabadkar, during one of his hiking trips in the Tamhini forest of Pune.

Indian blue robin is a small bird which breeds in forests of North-East India and migrates to forests of South India in winters. I was on a photography tour, hiking on a trail in Tamhini forest of Pune city during the end of winters. During the onset of summer, all the water dries up in the region along the streams leaving behind small waterholes. These waterholes are enough for birds to quench their thirst and for their daily needs. Because of the scarcity of water, honey bees, butterflies and other insects also come to these waterholes. During my hike, I noticed an Indian blue robin calling, having a bath and searching for food until it saw a cockroach jumping along the rocks. The robin quickly got perched along one of the branches without any movement keeping a close eye on the cockroach. The cockroach made a couple of jumps successfully but its third jump remained incomplete. The robin caught the prey in mid-air itself and happily went on the branch again carrying the prey.

A challenge in photography to me was the time period of the entire action. The robin flew down to catch the cockroach and went back on the branch in just 3 seconds! So I had just one second to adjust my handheld camera and two seconds to shoot the frame correctly! In the low light forest, I managed to shoot four frames in two seconds with my SLR camera. So in these 3 seconds, I had to make sure I was correct with my camera settings, had a correct judgment of activity, had to right the alignment with the subject, ensured that the focus was made correctly and finally, have frames as expected. All in the blink of an eye!


Below are the EXIF details used while capturing the photo.

Equipment: Canon 7D mark 2, 100-400 IS 2

ISO: 800

Shutter: 1/160

Mode: Aperture priority

F-stop: F/6.3

Focal length: 400mm


Read also: On the Banks of Kali

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About the Author /

I am a passionate wildlife photographer from Pune, India and am into the wildlife photography for more than five years. I started my career in wildlife photography with a point and shoot camera before upgrading to SLR camera. I have done Masters in Computer application as my educational background. I always like clicking birds and animals in nature and showcase this collection to people from India and rest of the world and let everyone know what beauties exist in nature. I always like to convey the readers through my photography how I see nature from my point of view. Once I was standing near my house observing a spider hanging on a web. Suddenly a bird came flying from nowhere and ate the spider while hovering. So the thought came to my mind that there are so many natural activities happening around us but we never tend to look at them. And that is where my interest in wildlife photography started and a strong fascination for nature and wildlife. I am currently acting as a contributor to my wildlife materials onto the national and international platform. As of now much of my wildlife collection has been published in renowned magazines, newspapers, competitions and online websites.


  • Shivangi

    September 23, 2018


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