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Thorsten Milse

Aug27

Hyacinth macaws in Cerrado, Brazil

By Thorsten Milse, Tuesday August 27, 2013
Hyacinth macaws in the Cerrado region of Brazil.

Hyacinth macaws in the Cerrado region of Brazil. © Thorsten Milse

On my last trip to Brazil, in the Cerrado region, I had a real opportunity to test the flexibility of the new Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM EXTENDER 1.4x lens. The flight movements of Hyacinth macaws are very different and I needed the EOS-1D X's faster autofocus and a very flexible focal length to capture them successfully.

To get more options for my work, one of the local guides built me a tower seven metres high from which to shoot from. Despite the wobbly construction, I had a good overview and could get the macaws in focus from a very early stage.

My shooting preference on the EOS-1D X was AI Servo, using all 61 points, plus Zone AF and Case 6. Here was also an ideal occasion to show the strength of the telephoto zoom. Constantly, I had to correct the focal length to respond quickly to individual birds. Thanks to the built-in 1.4x Extender I had a huge advantage. Because the lens is very handy and equipped with the new Image Stabilizer, it was no problem to get blur-free shots.

Despite the best possible technology, several weeks were required to get the desired images of these Hyacinth macaws.

My tower in the Cerrado landscape.

My tower in the Cerrado landscape. © Mariana Valqui