Common Terns at Deeping Lakes

26 Jun 2017

In June 2017 we visited Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust Deeping Lakes SSSI which is wonderful for wildlife throughout the year. 

In the winter the flooded gravel pits are a haven for diving ducks while in the summer it is filled with the sounds of breeding Common Terns and many other birds. On the day of our visit there were also huge numbers of butterflies and dragonflies. Indeed, during the morning we didn't manage to get out of the car park before we had to leave for an important appointment ... OK, we had promised ourselves lunch at a nearby hostelry, but we did return for the rest of the afternoon to watch the Terns!


All photos taken with Panasonic G80 Micro Four Thirds (MFT) Compact System Camera and Panasonic Leica 100-400mm lens.


The Common Terns provided a great opportunity to utilise Panasonic's remarkable "4K Photo" modes. These allow short snippets of 4K video to be shot (25 frames per second) with the ability to extract individual frames (either in camera or in post processing) as 8MP JPG images. The advantage of 4K over HD video is that each frame is actually a still image and takes due regard of shutter speed, aperture and ISO allowing sharp, well-exposed images to be captured. By its nature, HD video would enforce a much slower shutter speed and hence each frame from an action sequence is likely to be blurred and would only produce a 2MP JPG image. 


Having just a JPG (rather than RAW) image is potentially a drawback but in practice has not been an issue as Lightroom still allows a degree of enhancement of JPG images.


A further function within the camera (Teleconverter) allows just the central 8MP of the 16MP sensor to be used (and displayed in full on either the LCD screen or electronic viewfinder) which effectively doubles the focal length of the lens used and, given that Micro Four Thirds already provides this crop factor, the 400mm of the Leica lens becomes 1600mm which proves rather useful at times!

Nearly all the Common Tern images were taken using "4K Photo" as were some of the butterflies. The Teleconverter function was used for the more distant and smaller subjects.


The more recent Panasonic GH5 (and soon to be available G9) have "6K Photo" allowing 16MP JPG images to be extracted from sequences shot at 50 frames per second and my early tests of this have shown it to be excellent.




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