Bird Feather Iridescence

While taking a walk through the surroundings of my home on February 20, 2010, I took the most of the nice weather by taking some last winter photographs. At 10:09:27 CET, a small covey of about 15 siskins (Carduelis spinus) flew off an alder in front of me and passed me to the right. Seen from my position, they directly passed in front of the sun. I took some photographs with my Sony DSLR-A 700 and a Minolta lens 4/300 mm. The exposure time was 1/8000 second at an aperture of 32 and ISO 200.

Further settings of the camera were: Programme, serial photographs, automatic white balancing, and integral measurement stressed on the centre of the picture. In the original photograph, the sun is almost at the centre of the photograph. The precedent image of the series was exposed for about 1/4000 second at an aperture of 16.

That picture is brighter (a small part of the sun can be seen at the right rim of the photograph!) and the iridescence in the feathers looks rather faint.

Author: Rene Winter, Eschenbergen, Germany

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Posted on May 27, 2011, in miscellaneous phenomena, observations and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Noli said…

    Amazing picture!!!!

  2. Timo K. said…

    Interesting phenomenon… I have seen similar photos in Finnish nature photography forums. Colorful tones pastel were visible.

    Is it caused by some very fine structures (not visible without magnification) in the feather that produces this effect when light shines through feather ?

    I tried to search Google, but most of the hits described the reflected light from bird feathers (mostly hummingbirds)

  3. aripiprazole said…

    wow you got amazing photoghraphs

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