Young Swallows Feeding, Part 3

Photo galleries

Here are more photos of swallows, taken on June 7, 2014. The two galleries, one of photos taken from the stairs inside and the other from the opposite direction outside, are in natural sequence, but many photos were omitted. I concentrated on the adults as they arrived and approached the nest, fed one or more young ones, and then departed. Arrivals often are quite dramatic. The adults glide into the car port at high speed, and then they often spread their wings and go from horizontal to vertical as they get close to the nest. I was lucky enough to catch some of those scenes today. Departures are amazing! They often jump backward off the nest, roll out either depart or make a quick U-turn back to the nest. In one photo a swallow seems to be flying upside down. Its head is oriented normally. That’s agility!

Camera position inside on the stairs,

Camera position inside on the stairs,

The second set of photos was taken from outside. As adult swallows entered and departed, they flew over the camera. I stayed off to the right just outside the car port, which does not have solid walls, and triggered the shutter with a remote control.

Camera is facing into the car port.

Camera is facing into the car port.

I did not keep photos of young swallows testing their wings. They back out of the nest, hang on, lean back, and beat their wings furiously. I enjoy watching them, but I could not do justice to their energy with still photographs. If I have a chance, I’ll make a short video tomorrow or Monday.

Technical notes

All of the photos were shot at ISO 3200, 1/1000 or 1/1250 second with the aperture at f4. (WordPress reports 1/501 second, which is incorrect.) I used two small LED lights. The smaller light was aimed along the wall to the left of the camera in the first group of photos. The other LED light, a little larger, faced the nest from a little less than 2 meters away and was placed lower in order to cast light on the shallows. We can see shadows of the adults on the ceiling. When I was shooting, I noticed the shadows, but I decided to keep the lights as they were.

Post-processing was done with Digikam 3.5 on Fedora Linux version 20 running on a Lenovo ThinkPad T510. All of the images were converted from RAW to JPEG in one batch. I added a little sharpening and resized the images, but otherwise they are untouched. Digikam handled white balance and color correction very well as it converted from RAW to JPEG. (I use Fedora 20 because it can new recent versions of most software. My other computers, except an aging MacBook, run CentOS-6. Unlike Fedora, it is stable and extremely reliable, but it runs older versions of application software. Also, students in my media classes use CentOS workstations. They edit images with Showfoto.

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