Sitting on prominent perches, flitting across the road flashing it’s colours, and even tumbling across the sky, the Lilac Breasted Roller likes to be noticed. It really doesn’t need to try so hard with it’s stunning bright colours of turquoise, blue, pink, yellow, tan and green.
While bumping down the road in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, I noticed a roller perched at the end of a branch and it was just about to enjoy it’s lunch. A brightly coloured dragonfly with yellows and purples was being held in the roller’s beak.
As we slowed down to get alongside without startling the bird, the roller started toying with it’s prey, tossing the dragonfly into the air and catching it again.
The bird only did it a couple of times, so I was glad I caught the action before the beautiful dragonfly was crunched and swallowed.
I made this photo with my Canon 6D and the 400mm f/5.6 lens at ISO1000, 1/4000 of a second. I used a very high ISO because I needed a super-fast shutter speed to catch this precise moment.
Because of the brightness of the sky, I increased my exposure compensation to +1/3 to make sure there was enough light on the bird to retain all it’s detail. I don’t usually worry about blowing out the sky in this kind of situation. It’s more important to have a well exposed main subject. Still, I had just enough colour in the sky to bring some of it back in post-processing.