I think this is the last of the shorebird photos – the birds have now move on. This will give me the chance to get caught up on the Ask Ron questions.
All the shorebird close ups I have posted recently have been captured with a 600 and 2x converter. I usually have used a wide open aperture in aperture priority mode. I have the exposure compensation to 0, and add flash in ETTL mode with the flash set at -1 stop. I may adjust a bit from there after checking the histogram on the back of the camera, but for the most part, those settings worked well.
There are two tools I find very valuable for photographing shorebirds. I really like the look you get by being at the birds level, even though it means laying in the mud and water. Not only do I like the look, but I find the birds feel unthreatened and will often approach very close if I’m lying down and holding still. The tool that makes this easier for shooting down low is the skimmer. I mount my tripod head and camera to this and then will find a spot to lay and wait.
The other tool that I find valuable is the Better Beamer Flash Extender. This thing basically adds two to three stops of light power to your flash. This can greatly increase the range of your flash. In the photos I have posted recently, the birds were will within the range of my flash, but I used the extender as it still reduced the amount of flash output needed. This has a couple of benefits, it allows my rechargeable batteries last longer, and helps flash recharge quicker.