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Behind The Shot: A Big Bat With A Little Name

Nature photographer and photo guide Frazer Leal (@frazerlealphotography) spends endless hours in the field, and on his photo adventures he’s come across many different animals. We came across this image he shot of a little red flying fox (which oddly enough is actually a very large bat) and wanted to learn more about how he was able to photograph it. See how he was able to document the interesting species in flight with his Sony Alpha 1 and Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master II as he explains his story behind the shot below. Learn more about the gear Leal uses for his nature photography in his What’s In My Bag article.


Photo by Frazer Leal. Sony Alpha 1. Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master II. 1/4000-sec., f/8, ISO 100

See how this image of a little red flying fox, titled “Bat Reign” by the photographer, was captured with a Sony Alpha 1 & Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master II.

The Scene

Flying Foxes are an indigenous keystone species in Australia's ecosystems. They play a crucial part in pollinating native flora and dispersing seeds at night when most Australian flora needs to be pollinated. Where I live, they travel up to 40km to K'gari (Fraser Island) to feed at night.

In the mid-morning light, the featured image “Bat Reign,” a little red flying fox (which is actually a big bat) was captured in Hervey Bay. I targeted a specific angle, aiming to get light through the wings, photographing the Flying Fox gliding directly over the sun with heavy clouds. I visualized this result at home before departure. It was fantastic to be able to achieve it.

The Gear

I used the Sony Alpha 1 and Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master II to capture this image. The speed and accuracy of the Sony Alpha 1 paired with the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master II allows me to react fast using the internal zoom to capture the flying fox gliding over the sun. I now use this combination as my go-to combo for close action subjects, including birds and butterflies.

The Shot

It was a stormy day with some sunlight shining through the clouds. I targeted a local park where the bats ‘hang out’ during the day. They hang upside down in the trees. I knew I could get close to the bats but the question was, how close? This is where the diversity of the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master II lens comes in. Keeping it simple, I shot handheld at f/8 in Aperture Priority + auto ISO | Tracking was set to Wide using 10fps. This allowed me to capture a sequence of images and pick out the best composition.

The Edit

I love to process high contrast images as the Sony Alpha 1 sensor captures a vast dynamic range of information. I post-processed In Adobe Lightroom Classic using the basic panel, for global processing of highlights-shadows-contrast-vibrance and the masking tool to add texture into the Little Red Flying Fox wings and veins. I also underexposed the image by two stops to capture the dark and moody result that I visualized. I was glad for the Sony Alpha 1 for its speed, 50.1MP of information, allowing me to crop and achieve my creative goal.

See more of Frazer Leal’s work on Instagram @frazerlealphotography.


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