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Old Feb 17, 2013, 1:45 PM   #1
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Default Birds of Prey - E3 + 35-100F2

I couldn't resist heading over to a BoP exhibit over the other side of town at the London Wetland centre as there was only 2 days left to go. I thought it was going to be held outdoors but the venue for the birds was kept inside and there was plenty of ppl out to see them.

I've been wanting to take pics of my favorite birds for a long time with the beastie and the EX but never got the chance until today. 3 Falcons, a Kestrel, a Barn Owl and a Common Buzzard. Amazing birds all of them.

All pics shot wide open or pretty close it F2-2.8, ISO100-400 RAW and PP'd in LR.

1. Birds of Prey ...



2. Buzzard



3. Kestrel - surprised at how small he/she was as I always thought they were a wee bit bigger.



4. Gyrfalcon - largest of the falcons. Now this is one might impressive raptor!



5. You gotta love those big eyes... Thought these were always bigger about the size of the falcon but that wasn't the case. Very docile and quiet happy to let ppl get close.





6. The Falconer ..



Hit rate was about 50% .. so a good thing I was double/triple checking the shots to see if they were actually in focus or not.

A couple of shots of the Owl taken with a lot of back light at ISo200 had a lot of noise and I've not seen that before.

The F2 for the first time had a wee bit of CA on a couple of the shots of the buzzard which surprised me a bit.

If any ones interested in seeing what 100% crops look like detail wise then let me know.

Need to think about getting a TC14 or Tc20 for these kind of events, so I'm going to have to take the plunge on that soon. Been thinking about the 150F2 but until Oly makes a clear decision on FT I'm not going to buy another ZD lens so the TC's will have to do.

Last edited by HarjTT; Feb 17, 2013 at 2:49 PM.
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 3:23 PM   #2
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Nice shots Harj. I think birds of prey are impressive subjects. I always feel lucky when I manage a shot of one. It must have been fun seeing so many of them at once.

Am I right in guessing that it was not ideal for photography? It looks like the shooting conditions were challenging, with a darker room against a large wall of windows making for strong backlight. That is always a challenge. Well done to get such nice shots.
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 5:48 PM   #3
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Hi Steve

The last time I got close to one of these was about 8 years ago and that was an Indian owl of sorts, a majestic bird which was allowed to fly around the sanctuary where it was kept at certain times of the day. So I wasn;t going to miss today's last but one show. The problem with the old country is that events like these are the only times we ever get to see these magnificent creatures as the gentry/farmers etc just went and wiped them out of over the centuries. The only place you can see them in their natural habitat is in Scotland ( I Should make a trip) and even though their protected their still being killed (at least 4 Golden eagles killed in Scotland last year) :

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...tland-19698139
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...tland-19886345
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...lands-18614791
https://raptorpersecutionscotland.wo...ot-a-cover-up/

The Peregrins didn't have their hoods removed at any stage, which was good for the birds as they were totally calm but not for me or the other spectators. I'm glad that they weren't behind a glass enclosure but instead out in the open, close and within touching distance. The feathers on the barn owl around teh face are just amazing.. I didnt know that they were so delicate.

Layout of the room wasn't too bad with left and right sides open to the public and a lower and upper viewing deck. The lower viewing infront of the birds was always packed out so I made do with the birds either side. I was surprised with the lighting conditions as it looked good and thought I could stick to ISO200 at least. The back light was really strong, and as I wanted to try and get the best IQ from the files and without flash - the exposure at ISo100/200 was F2 - F2.5 @ 1/250. I tried a couple of F4 shots but it was easily 1 to 1.5 stops underexposed. The problem with the beastie is that it can't focus close enough and if it could it would be an even better lens. Considering how little CA was on some of the pics, I'm more than happy.

If we ever see an E-7, they really need to fix the AF .... it needs to be spot on and much better than anything they have done before. Accurate AF .. whether its fast/slow/S-AF or C-AF and I can only imagine what a pro birder would be able to do with the HG/SHGs.

Last edited by HarjTT; Feb 17, 2013 at 6:28 PM.
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Old Feb 19, 2013, 12:01 PM   #4
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The feathers on the barn owl around teh face are just amazing.. I didnt know that they were so delicate.
What's interesting though, is that birds' small (body) feathers are not particularly delicate. You can scratch their heads just like a dog or cat and the feathers don't break. (You don't want to do this unless you're sure the bird won't bite. If they're used to it, they love getting scratched.) The flight feathers are, of course, a different matter.

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If we ever see an E-7, they really need to fix the AF .... it needs to be spot on and much better than anything they have done before. Accurate AF .. whether its fast/slow/S-AF or C-AF and I can only imagine what a pro birder would be able to do with the HG/SHGs.
Agreed!!! I've been OK because I'm mostly doing landscapes, or events where I can pre-focus. But I'm not interested in another expensive Oly camera that can't autofocus better.

Ted
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Old Feb 19, 2013, 6:59 PM   #5
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Hi Ted

I wasn;t aware how hard the feathers could get on these birds and the falconer mentioned that the Peregrines feathers were pretty hard indeed to be able to deal with the speed that the birds can reach.

Can any one help me work out why there's so much noise in this shot (100% crop) ? As far as I could tell there seemed to be enough light falling on the wee owl so as not to need to use flash or crank up the ISO, infact I'd overexposed the shot so was thinking there would be even less noise...

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Old Feb 24, 2013, 11:59 AM   #6
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Love your shots Harj, can't help you with the noise problem but I like the way you caught those birds

Are you interested in any of this next weekend..???
http://www.ephotozine.com/newsletter...itor-guide_309
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 1:50 PM   #7
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Are you interested in any of this next weekend..???
http://www.ephotozine.com/newsletter/focus-on-imaging-2013-exhibitor-guide_309
I have been to Birmingham. The old city center was interesting because of the canals. Where the angle of the horse towing the barges meant that the tow ropes ran across the stone railings in the same spot each time, the ropes had cut very deep grooves in the stone. Pretty impressive indication of the commerce the canals had carried.

Most folks didn't notice that. Aren't you impressed?
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 4:43 PM   #8
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I am!!! I used to live near the Leeds Liverpool canal where it started into Liverpool dockland from the country. Did a lot of my early swimming there as well. Barges could move an incredible amount of commerce when compared to horses and carts. They still had the occasional horse drawn barges that we'd had to dodge as well as the old one lung diesel's.
Popular walking or biking trails these days. Even when I was a kid I marvelled how the canals would meander through the countryside always having the correct, minimal, amount of fall from lock to lock area.

I had some photos of mine from where I was born of an old humped back bridge, but I had to find this from stock with a now disused railway bridge, two modes of obsolete transport......Sorry Harj.
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 6:01 PM   #9
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Thanks for that view. I did also go to Avebury and Stonehenge. Was there another city in England I should have visited?
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Old Feb 25, 2013, 12:09 AM   #10
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Thanks for that view. I did also go to Avebury and Stonehenge. Was there another city in England I should have visited?
You mean like York or Canterbury. I'm not sue where you've been, you're a well travelled man Ted.

I'm posting a thread in your honour.
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