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Old May 13, 2007, 4:01 AM   #1
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The light was nice this afternoon, so I headed down to Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. The last few times that I visited this area (during late winter), there was a lull in the birding action. Today, it appears that alot of the migrating shore birds were back...and hungry. Flocks of Forster's Terns swept back and forth over the inland ponds looking for small fish. They were amazing to watch and quite a challenge to photograph. They were constantly dive bombing into the water and coming up with a small fish in their beaks.

All shots taken with the Canon 20d and Canon 400mm f5.6. Post processing with Photoshop CS2 and Neat Image. Exif data intact.

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To be continued...

Thanks for looking
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Old May 13, 2007, 8:50 AM   #2
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Great shots Hung! You're wielding that long lens around with authority. Nicely done...Don
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Old May 13, 2007, 9:59 AM   #3
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Nice job! I like the last one best. That lens is sweet for BIF isn't it?
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Old May 13, 2007, 10:16 AM   #4
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A very nice action series. IMHO #4 is just the tops of the bunch. You done did gooood again.

TOTALLY WACKY roger
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Old May 13, 2007, 4:04 PM   #5
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Great shots. Your second one, however is not a Forster's but an Elegant Tern - both breed at Bolsa Chica, along with Caspians, Leastsand a few Royals, which makes it one of the best spots in the country for photographing terns in breeding plumage.I once shot a whole roll of Ektachtomes on Elegants there, only to discover when the slides came back that one was a Royal (much scarcer there at that time). It happens - you are concentrating more on getting the pictures than the identifications.
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Old May 13, 2007, 11:13 PM   #6
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Thanks all. Yes the canon 400mm f5.6 is highly regarded amongst birding enthusiasts. It's got good reach and a very fast autofocus capability. I rented this lens for the weekend and this was my first time out with it. I had a tough time tracking these BIF and keeping them centered in my viewfinder. Even for stationary targets, I found it tough holding the lens still for the shots. This is an old lens and does not have any image stabilization built in. I relied upon a fast shutter speed and luckily there was plenty of good light.

Thanks for the clarificaiton on the tern ID. Now that I look at them closely I notice the difference in their tails.

- Hung
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Old May 14, 2007, 10:27 AM   #7
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I have used that lens almost exclusively for over a year and sure wished it was F.4 but does a great job under right conditions. What I really like is how easy it is to move around due to light weight.
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Old May 14, 2007, 12:43 PM   #8
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It is quite a lens. Since this was my first time out with it, it did take getting use to. Even though it is considered "light" for it's focal range, it was much more heavy than what I was previously use to for my birding photography (sigma 70-300 apo dg). The next day I took it out again and am getting better with it. I am very impressed with the image quality. Super sharp, very nice contrast and beautiful colors. The bokeh that I have seen in my images have been a little odd. I'm not sure if thats from the UV filter. I've tried out a few different lens for my birding photography and this is currently at the top of my list.

- Hung



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I have used that lens almost exclusively for over a year and sure wished it was F.4 but does a great job under right conditions. What I really like is how easy it is to move around due to light weight.
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Old May 14, 2007, 1:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Thanks for the clarificaiton on the tern ID. Now that I look at them closely I notice the difference in their tails.
Also the longer slender all red bill, and long narrow wings. Southern California is the only place in the US whereElegant Ternsnest, so many people do not have much experience with them. They tend to fish offshore, while the Forster's fish in the bay, so you only get the Elegants passing through to and from their nests. The only exception is that when the tide pours through the tide gates and the water is in turmoil, some Elegants will take the opportunity to nail disoriented fish. I think I recognize the fencepost your tern is sitting on (I have a similar picture), so watch that spot for them when the tide comes in.


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