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Old Jun 1, 2012, 6:24 PM   #1
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Default Pileated Woodpeckers

We were very fortunate to find this Woodpecker hole with two little ones in it.


Pileated woodpecker babs by Mugmar, on Flickr

Then one of the adults flew in for a feeding. We returned to the nest later in the day and for a couple of days afterwards and it seems this was their last feeding before leaving the nest. . . we never saw them again.


Pileated Woodpecker feeding by Mugmar, on Flickr
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Old Jun 2, 2012, 8:49 AM   #2
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Great capture!
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Old Jun 2, 2012, 10:44 PM   #3
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A rare opportunity - lucky you!
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Old Jun 3, 2012, 11:24 AM   #4
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Number 1 is a great capture.
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Old Jun 3, 2012, 12:55 PM   #5
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Pileated Woodpeckers are very cool looking and their young are just adorable too in shot 1!

If you don't mind a little constructive criticism, both shots were at f8 1/125 and 400mm according to the EXIF, a higher shutter speed would have given a sharper image.

Following the SLR rule of twice the focal length setting the camera in shutter priority and choosing 1/800 would be the recommendation, I however have found with image stabilization or good support you can still be safe at 1/640 or 1/500 in a pinch if light is not there. This was a tip I found improved my long focal length shots significantly. This will obviously drive the aperture wider open, assuming your lens can do better than f8.0 at 400mm, but maybe not, in which case ISO will go up. But that's okay cause modern cameras like yours can handle higher ISO. Overall trading the additional noise for a sharper shot is something I can live with especially with post processing options able to handle some of the noise.
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Old Jun 3, 2012, 6:27 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for looking and your comments.

Ramcewan. . .The conditions I faced when taking the shot were extremely challenging. It was an overcast day, hence the blown sky, and there was a slight fog/mist in the air. I was using a tripod so shutter speed was not that much of an issue (the birds stayed still for quite a while at a time) and F8 was the aperture I needed to keep the DOF full for the angle I was shooting. (over 45 degrees up). So between the the misty weather, cropping, and downsizing for web the shot does come up a little soft.

They may not be the sharpest, best shots in the world, but they do capture a rare moment that I (or others) may never have the opportunity to see again.
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Last edited by Mugmar; Jun 3, 2012 at 8:12 PM.
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Old Jun 4, 2012, 8:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mugmar View Post
Thanks everyone for looking and your comments.

Ramcewan. . .The conditions I faced when taking the shot were extremely challenging. It was an overcast day, hence the blown sky, and there was a slight fog/mist in the air. I was using a tripod so shutter speed was not that much of an issue (the birds stayed still for quite a while at a time) and F8 was the aperture I needed to keep the DOF full for the angle I was shooting. (over 45 degrees up). So between the the misty weather, cropping, and downsizing for web the shot does come up a little soft.

They may not be the sharpest, best shots in the world, but they do capture a rare moment that I (or others) may never have the opportunity to see again.
agreed, a rare and wonderful moment you captured.

Sounds like my advice was misplaced, carry on.
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Old Jun 4, 2012, 12:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
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They may not be the sharpest, best shots in the world, but they do capture a rare moment that I (or others) may never have the opportunity to see again.
Yes they do, and very well, too. Wildlife photographers know that they have to take advantage of events as they happen - you can't always plan ahead. If events repeat, you can be ready for them, but "shoot first and ask questions later" is the best rule to follow.
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Old Jun 4, 2012, 1:28 PM   #9
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Looks like you did a good job under less than ideal conditions. Very unusual, I don't recall seeing photos of baby pileated woodpeckers before.
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Old Jun 4, 2012, 3:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
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you can't always plan ahead. If events repeat, you can be ready for them, but "shoot first and ask questions later" is the best rule to follow.
Very well said. I'm gonna have to remember the "shoot first and ask questions later" statement. I never thought of it in regards to photography although I live by it all the time when doing wildlife.
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