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Old May 26, 2004, 10:31 PM   #1
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I went out specifically to work with the 50-500 Sigma today. I wanted to play with it and a fill flash to try to get some detail on those Black Terns I had tried to capture the other day. The flash definitely helped but the contrast between dark subject and light background was extremely difficult, especially on an overcast day when you don't even have blue sky to work with. Iplaced a Sigma 500 flash on a tiny tripod, slaved to a small starblitz on board the camera. I set the Sigma about 15 feet from a post and positioned my lens on heavy duty manfrotto tripod with ball head,and attached aremote shutter, then waited. It gave me too much lightt at first and washed out everything. I even got the blackbird looking "greyish" from over exposure (see photo below).

Of course none of the Terns landed on the proper post once I had set up everything. Every other post right on down the line was occupied but not the one the slave flash was pointed at. Then one kind bird landed on a post closer to myself so I decided to just use the little onboard starblitz to see if I could push the backlight back far enough to get some eyes and things on this Tern. It was then that I found myself in the middle of a ritual feeding and mating thing (from what I can guess). In any event, the Sigma slave burst away the light on the opposite empty and birdless postwhile my little starblitz focused on thearea of interest, one postto the west.

I offer some of the photos below. I was happy that the starblitz could at least capture eyes on a few, even though the background was washed out. I upped the shutter to get the movement ones so that pushed back the light a touch and darkened the eyeballs again...oh well.

In any event, this one majestic Tern on the post, who had it's mate rushing off to the pond to get another worm, over and over and over again, then bringing it back to place it in her mouth, was nothing less than spectacular. Apparently women's liberation isn't a factor in the world of Terns because the females already have the males under solid wrap.

The female (I'm assuming it is) that earned my respect today



The mate bringing back the nutrients



Mama enjoying the morsel



Beginning of the ritual



Things really getting wild



Other things...a Yellowhead battled with another bird just above the correct post but my shutter speed wasn't set properly. However, I thought the result was interesting. There's another bird behind the Yellowhead and it's tail feathers can be seen.




Here's the example of the overexposure mentioned above on the blackbird. Way too much light, but the details can be seen.




Two more "better back light" shots from today, just to keep things non-radical and offer some non-drowned color:

Black Tern




Wilson's Phalarope






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Old May 26, 2004, 10:46 PM   #2
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ok...i'm guessing you got your rebel back?

these are very nice! the details on the first one and the blackbird are magnificent!

may i ask where the sun was during all this? it seems like it must've been in front of you....because of the bright BGs....but i'm not sure.....

gj norm!
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Old May 26, 2004, 11:17 PM   #3
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Vito, the sun was behind the clouds and all of the photos were overexposed primarily to get the details on the Black Tern. I was looking to get some eyes and to get them I had to overexpose. The last two posts are a bit more back to reality with respect to exposure
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Old May 27, 2004, 5:20 AM   #4
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Norm

Excellent composition on the last one!
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Old May 27, 2004, 8:45 AM   #5
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well....over exposed for the background! not the subject! the subject is perfectly exposed! if it's that bright out you can't NOT over expose..at least ifyou want any detail!

nice last shot! i didn't see that one yesterday! did you throw it in today? it's great!
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Old May 27, 2004, 8:44 PM   #6
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Normcar, photos #2 and #5 knocked my socks off! Tremendous!
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Old May 27, 2004, 9:38 PM   #7
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Thanks all, for the comments. NHL, your comments mean a great deal, thanks; and Vito, I appreciate your comment on exposure as I spent a great deal of time playing with different settings, so it's nice to hear your words.

And thanks Barb, those two are my favorites as well, not so much because of the technical but because of the emotive. I was extremely into thenatural actions of these wonderful birds at the momentand felt so blessed that they allowed mesuch a closeand intimate glimpse oftheir untarnished world, and that they allowed me to view their depth, if even for a brief instant. Iwas blown away. Thanks for enjoying those photos as well.
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