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Old Dec 25, 2004, 12:01 PM   #1
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Here is part 2 of the Christmas Waxwings photos.












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Old Dec 25, 2004, 12:08 PM   #2
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I liked #1 the best with its crossed wings.
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Old Dec 25, 2004, 12:34 PM   #3
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These are Bohemian Waxwings, Norm. They are the larger version of waxwings, the smaller being the Cedar Waxwings which I believe you photographed when the seasons were warmer. The Bohemians range further north and winter further north too.

I've always thought that Waxwings were a great showcase for the holiday season being that they are so beautifully plumaged. All of them are very good but the first one is my favorite because it showcases the colorations more than the other.
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Old Dec 26, 2004, 7:21 AM   #4
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great looking birds, they almost have a look of unreality to them, like they are hand painted models:-)
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Old Dec 26, 2004, 8:32 AM   #5
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Nicely done. We don't get waxwings here in the winter... I miss them already. Lovely birds. Truly one of my favorite subjects.

I really like that first one. Very unusual angle, which gives it those crossed wings for a nice visual.

Eric
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Old Dec 26, 2004, 9:58 AM   #6
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Norm, I'm hoping that you are getting some of these bird series pictures printed. They would *really* look fantastic printed as 8X10's and mounted as a wall collage. Don't know what you have available where you are but these belong as a traveling show in a gallery, nature store ... coffee shop ?
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Old Dec 26, 2004, 6:11 PM   #7
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Norm I have a number of shots of your work on this forum and you blow me away. The weather was nice yesterday so I went out to try my hand at some bird shots. This isn't easy. If I could get close enough [ rarely] the subject was on the shadow side of the tree and I got a black shot. Your shots are so well set up and clear it is amazing.

Can you give any tips? What lenses do you use? How do you prepare for the shot.? Do you set an area up with feed for the birds? Do you work out of a blind? What shutter speeds?

Hope I'm not asking for family secrets, but you are now my hero. Great work.


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Old Dec 26, 2004, 8:59 PM   #8
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Appreciate the comments and suggestions Oregon, I'm not much of a publisher, too busy snapping shutters :-)

Thanks Golfer, I certainly appreciate the words of support and don't mind your questions at all. I have no problem sharing what I've learned as this is exactly one of the ways I myself have learned from others on this forum and via trial and error.

What lenses do I use? This depends on the task. I have not yet focused on wider area shots because my leaning latelyhas been in the area of3 to 25 feet (approximately) and full frame on the subject. However, I'm beginning to gravitate to surrounding background lately, possibly because of the nice snowfalls I have experienced that are just as nice as the subject itself as far as I'm concerned (I won't mention the cold).I use Canon primes: 300/4 non-IS, 200/1.8, and 135/2all with and without extenders (Canon 1.4x and 2x as well as the Kenko Pro 300 which I am impressed with, is cheap, and can be stacked on either of the Canons for experimental fun). To get distance and for full frame shots I will use the extenders. However, if at all possible I will get closer and not use an extender as I believe even the 1.4 will degrade the shot slightly. For extreme close-ups I will use the 135/2 which is the best lens I've ever used, sharp and contrasty and it works wonderfully both with extension tubes and Kenko extenders. If I wish to get closer with the other 2 lenses I will use my Kenko extension tube stack which includes 12, 20 and 36 mm rings. This stack is worth it's weight in gold to me. I now have a 300/2.8 but have not yet had enough time to experiment with it. If it works out nicely I will still keep the 300/4 as it is dynamic and light.

The Mark II camera is vital to me for capturing action as it's burst rate and speed of processing is second to none.

How do I prepare for the shot? I won't mention the obvious such as gear, charged batteries, enough flashcards, etc., but I will mention how I prepare for an actual shot: I ensure that all settings are exactly as needed, ISO, shutter, aperture, white balance, I do test shots on areas that are similar in light and contentto where I think the birds may go (both dark and light areas) and I set things so that the only button I need to concern myself with is the shutter wheel. I am always as quiet and still as possible and never move any more than is necessary, even camera movements like turning my body to another direction, always slow so any bird watching will not be startled. I try to do this even when I don't see birds around, but not quite as much as when they are visible. I don't use blinds...yet. I rarely use a tripod as it restricts my spontaneous moves which I believe are important to catch the action. My images are probably softer than they could be because of this but I get more to choose from and I will try to shoot a burst of 3 or 4, chimp and choose the most crisp, and then delete the others. This takes some time but one gets used to it. Within that burst there will usually be one crisp one. I do use a monopod with the heavier lenses, but it's an extremely lightand cheap Velbonand I can lift and turn the camera like the mono isn't even attached (if necessary). I've also been known to stick the end of the mono into my belt rather than on to the ground so that walking about isn't a problem.

Feeding - I have never fed the birds but am planning to put up a few feeders because it's a necessity in Canada during the winter if one wishes to see birds. As well, it's almost an advantage in the sense that the birds have less places to find food so the feeder will be a busy place, or much busier than a summer feeder in any event.

Speeds - I don't shoot anything under a shutter of 400 and the sky is the limit, the more the merrier unless I want some blur for emotive reasons. Another advantage of the Mark II (and D20) is the ability to shoot at higher ISO without too much grain. However, I don't like to shoot at a higher ISO than 800 even with the Mark II. And I much prefer a less than 200 shoot.

Aperture - You didn't ask about aperture but I feel that it is extremely important. In order to get theentire small bird in focus I find that a 5 to 5.6 is necessary but I also like the effect of a partial focus on the bird with a more open aperture. I was playing with a 1.8 to 2 for awhile and it was fun, but some are annoyed if the entire bird isn't focused and it certainly is the more traditional method. I'm probably going to be shooting with a more stopped down aperture more often when focusing on scenery around the birds as well as the bird itself.

Hopefully some of the above information will be of interest to you. I've tried to answer some of your questions as best as I can in a short time. Cheers, and thanks for having a look at the photos. ThisNortherner appreciates it.



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Old Dec 26, 2004, 10:59 PM   #9
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Normcar,

Really like that first one. Really shows off the colors.

Great description of your techniques. I really like reading your instructional posts, seems I am always able to pick up something of value.

Appreciate you taking the time to write all that out.
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Old Dec 27, 2004, 12:05 AM   #10
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Quote:
Appreciate you taking the time to write all that out.
It's a bit of a mystery to me why anyone would want to hear me spout off about something I'm just learning myself so I'll take advantage of any invitation I get to pretend to know something. :-)
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