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Old Oct 17, 2009, 8:55 AM   #1
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Default The birds are back

Since Fall has arrived here on Cape Cod, I thought I'd clean up the bird feeder, buy some seed and have a crack at taking some bird photos again.

If anyone is interested in getting totally frustrated, but in the process, hone their skills at taking shots quickly, adjusting (quickly) their camera to ever changing light conditions, learning how to operate their dslr in manual mode and generally becoming a better photographer, shooting birds is certainly one way to go about it.

Now, I'm not saying I'm a good photographer, I just know, that my skill set has improved immensely at anticipating what's going to happen next, where the bird is likely to go, what they are likely to do, how to work the controls on my camera, etc.

Songbirds are especially interesting to me. Simply because they are very pretty and generally very social. AND, they remember where the feeders are. I haven't used the feeder since last June. Yet, I filled the feeder yesterday and this morning at gray light I had a full range of birds that showed up and had breakfast. A great way to wake up and have your first cup of coffee.

Anyways, a few picks from this morning. Bear in mind that it is raining, the skies are overcast, it's quite dark. Generally lousy conditions for shooting birds. Camera; E-30 with 50-200mm ED lens mounted on tripod. IS enabled. I have to say that I always have IS enabled-even when using the tripod. I'm convinced that it is better to leave the IS enabled despite what I've read.

Manual mode, F3.5, 1/100sec, ISO 1000 focal length 96mm







Bear in mind, I'm shooting through a storm window.








Last edited by zig-123; Oct 17, 2009 at 10:53 AM.
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Old Oct 17, 2009, 11:52 AM   #2
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WOW! Great shots Zig! The exposure is bang on! Beautiful color and very sharp!

- Hiro
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Old Oct 17, 2009, 1:26 PM   #3
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...hmmmmmmmmmmm! huuuurrrrrrrumph! uuuhhhh & what the heck, what I was about to say was, "If I ever make a bird picture as pretty as any of these OR the ones in your gallery at --- http://zig123.smugmug.com/Nature/bir...82381110_WZnQo --- I will do a cartwheel in my driveway yelling at the top of my voice, whooopDeeDo Oh Boy"

Zig, do you get the idea of what I think of your bird pics?

Simply wonderful Zig, I see bird photos of others in the Steve's Wildlife forum and tell you that you and your Olympus hardware are at the top of the list with the best of the bunch. You've got the procedure at your place locked in.
____
boBB

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Old Oct 17, 2009, 2:20 PM   #4
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Hi Guys,

Thanks very much for the kind comments.

And Bob, I do want to point out that men of our generation shouldn't be doing cartwheels

On a somewhat serious note, I will say that the AF performance of the E-3 & E-30 allow for a greater percentage of keepers when doing shots like this. With the E-510, I think I was getting about a 5% keeper rate of pictures taken. With the E-30, it goes up to 50% or so depending on the lighting conditions as well as the bird family. By that I mean finches, nuthatches, and Cardinals are more apt to stay a bit longer and eat their seed while perched on the feeder. Chickadees and Titmouse tend to hit and run. They are extremely fast and really test your abilities.

While the ED version of the 50-200mm is the one I currently use and am happy with it's performance and results, I'd really be curious to see what, if any improvements there might be using the SWD version as to how quickly it focuses in low light or for that matter, any light.

Zig
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Old Oct 17, 2009, 4:03 PM   #5
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Zig, you've got some quite sharp images there. Detail abounds, and background is milky smooth. Excellent work.
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Old Oct 17, 2009, 4:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zig-123 View Post
Hi Guys,


While the ED version of the 50-200mm is the one I currently use and am happy with it's performance and results, I'd really be curious to see what, if any improvements there might be using the SWD version as to how quickly it focuses in low light or for that matter, any light.

Zig
Hi Zig,

Add me to your fan list. I've let the bird thing slide for awhile now. I should dust off the EC-14 and see what luck I can muster and see how rusty my skills have gotten.

As to the focus speed thing, the SWD racks through the full range in about half the time, I'd guess. I really didn't notice the difference in small adjustments. Both versions seem quick on those minor adjustments. The SWD is quieter, and that doesn't hurt with the tweeties.

I'll admit the old version has not gotten used much since I got the SWD. The output is identical to my eye. Maybe a hair more vignetting around 75mm with the old one. Bokeh seems the same too, in spite of the rounded aperture blades of the new version.

Greg
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Old Oct 17, 2009, 4:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Chappell View Post
Zig, you've got some quite sharp images there. Detail abounds, and background is milky smooth. Excellent work.
Thanks Greg,
Neat Image helps the background not look so noisy esp. @ ISO 1000
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Old Oct 17, 2009, 5:04 PM   #8
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Hi Zig,

Add me to your fan list. I've let the bird thing slide for awhile now. I should dust off the EC-14 and see what luck I can muster and see how rusty my skills have gotten.

As to the focus speed thing, the SWD racks through the full range in about half the time, I'd guess. I really didn't notice the difference in small adjustments. Both versions seem quick on those minor adjustments. The SWD is quieter, and that doesn't hurt with the tweeties.

Greg
Hi Greg, ( from the North )

You're certainly right about skill sets getting rusty if you don't manage to
shoot these little critters often. I looked up the last time I'd shot songbirds this year and it turned out that it was back in June. I was really surprised this morning when the birds showed up and I felt like I was shooting them for the first time. It took me awhile to get acclimated to the pace at which the birds wer flying, trying to remember the best settings, as well as just firing the shutter release smoothly and quickly enough to keep pace.

Thanks for the input on the SWD 50-200mm. As much as I would like to have one, the quality and performance of the ED verson suits me well right now which makes it hard to justify the expense of ugrading.

Zig
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Old Oct 17, 2009, 5:05 PM   #9
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great sharpness and dof. nice set
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Old Oct 17, 2009, 7:21 PM   #10
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Wow! Zig-

Not only did you get a fairly wide variety of birds, but the photo series is great. Thanks for posting.

Have a great weekend.

Sarah Joyce
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