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Old Apr 14, 2007, 1:11 PM   #1
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Hi All,

After over three inches of snow, sleet and rain earlier this week, got some sun and high 40s, so I went out to the Crab Tree Nature Center to do some shooting. It's a large wooded area with significant wetlands, and one place where I've been able to regularly find quite a few different species in a relatively small area.

I decided to take both the DS with the FA*300/4.5+ PF 1.7x AFA and the K10 with the Tamron SP 300/2.8 with stacked Tamron 1.4x and PF 1.7x AFA. I also brought a tripod, as I planned to set up the K10/Tamron on the pod and handhold the DS/FA*. As it turned out, I ended up handholding both, only using the tripod as a convenient camera stand (I'll bring a lighter 'pod next time).

Here are some results, all handheld, all shot at ISO 400:

Field Sparrow: DS, 510mm, f8, 1/1000




White-throated Sparrow: K10, 714mm, 1/250, f6.3



A different look at a goldfinch: K10, 714mm, 1/800, f6.3 -- Yeah I cut off the head a little -- framing with a 6 lb lens isn't that easy!:shock:



Red-bellied Woodpecker -- on a tree: DS, 510mm, 1/800, f8



Same guy on the feeder: DS, 1/500, f8



Somewhere I remember reading that it's good to catch birds blinking -- I don't know about this, I like seeing their eyes better

Same guy blinking: same settings as above



Here's a guy I haven't been able to ID Any help here ??

DS, 510mm, 1/320, f8



A White-breasted Nuthatch on a branch instead of the usual tree trunk
DS, 510mm, 1/1000, f8




Not a great pic, but my first of the Killdeer: K10, 714mm, 1/250, f9





. . .And IMO the best capture of the day, but by far not the best pic technically

Cooper's Hawk (I'm pretty sure):K10, 714mm, 1/250, f6.3




Thanks for looking . . .

Scott

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Old Apr 14, 2007, 1:58 PM   #2
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scott,
are you using any kind of bracing??
i haven't had much luck at 420mm. and a 6 pound lens. sheesh.

roy
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Old Apr 14, 2007, 5:10 PM   #3
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Great shots. Really shows the value of that Pentax glass, and why it costs so damn much!


Darren
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Old Apr 14, 2007, 5:17 PM   #4
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robar wrote:
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scott,
are you using any kind of bracing??
i haven't had much luck at 420mm. and a 6 pound lens. sheesh.

roy

Monopod or bracing are usu not viable when you are out in the field.
What Rogers has may do the job



Scott,
You did good with all of them particularly the 6 th pict - it is cute.

Daniel, Toronto
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Old Apr 14, 2007, 8:02 PM   #5
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Awesome as usual, Scott. The woodpecker is beautiful and I can't believe you are able to get these shots with that long of a focal length handheld. All of them are incredible, even if some aren'tas technically perfect as some of the others; and all of them are much better than anything I've managed yet.
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Old Apr 14, 2007, 10:19 PM   #6
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What wonderful avian shots, beautiful colours and unbelievable sharpness.
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Old Apr 14, 2007, 10:56 PM   #7
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robar wrote:
Quote:
scott,
are you using any kind of bracing??
i haven't had much luck at 420mm. and a 6 pound lens. sheesh.

roy
Hi Roy,

No bracing for these, I even had one of my tripods there, it's a pretty good setup (Uni-loc 1700 and a Manfrotto 468MGRC2) and I was ready to use it, but it was just too slow. It turned out to be pretty handy as a chest-high camera stand for the body with the Tamron, but that's all I ended up using it for. The only thing that might make one useable for me would be to get a gimbal, and the only one that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, plus require that I switch to Arca-Swiss QRs is the Manfrotto (which would mean spending even more money), and it weighs @ 3 lbs IIRC. If I got one, I'd feel obliged to use it, which would mean that I'd have to lug another 8 lbs around with me all the time. So far, this argument has served to rationalize my reliance on hand-holding, but I'll prolly break down and get one sometime. :-)

Truth be told, other than stance and the way I support the camera (pretty much the same as a standing target rifle hold with my left elbow tucked in and resting against my stomach), I don't really use great technique. I do use a high enough ISO (usually 400 to 1600, even in bright sunlight -- if you expose spot on, the noise isn't too much to worry about) to keep the shutter speeds up at least faster than @ 1/125. That's where I have some confidence that I'll get some keepers if I do my part. I try to acquire the subject, focus, and shoot as fast as possible to give me as many shots as I can manage before my arms and shoulders give out. I used to shoot a lot of bursts, but have found that the first shot of a burst is usually the sharpest, so I try as much as possible to shoot singles though my cameras are always set for burst, so if I need it for a sequence, it's there.

I switched lenses today, using the FA*combo on the K10 and the Tamron on the DS -- surprisingly, I like it this way better, despite the K10's SR. . . who woulda thunk it??

Scott
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Old Apr 14, 2007, 11:32 PM   #8
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Hi Darren, Daniel, Harriet, and Rodney,

Thanks for taking a look, and the nice comments.

Daniel -- I actually find that carrying a monopod -- I use an REI Hiker walking stick with a Manfrotto tilt monopod head is an advantage, if for nothing else, to keep the camera up and pointed at the subject. This is particularly true of herons and egrets who are almost stationary for long periods of time. I've just discovered that a light tripod can act as a chest-high camera stand, allowing me to grab the camera quickly instead of having to lift it all the way from my side. Of course, you need a reasonable QR system to get the camera on and off the pod quickly.

With my luck, and living around Chicago, the camera stock idea would prolly land me in Gitmo for an undetermined length stay, and my cameras would be disassembled to find the high-tech laser weapon that I've obviously hidden inside them :-)

Darren -- The Tamron SP 300 f2.8 LD IF isn't too shabby either!

Harriet -- you're obviously getting the hang of that A*300 from the results I've seen here on the forum! The biggest secret that I've discovered is to get as close as possible -- this cuts down the angle of deflection from camera shake significantly. All these shots are within 15-20 feet. I found that a great variety of birds frequent the nature center's feeders, and I just stand quietly and they get used to me being around, then approach closer to make sure I'm not a threat. At that point, I got 'em! I could prolly do better if I was wearing camo and camo'd my equpment, but then I'd feel silly, so I haven't gone there. . .yet.

Rodney -- . . . but our lowly Midwest American birds and animals have a hard time competing with those great "down-under" creatures of your country/continent. I can only try do my best to show them in their best light.

Scott
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