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mtngal Dec 6, 2007 11:28 PM

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Today was a very dreary, greyday- there was a storm starting to move in. I spent a good portion of lunch taking pictures of ivy using the flash and a piece of mylar for a diffuser (works much better than vellum, but that's another story). I had been mulling over whether I should start leaving the A*300 out of my every-day camera bag - it's one of my favorite lenses, but I don't often use it when I'm just wandering around at lunch (more likely to use the macro).

When I was right in front of my office building, I happened to notice a bird sitting on the back of a bench, not more than 15 feet or so from me. I stopped short, shocked,because it wasn't our normal crows (or ravens), then fumbled for my camera. As soon as I moved, the bird flew to a branch in a nearby tree (sycamore, I think) and I took a picture of it with the DA*50-135, the lens that was on the camera.

mtngal Dec 6, 2007 11:30 PM

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That tells you what I was trying to shoot through. I quickly changed to the A*300, but forgot to change the SR setting - it was set to 100mm, the focal length of the macro lens. I took a series of pictures and almost all of them had camera shake. But I did manage to geta couple that are clear enough to identify it.

mtngal Dec 6, 2007 11:33 PM

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If I read my bird guide correctly, it's a Cooper's Hawk, one that's very common in California. But it's just not what I expect to see in the middle of Los Angeles, outside an office building.

mtngal Dec 6, 2007 11:37 PM

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I was shooting jpg, so I went into the office and looked at the pictures on my office monitor - realized what I had done, so I changed the camera and went back out to shoot with SR set at 300mm. Unfortunately, I was pressed for time (lunch being over) and I didn't take enough care with the focus, so many had no camera shake but were focused before or behind the hawk. The third one and this one(last one)were the best of the group.

I was still pleased, since I had no thought of birding today (and I'm not much of a birder at the best of times). They aren't great, but not bad considering the situation and conditions.

ennacac Dec 7, 2007 5:31 AM

Very nice, I really like the last one. Birds seem to adapt to people and work around them being there giving you a chance to get some shots you wouldn't get in the wild.


Wingman Dec 7, 2007 8:06 AM

Close-ups are very nice..I like the overall color balance as well.


mtngal Dec 7, 2007 2:10 PM

Thanks, Tom and Jay. I was using cloudy for WB, and it seemed to do well, especially with the second set of pictures.

Tom - do hawks commonly adapt to urban life? I guess I just am not really good about spotting birds - I only seem to see pigeons, crows and sea gulls. Add in a very occasional hummingbird and maybe some other song bird singing unseen in a tree - one which I never seem to manage to spot. It was great to see the hawk for once (beats the mostly tame, fatsquirrels!).

snostorm Dec 7, 2007 4:36 PM

Hi Harriet,

Very nicely done! I rarely get opportunities to get close to any raptors, even though I see them often enough -- from a distance. . .

They have a sixth (or maybe seventh) sense about photographers around here -- They seem to be able to wait until just before you get a good focus, then they're gone!!! I have countless shots of empty telephone and power poles to prove it!

. . . At least they don't laugh at me like the Belted Kingfishers do, cackling as they fly to the next tree (that's just out of range).

With the Kiron Macro, the DA* 50-135, and the A*300, that sounds like a pretty heavy "every day" bag. You must be taking your vitamins. . .:-)


simowills Dec 7, 2007 8:16 PM

Hi mtngal
So is the 50-135 is you walk around lens ?


mtngal Dec 7, 2007 10:54 PM

Simon - yes, the DA*50-135 is my main walk-about lens since I'm a "detail" type of person. Others would probably prefer something wider and not as long.

Scott - My every day bag is the slingshot 200 and it has the DA*50-135, the A*300, the Viv 105mm macro and the kit lens in it all the time. At the moment it's also got the 540 flash in it, too, and that's why Ihad beenconsidering starting to leave the A300 home when I'm just going to work. However, spotting the Cooper's Hawk convinced me that I would really regret not having it, so I'll just put up with the extra weight while I play with the flash. The weight is way too much for a regular shoulder bag, but until I added the flash, I didn't think it was that big of a deal with the Slingshot. Before I got the Viv, I used to regularlycarry boththe K10 and K100with the 50-200, kit lens, A300 and the Phoenix 100mm macro - not too bad until I added the DA 50-135 into the mix. I'm just not quite willing to leave any of the heavy lenses out of the bag. It's probably a good thing I'm pretty fit.

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