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Old Apr 19, 2011, 10:56 PM   #1
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Default Bird and Buds

Spring is finally starting to arrive in the mountains (well, in my neighbors' yards). Saturday morning found me walking around my block, taking a couple of pictures to see if I had PhotoLinker set up correctly. I only took the DA*200 on the K5, it's one of my favorite lenses.

First some signs of spring - trees budding out:





And some have small flowers:



And I managed to get a shot of a Steller's Jay that is half-way good. They are birds that don't stay in any one place for long, though they aren't all that shy, just quick. They are common in the mountains and around here but you wouldn't know it considering how few pictures I've managed of one.

I hadn't realized that they have bands in the blue - often they look almost all black, they can be quite dark. This one decided to pose for me Saturday morning, long enough to snap 2 quick shots before he took off. While I wished that I had brought the DA*300, I wouldn't have had time to change lenses. But considering the focal length, I was quite happy with this one.

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Old Apr 20, 2011, 5:56 AM   #2
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Glad to see spring is finally arriving for you!
Very nice light on the buds, great texture in the catkins. And wonderful habitat photo of the jay - he really looks "at home" on that fence!
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Old Apr 20, 2011, 7:27 AM   #3
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Never seen that Jay before - cool looking bird.
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Old Apr 20, 2011, 8:22 AM   #4
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Also a first for me (the Jay), nice job on the buds,

Starting to see buds here in Mi. but the weather is not cooperating, cold, snow, rain, thunder, wind, must be spring. I am being a wimp and shooting out the windows.

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Old Apr 20, 2011, 11:41 AM   #5
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Nice close ups! Love the background in #1. #2 looks like a bunch of catterpillars! I recall seeing a Jay like that on a visit to Yosemite NP a few years back. Not common in my part of the country.
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Old Apr 20, 2011, 1:13 PM   #6
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Hi Harriet,

It's easy to see why the DA*200 is considered by many to be one of Pentax's best lenses -- all of their premium 200mms seem to be put into that category. I have the A* 200/2.8, and it's among my sharpest teles, and actually better than the much lauded Tamron SP 180/2.5 Adaptall2 that was cited as being almost "too sharp" (as if that's possible). Too bad I can't stretch it to about 600mm. . .I could get it to 476 with stacked TCs, but have never tried. . .hmmmm. . .

I personally like shooting tele (semi) macro if the subject is big enough like these buds and flowers. The extra distance allows good subject isolation but deeper DOF, so you usually get the whole subject in focus pretty easily. With a good lens, the bokeh is usually superb.

I think the Stellar's Jay is a very good capture. You got a good pose out of it before it took off.

Very Nice stuff!!!

Scott
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Old Apr 20, 2011, 1:55 PM   #7
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While some people dismiss the DA*200 as an odd lens, either too long or not long enough, not a zoom, not a portrait, not a macro. However, I find it very useful as an all-around tele and the quality of image is outstanding. I will often look for excuses to shoot with it, just because the bokeh is so wonderful and it's good for close-ups like this. For me it's not too long (the 300 can be sometimes), not too heavy (the 300 can be sometimes) and for walk-about it's close enough (though not macro). It's made me think fondly of your 180 macro, Scott - having even more distance than I have with the 105 macro would be nice sometimes.

P.S. Steller's Jays like conifer forests, and are very common throughout Yosemite and the Sierra Mountains. You never see them at lower elevations though - maybe they prefer to eat pine nuts? No idea, Penolta would be able to answer that better than I.
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