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Old Jun 14, 2004, 12:12 PM   #11
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O Henry, thanks for the input;actually, with #1 the bird was so close to the camera that I wanted to zoom right in on it. This photo was actually not cropped at all. I used the 50-500 and the sky has been very light grey for the past week. I thought as well that I'd try a fill flash but didn't really want to because I don't think that it's the most fun thing for the birds. I took 2 fill flash photographs, one at the waxwings and another at a small yellow warbler. The warbler blinked as if in pain almost so I shut the flash down (not that flash isn't a good technique, I have just chosen to put an extreme limit to the times I use it. I've traded in my 70-200 for a Sigma 120-300 2.8 in order to get more light when necessary as well as keep some distance. I know it's a bit costly but I really want to limit the flash thing with birds as I just can't imagine that it looks natural to them and I think I can get more from them if they feel comfortable around me as much as possible.

Thanks for the comments all.
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Old Jun 14, 2004, 12:16 PM   #12
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Stunning photos of a beautiful bird, Norm. Waxwings are so named because the red, drop shaped, waxlike tips of the secondary wing feathers reminded people of sealing wax. Apparently the resins of cedar and juniper berries create the waxy sheen. Next fall you might look in your favorite waxwing spot for Bohemian Waxwings, which I think is even more beautiful than the Cedar Waxwing. They often will flock together in fall and winter.


P.S.: I found a Cedar Waxwing nest last Saturday but the birds were so hurriedly working to build the nest they wouldn't stop long enough for a decent picture.
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Old Jun 14, 2004, 2:41 PM   #13
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I agree with everyone that the 1&4 are the winners here.

The first one does need a little more space in front of it face for a "proper" crop... but when I look at these guys I'm going for the feathers and their color. So Igenerally like it.

The forth you got a nice little bonus on because of the head tilt. It brough more light on to the side of the face and body that is facing the camera. That meant that you didn't need fill flash to remove the shadows that would have been there.

Hummer is right about Bohemian waxwings. They are also great birds. I've seen some really great pictures of them, but haven't actually seem then myself.

As to the better beamer, I do have one. $40 is probably over priced, but they are very useful. It sounds like you were close enough to not need it, but theyare very handy at times. It lengthens the flash reach A LOT, and requires less battery power to put the same amount of light on the subject (because less is lost to the sides and off the subject.) They fill in shadows under beaks and under bellies very well. I (and many others) often use them at -1 to -1 1/2 flash compensation because we don't want the flash to dominate, but just fill in slightly so detail will be clearly visible but the flash won't be obvious (you know there should be a shadow there, but that there is less of one isn't obvious.)


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