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Old Apr 29, 2007, 12:57 AM   #1
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...since I have posted any pics here on Steve's Digicams forum. Life has been keeping me quite busy. For those of you who are curious, click on the following link to get an update (with pics!:G):

http://royce10.livejournal.com/104894.html

Anyways, it was going to be a beautiful weekend and I finally had some free time to get out of the house and so I reserved a canon 400mm f5.6 lens from a local camera shop to rent for the weekend. However, the powers that be would play a very cruel trick on me. When I arrived at the local camera shop on friday to pick up my lens, the confused clerk told me that he didn't see any reservation under my name and that the lens was already rented out this weekend! @%$^%$&#%&

I was furious and dissappointed. I had been looking forward to trying this lens out for the past few months and finally when I had time, Murphy's law got me good. Alas, while driving home (instead of to the wildlife sanctury), I decided to call up my friend Tom, to see if I could borrow one of his lenses for the weekend. Unfortunately, the longest focal length lens that he had was a Canon 70-200 f4. With my experience using a sigma 70-300mm apo dg before, I knew that this was not going to be long enough to get any decent bird shots. However, I was desperate to get back outdoors and did not want to waste this opportunity. I took the lens and ran.

After getting my hands on the lens and running all of my errands, I only had about 1.5 hours left before I had to get back home. Time was short and as well as my telephoto lens. I quickly remembered an bike trail along the San Diego Creek that had a good population of birds this time of year. I sped over there to try my luck.

(The following photographs were shot on a Canon 20D with a Canon 70-200mm f4 USM lens. Post processing with Adobe Photoshop CS2. Exif data intact.)



There was a road overpass and under the ledges were swarms of cliff swallows. They would zip back and forth catching bugs in midair as well as coming down to the riverbed to collect mud for their nests. As some of you have experienced, they are incredibly difficult to photograph in mid flight. They are tiny and have a very erratic flight pattern; banking; swooping; diving; and generally trying their best to stay out of my darn viewfinder! Out of the 200 plus shots attempted, these were the only 2 that I thought were acceptable.



Here is a pair working on their nest.


Also this time of year, Red-winged Blackbird males are singing and struttin' their stuff. I tried to photograph them as they flitted and chased each other amongst the marsh reeds.



Those red feathered shoulder pads are so colorful.


I caught this mallard zooming down the creekbed with afterburners blazing.



Here's a black phoebe on the look out for bugs. I wish it had angled its head so that I could get that nice catchlight in it's eye.



Crows are ubiquitous birds. All I need to do is walk out my front door and usually there are 1 or 2 hanging out in the street. Since they are so common, I usually don't pay them much attention, nor do I bother trying to photograph them. I saw this fellah swooping through the shade of some nearby trees after snatching up a morsel. I fired off a burst of shots and continued on my hike. Upon reviewing the photos back at home, I rather like the capture of it's wings and the glossy black shine of it's feathers.




This was the first time I had used the Canon 70-200 f4 lens. I still think it is too short for birding photography, but I found it to be quite sharp wide open and to have lightning quick autofocus. Tomorrow, I am going to try to sneak out of the house for a few hours in the morning to have another go. Hopefully I will be able to bring home some more keepers to share with you all. I am going to end this post with a simple white flower that I came upon on todays short hike. Until next time my friends, keep those shutters clicking!


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Old Apr 29, 2007, 1:05 AM   #2
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Hung,

Nice to see you taking bird photos once again, even if it is with a Canon. Nice job on the blackbird and crow feathers.

Tom
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Old Apr 29, 2007, 1:17 AM   #3
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Hey Tom! Wow you are fast. I just sent you a PM. LOL. Yes it is good to be back. :G

ennacac wrote:
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Hung,

Nice to see you taking bird photos once again, even if it is with a Canon. Nice job on the blackbird and crow feathers.

Tom
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Old Apr 29, 2007, 8:31 AM   #4
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ditto what tom said. excellent work on the black feathers. we miss you over in the PF but am really glad to see you posting even with a canon.

roy
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Old Apr 29, 2007, 8:56 AM   #5
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Looks to me like you had a good outing. I have to choose the crow as my favorite. You done did goood again.

TOTALLY WACKY roger
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Old Apr 29, 2007, 9:52 PM   #6
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Nice series of shots. Good that you had a chance to get out.
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Old May 1, 2007, 1:55 PM   #7
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Hung,

I'm pretty impressed with your tracking skills with the swallows (been there, tried that and failed:? ).Great shots. Love the RWBB pose with wings outstretched. Seems to me you did very well with that lens. Thanks for sharing. Dan


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