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Old Jan 14, 2008, 4:05 AM   #1
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I've been hearing alot buzz amongst the bird photographers here in Southern California that there is a very unusual visitor at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. It turns out that an African Taveta Golden Weaver has been seen and photographed recently. It is normally endemic to the border region of southern Kenya and NE Tanzania. How it got to Irvine, California is anybody's guess. Some speculate that it was someone's imported pet that had escaped, or perhaps it had escaped from a zoo.


I've gone out a couple of time to look for it, but no such luck. This afternoon, I had about 2 hours to shoot so I headed out there with my buddy, Danny. There wasn't much going on so we headed back to the parking lot. Before putting away our gear into my car, I decided to check one last spot. There is a bird cage in corner of the parking lot that the Public Health department uses to screen for avian flu. Usually there is a variety of finches and sparrows that come into that bird cage to feed upon the bird seed that is left out. Danny and I waited there for a little bit.


My friend Danny is not really into bird photography as I am. He's more of a studio and portrait photographer. However, he will sometimes join me when I go out shooting at San Joaquin. I told him that I was looking for this particular bird and to keep his eyes out for a small yellow bird. As we were standing by the bird cage, something flew right over his head and landed in the bushes right next to the cage.

Danny: Hey there's that yellow bird you're looking for!

I thought he was pulling my leg...

Danny: Ya I think it's him.

I walked over to where he was pointing and lo and behold, it was the African Taveta Golden Weaver! :shock::shock::shock::shock:


It was a very tough spot to shoot in. This whole side of the parking lot was in the shade and the African Weaver was deep in the shade of the bushes. All of these shots were done handheld (no image stabilization), focal length 400mm, f5.6, ISO 800, Ec = -1, shutter speeds = 1/125 to 1/250. Neat Image applied.

Thanks for looking and commenting.

- Hung
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Old Jan 14, 2008, 9:03 AM   #2
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Real nicepictures of a colourful birdLung.
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Old Jan 14, 2008, 10:14 AM   #3
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Now that is a colorful bird! Excellent captures Hung, considering the lighting you were dealing with. I'd think If itescaped from a zoo or a legitowner it'd have a band. May have been smuggeled in. Looks like it let you get close so it's not to fearful of people.

Looks very similar to our Western Tanager....


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Old Jan 14, 2008, 10:50 AM   #4
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Ya, Nice work Hung. It was definitely difficult to get a good shot of this bird, considering it was hidden behind the shelter and deep inside the brush. It's not easy to tell by the pictures, either.
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Old Jan 14, 2008, 11:59 AM   #5
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I think you did a great job with these and I'm happy for you to be able to score. What an absolutely lovely bird!Thanks for sharing. Now go out and buy lottery tickets! :lol:

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Old Jan 14, 2008, 2:22 PM   #6
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Awesome find and a great job on these Hung! It must have been a thrill to see something so rare. Excellent job!!....cheers...Don
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Old Jan 14, 2008, 2:26 PM   #7
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handheld at 400mm @ 1/125 with no IS? man, you're a lot steadier than i am! :Ogreat shots of a very colorful and unique bird...
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Old Jan 14, 2008, 8:46 PM   #8
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Handheld? Wom ... terrific details and stabilisation [I mean by your tripod-hands]. Hung, your shots usually have a deep tone and are not much distrubed by noises. Take #4 as an example. Can you tell:

a. the difference between the raw image with this one as a result of retouching [do you mind posting the raw one for comparison?];

b. what facilities you have used there, eg changing the brightness, contrast, gamma value andsharpening to come to this beautiful shot?

c. the steps you take to retouch the shot to its existing aesthetic level?

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Old Jan 14, 2008, 9:16 PM   #9
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congratulations, hung. super shots with great detail, especially in that second picture.

can't wait until i get a camera that will shoot high iso w/out noise. my camera has noise at 200. :sad:

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Old Jan 14, 2008, 9:34 PM   #10
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Pretty bird. great story. Great shots
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