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Old Dec 29, 2004, 10:55 PM   #1
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This posting is a bit of a passerine smorgasbord. In between periods of drizzle this afternoon I trekked out into my backyard (all of 20-30 feet) and managed to get these pictures.

Scrub Jay from about 8 feet- 20D, 1/125 @ f/5.6, ISO 400, 300/4L IS + 1.4x TC, Av mode, -1/3 EC, cropped a little, curves, USM:


Dark-eyed Junco from about 5 feet through a jumble of branches - 20D, 1/250 @ f/5.6, 300/4L IS + 1.4x TC, ISO 1600, Av mode, cropped, neatimage, curves, USM:


Black-capped Chickadee in the same shrub as the junco - 20D, 1/1000 @ f/5.6, ISO 1600, 300/4L IS + 1.4x TC, Av mode, cropped, neatimage, curves, USM:


Finally, another shot at the same chickadee as above but on a different branch. I liked this one more than the above one except that I wondered what the discoloration was around the bird's head (eye area especially). It turns out that that was an extremely defocused branch!

20D, 1/1600 @ f/5.6, ISO 1600, Av mode, 300/4L IS + 1.4x TC, cropped, neatimage, curves, USM:



One thing I noticed about autofocusing through a jumble of branches - it's difficult. Many times the 300/4 would hunt for the focus and I'd have to try 2-3 times.
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Old Dec 29, 2004, 11:03 PM   #2
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Nice quality ISO1600 shots. You could have used slower ss so probably get away with ISO800 or lower. Does 300F4 have focus limit switch? I set mine to more than 6m (on 100-400) unless subject is too close, speeds up AF.
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Old Dec 29, 2004, 11:09 PM   #3
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Thanks for the comments, Bobby. I was using 1600 because the chickadees were such nervous little things and I wanted the highest shutter speed I could get. I've been pretty happy with how the high ISO stuff has been working out on the 20D as NeatImage seems to be able to clean it up real well without too much degradation of other features.

I think I was using the further focusing range position on the 300/4. Can't remember for sure, though. I wonder if the EXIF info retains that type of info... hmm, not so far as Breezebrowser indicates - too bad.
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Old Dec 29, 2004, 11:10 PM   #4
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Very well done, Geoff. I see you are pushing the ISO and shutter a touch higher which is going to be helpful with lots of things, including getting the bird right in low light. Even in this grey sky with some processing you have managed to get some super shots of one of my favorite little subjects. Eye and hair definition in the third one isvery good(and this is difficult to do with the black-capped) and the feet are great.

F5.6 appears to be just enough to get that entire Jay nicely in focus, the very tip of the tail just beginning to blur. This is a great back shot and that lens is bringing out the feather definition like it can.

Great work on these.

PS - in thick branches I tend to switch to MF rather than get frustrated.
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Old Dec 29, 2004, 11:18 PM   #5
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Thanks for those nice comments, Norm - you've put a smile to my face! :-)

It really is fun to go after pictures of these birds, especially now that I have some equipment that helps rather than hinders me. So much yet to be learned, though.

I haven't yet monkeyed around much with manual focus. It seems like I have all I can handle in just getting all the other factors correct. I'm not even confident enough yet to try the exposure scheme you described in a reply you gave in another thread as you can see I took these in Av mode rather than full manual. Time heals all in these respects I'm sure...
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Old Dec 30, 2004, 12:41 AM   #6
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hey geoff!

you gotta post that jay on NSN! and NPN! it's gorgeous!

lol, with my sometimes overly critical eye, the head is the TINIEST bit out of the DOF,

but, i can tell, once you get out of the ISO 800-1600's, the quality and sharpness is gonna jump!

lol, i can't imagine manual focusing on a active bird ina bush...with a 1 1/2 inch DOF! lol!

great series geoff! you're getting there! i can't believe the shots you're getting...this soon, it's not fair :?

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"keep shooting!

Vito

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Old Dec 30, 2004, 12:56 AM   #7
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1 and 3 are awesome!
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Old Dec 30, 2004, 1:05 AM   #8
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photosbyvito wrote:
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great series geoff! you're getting there! i can't believe the shots you're getting...this soon, it's not fair :?
Beginner's luck... :lol:
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Old Dec 30, 2004, 1:06 AM   #9
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[email protected] wrote:
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1 and 3 are awesome!
Thanks, bmullen! I appreciate you taking the time to drop in and look and leave a reply!
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Old Dec 30, 2004, 3:41 AM   #10
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The jay is definately great! Yeah, one could pick some nits at the DOF,
but for me anyway, it helps to draw my attention to the watchful eye
of the jay. The others are really good as well. I had a similar situation
with a slate colored junco as you did with the second chickadee. It was
a great shot but had a brown patch across its back. It took me a while
to figure out it was a branch.
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