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Old Jan 18, 2005, 7:11 AM   #1
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I was out checking things out in the woods yesterday after out "big" 2 inch
snowfall. Temp was 13F (you boys from up north would probably be out in
T-shirts). Anyway, came across a flock of juncos. As usual, they all headed
off, then came back at a distance that was just too far, except for this guy.
He hopped in a relatively near by bush. So I waited and he eventually hopped
out relatively close (compared to my other experiences). Since lighting
was constantly changing, I was shooting in shutter priority. Here's a few shots.

Drebel, 100-400L @ 400 mm

Processing: ACR -> crop 50% -> a little bit of Neat Image -> resize ->
0.3, 100% USM -> save for web

ISO 200, 1/200 sec, f/16


ISO 200, 1/200 sec, f/20


ISO 200, 1/200 sec, f/18
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Old Jan 18, 2005, 9:42 AM   #2
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I think these Junco do let you come closer after a while. I just sit there and after a while they come closer. This is usually when they feeding.

BTW - I think you could have used a higher SS. I see the apertures you used were f18/f20 or so, which are not the sweet spots of this lens.
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Old Jan 18, 2005, 11:44 AM   #3
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Congrats on the Juncos Woodmeister. I don't know how you folks up there take all this cold. Its cold enough for me here where I am in Georgia. I'm not being critical, but what makes the snow look like it does. Looks funny to me. May be because I never see any.

cheers

Houston
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Old Jan 19, 2005, 4:30 AM   #4
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Bobby, it was one of those days were lighting was rapidly changing. It
wasn't more than a minute later when I was tracking a sparrow when a
snow squall moved in and the apeture dropped down to f/5.6 (got a really
good shot of him, except a blade of grass went right through his eye and bill). So, with a day like this, I decided to fix SS 1/200, which is the
slowest I'm comfortable with shooting handheld.

As for the snow, it's probably a combination of lighting, digital sampling, and
the fact that it was made up of a combo of large fluffy flakes and fine, almost
granualar flakes.
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Old Jan 19, 2005, 6:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
I was tracking a sparrow when a
snow squall moved in and the apeture dropped down to f/5.6
To me that's the inherent problem with using Program mode or auto mode or something besides the priority modes or Manual, you have no control over what's going to happen.

F16 is a huge aperture and you are probably going to get more in focus than you want, especially in an environment like the gnarled bushes.

If I were you I would stick with AV or TV or M, and it would be my recommendation to practice using M as much as possible until you become the controller rather than the camera.
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Old Jan 19, 2005, 6:48 PM   #6
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Nice capture Woodmeister, I know well how difficult it is to catch those little fellow, always hiding somewhere, you did well

Agree with Norm on that one, those auto mode are problematic. For instance the snow and bird seems to be pretty well exposed. I presume you ran an exposure compensation on this shot woodmeister. For snowy background, not directly lit ; the meter of the camera has to show +1 2/3 to the right (of the middle 0 point). Can't go wrong with this since the snow won't be overly blown highlight.

So the camera chose a weird setting for birding. 1/200 sec, F/18, I guess you're lucky to have IS on that lens. But still by choosing a different setting you could easily blur a lot of branches in the foreground and background. From those settings, you could transform this to F/13 / 1/400 sec, then F/9 1/800 sec to finally go for F/8 1/1000 sec.

If you prefer to shoot in 'semi auto' mode like A/V and T/V, choose A/V for birds. Make your EC correction in the camera. For snow its +1 2/3 when its cloudy, +2 when it's sunlit. Reason to go slightly higher with sunlit scene is, the bird will be underexposed to a bad level, and you'll have to make correction in Photoshop and this will automatically show noise. Even at ISO200. The threshold of showing noise at ISO200 is +1 EC correctionin front ofthe pc. (+0.50 at ISO400, +0.25 at ISO800)

Don't go lower than F/8 on that lens, it's the sweetspot for max sharpness. F/5.6 will yield nice results, but F/8 will definitly be sharper. Also at 20 feet @ 400mm, you'll get good ammount of DOF for the tiny bird.

Hope this helps

Cheers
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Old Jan 19, 2005, 7:34 PM   #7
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Nice shots, I like the way the snow glitters around that little bird:-)
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Old Jan 19, 2005, 7:45 PM   #8
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All points well taken. This was a case where I was paying more attention to
the bird less aware of what the camera was set at, since he was closer than
I had gotten to one of these guys before. Need to be more careful. BTW,
the camera was set to TV.
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Old Jan 19, 2005, 7:49 PM   #9
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Eric CAN is the master, especially when it comes to snow backgrounds, so the advice he gives you woodmeister is great advice. I'm all ears too when he's doling the advice out.

I like these junco shots - all shots of a male. And it's always nice to see the eastern race of the Dark-Eyed Junco since I only ever get to see the western race...
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Old Jan 20, 2005, 8:23 AM   #10
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Woodmiester, nice shots of the Junco. We have the same bird here in Kansas. I've known them as Phobe's. I took several shots of some a few weeks ago and found it was very difficult to get the eys. I had great close up shots, but the eyes appeared to be closed or covered with feathers. You did a better job.

Eric, thanks for the tips, don't have a 1x400 but a lot of that will apply to my 200. Been using the Canon 200 with a 1.4 tele.
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