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Old Mar 20, 2006, 10:41 AM   #1
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Well, I'm going to make this my personal birdshot thread. With a long, boring narrative, too.

First, a little background. I've always liked taking pictures of the birds (mostly ducks and Canadian geese) at the local pond (my family used to mock me for taking so many duck pictures). When I got my first ultrazoom (the Oly C-700), I realized that I would love to be able to take pictures of birds in flight. I also knew that this goal could no be immediately realized with the equipment I had. After moving on to the Pany FZ3 (with a stop on the Oly C-740), I actually was able to take some (horrendous) shots of a flying blue heron, but I will spare you those bad pictures. It was only after I bought a Nikon D70 that I really again entertained the idea of taking pictures of birds in flight. However, upon buying the cheap 70-300G lens, I quickly realized that, though the shutterlag was almost non-existent, AF still wasn't fast enough to shoot birds (nor did I know the proper technique). After gettinga used 70-210 f/4 constant, I decided to give it another go last December, and here is what came of it:
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Old Mar 20, 2006, 10:41 AM   #2
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This one:


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Old Mar 20, 2006, 10:42 AM   #3
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And this one:


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Old Mar 20, 2006, 10:43 AM   #4
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Not really all that impressive, really. I was struggling with the extremely slow AF on the lens (I like the sharpness, but the AF is just slow), and an overcast day. I was also still shooting in JPEG, so I was more or less stuck with the WB that the camera captured. Nevertheless, I wasn't unhappy, especially with the second picture.
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Old Mar 20, 2006, 10:50 AM   #5
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I stopped taking birdshots for a while b/c I felt that those pictures were the extent of what I could capture with my equipment. However, almost two months later, in late January, I went to a lake nearby (not the local pond where the other pictures were taken), and I was playing around with RAW. Again, I was still picking the low-hanging fruit, in this case flying seagulls, of which there are plenty. First, a sitting one:
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Old Mar 20, 2006, 10:52 AM   #6
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I was still using the slow-to-AF 70-210 f/4 constant, and I missed a lot of shots (I was using aperture priority, single-shot AF). When a woman nearby was feeding the birds, I decided to play around with MF instead. The MF ring on the lens is rather thin and not easy to handle, but the focus throw is so long that accurate focusing is not that hard in good light. That got me some shots that I liked:


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Old Mar 20, 2006, 10:53 AM   #7
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This one:


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Old Mar 20, 2006, 10:53 AM   #8
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This one:


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Old Mar 20, 2006, 10:54 AM   #9
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And this one:


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Old Mar 20, 2006, 10:55 AM   #10
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I was still picking low-hanging fruit, but I had been somewhat encouraged by the much better (though still less than exciting) results.
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