You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Pic of the Week’ category.

image

image

image

image

Your first shot is always either 1) from too far away, or 2) at too low a zoom setting, or 3) both. You want to get on the bird, so you down tripod too early, crank the zoom all the way to wide, find the bird, mount the camera, and squeeze off a shot or 10, all before you really think about image scale or composition.

Then, if the bird is still cooperating, you think about zooming in or sneeking closer (or both).  This Ring-billed Gull was as cooperative as they come. Another 10 shots.

So what would it be like if you increased the zoom on the scope? And maybe backed off a bit in the camera zoom. Click click click.

Okay. Bird still there? Go for it. Crank the scope zoom up to Max (or as close as you dare).

BBWD

Black-bellied Whistling Duck at Edinburg Scenic Wetlands World Birding Center, Edinburg Texas.

A preening bird in full sun, so close only a head shot is possible. That is about as good as it gets.

Canon SD4000IS behind the 15-56x Vario eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL for an equivalent focal length (field of view) of about a 1500mm lens on a full frame DSLR. f5 @ 1/400th @ ISO 125. Programmed auto.

Processed in Lightroom for intensity with Fill Light, Blackpoint, Clarity, and Sharpen narrow edges preset.

wc (3 of 3)

White Crowned Sparrow: Cape May NJ

During my recent trip to Cape May for the annual Autumn Weekend festival, I witnessed one of the best migration flights since 1999 (according Pete Dunne and others). The Island was dripping with warblers and sparrows and several rare birds turned up to delight the faithful. This is not one of them. This is the brown variant of the White Crowned Sparrow, or an immature, I am not certain which (or how to tell for that matter). The brown stripes on the head are normally black. This bird was the only one if its kind foraging with a large flock of White-throated, Song, and Swamp sparrows along the edge of cut reeds under the Morning Flight tower at Higbee Beach. It was, again according to those who should know, fairly early to Cape May. White-crowns are late migrants.

wc (1 of 3)wc (2 of 3)

Canon SD4000IS behind the new 15-56x Vario eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL spotting scope for the equivalent field of view of an 1800mm lens on a full frame DSLR. F5 @ 1/1000th @ ISO 320. Programmed auto.

Light processing in Lightroom, including added Clarity and Vibrance, Sharpening, and some color adjustment.

wc1

White Crowned Sparrow: Cape May NJ

During my recent trip to Cape May for the annual Autumn Weekend festival, I witnessed one of the best migration flights since 1999 (according Pete Dunne and others). The Island was dripping with warblers and sparrows and several rare birds turned up to delight the faithful. This is not one of them. This is the brown variant of the White Crowned Sparrow, or an immature, I am not certain which (or how to tell for that matter). The brown stripes on the head are normally black. This bird was the only one if its kind foraging with a large flock of White-throated, Song, and Swamp sparrows along the edge of cut reeds under the Morning Flight tower at Higbee Beach. It was, again according to those who should know, fairly early to Cape May. White-crowns are late migrants.

wc2wc3

Canon SD4000IS behind the new 15-56x Vario eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL spotting scope for the equivalent field of view of an 1800mm lens on a full frame DSLR. F5 @ 1/1000th @ ISO 320. Programmed auto.

Light processing in Lightroom, including added Clarity and Vibrance, Sharpening, and some color adjustment.

IMG_3700IMG_3703IMG_3704IMG_3705IMG_3706IMG_3707

4 frames per second sequence of this Immature Red-tailed Hawk bathing. This is Cape May Point State Park, in Cape May NJ at the height of the raptor migration. I think this hawk thought he was a sparrow.

Canon SD4000IS behind the new 15-56x Vario on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL spotting scope. ISO 125 @ 1/640th. f4.5 camera limited.

I posted video of this same hawk on my Pic of the Day blog and a link to the post here, but it is worth putting up the video again.

Red-tailed Hawk Bathing

Cardinal1

Cardinal2

Northern Cardinals at the Clam Creek Campground Bird Sanctuary on Jekyll Island Georgia. Cardinals in the south, or at least in Georgia, or at least on Jekyll Island, or at least on Jekyll Island in October, are among the most variable Cardinals I know. They range from kind of dingy pink with orange highlights to so red the sensor in any digital camera screams when you try to capture one.

As I have mentioned, the Clam Creek Campground Bird Sanctuary, while a great place to see birds, is not an easy place to digiscope them. The light is dim, and the birds are generally moving fast as they feed. Plus, I personally don’t really like feeder shots. I would rather have no man-made objects in the image (except maybe a fence or fence post). Still, occasionally a Cardinal will perch up in a spot of sun in the trees on the back side of the sanctuary.

Actually the Cardinals are so abundant there that if you spend more than an hour or so watching, it is almost inevitable that one will perch in the trees, and likely, given their fondness for sun, that one will perch in good light. It is just a matter of patience and preparation. The patience is obvious. The preparation involves practicing the scope and focus movement that will take you off the feeders and to the trees in the seconds you might have. Fortunately, Cardinals, once settled in their spot of sun, generally stay put for at least a few moments.

Canon SD4000IS behind the new ZEISS 15-56x Vario eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL for equivalent fields of view of 3000mm and 1500mm. 1/60th at ISO 640 and ISO 500. Programmed auto. The top image is scope limited to f8, while the bottom image is camera limited to f5.

A touch of Fill Light in Lightroom. Blackpoint just barely right. Added Clarity and just a smidge of Vibrance (too much blocked up the red), and Sharpen narrow edges preset.

I am becoming increasingly confident of the SD4000IS/DiaScope 65FL combination. The excellent high ISO performance and fast motor shooting (2-4 fps) of the camera, combined with the flexibility (15-56x) and portability of the DiaScope on a carbon fiber tripod makes this rig hard to beat for day-in-day-out digiscoping in the field. IMHO.

gegret

Great Egret at the fishing ponds behind Tidewater 4H Nature Center on Jekyll Island GA.

Egrets are never easy, because of the exposure problem. It is difficult to maintain detail in the plumage while rendering the eye an beak in natural shades. More light only compounds the problem. You end up, as here, dialing in Exposure Compensation by eye and hoping.

Canon SD4000IS on the Digital Camera Adapter behind the new Vario eyepiece on the new ZEISS DiaScope 85FL. I happened to have the camera in wide mode as I was shooting stills for a video. Both are roughly 1800 equivalent field of view. F4.5 and F5.0, camera limited. ISO 125.

gegret2

Both were processed in Lightroom for Blackpoint, Clarity, Vibrance and Sharpen.

Surprisingly I forgot to shoot any video!

Brown Thrasher, Jekyll Island GA 10/10 DigiScoped DiaScope 65FL

Brown Thrasher, Jekyll Island GA 10/10 DigiScoped DiaScope 65FL

Brown Thrasher, Jekyll Island GA 10/10 DigiScoped DiaScope 65FL

The Brown Thrasher is a striking, attractive bird…the rich browns and the chevroned breast, the bright yellow eye, the scalloped and shadowed wing bars…lots to call attention to the bird…and then there is the song!

This fellow was at Clam Creek Campground on Jekyll Island Georgia this past week during the Georgia Coast Birding and Nature Festival. The light was difficult, deep under tree cover, and only the high ISO ability of the little Canon SD4000IS made these shots possible. The first two are at ISO 800, and, even so, the shutter speed was only 1/25th second. The last shot is at ISO 1600 with a shutter speed of 1/20 second.

All were taken through the new Vario eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL. The apertures would appear to be camera limited to f4.5 (top two) and f5.

Processed in Lightroom using a touch of Fill Light, Blackpoint right, added Clarity and just a bit of Vibrance and the standard Sharpen narrow edges preset. No noise reduction was applied beyond what the camera did before saving the jpegs.

And here is a bit of video, also from the Canon SD4000IS.

Brown Thrasher: Jekyll Island GA

PaintedBunting

Okay, so I have to show this off. This is my first Painted Bunting shot (that I would be willing to show to anyone). Such an amazing bird. Not that this is a great shot. I don’t like feeder shots in general, and I kept hoping this bird would perch in the surrounding vegetation just for an instant on the way out, but when it had its full, it was gone like a shot. And it did not return during the 90 minuets I waited either. So, for lack of better, this is my first Painted Bunting keeper!

Then too, I am excited about the shot because it was taken at what I consider a totally amazing (for a pocket camera like the Canon SD4000IS) ISO 800. 800! Take a look at it at the larger size (or even larger on my SmugMug site).

I am at, as you might have gathered if you follow my tweets, the Georgia Coast Birding Festival on Jekyll Island Georgia (Colonial Coast until this year). The Clam Creek Campground here maintains a tiny bird sanctuary…one campsite in the tent section at the back of the campground away from the RVs has been set aside, fenced in, planted (over this past summer) with attractive plants, hung about with feeders and adorned with a water drip and artificial pool. Someone tends it well. The feeders are always full and the bench provided is always clean. It is a great place to see a variety of feeder birds on any visit to Jekyll Island. I love it!

The only problem is that it is under deep Georgia cover…big old trees dripping with hanging moss…and surrounded on three sides by dense undergrowth. It is dark in there, at least by any reasonable photographic standard. To complicate matters I was carrying the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL instead of my 85FL. In a situation like that, I try to keep my expectations low and I take a lot of exposures.

Even at ISO 800, shutter speeds were ranging below a quarter of a second, so the trick was catching a bird in the second it was perfectly still. The Canon SD4000IS makes this work. This is, as I said above, pretty amazing image quality for ISO800 on any camera, and pretty well unheard of on a pocket camera. While the Canon can’t maintain its 4 frames per second burst in this kind of light, it still manages 2 frames, which certainly increases your chances of catching a still moment.

The dual speed focus on the new DiaScope helps a lot too in a situation where you have to be on the bird quickly and accurately. The DiaScope 65 and Canon SD4000IS, on a lightweight tripod, makes about the most portable digiscoping solution going! I am loving it.

Processed in Lightroom for Blackpoint, Clarity and Vibrance, and standard Sharpen using the narrow edges preset.

gyl1

gyl2

gly3

Lessor Yellow Legs at Parson’s Beach Kennebunk Maine. We only get Yellow Legs in migration. They certainly must nest somewhere on the Maine coast but not that I know of here in Southern Maine. This speciman was cooperative enough to let me play with various combinations of camera and scope zooms over about 30 minutes and hundreds of exposures. I tried a video, but all the video shows is how windy it was.

Canon Powershot SD4000IS Digital Elph behind the new 20-75 Vario Eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 85FL.

Processed in Lightroom for Blackpoint, Clarity, Vibrance, and Sharpen.

@zeissbirding_us

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Archive