Sunday, April 11, 2010

House Finch

This was a big weekend for me. I reserved the TRNWR bird blind on Saturday morning for the first time (first time in any bird blind) and for the occasion, I rented a f2.8, 400mm Nikon lens for the weekend. I was extremely excited to get started. After taking a few a few shots on Friday night to try it out, I woke up as early as I could (I am definitely not a morning person) Saturday morning and got to TRNWR about 7:30 just in time to see a huge Bald Eagle come swooping in from behind the visitor's center and landed at the top of a tall pine. What a way to start! I took 59 pictures of it and 1799 pictures overall this weekend.
It turned out to be a weekend of high highs and low lows. In addition to a new lens, I also decided to try adjusting exposure based on the background in which the bird was up against. I've taken so many pictures where there is a bright sky or bright water in the background that the bird gets underexposed. The trouble I had this weekend with this is that I didn't know what I was doing and I over did it in some cases. I totally ruined what could have been some great pictures of a Great Blue Heron because I should have underexposed a little, but instead forgot the camera was set to overexpose by .7. They turned out totally washed out. I also rented a 1.7 teleconverter because I had wanted to rent the 600mm lens but it was already reserved. It turns out the teleconverter reduced the clarity so much that I would have been better off just shooting without it. Luckily, I switched back and forth even before I was fully aware of this. Unfortunately the Bald Eagle images were taken with the teleconverter, but luckily many were still pretty good, just a little soft, even after sharpening in post.
On the high side, I got some great shots, especially after figuring out how to use the lens. After I realized how much quality I lost with the teleconverter and ditching it and being careful with exposure, the pictures improved greatly. The lens brought me in a little closer and the superior light gather capability (my 300mm zoom is only f5.6) made for sharper photos.
Oh ya, I'm also posting an image. It's going to take days to look through all the images, but I was excited about the photos I got of a House Finch. It was one of the last of the weekend, but I decided to post it first because it turned out great and I have seen only a few House Finches in my life.

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