Posts Tagged ‘300mm f4.5’

So, people seem to like this image

Friday, August 15th, 2008

Flickr is weird. I’ve had nine images make it to Explore, and they are pretty gosh darn random. None of them are among my nine best images, and a couple of them are downright awful. The most recent addition falls somewhere in the middle of the range:

Hummingbird

There are many ways in which this image could be better; mainly, if I’d had my tripod or monopod with me, I could have gotten a substantially sharper image without having to deal with the risk of oversharpening. I could also do without the off-beige background (the wall of the building where I work). : )

The image succeeds on two levels: one, the composition is good. This was just good fortune for me, although one must also have some kind of eye to see compositional good fortune when it hits you in the face. Two, it contains a hummingbird. Hummingbirds seldom sit still long, so clearly identifiable hummingbirds in pictures have a certain novelty about them, I guess…

But the main thing, I think, that qualifies it to be a good image on flickr, is that it while it has marked flaws when viewed at large size, it makes a really frickin’ awesome thumbnail. Which I can only suppose is why, in like a day of online existnce, it received 225 views and 51 favorites.

The internet is a strange place…

Black-Crowned Night Heron

Friday, June 6th, 2008

Sorry about the lack of posts. I’ve been very busy — end of the semester, end of the fiscal year, all that nonsense.

But yesterday, I had my 300mm f/4.5 and cobbled together half an hour at lunch to walk around with it, and I was rewarded with a rare, close-up appearance by one of the local Black-Crowned Night Herons. I’ve hardly ever gotten this close before, and I’ve never had a chance to get shots like this. I suggest clicking through to flickr and then going to “all sizes” to look at them a bit larger.

Black-Crowned Night Heron

Black-Crowned Night Heron

Black-Crowned Night Heron

Black-Crowned Night Heron

Later that day, I also got some less impressive (but hey, I’ll take what I can get) shots of the terns using my 180mm f/2.8 P:

Tern Fishing

Two Fortuitous Birds

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

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I had a couple of lucky spottings last week, each of which I was not quite prepared for.

On Tuesday, as I was going from work to my film photography class, I spotted terns fishing near the 7th Street pumping station — first time I’ve seen them doing this in about a year. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to for a while, because the shots I got before weren’t all that great, so I was pretty excited. Unfortunately, I wasn’t carrying any of my long lenses, so I rushed back to the office, where I had left my 300mm f/4.5. I could have snagged my tripod at the same time, except then I would have had to carry it all night, and besides, a tripod and a standard ball head weren’t going to be much help in following the fast, bizarre flight of terns fishing, so I didn’t even bother.

X-Wing

This meant I had to crank the shutter speed, lean against anything I could, and hope for the best while handholding it. I didn’t get any heroic, ultimate tern shots, but I did get a few usable ones, with more detail than previously, including some of the more fantastic postures the birds assume before and during their dives.

I haven’t yet hit the books to identify these guys — terns aren’t a type of bird I know well, and many of look very, very similar to one another. This is irksome, but nearly so much as Sparrow identification. ::shudder::

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On Wednesday, I was leaving work to again go to my class — end of the semester, and I wanted to wrap up my remaining assignments. (Which was tricky, because I had to make nine prints and I only had about seven pieces of paper left. I almost made it work (some of the prints were 5×7), but screwed up the last one and had to borrow a few sheets to finish. Almost had the hat trick….)

Anyway, as I was leaving work, I practically stepped on this gigantic Red-Tailed Hawk that was just hopping around the parking lot. This was pretty weird — we don’t see Red-Tails all that often, and when we do, it’s generally just long enough for them to make a pass at some of the ducks or coots, and then get chased off by the crows. And they don’t generally hang out on the ground. Maybe there was some prey it was after that I didn’t see.

Now, this time I was carrying a moderately long lens — my 180mm f/2.8 P. I could have run back into the office for the 300mm again (some days I carry it with me, but I’ve been trying not to do it every day, for my back’s sake), but my experience is that going somewhere and coming back and hoping that the raptor you saw was still there is…risky. So I went for the 180mm instead.

DSC_0736_20080521_1743

These shots were tricky for a few reasons. The lens wasn’t really long enough, so I had to crop in pretty aggressively if I wanted to fill the frame. I also had to deal with the fact that the bird was lit from a very awkward angle, meaning that the eye, for the most part, was in pretty deep shaddow. I did what I could to expose appropriately in-camera (getting as much detail in the face as possible without blowing out the highlights in the legs more than would be acceptable), and spent a fair amount of time in post-processing bringing up shadow detail where it seemed appropriate.

I didn’t get any usable shots of the bird on the ground, but instead of taking off, it decided to do me a solid (or at least a semi-solid) by flying to perch at the top of a small, very pointy statue we have near the parking lot. (A memorial for one of Police Services officers.) this would have been awesome if I could have finished circling around and shot it front-lit, but I didn’t get a chance for that.

Still, the opportunity was quite a gift, and I did as muchw it as I could.

Red-Tailed Hawk. View