Santa Baby was amazing this year and gave me a new Canon 500mm f/4.0 L IS lens for my birding photography. Yeah Santa !
We’re having a small snow, sleet, rain storm on the bay today, and it was a great photo opportunity to capture Birds in the Snow. So I set up my new lens, with my Canon 7D, and the used Gitzo G410 tripod I found on ebay. Using an affordable gimbal type head made by Manfrotto 393 Heavy Duty Lens Support, I stood just inside an open doorway.
Without first checking, my first images were out of focus. The shot above is wonderful, but out of focus ! Leaving the aperture wide open at f/4.0, I see wonderful bokeh, or shallow depth of field. But I had forgotten to use the center weighted focus points, so I quickly changed that setting, and added +2/3 exposure compensation due to the gray day.
I was having a charming time photography these sweet song birds and all of sudden there was a huge flutter. All of the little birds scattered and in swooped a hawk. Just moments in the tree, it then took off. Of course..I missed the shot. 😦
Still wanting to get the birds in the snow, I then opened up a side window so that I could get a different perspective. Mind you, this is a very old house, and the windows were painted shut a while ago. So with a screw driver, and a hammer, I was able to open it.
I also set out some fresh bird feed on the bench to encourage the little song birds to return. That it was safe and no big bad hawk was going to get them today. Of course, one of the first visitors was one of my big fat squirrels. Now my squirrels are starting to get really fat as I have feed set out for them daily. They waste no time to get into the food, but that still doesn’t stop them from planting a few seeds in case they need them in hard times.
Does anyone know any good squirrel recipes?
The goldfinches are also starting to hang around in droves. They too are getting fat as I watch them eat constantly throughout the day. I have plenty of feeders out, but still need to refill them every other day.
My favorite ones of course are the Cardinals as their bright red stands out in the winter storm.
Both the House Sparrow, and Purple Finch refuse to be outdone by the red cardinals and show up to share their bright color.
But the biggest group of little birds at the manor are the White-Throated Sparrows. They also eat all day, dodging in and out of the bush and prefer to eat on the ground.
I had great fun playing with my new lens, and can’t wait to practice more with it. Lots of photos were out of focus (sigh) but at least I had the exposure right ! Aperture Priority, ISO 1000, f4.0, +2/3 exposure compensation, daylight white balance.
However, I wasn’t too much of a fan of the Manfrotto gimbal type head. After experiencing the high dollar Wimberley Gimbal Head when I rented it in November, I found the Manfrotto to wobble a bit. Next photo shoot will be with a Wimberley Side kick and ball head mount. Let’s see if more photos are keepers from that set.
Have a wonderful wintery day and hope your Santa was as great to you as mine was to me.