The weather has been really windy so I’m taking a little time out from stomping around the arroyos and tip-toeing about our awesome estuaries. A great time to sit on the south patio where it’s nice and warm, protected from the wind and work on some camera skills. My goal is to, as much as possible with my camera, (Cannon T2i), slow down the wing beats of our speedy hummingbirds without using synchronized flash technology. I’m still in the camp that believes flash from cameras can injure birds.
When shooting manual the trick seems to be to balance shutter-speed, apeture(fstop) and ISO. In many bird shots I prefer a blurred background but it’s tricky for me to keep the background noise(grain) down. Next shot is that of a Xantus’s Hummingbird. Distance from the bird is 12 feet. Shutter speed is 1/4000, using f10 and ISO 1600. The camera’s meter says to use 3200 but to reduce grain I’m going a click down and add exposure in editing.
I used the same settings for the Costa’s photograph above. Being self-taught and actually not the smartest turnip on the cart, I have to keep experimenting with the camera. Shoot a bunch at different settings, download to iPhoto and compare the results.
This one is not as clear because it is a hand-held shot. I used a monopod for the others (monopods are like a tripod but with only one leg).
Using the same settings I’m getting pretty good results on other subjects like this female House Finch…(whoops! House Sparrow actually). shot at 50 feet.
And this low-light photo of a White-winged dove.
This Black-headed Grosbeak got in the way of my lens late in the day.
Now, please remember I’m not giving camera lessons. Just writing about my own experiences and what may be working for me. It’s such a joy to live in a place where I can sit down and see 10 or 20 bird species at one time. Oh, and remember, we’ll be at the fair at Palmas de Cortez with books to sell March 24th.