50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photography

An Ongoing Project

I think we all have them, some project that we are working on.  In this case I am talking about a particular photo that I am trying to get.  I work on it from time to time.  I would just like a really good cardinal picture.  Here is my latest attempt:

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/4.5 1/500

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/4.5 1/500

Really I think it would have helped if I had used my kit lens for this photo.  I used my 50mm and then cropped it later.  The good thing about using the 50 is that you get really good detail.  In this case though I just needed to be closer, and the the kit lens, which is a 28-135mm would have helped a bit here.  Looking at the photo again now I am also thinking I should have tried using my flash, just to maybe separate the black and red of the birds feathers.  I’m not sure if that would have worked, but it’s worth a try, so maybe next time I am working on this ongoing project, I will give it a try.

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photography

At the Bird Feeder

I spend a fair amount of time taking pictures of birds.  Today’s photos are of a Tufted Titmouse:

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/4.5 1/500

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/4.5 1/500

ISO640 50mm 0ev f/4.5 1/500

ISO640 50mm 0ev f/4.5 1/500

Kind of a funny name, but they are a cute little bird.

There were a few challenges to deal with here.  Because a bird like this is almost always in motion, I did use my tripod.  I am also using a fast shutter speed.  Really what I am doing with a fast shutter speed and tripod is attempting to freeze the action and every little bit helps.  I also raised the ISO to 640 to help with the light.  The f-stop you really have to think about in a photo like this.  The number has to be small enough to let in enough light.  However, if it is too low, you might not get the whole bird in focus.  On the flip side of that, if the number is too high, too much of the background will be in focus.  For this shot, I really wanted the background to be blurred enough so that you still know what it is, but aren’t  really spending a lot of time looking at it.

As far as post editing, for these shots I only cropped them and then left it at that.

So, do you have any bird photo tips you like to share? other comments? please leave them below.

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photography

I go to the zoo, encounter a few problems

For this trip to the St. Louis Zoo I went to the bird house. The problems there for photographers include:

  1. Low light
  2. Cage wires
  3. Distance from the birds

For me you can add:

  1. Forgetting to take down the names of the birds.

I’ll come back to the problems is a minute, but for now the birds:

ISO 500 50mm 0ev f/13 0.6s

ISO 500 50mm 0ev f/13 0.6s

This was probably my most successful image.  I actually got two exposures of this white winged wood duck, which I merged in HDR to bring out some of the really interesting detail this duck has. Notice I actually know the name of the duck as well.

Here are some other images, notice how many don’t have names:

So, of the seven birds featured in this post, I know the names of three.  Pretty bad when you consider I had a strategy for remembering the names.  The thought was to take a picture of the display sign whenever I took a picture of a bird.  Not a bad idea, but I guess I didn’t follow through because I came home with a bunch of birds but not a bunch of names.

As for the more generic problems I listed, here is what I did.  First I bumped my ISO to 500, usually I stick to as close to 100 as possible.  I was using my 50mm lens, because I can get my f-stop to 1.8, allowing as much light in as possible.  Where possible, I tried to have a fast shutter speed.  What I was trying to do with that was blur the cage wires as much as possible.  Because a fast shutter speed cuts down on the light, my shutter speed varies a lot in these images.  The shutter speed range is 1/30 to 1/320 depending on the shot.  I also used my tripod.  The birds were already moving, I didn’t want to add in camera shake.  As far as the distance from the cages, I did the best I could.  There were certain birds that I could not get close enough to to get a decent shot.  Either the bird was too far away for a 50mm lens, or the cage wires were to prominent in the images.

So, when you are taking photos of subjects and want to remember proper names later how do you do it?  I guess I could use some tips!

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Editing, Photography

I get a lucky shot

It does happen sometimes.  I just happened to get this photo while I was photographing butterflies at the St. Louis Zoo:

ISO 100 50mm 0 ev f/5 1/30

ISO 100 50mm 0 ev f/5 1/30

This is a female Red-Legged Honeycreeper.  If you click on the link you will see that the male is blue.  They are very beautiful birds.  I had been taking a photograph of a nearby butterfly and I had my camera on a tripod when I got this shot.  Luckily she held still for just a moment.  All my other shots are blurry, but I got this one!  I cropped this photo in Aperture but I didn’t do any other post-editing.

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Editing, Photography

Freezing on Friday

Well, we got some snow and ice yesterday.  That meant that my bird feeders were busier than usual.

I used my Canon 50D with a 50mm lens to get these shots.  I did stay inside, we have some nice windows by the bird feeders so that we can enjoy the birds without bothering them too much.  I shot both using AWB, but then edited them later in Aperture.  Both pictures have been cropped.  The bird looking to the sky has been bumped up one exposure stop in post editing.  The bird under the bush I just used the auto adjust function for white balance.

Today is forecasted to be another cold one here, so I am expecting a lot of bird visitors.

Cheers!

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Animals, Birds, Design, Photo Editing, Photography

A Look Back Using Words

Thanks to this post by Rarasaur I was able to create this cool little piece of word art using the words from my blog:

my blog in words

 

As you can see I used tagxedo.com to create it.  It was easy and fun!

Happy New Year to All!

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Flowers, iPhone, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures

This is a gallery of some of my favorite pictures from my blog this year.  It is a response to this week’s photo challenge from WordPress.  A big thank you to everyone who has stopped by my blog this year!

Cheers!

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Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate

For this week’s photo challenge from WordPress I picked photos of the Eurasian Eagle Owl to represent the theme delicate.  Despite being one of the larger owls, it’s individual feathers are quite delicate.  I found one on the path at World Bird Sanctuary and took the photo just to show how delicate it is.  If you click on that photo you can see the wood chips through the feather in several places.  I have included a couple of pictures of the owl too, just to give you a feel for its size and beauty, if you are not familiar with this particular bird. Just for your information it is against US Federal Law to possess feathers (and the like) of birds of prey.  If you see the feather, take a picture, not the feather 🙂

Cheers!

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Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photography

Robins

A short movie, it runs about 4 minutes, chronicling the nest.  Still photos are available in the gallery.Cheers!

Just click if you would like to view, this is a short movie that runs about 4 minutes, chronicling the nest. Still photos are available in the gallery. This was my final project for my digital photography class.

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Design, Nature, Photo Editing, Photography

Design in photos and paint

This week’s assignment in Design class was actually three items when it was all said and done.  You will see them below.  Two I did using photography and the third is a painting.  The assignment was this, create a microcosm in collage format.  Then translate that to black and white and as many shades of grey as you like.  We were also permitted to use one color if we chose.  First I made the collage.  I used many photos I had of birds, particularly owls, and then combined those with a picture of my older child.  A representation of part of that child’s world.  I made a black and white version and a color version to help me make the decision regarding the use of color in the final painting.  Here are the two collages:

Collage in color

Collage in color

 

Collage in Black and White

Collage in Black and White

I used Aperture, CollageIt, and Photomatix when creating these.  CollageIt was a free app that I found at the App Store.  Using that I was able to combine the photos I had in mind from Aperture.  It is a pretty straightforward app.  If you are looking for a free, basic, app, it is those things, and it was very helpful for this project.  Then I made three version of the collage to put in Photomatix.  That was helpful in accenting the texture in the collage.  I created a color version and black and white, then put both back into Aperture for some final tweaking.

I decided that I liked the black and white version better.  I also decided that I wanted the final painting to be vertical instead of horizontal.  I used black white and five shades of grey.  Here is the painting:

Final painting

Final painting

So, what do you think?  Have a favorite? question or comment?  leave them below in the comment section.

Cheers!

 

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