50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Motion

There is a lot going on this Spring in my household.  One thing, that I’m pretty excited about, is that there is a robin’s nest outside of my kitchen window.  I’m busy taking photos of the birds as they are growing.  I use a fast shutter speed setting on my camera but sometimes I still get photos that look like this:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

A second later I get a clear shot:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

This shot has been cropped and sharpened in Photoshop.  No amount of sharpening is going to make that first picture a clear shot.  For the most part to get these shots I have my camera on a tripod which is set on top of a few of the good dining room chairs that I have set outside.  I have a remote shutter which allows me to be inside and taking pictures.  I took a photo of this silly looking set up and blogged about it here.  For the two shots above I used my Canon 50D.  I also take my point and shoot out when I am setting up my larger camera.  This morning I got this shot:

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/200

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/200

This shot, cropped and sharpened, is my favorite of the day.  I’v been using my point and shoot everyday to get a close up photo like this.  I have a series of photos of the eggs and then the hatchlings.  Those photos I have posted on Twitter and Flickr, so feel free to drop by and follow along with the unfolding story there.

The difference between the two photos, between a blur of motion and a clear shot, is one second.  The first photo taken at 9:17:47 and the second 9:17:48.  What a difference a second can make.

What do you think? which photo do you prefer? Care to hazard a guess as to how many photos I took this morning between 8:31 and 9:18 as I was watching the adult birds come and go?  Feel free to leave a comment or you guess below.

Cheers!

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Birds, Canon 50D, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Early Bird

I tend to get up early, I enjoy taking photos first thing in the morning.  This spring we have a robin nest outside of our kitchen window.  As in past years, I set up my camera and tripod with a remote shutter to take photos.  I’ve been waiting for the four eggs in the nest to hatch. It should be any day now.  This morning I was thinking it might be the day because in the time I had my camera set up the mother bird flew back and forth several times to the hedgerow.  In the past, we have seen mother birds do this to get rid of shells as the birds hatch.  This morning looked like this:

Land, look at camera:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/200

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/200

Conduct an egg count:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/125

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/125

Head back out:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/200

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/200

I was sure I would find a hatchling there, but not yet, just eggs today:

ISO 400 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/640

ISO 400 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/640

A bit about last year’s nest is here. A few nice pictures, but an unhappy ending for that year’s nest.  I’m hoping for a happier outcome this year.  I’ve also noticed that my best pictures are a bit later that perhaps what you would expect.  I have good luck between 7:30-8:00am, the mother bird is active and the light in that particular spot is nice then. I guess you could say I’m an early bird that doesn’t have to be that early.

It’s lovely when the photo opportunity comes to your kitchen window, don’t you think?  Feel free to leave a comment or pick a favorite out of this morning’s photos.

A little update on 4/21/15: I have been taking photos of the now hatched birds, to see a few check out my twitter feed.

Cheers!

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Animals, Birds, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Telling a Nature Story

For the last few years I have been fortunate to have robins make a nest and hatch their young ones outside my kitchen window. I set up my camera and take plenty of pictures.  Every morning though, before I set up my larger camera, I take a look inside the nest and take a few pictures using my point and shoot. I use my smaller camera because my larger camera would not be able to fit in this space and take photo like this:

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/50

Apr 22 ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/50

For these photos I am using the macro setting.  I choose the ISO; 800 seems to work well in terms of getting the color with out too much noise.

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/60

April 24 ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/60

The first morning that there were two hatchlings.  These are approximately an hour old.  They hatched early, before there was enough light for photos, so I waited.

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/40

April 25 ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/40

Just a day later, they had many more feathers and a new sibling.

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/100

April 26 ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/100

After a few days, these three were doing well, but I was concerned about that last egg.  It had some imperfections on the shell, but it had grown some, so I was hopeful that it might just be a bit late.

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/80

April 28 ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/80

By the time I took this photo it was four days after the first hatchlings made their appearence.  The egg does not look good.  Also, the other three birds are now strong enough to stick their heads up over the lip of the nest when the adult birds come to feed them. So, even if this last bird was to hatch, I suspect it would be too small to be able to get food.

Two days later the birds are much bigger and looking more like robins:

May 1 ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/60

May 1 ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/60

It turns out that was the last photo of the babies I would get.  The next morning, this is what I found:

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/80

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/80

No sign of the babies or the last unhatched egg.  I’m not sure what happened but my guess is that they were taken by another bird. I like doing projects like this, just documenting nature.  It isn’t always pretty.  Our nest last year had five successful hatchlings, four of which were then taken off by a hawk.  This post was written in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge, Spring.  A reminder perhaps that nature is both beautiful and brutal. What do you think of this type of project, do you find it difficult to stomach?  Let me know what you think of the photos or the project in the comment section below.

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

On Top of my Electric Meter

Every spring for the last three years there is a robin nest on top of my electric meter.  As a photographer, I love it when my subject comes to me and sets itself up perfectly.  I wrote a bit about what my set-up to get these photos looks like last week.  Here is a photo from yesterday:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/100

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/100

If you took a look at my set-up, you would probably have guessed that I have a remote shutter hooked up to my camera.  That makes it possible for me to set up my camera, then come back inside to take the photos.  So on mornings like this I come into my kitchen to start the day and wait for her to leave the nest which she does at a fairly regular time.  While she is gone I go out with my ladder and point and shoot camera to get a photo like this:

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/30

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/30

I then put that away and drag out my chairs, tripod, and large camera.  By the time I have done that, she is usually back. I go inside so she will get back on the nest and I can take my photos.  Then I wait for her to again leave the nest and I retrieve my equipment.

When it comes to editing these photos, I do very little.  At least at first I am making more documentary style photos than artistic ones.  The photo of the robin on the nest has been cropped.  I did a levels adjustment in Photoshop to push in the whites a bit.  Then I sharpened it.  The egg photo was not cropped.  I did a levels adjustment to push in the blacks a bit and then I sharpened it.

As this project progresses I will be blogging about it and posting photos.  I also put a photo or two on Twitter and will be adding to that, so if you want to check that out, you can find me @marantophoto. Questions or comments about my photos, editing, or set up?  Feel free to leave them below.  If you have a post related to robins feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments as well.

This post was written in part as a response to the Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top

Cheers!

 

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument to Photography

There is a lot going on in my backyard this week.  Some robins have built a nest so I am busy photographing their efforts.  It looks a bit ridiculous but here is what the set up looks like:

ISO 200 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/50

ISO 200 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/50

I’ll call it my monument to photography.  Yes, those are the “good” dining room chairs.  It’s a temporary monument, I set it up, take my photos then take it down.  Here is a photo I got this morning:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

At this point there are two eggs in the nest.  I’ll be experimenting with different camera angles over the next few weeks in the hope of getting some good photos.  This photo was cropped and sharpened, here is what the original shot looked like:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

I am so excited that the robins are back and building here. If you are interested in seeing where this project led last year, you can click here.

Cheers!

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Nature, Photography, Technology, Uncategorized

New Year, New Look

If you stop by this blog regularly you will have noticed that I changed my theme a few days ago.  I am using the theme Able, and so far I like it and I think I will be sticking with it for a little while at least.   I would like to thank those folks who responded to my post, Tinkering with my blog.  Several bloggers offered their thoughts on what would make a good theme for this blog.  For fun I thought I would share a link to a recent post from all of them: catbirdinamerica, Lignum Draco, Cardinal Guzman, Northwest Frame of Mind, Unique So Chic, Behind the Willows.

If you are wondering about my new header image, I wrote a post about it this past summer and it can be found here. The lesson learned there is that sometimes a snoozing lion isn’t really asleep, so pay attention.  I switched themes in part to be able to display bigger photographs, and I am still working on the exact size that I think fits the theme, is big enough for the viewer, but not too obnoxiously large.  If you have an opinion on sizing, or other aspect of this new layout, please feel free to leave a comment below.

I will leave you with one of my favorite photographs from my blog this year.  It was originally posted in an entry chronicling the nest. I hope that you have a wonderful New Year!

Cheers!

ISO 800 14mm 0ev f/5 1/60

ISO 800 14mm 0ev f/5 1/60

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50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Nature, Photography

A Nest Update, Is there Enough Space?

When this nest was built, the first thing I noticed about it was that it was deeper than last year’s nest, but more narrow.  So, I was a bit concerned when I saw five eggs, I was wondering if there would be enough space for everyone.  It was amusing to see this photo when the adult robins were off the nest:

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/160

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/160

You could fit a few more in there the way they are all crowded together.  It is a good way to keep everyone warm while Mom is away though.  I took this with my Canon Powershot on May 7th.  A bit later with my 50D, I got this shot:

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/100

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/100

It looks like the food is being inserted directly into the baby’s stomach doesn’t it?  You can see a bit of leftover shell attached to the nest as well.  That is interesting to me because usually the adults get rid of all the shell pieces right away.

This next series of three shots were taken on May 8th, all with my 50D:

ISO 640 50mm 0 ev f/6.3 1/200

ISO 640 50mm 0 ev f/6.3 1/200

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/200

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/200

Looks like a tug of war there!

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/200

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/200

Looks like a couple of the babies are getting a bit squished.

Thanks to everyone who is following along, your comments are always appreciated.  If you are new to this story, here are some other installments: How I am getting these shots and some freshly hatched shots are here.  My first update is here.

Cheers!

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