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Author Topic: Show your Bird Portraits  (Read 2431436 times)

jrista

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Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« Reply #5355 on: May 03, 2014, 11:49:39 PM »
Willet

Shorebirds are some of my favorite birds. I always loved seeing them when I visited a few beaches known for attracting them in California when growing up. Last year was pretty much the year of the shorebird, we had more of them, and more variety of species, than I'd ever seen before. That was thanks to the extremely hot summers and mild winters of the two years prior (2012 and 2013), which created unprecedented mud flats and sandy shores around Cherry Creek reservoir, which created prime shorebird feeding grounds.

Between the deadly rains we had last September (it literally rained non-stop for over a week, no wind, the rain just fell vertically out of the sky at a high rate for days, flooding everything), and the hefty snow pack in the mountains this winter, water levels at Cherry Creek are some of the highest I've seen. Water is backlogged right back through the wetlands, and a couple days recently it was flowing backwards out of the lake because water levels were so high. Without much in the way of shores and mud flats, I don't expect to see as many shorebirds this year.

Thus, it was pretty nice to see a Willet meandering up and down one of the shores of Cottonwood Creek's wetland (a flow control system just south of Cherry Creek reservoir.) Willets are a bit larger shorebirds, larger than most pipers, slightly larger than Solitary Sandpipers. They are pretty bland at first look, but on closer inspection their gray is actually a number of colors and patterns, including gray, white, black, and some shades of brown and tan. They have fairly beefy bills compared to most sandpipers, more akin to a Godwit or Snipe.

Willet
Cherry Creek State Park (Cottonwood Creek Wetland)
Colorado

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Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« Reply #5355 on: May 03, 2014, 11:49:39 PM »

Jack Douglas

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Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« Reply #5356 on: May 04, 2014, 12:00:34 AM »
Up here it's Kijiji that has all kinds of used stuff and the 1D2 caught my attention as soon as posted - at $250 I figured it'd be worth it just to fool with, and 3 good batteries to boot.  The frame rate is addictive after holding the 6D.  No AFMA, which it may need.  And so heavy - I'd love a 1Dx but I have neck/shoulder problems.

All birds are beautiful in one way or another.  I'm glad you're out enjoying shooting.

The last shot was pretty much uncropped and not a lot I could do (tricky with 780 reach).  Same with this one.

Jack
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jrista

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Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« Reply #5357 on: May 04, 2014, 12:09:09 AM »
The last shot was pretty much uncropped and not a lot I could do (tricky with 780 reach).  Same with this one.

Oh, I missed that you were using the 2x TC. I guess you kind of need the TC with the pixel count of the 1D II...but generally, I'd drop that and just use the 300 bare with a little bit of cropping if you can get away with it.

jrista

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Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« Reply #5358 on: May 04, 2014, 12:23:01 AM »
Killdeer

One of the most ubiquitous shorebirds in the US, the Killdeer is hard to miss. Between their incessant "injured bird" act and fast antics as they spurt about along shores and around grasslands in their "dash-pause" manner, they are also probably the most well known plover. They are larger than a lot of other plovers, like Piping or Semipalmated, and have longer legs. They have two slightly different plumages...one with two white bands around the neck during breeding season, and one white and one cream colored band during the winter season.

They have a very persistent technique for protecting their nests and their young by playing the injured bird...with a high pitched, lilting chirp, flipping one wing out at an oddly-cocked angle, and showing off rusty-red colored underfeathers that look like they might be covered in blood, they play the hurt card until your close, then jet off with a broken, jerky flight a dozen or so feet out in front of you. Get close again, and they keep drawing you away from whatever it is they don't want you to find. ;) Clever little bastards. :P

Based on the ruckus last year every time I got near a throng of Killdeer, I'm sure they breed in Cherry Creek. I have not yet found any nests or chicks. Unlike the more common beaches where shorebirds are most often found breeding, Cherry Creek is FULL of hiding places, and finding baby birds is near impossible...even if you spot one, they skitter about and disappear into the brush without a trace, never to be seen again. Maybe this year I'll manage to glimpse some baby shorebirds.

Killdeer (Plover)
Cherry Creek State Park (Cottonwood Creek)
Colorado

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HankMD

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Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« Reply #5359 on: May 04, 2014, 02:18:49 AM »
Thanks Hank. Yours is a great shot. How do you manage to get so close, without scaring off the bird?

Thanks, Eldar. It helps A LOT that the Japanese White-eye is well-adapted to the urban park environment, and that the particular tree is right next to a walkway with people coming and going pretty much throughout the day. To them I was probably just another guy with a stick (monopod) standing next to a park bench...for a long time. My concern was less with disturbing the nest than attracting attention from passersby.
That explains it. The willow tit lives in the high mountain birch forrest and can live its entire life without being close to any human being, so they are easier scared off.

I have posted a couple on the BIF thread, but I am happy enough with them to also republish one here. The reason for chasing this little fellow was to get shots of just when it jumps off from the tree. When I bird jumps off, before it has retracted its legs, you can either get a very energetic take-off look or, in the other end of the scale, you get this hanging-in-the-air almost ballet like posture. This one is one of the latter. (The thing in its beacon is carved wood from the nest room his carving in the trunk, which he disposes of in safe distance from the tree).

It was very difficult to nail focus, because it is extremely fast. The 1DX AF never picked up the bird in the air, so I had to  get the bird´s jump off within the focal plane I had set. I think I shot about 200 take offs and I managed to get an app. 10% keeper rate from a focus perspective and about 25% of these had a good posture. To me this was exactly what I was looking for and the bokeh is amongst the best I have ever managed to get, so I was happy

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So the 1DX doesn't automatically focus and snap the shots while the photog yawns and scratches his back??  :o That should dissuade a few folks from upgrading ;) Seriously that's a great shot, the kind that makes it all worthwhile. I for one would love to try "behavioral camo" sometimes: pretending to be part of the environment, appearing uninterested in the subject, slowly moving close, etc.
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HankMD

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Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« Reply #5360 on: May 04, 2014, 02:39:14 AM »
Meadowlark

I was out checking Cherry Creek to see what kind of birds may have still been around. I kind of missed the first part of the migration this year, as the ducks moved through when it was still rather cold (and I've been just so sick of cold, as it's been quite cold here in Colorado since late September...long time). While hiking around one of the small wetland areas, I almost stepped on this little guy. Not sure what he was doing on the ground, or why he didn't move when I got close (extremely close). His fearlessness gave me a chance to back off, get a nice vantage point, and get some excellent shots.

He sang for me the entire time, too! Really love the meadowlark song, very musical.

(NOTE: No setup of any kind here...completely natural, by-chance setting.)

Male Meadowlark
Cherry Creek State Park
Colorado

Canon EOS 7D
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After some googling, I'd say this is the Western Meadowlark, which is more melodious than the eastern kind. Seems to spend most of its time on the ground; even the nest is just a shallow, ground-level bowl of grass, though a dome may be built over it.  The male will defend its territory vigorously -- but this one seemed calm in the face of a human.

Beautifully captured!
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Kerry B

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Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« Reply #5361 on: May 04, 2014, 02:44:54 AM »
Great shots jrista.
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Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« Reply #5361 on: May 04, 2014, 02:44:54 AM »

jrista

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Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« Reply #5362 on: May 04, 2014, 02:46:04 AM »
I for one would love to try "behavioral camo" sometimes: pretending to be part of the environment, appearing uninterested in the subject, slowly moving close, etc.

Or, instead of pretending...you could ACTUALLY become part of the environment! :P



Ghillie Suits FTW!

I am actually in the process of making one of these...I have an old super-cheap net and leaf camo suit that I'm tying frayed yarn strands into....greens, browns, tans. I'm also planning on tying in some of the dried grass straw from Cherry Creek and some of the other parks around that I photograph at. It's primarily to see if it helps me get some better shots of the Kingfishers, which are notoriously difficult birds to shoot...they get all uppity when I'm around, and will only fish when they actually see me leave. I figure, if I can sneak in like a literal bush, maybe they'll get down to business and start fishin in front of my lens! :D

jrista

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Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« Reply #5363 on: May 04, 2014, 02:51:03 AM »
Meadowlark

I was out checking Cherry Creek to see what kind of birds may have still been around. I kind of missed the first part of the migration this year, as the ducks moved through when it was still rather cold (and I've been just so sick of cold, as it's been quite cold here in Colorado since late September...long time). While hiking around one of the small wetland areas, I almost stepped on this little guy. Not sure what he was doing on the ground, or why he didn't move when I got close (extremely close). His fearlessness gave me a chance to back off, get a nice vantage point, and get some excellent shots.

He sang for me the entire time, too! Really love the meadowlark song, very musical.

(NOTE: No setup of any kind here...completely natural, by-chance setting.)

Male Meadowlark
Cherry Creek State Park
Colorado

Canon EOS 7D
Canon EF 600mm f/4 L II
Gitzo GT3532LS + Jobu Pro 2

After some googling, I'd say this is the Western Meadowlark, which is more melodious than the eastern kind. Seems to spend most of its time on the ground; even the nest is just a shallow, ground-level bowl of grass, though a dome may be built over it.  The male will defend its territory vigorously -- but this one seemed calm in the face of a human.

Beautifully captured!

Oh yes, definitely a western. We do get some eastern meadowlarks here, but the westerns definitely dominate. The eastern meadowlarks have a higher pitched and "thinner" song than the westerns, and it isn't quite as melodious.

Eldar

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Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« Reply #5364 on: May 04, 2014, 02:55:21 AM »
I for one would love to try "behavioral camo" sometimes: pretending to be part of the environment, appearing uninterested in the subject, slowly moving close, etc.

Or, instead of pretending...you could ACTUALLY become part of the environment! :P



Ghillie Suits FTW!

I am actually in the process of making one of these...I have an old super-cheap net and leaf camo suit that I'm tying frayed yarn strands into....greens, browns, tans. I'm also planning on tying in some of the dried grass straw from Cherry Creek and some of the other parks around that I photograph at. It's primarily to see if it helps me get some better shots of the Kingfishers, which are notoriously difficult birds to shoot...they get all uppity when I'm around, and will only fish when they actually see me leave. I figure, if I can sneak in like a literal bush, maybe they'll get down to business and start fishin in front of my lens! :D
If you get that suit, make sure you get someone to take a picture you can share with us:)
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jrista

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Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« Reply #5365 on: May 04, 2014, 02:58:33 AM »
I for one would love to try "behavioral camo" sometimes: pretending to be part of the environment, appearing uninterested in the subject, slowly moving close, etc.

Or, instead of pretending...you could ACTUALLY become part of the environment! :P



Ghillie Suits FTW!

I am actually in the process of making one of these...I have an old super-cheap net and leaf camo suit that I'm tying frayed yarn strands into....greens, browns, tans. I'm also planning on tying in some of the dried grass straw from Cherry Creek and some of the other parks around that I photograph at. It's primarily to see if it helps me get some better shots of the Kingfishers, which are notoriously difficult birds to shoot...they get all uppity when I'm around, and will only fish when they actually see me leave. I figure, if I can sneak in like a literal bush, maybe they'll get down to business and start fishin in front of my lens! :D
If you get that suit, make sure you get someone to take a picture you can share with us:)

Indeed! For a really good ghillie suit, you usually have to make them. The simplest way is to just take some burlap, cut it up and sew it into a basic poncho and chaps. The big threads of the burlap make it easy to tie frayed yarn and/or shredded strips of fabric to. If my attempt to use my net suit doesn't work, I have some burlap that I was using as a backdrop in my yard to cover the slatted nature of my fence (my fence makes for a really crappy background in my bird photos). I have like four sheets of this camo burlap which I think will make an ideal base for a ghillie suit.

jrista

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Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« Reply #5366 on: May 04, 2014, 03:04:44 AM »
Blue-Winged Teal Headshot

Another headshot. This time of a blue-winged teal. Really just love the mottled golden feathers these beauties have. This shot came out a bit darker than the rest, but the angle of the light on it's head just brought out the iridescent feathers and it's eye so much better.

This is one of those shots that brings out the worst of the 7D. It's a moderately heavy crop, definitely not the heaviest by a long shot, but heavier than I generally prefer. It's sharp, but it's also noisy. That's especially evident in the background...I even used a 0.8 radius for sharpening in LR (which helps reduce the graininess of noise), and the OOF background is still too noisy. I wasn't exactly reach limited here (the bird was quite large in the frame overall, this is a heavier crop for the head), so a full-frame camera with a 1.4x TC would have done a lot better...more total light, bigger pixels, more DR...so less noise. Really can't wait to get my hands on a 5D III.

Blue-Winged Teal, Male
Cottonwood Creek Wetland
Colorado

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« Last Edit: May 04, 2014, 03:07:49 AM by jrista »

Mr Bean

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Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« Reply #5367 on: May 04, 2014, 08:49:25 AM »
Eastern Spinebill. Winter approaches. The Correas are in flower and the spinebills are back :)

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Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« Reply #5367 on: May 04, 2014, 08:49:25 AM »

Eldar

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Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« Reply #5368 on: May 04, 2014, 10:09:12 AM »
Nuthatch, walking down a thick branch.
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AlanF

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Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« Reply #5369 on: May 04, 2014, 03:30:19 PM »
Chaffinch's afternoon snack. 5DIII, 300mm f/2.8 II + 2xTC III, f/5.6 iso 640 1/1600. 100% crop.
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Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« Reply #5369 on: May 04, 2014, 03:30:19 PM »