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Author Topic: Backyard Birding  (Read 4619 times)


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Backyard Birding
« on: May 10, 2013, 05:21:49 PM »
Hello All,

I recently purchased an 70-200 F/4L IS and have been itching to get out to a local conservation area to try it out. It's been busy recently, but I managed to steal a few hours this past weekend to hang-out in my backyard. I learned a number of lessons (I'm still a rookie) as follows:

1) I now know why wildlife photographers like the super telephoto lenses, 200mm (320 equivalent) is not very good for such small objects such as birds.

2) It's not easy to capture birds in flight. My T3i doesn't have the best auto-focus, but I'm sure the misses related to the 12 inches behind the camera! Hats off to those who manage to get those in-flight shots.

3) Most importantly, it is quite amazing what you can see just in your backyard. No matter where you are, there is always something interesting to capture.

Samples below:

I let the ISO get a bit too high on this one...

A couple of others can be found:

Even though the photos are quite heavily cropped, I still think the images held together ok.

70D | 70-200 F4L IS | 24-105 F4L | 50 F1.4 | 10-22 | 1.4x III | 430EX II

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Backyard Birding
« on: May 10, 2013, 05:21:49 PM »


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Re: Backyard Birding
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2013, 09:00:57 PM »
Hello PhotoConceptsDT,

The 70 200 f4L IS is a great lens. Nice pictures .... and Welcome to cr  :)


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Re: Backyard Birding
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2013, 11:00:01 PM »
Welcome to the road to financial ruin. I too started with t3i, then the 7D, then the 5dIII and now I collect lens.  Backyard is the favorite place to go, its close, you have easy access, and you can do it day or night.  Use a feeder to help practice with, and a bird bath.  I live in So. Cal. and in summer the bird bath really attracts the critters setting you up for some great shots.  It also gives the birds water which in area is welcome.
5DIII; 600D; 7D; 100-400mm, f4.5-5.6; EFS-18-135, f3.5-5.6; 100mm, f2.8 IS; 70-200mm, F4 L IS; 17-40mm, f4 L USM; Sigma 50 mm, f2.8.

Don Haines

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Re: Backyard Birding
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2013, 11:40:24 PM »
Lovely shots.

Before you head down the birder's path to finacial ruin.... may I suggest the most important peices of gear for backyard bird photography?

#1 - a couple handfulls of sunflower seeds... birds, animals, even people can be bribed/trained/attracted with food.

#2 - a comfortable chair / good book / glass of whatever. Small birds are scared of big things moving around. They can get used to a quiet slow moving person in a chair.

#3 - portable blind... gives you shade and more freedom to move before scaring the birds away.

It's a lot easier to afford than a 600mm lens....
The best camera is the one in your hands


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Re: Backyard Birding
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2013, 07:07:46 AM »
Thank you all for the suggestions. I need to keep off any more purchases of photography related equipment for a bit. My kit is respectable for now with the following:

50 mm F1.4
24-105 F4L
70-200 F4L IS
430 EXII
Some filters etc.

Anything else, and I risk paying lawyers a ton of money  :P

I plan to get out to a local conservation area in the early morning next weekend, who knows what I'll find.

Now, if Neuro is willing to loan out some of his gear...
« Last Edit: May 11, 2013, 07:32:39 AM by PhotoConceptsDT »
70D | 70-200 F4L IS | 24-105 F4L | 50 F1.4 | 10-22 | 1.4x III | 430EX II


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Re: Backyard Birding
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2013, 10:55:53 AM »
PhotoConceptsDT, I like the blue jay!

Don gives some good advice.

I've taken plenty of great bird pictures with my 70-200 (it's not even an IS...a feature seldom used for birding), even on the full frame body.  Not every bird shot needs to fill the frame with the bird.  Think about how to portray it interacting with its environment.  And I doubt you would be capturing any small birds in flight with a 600mm lens, especially within the even narrower field of view of a crop body.  They are so fast it's difficult to follow them, even at 400mm, hand held...or at least it is for me.  The 600mm is for stationary small birds, or else larger birds in flight at greater distance.

I've taken some interesting bird in flight pictures with just an 85mm f/1.4 lens, in very dim light.  Of course I was within 15 to 30 feet of the bird.

One of my favorite shots lately, that I have yet to tweak on, was a flock of robins, shot from hundreds of feet distance, with the 70-200.  They were all on the ground in relatively low grass, which still had brown patches because it was very early spring.  The brown patches added some depth and texture, though.  I was also enjoying the fact that a ways behind them, was a group of wild turkeys...so I was able to take it all in, zoomed to around 200mm, on a full frame camera.  Then all the robins suddenly took flight at once, so they make a line of flying small birds, in front of the group of turkeys, in one of the shots.  There might have been an interesting shot in there with a 600mm lens, but it would have cut out most of the turkeys and robins, only zeroing in on maybe 6 robins and 1 or 2 of the turkeys.  Even if that shot turned out great...it would not be $10,000 "greater"...

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Re: Backyard Birding
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2013, 10:55:53 AM »


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Re: Backyard Birding
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2013, 09:59:53 AM »
Even though the last picture had the ISO cranked too high, it's still a nice shot.  Blue jays are just so beautiful that it's almost hard to get a bad shot of them.  The noise is almost unnoticeable if the picture isn't blown up too much.
5D Mark II | 70-200 f/4L IS USM | 50mm f/1.8 II | Yongnuo 560 II

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Re: Backyard Birding
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2013, 09:59:53 AM »