Sunday, November 8, 2009

F70EXR Captures Birds in Flight

Birds in flight is a specialty of large numbers of shooters out there ... and I've seen some stunning images. There is nothing quite as breathtaking as a Snowy Owl coming in for a landing in bright sunlight or a pair of Eagles clashing or pretty much any hawk taking prey ...

But then there is the rather pedestrian stuff that us non-specialists get while, well, fucking around you might say :-)

When I first got my dSLR, the D70s (now in good hands with a friend of my son's who is studying journalism), I dabbled a bit with shooting birds. One of my favorites from back then is this shot of a Canada Goose (a.k.a. Shit Machine) taking off. Truth be told, he was trying to get away from me, since this was the only way I could think of to get him to take off ...


I later captured geese and ducks in actual flight several times. This was most satisfying since I was shooting a consumer camera with a very slow consumer lens (Sigma 18-200 1st generation mega-zoom) ...




Ok ... mundane, but fun. Now dial forward four years and I don't shoot birds in flight regularly ... in fact I have not shot BIF for years. But this evening I was outside draining the pool and there were a lot of gulls and geese flying overhead on their way somewhere. They were, in fact, flying north ... so I believe that they were searching for fields to stock up on stubble before the big migration southwards, which will start very soon.

Anyway ... since they were crossing not too far from my yard, I was able to get some rather nice shots of the very late sun (30 minutes before sunset) blasting of their feathers. And since I had the F70EXR with me, I was able to test the stabilization (I was panning) and the dynamic range in one go ...

My first few shots were kind of far away ... and it took me a while to figure out how to even see a small bird on the LCD when the cam was not yet focused to infinity. I eventually figured out to focus on something a long way away and then move from a large object to the birds in a maneuver that resembles star-hopping ...

This one is a 100% crop of an image where the gull (a.k.a. Shit Hawk) was rather tiny. Note, though, that it is reasonably coherent for a bird that far away ...


I panned for this shot as they passed behind some neighborhood trees ...


This one was facing west (previous two faced east) ...


And then things started to cook ... the birds flew directly over the house several times ... and I was able to get some very satisfying images (remember ... this is a $250 compact camera :-) ...



And finally, I was able to pan with a plane taking off ... this is again a 100% crop ...


Now that's a very coherent image for a 100% crop of an image shot at full zoom while panning ... if you are wondering what the heck that is, it's this ...


A Bombardier Q400, which Porter Airlines uses to fly around Ontario.

3 comments:

Lili said...

Impressive! I have used my S6000 at full zoom for similar shots;
http://www.flickr.com/photos/colette_noir/3883189471/sizes/l/in/set-72157621649231877/
But the lack of IS really hurts it there, your are crisper.
How much post processing did you do, Kim?

crazy football mom said...

I like the 'V' formation...

Kim Letkeman said...

Thanks Lili, thanks Gaye. I like the V as well ... Lili, I processed these quite heavily. They aren;t bad at all straight from the cam, but I like a certain look these days, so I hit them with everything ... ACR, threshold glow, screen blend glow, clarify ... that sort of thing.