Thursday, December 30, 2010

D700 – A walk in the woods …

This is actually the same walk in the woods as I posted yesterday from the perspective of the F300EXR. I went there to walk the loop and to see how many Chickadees I could photograph in the waning light.

It was a sunny afternoon, but as my luck always falls it turned cloudy literally as I was driving there. By the time I arrived, we were socked in. The late time also made for some fairly low light. I shot the F300EXR at 400 ISO as much as possible, but it suffered from blur too often and I eventually tried higher ISOs. You can look at that post to see how well it went.

The D7000 has few issues with high ISO, so I shot at 2500 through 4000 most of the time. I shot 14bit RAW as well, and processed everything through ACR6.3 and CS5. I use Topaz Denoise quite a bit, and I use Topaz Adjust to pull detail on many of the Chickadee shots. I used Topaz InFocus a few times to help improve sharpness or the original capture.

The very first Chickadee I tried to shoot took off as I pressed the shutter. I happen to love the look of flying birds with slow shutter, so this one actually pleases me a great deal. But at 800 ISO, I knew I was going to get some blur.


This is still within 100 feet of the cars, as that is where the people often congregate with their kids to drop the seeds to attract a bunch of birds. The kids often hold seeds in their hands, hoping for the birds to lite. I published a fun group of images of birds doing exactly that last winter.

Anyway, I tried 1600 ISO next. The result was fine. But I was still in relatively open space and it was still somewhat bright out.


I decided to bump my aperture from f/8 to f/11, which is the sweet spot for the 70-300VR at 300mm. This necessitated a bump of ISO to 2500 to maintain decent shutter speeds.


Not sure why that fellow is whipping around like that, but I like the pose. I caught the next one below me, just launching himself from the ground …


This one is just looking at me in what I have come to think of as their “plump pose” … I can get both eyes in the image, which is kind of cool …


This shot is a bit unique in that we see the legs extended a bit. He looks like he is walking on stilts. The presence of the leaf and the impression in the snow add interest.


Here’s one channeling Superman or Batman … faster than a speeding bullet:


And when the Chickadees left for a while, I continued on my walk. The woods and weather are a bit dull today, but it’s still a pretty area.


This trail has a lot of fallen trees. It is not called Beaver Trail accidentally.


I noticed a pair of nests high in the trees … there are Hawks around here, and I saw a pair flying around, but they did not come to clear air at any point, so I never got a shot.


More evidence of the trail’s name sake.


A knot.


Another fallen branch … itself branched. Y? I don’t know.


A huge log with many short branches spiking from it.


I arrive at the swamp and succumb to the need to try to capture the bull rush field. I showed that in the F300EXR article as well. It’s not easy to get a decent image that tames the extremely busy foreground and background.


Can’t say that I succeeded here. One day. But I do love bark of all kinds, and here is a nice shot of Birch Bark.


And a bull rush isolation shot.


Some shrooms that are toughing out the winter attached to a tree.


Near the Beaver Swamp, there were seeds scattered and more Chickadees. The first one again gave me an interesting shot … the takeoff building but not really started:


Another one just sitting, contemplating the seed he has taken I suppose.


This one took off and the head seems to have folded over. No idea whether that is normal or whether it is simply a trick of the slow motion blur. It’s cool though, as the legs are clearly trailing with the tail.


I walked up onto the lookout over the lake and captured the Beaver Dam with both cameras. If you read the previous article, you’ve already seen it. But here are a couple of shots from the D700.


I walked on and entered the meadow, where the big tree stands. I shot a wide image of it with the F300EXR, published yesterday. Today, I show what it looks like at 70mm, the widest the D700 can go with this lens.


I stop later to shoot some cool branches, which you again saw in the last article. Here, I take a different interpretation with the help of Topaz Adjust and its pseudo HDR look.



I am now about 100 feet from the Wild Bird Center, which is about 100 feet from the parking area and what do I see? A couple of deer crossing the path in front of me. This is the very first time I’ve seen this and I’ve walked these trails since the kids were young (20 years) … but, by now it is dark and perhaps that is the trick as they start to move around a bit.

Anyway, I grabbed one shot of them before they vanished into the dense trees.


I walked to where they had crossed and peered into the woods for 10 minutes but saw nothing more of them.

I passed the Wild Bird Center and arrived back at the area where the Chickadees congregate for seeds and tried my hand at shooting them in the dark. Two blurry shots is all I could get. But they are both interesting. (I shot others but they were a total mess.)

First, a strange image of a launch straight up …. looks like retro-rockets pushing this bird into the air:


That one is aided by the leaf behind the bird … gives the apparition some shape and color.

The last image is a Chickadee eating a seed. Very cool as you can clearly see that he has pinned the seed to the branch with one toe on each claw and then is pecking at it to eat the seed slowly. It takes a minute or two to finish a seed for them.


And that’s it. Challenging because of the poor light, but a nice place to walk and look around.

One last thing … I mentioned Topaz InFocus a couple of times. I’ve posted an example of it previously, but it worked so well on another image in this group that I thought it worth posting a pair of crops.


Not too shabby … it was certainly worth the intro price they had … I hope you took advantage when I posted it (DPReview posted it the next day as well.)

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