Backlog of birds

All kinds of things going on here, including wood harvesting, bad weather, and an utterly useless national election that wasted a huge amount of money for no reason whatsoever.

Not much photography though, for the reasons previously explained.

Here are some bird pictures left over from when I could take pictures.

Common Loon.
Song sparrow.
Downy woodpecker.

Above taken with the Nikon P610.

Gray jay aka whiskey jack.

Taken with the Pentax K100D.

Black-capped chickadee.

Taken with the Lumix ZS60, believe it or not.

Another song sparrow.

Taken with the Olympus E410.

Once again, I am cheated out of the ability to add to or subtract from my equipment stocks. I thought of buying a proper adaptor for the one FD mount lens I have, but I paid <$30 for the lens (with shipping) and can’t justify paying >$30 for the adaptor. It just doesn’t make sense.

It also doesn’t make sense that ego-Bay keeps sending me e-mails about items I’ve looked at when I can’t even sign in to delete the account. Talk about intractable stupidity!

 

1Ds with 28mm

The weather has gone lousy again so it looks like photo shoots stop for a while. Of course it could all turn around tomorrow: it does that at this time of year. Still not clear enough to go to the cabin, but maybe next week? We’ll see.

In the meantime I took a few shots with the 28mm f3.5 Super Takumar on the Canon 1Ds. This is not my favourite lens for this camera. It works fine and is plenty sharp of course, but it doesn’t ‘fit’ right in terms of taking pictures. In fact the lens-body combinations that work best (to my eye) are the 50mm on the full-frame 1Ds, the 35mm on the Pentax K100s, and the 28mm on the Canon T100 (the last two are APS-C sensors with 1.5 and 1.6 crop factors respectively). Not really a surprise as that’s as close to ‘normal’ lens/body combinations as you can get with these equipment choices.

So let’s see the pictures.

Dead rose hips. Square format for purposes of composition.
Hat tree chain saw carving made by my friend Lorne. Remember digital doesn’t have to have rigid dimensions.
Detail of the carving showing the woodpecker peeking out.
Marley napping. This is a segment of full-frame to see how well it stands up to magnification. Okay.
Winter colour. The tones of this camera are subtle.
Sit, Marley! Checking the dynamic range which is good.

A quick on-line check shows the shutter count on this camera is less than 31,000 – which means it will probably outlast me since they are supposedly good to 150k.

I have yet to try this out on night photography due to lack of weather co-operation. We have already got to the point where you have to stay up ’til 10:00 PM to get a truly dark sky, and that will get worse as we near the Summer solstice and get almost 16 hours of daylight!

There are only two things I don’t like about this camera. The first is the weight, which is enough to relegate it to studio-only work. I can’t imagine even a young photographer gaily toting this 3.5 lbs. body plus lenses over hill and dale. Sure, I’ve handled heavier cameras but that was when there was no choice. It makes me wonder if this wasn’t the driving force behind mirrorless design; all for the sake of weight!

The second issue is the controls are pretty badly thought-out. Many of the most-used items (like ISO) are stupidly complex to operate or are in dumb locations. That big turning wheel on the back for selection is absolutely moronic: four simple arrow buttons like everyone else uses would be infinitely better. The major selections for operation are again stupidly done, where a simple PASM dial would be welcome. Even the ON/OFF switch is poorly located. I think no photographer was involved in the design. For my purposes this isn’t a major issue because I usually “set and forget” things in advance – a particular camera has a particular job and doesn’t get altered from the best settings for that job. The exception to this is the ‘experiment’ camera (Canon T100) which suffers all sorts of changes depending on the experiment of the time.

Otherwise I like the larger sensor size for giving exactly what was expected of it. I don’t see it as the miracle solution for bad photography it is often subliminally touted as – by the same people who think more megapixels cures the same problem. I still haven’t tried it for astro or landscape really, and that’s what I really want to do with it. I don’t think I’ll be buying any more lenses for it specifically, other than in so much as the T100 also takes EF lenses.

Time will tell.

6 with the 35

Struggling to find anything like light around here lately, but at least I did clean the sensor on the Canon 1Ds! These were taken with that camera on manual, using the 35mm f2 Super Takumar.

Camera Decision says this camera is no good for landscapes. I disagree.
First shot was looking West down my road, this one is looking East.

Okay the landscapes themselves aren’t very good pictures, but there’s nothing wrong with how the camera captures them.

Big rock in my front yard. You can do a lot of photos with this rock.
Berry close up. That lens is very sharp, like the other two Takumars I have are.

That’s a segment of the full-size image of the berry, by the way. So much for the “11MP is very low resolution” crowd.

A section across the road. The colours from this camera are not the rich, saturated tones of the T100 but I like them anyway. Very realistic.
Subtle, moody shades. More artistic than what I usually shoot.

Next for this camera I will try the 28mm f3.5 Super Takumar. I am debating buying additional lenses for this camera because I’ve come across a deal on a couple, and I find I like the camera fairly much – aside from the absolutely idiotic controls arrangement. No photographer was consulted on the layout of them, obviously.

I will be ordering a larger CF card because this “ten picture limit” is driving me nuts. I can’t really go out in the field and shoot a “whole roll of film” because of the storage limitations.

Not possible to get out to the cabin yet as snow and ice is still all around and keeps coming back. I have q few pictures taken with the Nikon P610 to share, and a photo shoot ‘job’ to do this week. Who knows; maybe the sun will shine long enough to capture it.

Around the yard with the Nikon P610

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Thunderstorm threat

I’m told the weather is about to change from very hot to much cooler and rainy. I guess it figured out I was home and wanted to do that shed roof. Anyway, before it does I took some time to take some pictures. Nothing much; just getting back into it.

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Chipping sparrow

For some reason this little fellow got over 50 likes when I posted it in a bird group. It’s not even a good picture, frankly. But he is a cute little bird.

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It’s called a dark-eyed junco

With good reason. Note the detail in the feathers! This is a 640×480 crop of the full-size image taken at the P610’s maximum telephoto length of 1440mm equivalent.

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Get into yellow

Any more pollen on him and he’ll be yellow itself. Or maybe bee yellow.

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Berry good picture

I cropped this square to eliminate some overhead power lines that intruded. It changes the composition from the original, but it still ‘works’.

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Gossamer wings

There are many of these little helicopter bugs hovering around right now. I hope they are eating all the mosquitoes! I took several different shots of them, and liked this one the best.

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Devil’s flower

As in; I had a devil of a time getting this photo. The Nikon had fits trying to focus on this, without even any wind blowing. I changed zoom length, switched between normal and close-up AF, shot about three frames, and did not shoot about eight with ‘false’ focus lock. The camera is having problems.

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Bumble bee happy

Again multiple shots, this was the best, and it’s not very good. In all I took fourteen images on this jaunt (a simple “once around the yard”), only seven of which are any good at all. That’s a 50 percent failure rate. Most of the time it was the camera not focusing or saying it was in focus but the image was blurred afterwards. I rely on autofocus because my eyesight isn’t that good, and yet many times I could see the green ‘in focus’ square showing on what was a very obviously blurred image so I didn’t press the button.

But that’s not the worst of it. The ol’ Nikon developed a new problem on this shoot: at one point it failed to zoom. The controls just did nothing and I had to turn it off and on again. It’s bad enough the sensor contrast is going down, the EVF is getting dim, the focus lock is nearly random, and the battery doesn’t last long anymore. If it won’t zoom … well that’s the best thing about the camera; the incredible range and sharpness of the lens. Yes it’s several years old and has taken thousands of pictures. That doesn’t make me feel any better about it failing. Quite the opposite in fact.

There’s nothing else like it available now. The replacement versions are “over-the-top” in design and price. Especially price. When the P610 quits my photography will change as I adapt to using the Canon T100 for everything. I’d better get practicing with it I guess.

Here in nowhere

Out at the cabin, presumably to stay for a few days. But the weather forecast changed instantly and is still inaccurate, plus so far things haven’t been going well.

So let’s ignore that and look at a couple of pictures I snapped through the (dirty) windshield with the Nikon on the way out.

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SPROING!
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Why I like telephoto lenses

We’ll see what else turns up. Or down.

Water birds

Just when I was thinking I would run out of subjects …

On a necessary trip to the transfer station I passed by the over-flowing Bridge Creek, which was being enjoyed by a few visitors.

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Canadian Geese
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They are exempt from social distancing
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Common Merganser, which is uncommon around here
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Post-shoot zoom-in
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Bufflehead – no, really; that’s what it’s called
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Digital zoom-in

Fortunately I had the Nikon with me as the ‘single bird’ shots are at full focal length – 1440mm. The Canon’s 250mm would not have caught much detail as the birds were a long ways off. That is the one disadvantage of that camera: there is no way to get that kind of focal length without spending huge money and getting a lens normally associated with astronomical research. This is where the ultra-small 1/2.3 sensor shines. (If there had been sun the pictures would have been much better.)

Migration

It was a magical moment.

I was out walking the dogs around the yard, and carrying the Canon with the 55-250mm lens in case I saw a bird in a tree or similar.

Suddenly I heard the sounds. I started shooting. In a few minutes they were gone. If I’d had the Nikon I could have got closer views, but that’s fate.

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There’s no selecting here; these are the shots as I fired them off while tracking the birds across the dull gray sky. The artistry is in the chaotic patterns they make in their purposeful journey. The one shot through the trees is surreal, as it looks like the birds were superimposed on the branches. The whole experience was a little surreal, to tell the truth. I’ve never seen such a mass migration pattern before, and probably never will again.

Oh yes; they’re snow geese, over 300 of them, making their way to the Great White North for the Summer.

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1:1 segment from the first picture

 

Back to birds

Some of the wildlife spotted in my yard recently.

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Dark-eyed Junco
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Oregon Junco

 

 

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Merlin (Falco columbarius), rarest bird I’ve seen here
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Magic anti-gravity bird

The last one is a bit of fun: I just happened to snap the shutter when the bird’s wings were in, making it appear to hover above the branches. I haven’t been able to get a clear shot of this one yet to identify it: always too far and in bad light to get decent colour. There are two of them that like to visit this particular pine tree.

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The pair of unknowns
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Silhouette of the mystery bird (very distant image)

Maybe one day the sun will shine when I’m out with the Nikon and these birds will be properly lit.

Exercising the Nikon P610

Every camera needs to be picked up and used now and again. It’s just good practice. In the case of this particular one, it also means I get a selection of good shots without even trying hard. No having to¬† post-process to make up for bad exposure here! Truly a fine piece of machinery.

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Cloud Stream
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The sunlight is over there
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Raven in the Aspen
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That is Venus
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Raven silhouette
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Frozen in ice