Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bonus Blog Post!

Well today I got to work early and didn't see the Red-Tailed Hawk perched which was a little disappointing.  I parked and started to walk toward the building (sans camera) and heard a bird calling (sounded like a sparrow) so I looked around the in the trees near me and didn't find the source, then I looked back toward the building and there was the Red-Tailed Hawk overlooking the front lawn for a meal.  Snapped off some photos but when I looked down to change my file settings on the camera (wanted to shoot RAW + JPEG so I could load the JPEGs on the work computer) it took off and I was unable to get any (usable) flight shots.  What's interesting about this Red-Tailed Hawk is that it has only recently shown up (at least as far as I'm aware).  There was a Red-Tailed Hawk that had been regularly seen at Town Hall for a long time (often times perched on the ledge or chasing birds in the back) which unfortunately was killed when it collided with the on-site windmill back in Spring of 2009.  It seems as though a new Red-Tailed Hawk has "moved in" to take its place.

Female Kingfisher
I was able to get down to Dune Rd. with a little light remaining (though the skies were turning overcast, severely disrupting my light!) and spotted a Belted Kingfisher in its usual powerline perch.  I've never been unable to resist a shot at a Kingfisher, especially at this distance, but the results were lackluster (compared to what I have with the bird on the same perch).  When I turned around to leave the Kingfisher came off its perch flew West a bit then cut across the road and perched in a pine tree, right next to the road.  This was extremely fortunate as I am never able to get Kingfisher shots on natural perches and certainly not at this short distance.  But the light was now extremely poor and I only dared crank my ISO up so high.  I grabbed a vest I had on the passengers seat and placed it on window sill and rested the camera on this, essentially making a "bean bag" to shoot off which would stabilize the lens and compensate for the SLOOOW shutter speed.  Normally I don't take photos under 1/250s with this lens because the shake produced from holding it and pressing the shutter results in an unsharp photo.  But, with the lens stabilized a bit I was able to take it down to 1/60s to get proper exposure and drop the ISO down to 800, thus improving the quality of the photo.  Certainly not something you'd hang on the wall, but my best "natural" photo of this bird.

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