Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Clapper Rail gets the Worm

NIkon D300s 300 f4 + 1.7x TC, f/6.7, 1/50s, ISO 1250, -.67 Exposure Compensation
I'm starting to get a little tired of looking at this Short-Eared Owl and not finding it (it was seen again today along Dune Rd.) but each time I take a trip I happen upon something of interest (Merlin drying off, Cooper's Hawk trying to stay warm) and today was not an exception.  A Clapper Rail (a species which has been reported sparingly along Dune Rd. in recent weeks) was out in the open hunting for food in the cold, rainy afternoon.  Photography wasn't a great option because the lighting was so bad and Clapper Rails don't do a lot of standing in one place, so I thought I'd try a little video clip and got lucky when it caught this clam worm.  Enjoy.

While I was patiently watching the Rail I noticed this Greater Yellow Legs a short distance away working the same stretch of water.  Though it's not unheard of to find a GYL at this time of year, it is a bit surprising.
Nikon D300s 300 f4 + 1.7X TC, f/6.7, 1/80s, ISO 1250, -.67 Exposure Compensation
You can probably see that the quality of these two images is not up to my normal standards.  Given the severe lack of lighting, and the combination of my 300 f4 lens and a 1.7X TC (magnifier), the maximum aperture (f-stop) I could use was f/6.7 which limits my shutter speed.  If I had a 500mm f4 lens for example, these exact same images could have been taken at a shutter speed 2 "stops" faster (approximately 1/320s or so) which would have resulted in a sharper image.  Or, I could have kept my 1/80s shutter speed and used a lower ISO (around 640) which would have produced a more detailed (and less noisy) image.  But alas, I don't own a $7,000 lens so I had to settle for lower quality images!

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