Nikon D300, Nikkor AF-S 300/2.8 plus TC20E III (2x), ISO 1600, 1/60th second at f/5.6, tripod
When I lived in NJ so many years ago as an active birder I used to think of Warbling Vireo as the species whose best field mark was the lack of any field mark - Warbling Vireo in NJ is a very plain gray bird. So I was surprised when I met the western form here in AZ – a bird with colors and patterns more like the Red-eyed Vireo of the eastern US than the plain species I thought I knew well.
Nikon D300, Nikkor AF-S 300/2.8 plus TC20E III (2x), ISO 800, 1/250th second at f/8, tripod
These photos were taken at Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Superior, AZ, on the morning of September 18, 2012 at two locations in the Demonstration Garden just off the lower “picnic” parking lot. There are two water features in the Demo Garden that are magnets for desert birds. One of these is a short slow “stream” that begins at a small stack of stones against a short wall, and this is usually the better (and harder) place to shoot. Light is difficult, coming over the wall early in the day making backlit conditions for many of the shots. It is also quite dark here because of the low shrubs clustered by the water and wall. The top image is from this spot – note the high ISO of 1600 and the low shutter speed of 1/60th second even with the lens wide open at f/5.6. I would never have managed to get this image in the days of film where going to ISO 400 was rare as it took a big toll on image quality.
The second image was taken at the water “bowl” a little farther west in the Demo Garden. This is a more open location with much better light. But the flowers growing near the bowl (and it’s obvious manmade appearance) make it less desirable for my photography. THe more abundant light can be deduced from the shooting data: IDSO 800, 1/250th second at f/8.
Nikon D300, Nikkor AF-S 300/2.8 plus TC20E III (2x), ISO 1600, 1/80th second at f/5.6, tripod
The final image was taken at the same location as the first shot with very similar shooting parameters. I’ve had to crop the mage a bit more to eliminate other branches that distracted from the composition. But I like the resulting image with the nuthatch-like posture of the vireo as it works its way down the angled branch.