Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

November 25, 2009

Too Close Mockingbird

Filed under: Birds, composition, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch — richditch @ 9:17 pm
Northern Mockingbird at Gilbert Water Ranch

Northern Mockingbird at Gilbert Water Ranch

My preferred style is birds in habitat, and I mostly shoot “loose” with lots of room around my subjects to show the setting. This is a way of working that became ingrained in the days of film when I worked with a 400/5.6 lens, often coupled with a matched 1.4x converter. That style has carried over into my digital days where I have a lot more optical power: a 300/2.8 with a 2x on a “cropped” sensor that makes my current optic equivalent to 900mm in my film days.

But sometimes the birds won’t cooperate and stay away, like with this Northern Mockingbird at the Gilbert Water Ranch on November 19, 2009.  I was walking with another photographer when we came around a bush along the trail only to find this bird at point-blank range picking buds from this shrub. I just set the tripod down and started shooting, and got off a few frames before the action was over. My Nikon D200 was set at ISO 400, matrix meter with -1/3rd stop exposure compensation dialed in, aperture mode at f/8. The meter gave me 1/60th second with the existing light – almost enough to stop the motion of the head in this image.

Its definitely not my typical style and I’d prefer less magnification here so I could have included the entire bird, but I still like the image for the immediacy this tight framing gives the image.

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