Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

March 20, 2011

Cooperative Verdin

Filed under: Birds, comparisons, composition, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch — richditch @ 1:13 pm


Nikon D200, 300/2.8 AF-S with TC20E (2x), 03/18/2011, ISO 400, 1/1250th second at f/8, tripod, aperture priority spot meter, 56% of full frame

Although a common and easily found species here in the desert southwest Verdins are a challenge to photograph becasue they are so small and so hyperactive. At 4.5 inches it is not much larger than a Ruby-crowned Kinglet (4.25 inches).

When I get an opprtunity to photograph one that holds still in clear view I take it and worry about composition later. I was glad to encounter this bird a couple mornings ago at the Gilbert Water Ranch as I was finishing for the day. I made a small move to get a clear view and got off six shots before it moved on.

I would have preferred leaving more space on the left but a thick branch cuts across the lower left corner just beyond the place I cropped, and that required a similar crop from the right for balance. I try not to crop this much as cropping takes a big penalty in overall image quality, making any imperfections or slightly missed focus and any noise in the image more apparent. If you can nail the focus and exposure then you can get away with more extensive cropping but I don’t advise relying on it in general.



Shooting data the same as for the top image. Crop is 65% of full frame.

This is a more traditional composition, with proportions closer to the golden rectangle and with more open space on the side where the subject is looking. I like both of these compositions but I think the head turn in the first makes it a bit more dynamic than the second. Also the feathers by the eye and base of the bill look in better condition than in the second image.



  1. Lovely both, but I tend to favor the first image over the second for the reasons you’ve mentioned. And the crop in the first image works very well, IMHO. Nice post Rich, thanks for sharing your image and your insight.

    Comment by Chuck Gangas — March 20, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

  2. I miss those little Verdin. I just love that yellow face and rusty patch on the shoulder. Nice photos Rich!

    Comment by Robert Mortensen — March 20, 2011 @ 6:20 pm

  3. Gorgeous pictures 🙂

    Comment by bardiac — March 21, 2011 @ 4:40 pm

  4. Very nice! I can’t catch them sitting still for two seconds to save my life. It did force me to shoot from a distance and crop wider, though, which I ended up liking. Gorgeous clear shots here.

    Comment by Kimberly Hosey (Arizona Writer) — March 24, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: