Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Last Padre Outing

Lorna's sister Anita and her husband John have been staying on South Padre Island the past month so we have visited the Birding Center more often than in the past. We went down yesterday for a last visit. While Lorna and Nita did sister things I went birding.

Earlier this season I bought a new camera body, a Nikon D5500, which is described in reviews as "entry level". That may be, but it's entry level is definitely higher than the camera it replaces and it was reasonably priced as it has been officially obsoleted by the D5600. I have a 55-300m zoom, decent for close to medium distance shots, but it cannot reach way out so sometimes I have to crop the hell out of distant shots and the quality is compromised. All that said, it is light enough to be easily carried.

Some of my earlier shots were noisy so I have been playing around with settings. As a result I am using aperture priority at about F16 for stationary or slow moving shots, and shutter priority at 1/1000 sec or more for flying shots. Ideally I would change the focus and metering mode for each situation, but there is rarely time, and I am NOT a photographer, so I have come up with compromise settings which work - sort of. :-)

There are a pair of ospreys at the center, sometimes they fly over, usually they don't. Today they did. These are 6 foot pictures, they look okay from 6 feet away, much closer and they get a little fuzzy.

Green Heron
Bufflehead (f.) and Mottled Duck (m.), just to show size variation in duck species.
Lorna being helped by a Great-tailed Grackle
Long-billed Curlew

 - Gunnar


Redwing said...

Thanks for the info about aperture and shutter speed settings. I may try that as well. Love that Curlew photo. And the Green Heron looks like it's a foot or two away. Skimmers are just the most amazing birds aren't they? Well, I've always enjoyed South Padre outings, though I think because of the distance I often opt for Estero and Santa Ana.

Gunnar Berg said...

I am not certain how much the camera blah, blah will help you, you are better than I am anyway. All camera/lens combos seem to need individual tweaking, but at least you know where I am coming from - trying to control aperture for most shots, and sacrificing it for fast moving shots. And setting up the camera to let those Japanese photo engineers do as much as I am able.

I have tried shooting RAW, but it slows down the burst shots and it can fill the buffer. I understand there are faster SIM cards, but really, who gives a shit? It isn't as if I am doing anything with them other than sharing them to a few people on a little blog. And if I get too many I need to spend time sorting photos.