Can’t Get Any Work Done With Birds on my Laptop
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Don't Mind Us just give us some worms ( Carolina Wren and a Chipping Sparrow ) -- Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 23 mm — 1/800 sec, f/3.2, ISO 4500 — map & image datanearby photos
Don't Mind Us
just give us some worms
( Carolina Wren and a Chipping Sparrow )

Anthony and his cousin Josh were playing in a light rain, so I sat out on the veranda to watch them and get some work done, but the birds would have none of it. As I wrote last year, the birds at my folks' place have trained us to feed them waxworms, so as soon as I sat down, I was accosted by nine or 10 birds swarming around, wanting a snack. Unfortunately, we were out of worms, so I had nothing but apologizes to offer. They didn't understand, so hung around sort of insistently. (My recent post about Anthony's cousin, “Luke's Eyes”, is on my laptop's screen in the shot above.)

Waiting ( Buncha' Chickadees ) -- Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 20 mm — 1/800 sec, f/5, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Waiting
( Buncha' Chickadees )

It's wonderfully pleasant to sit out there and feed the birds, but the birds are not amenable to photography: it's generally dark where the birds are, and bright in the background. During a rain seems to be best because the difference between the two is less stark, but still, it's a challenge. A couple of years ago I tried some birds-on-the-veranda photography with a D200 and a monopod. This time I was half trying to get some work done, so went handheld and alternated work with grabbing the camera, mostly using a wide-angle zoom (14-24mm f/2.8) on my D700.

The results were generally pretty bad.

Backlit Blur at 1/400th of a Second -- Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/400 sec, f/2.8, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
Backlit Blur at 1/400th of a Second

What surprised me most is that exposures of 1/400th of a second didn't do much to freeze the birds' wings. Much slower than that – 1/125th of a second – can almost freeze a helicopter's blades. I bumped up the shutter speed, which caused the quality to go way down, but at least I was able to get less motion blur...

Caught Mid-Hover -- Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm, cropped — 1/800 sec, f/3.2, ISO 3600 — map & image datanearby photos
Caught Mid-Hover
Coming in for a Landing -- Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/1250 sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Coming in for a Landing
Short Flight Between Branches -- Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/1600 sec, f/3.2, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Short Flight Between Branches

It was difficult to catch them at all, much less in focus. Even with the wide-angle zoom, the depth of field at f/2.8 was really slim when the birds were close. It was much easier to catch them with the telephoto zoom sitting at a feeder...

Chipping Sparrow -- Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm — 1/2000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 4000 — map & image datanearby photos
Chipping Sparrow
Chickadee -- Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm — 1/320 sec, f/4, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Chickadee
Young Downy Woodpecker -- Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm — 1/800 sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Young Downy Woodpecker

None of these are very good photography-wise, but they're part of a nice memory of my summer.

As I said, it was hard to catch them in focus, so I did a lot of guessing and photographic carpet bombing. Sometimes the result was sort of funny...

See Ya' ( the tip of the tail is mostly in focus.... sort of ) -- Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm — 1/1000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
See Ya'
( the tip of the tail is mostly in focus.... sort of )

More often than not, when I caught good action, the whole shot was out of focus...

out of focus Air Brakes -- Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/1250 sec, f/3.2, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
out of focus
Air Brakes

Eventually my mom came out and showed me that we weren't out of waxworms, so I set some on my leg, and placed the camera on my leg as well, and started shooting blindly, guessing on focus and composition. I was generally lucky about getting the worm in focus, but that was helpful only when the bird came in from the side; otherwise, the bird was guaranteed to be out of focus...

out-of-focus Chickadee “Pluck-n-Dash”, Pre Pluck -- Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/2000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 4500 — map & image datanearby photos
out-of-focus Chickadee
“Pluck-n-Dash”, Pre Pluck
Wren's Awkward Takeoff -- Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 20 mm — 1/1600 sec, f/3.2, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Wren's Awkward Takeoff

Other times during this trip I've occasionally tried to photograph the birds while sitting out on the veranda (the Chickadee on a branch above was taken a few days ago), but it's just too backlit to get anything good. But I keep trying, and keep not getting any work done, and end up with a few shots that make for nice personal memories.

Here are a few shots from when Anthony's four-year-old cousin Grace was feeding the birds with Grandma earlier in the week...

Here You Go -- Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 560 — map & image datanearby photos
Here You Go
Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/320 sec, f/1.4, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos

At one point I got a bit smart and pre-focused past Mom's hand, so that if I snapped the shutter just as I saw the bird snatch the worm from her hand, I might get the shot with the bird flying through the plane of focus. It didn't quite work, but the result is better than nothing, and I like the bird's form...

Rootstown, Ohio, USA -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/3.2, ISO 2800 — map & image datanearby photos

All 3 comments so far, oldest first...

Beautiful pictures! Pluck ‘n Dash in particular. Glad I stumbled upon your page!

— comment by Kari on August 9th, 2009 at 1:39pm JST (8 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Great Meta-blog post. You have a blog post showing your blog post. I hope next summer you can do a self-portrait with you at the Mac-Book blogging about the worm-eating birds and in the self-portrait you can have this very blog post, which shows ‘Can’t Get Any Work Done With Birds on my Laptop ‘ on the screen. Its like a polaroid print with a polaroid print as the subject matter and on and on… The neat thing is,I’m not sure that you realised you were doing it. (That makes it not so gimmicky. I guess.)

Also NICE bird shots. Those fanned out wings look gorgeous.

— comment by Ron Evans on August 10th, 2009 at 8:36am JST (8 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Those are awesome photos! I really enjoyed them.
Earnie

— comment by Earnest Barr in Amami, Japan on August 11th, 2009 at 5:20pm JST (8 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink
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