Freezing Bird Movement with a Fast Shutter (and Arctic Temperatures)
Target Acquisition -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 cropped — 1/1250 sec, f/4, ISO 2000 — image data
Target Acquisition

I was supposed to be visiting a dear friend in Milwaukee today, but the cold snap hitting most of The States created havoc with the air system and so I'm still at my folks' place in Ohio (where at the moment it's -12°F / -24°C with strong gusty wind). So today between trying to (and failing to) contact the airline to figure out my schedule, I tried shooting the birds out on the back deck again, as I did the other day. It was cold.

Peanut targeted and locked on -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 cropped — 1/4000 sec, f/2.5, ISO 4000 — image data
Peanut
targeted and locked on

I was in all-manual mode today, with both focus and exposure. The Voigtländer 125mm has no autofocus, and I can't trust the automatic exposure with it because the copy I'm using has had a CPU added with limited success (similar to the problems I had when I tried adding a CPU myself), so today I went all manual.

I explicitly wanted a fast shutter speed to mostly (but not completely) freeze wing movement.

Absconding With The Loot three-frame composite, 1/10-second separation -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 cropped — 1/5000 sec × 3, f/2.5, ISO 2500 — image data
Absconding With The Loot
three-frame composite, 1/10-second separation

I tried something different for some of the shots today: instead of focusing on where the birds were, I tried to focus on where they would be, then hoped to get the double luck of them actually going there, and of me actually snapping the shot at the precise moment they were there.

Smashing the 10 frames-per-second shutter helped with the preciseness. In the shot above, notice that the focus is not on the peanut, but a bit beyond, and so it's the second frame that's in focus.

Peanut Ballet -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 cropped — 1/5000 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2500 — image data
Peanut Ballet

Did I mention that it was cold today? The first time I went out in the morning it was a relatively toasty 15°F (-9°C) with a light snow and no wind, but still plenty chilly for the birds...

Fluffy -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 cropped — 1/1250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1600 — image data
Fluffy
Monochromatic except for the finches: goldfinches and house finches オウゴンヒワとメキシコマシコ -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 cropped — 1/1250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1600 — image data
Monochromatic
except for the finches: goldfinches and house finches
オウゴンヒワとメキシコマシコ
Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 cropped — 1/1250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1600 — image data

As before, the finch feeder was crowded and offered a lot of birds coming and going...

desktop background image of a goldfinch in flight -- Goldfinches -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 cropped — 1/1250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1600 — image data
Goldfinches
Desktop-Background Versions
1280×800  ·  1680×1050  ·  1920×1200  ·  2560×1600  ·  2880×1800
Sorta' Successful -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 cropped — 1/1250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1600 — image data
Sorta' Successful

My new focus idea (focusing where I thought they'd fly) needs some work... it rarely worked, and when it did I'm not sure it was worth it. The shot above seems to suffer from bad focus and motion blur even at 1/1250 of a sec.

Another Successful Failure -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/2000 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1250 — image data
Another Successful Failure

Part of the problem was that the lens is manual-focus only, and is only 125mm. I would have liked the 70-200mm for this. Another part of the problem is that my fingers were freezing; the temperature was dropping like a rock all day (dropping 25°F so far today).

I couldn't be out there on such an inhospitable day and not feed the birds (as we're apt to do, as seen earlier with Anthony, on my laptop, and in close up), so I threw snacks to the woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches, and bluebirds.

If I didn't throw the snacks to them, they'd come looking, and I could use this to my advantage by leaving a worm on my knee and trying the focus a bit beyond technique and hope to get lucky.

Not Lucky focus is an inch or so behind the worm -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/2000 sec, f/4, ISO 2000 — image data
Not Lucky
focus is an inch or so behind the worm
Not Lucky especially for the worm; focus is an inch or so behind the worm -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/2000 sec, f/4, ISO 2000 — image data
Not Lucky
especially for the worm; focus is an inch or so behind the worm
Lucky focus is an inch or so behind the worm -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/2000 sec, f/4, ISO 2000 — image data
Lucky
focus is an inch or so behind the worm

It was cold. Did I mention that? By this time it was about 6°F (-14°C). My fingers were painfully cold within minutes of going out, despite wearing gloves.

Bluebird -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 cropped — 1/1250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 400 — image data
Bluebird
Downy Woodpeckers -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 cropped — 1/1250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2000 — image data
Downy Woodpeckers
Skittish -- Copyright 2014 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 cropped — 1/1250 sec, f/2.5, ISO 800 — image data
Skittish

This bluebird hovered (as best a non-hummingbird can) for a short time checking me out.

I suppose I'll try again tomorrow... both photographing the birds, and contacting United Airlines.


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