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02/19/2005 - Juanita Bay Birds

Discussion in 'Birds' started by Retief, Feb 20, 2005.

  1. Well, it has been rather busy for me lately, time to get a post back on Page 1 :lol: .

    Picked up a 120-300 f2.8 Sigma Friday night and went to do a bit of testing at Juanita. Glad to say I am happy with the lens. Of course I couldn't just test, so I found a few birds with the 500mm. All images D2H, Sigma 500 f4.5 plus Nikon TC-14E 1.4x TC, except for the tight "head shot" of the Great Blue Heron which was with stacked TC's, 2.0x + 1.4x, for a 1400mm lens..... :wink: .

    I also really like the subtle colors on the head of the Male Wood Duck. The little touch of purple quite surprised me.

    Let me know what you think...

    Great Blue Heron #1:
    NIKON D2H    ---    500mm    f/4.5    1/500s    ISO 500

    Great Blue Heron #2:
    NIKON D2H    ---    500mm    f/4.5    1/500s    ISO 400

    Great Blue Heron Portrait - 1400mm:
    NIKON D2H    ---    500mm    f/4.5    1/80s    ISO 400

    Crooning Red Wing Blackbird:
    NIKON D2H    ---    500mm    f/4.5    1/1000s    ISO 640

    Female Wood Duck:
    NIKON D2H    ---    500mm    f/4.5    1/800s    ISO 640

    Wood Ducks - a Pair:
    NIKON D2H    ---    500mm    f/4.5    1/800s    ISO 640

    Male Wood Duck #1:
    NIKON D2H    ---    500mm    f/4.5    1/800s    ISO 640

    Male Wood Duck #2:
    NIKON D2H    ---    500mm    f/4.5    1/750s    ISO 640
  2. I would say that you had a pretty good day with your new lens. Nice images and good variety. The GBH's are really good shots.
  3. Thanks, Gordon, it was a good day. None of these, however, were with the 120-300, most of those were just test shots for sharpness, although I'll have to look to see if I actually did any bird shots that are worth posting. I did try some handheld with a feeding female Hooded Merganser, and they were, to say the least, a touch "soft", this is a heavy lens.....

    I am going out later today and will give it a go as well.

    The GBH was quite a bit closer than I normally see them. They are all uncropped, the first two with the 500mm plus 1.4TC and the third with the 500mm plus 1.4TC plus 2.0TC. I am very happy that combo works.

    Strange thing with the Sigma 120-300 though. It works great with the Sigma TC that came along with it, but with the Nikon TC it "hunts". The other strange bit is that the 500mm Sigma f4.5 will AF just fine with the Nikon 1.4TC, but won't AF at all with the Sigma. I think I am glad that the Sigma came along, I will use that for the 120 exclusively. Have to figure out why the difference, it is puzzling to me.
  4. GeeJay


    Jan 26, 2005
    Hi Bill,
    Your pictures are very good. I've enjoyed them several times and interested in the fact that you doubled the TCs too. They came out perfectly even when doubled TCs...

    But my big question is about the color meter. Has it worked for you? I'm eager to hear how you like it and whether it really helps you judge the color temp and whether it helps your pictures...

    Sure looks like it helps your pictures if you used it for these great bird shots...

    Thanks and best to you :!:

  5. Thanks, Gaye, much appreciated. I know that when I first tried the "stacked TC" trick I expected nothing but soft mush. Now I have no qualms about doing it when the subject is stationary. My big fear is that I will have them stacked and then a bird will take off, and I won't be able to focus quickly enough. I am just amazed at how well this seems to work. Now the next time I try it probably WILL be mush :lol: .

    When the sun is as nice and bright as today I don't bother with the color meter, but my last bunch of swans, where we had low light to start, it was a great help. The annoying part is that the D2H does not let you set the exact temperature, but it goes in steps. So I copied the chart which shows the steps for different starting points and use that to get within 100 degrees. So far I have only used it twice, but it did make my post process simpler. What I have not done yet is to find a subject in tough lighting, that will be the real trick, but I suspect it will work well as long as I can find something similar to set the meter.
  6. GeeJay


    Jan 26, 2005
    Hi Bill,
    I really have to understand that color meter better.. You need the poor light so you can get the correct reading of that color and then make the Kelvin of the D2H as close as you can to that reading. Is that correct?

    You don't need it in good, bright sunlight because the camera does that pretty well by itself? Is that assumption correct?

    When I was in Ron's workshop white balance settings were called out that never made much sense to me...I'd see a blue sky and the call would be cloudy +1 etc. etc.......

    So if later you think the color meter is really useful be sure to let me know. I'm eager to get this all figured out but that may never happen in my lifetime. I'm still working on Ron's Ebook :lol:

    Thanks a bunch!

  7. Yup, you have it pretty much right on. Ron is so darned good at judging the color temp that he can do that. Cloudy +1 for example is 5800K where direct sunlight, nominally, is about 5200K. My D2H does a superb job when both I and the subject are in sunlight, piece of cake. The problem is when the bird is in the shade, how do I get as close as possible? My plan, which may fail miserably :wink: , is to get a reading from a spot that looks, to me, like where the bird is. I can then "guess" what I think it should be, check the meter to see how close I am, and set accordingly. Someday I may not even need the meter, but that may not be until the youngest members of this forum, which sure ain't me, are also long dead and buried :lol: . But you have absolutely the right idea, including Ron's E-Book. Isn't it great working with that guy? Problem was he wore me out, both physically and mentally.
  8. GeeJay


    Jan 26, 2005
    So I copied the chart which shows the steps for different starting points and use that to get within 100 degrees----------------------------------------

    Thanks for the quick response. You explain things well. Now I get it I think :lol: ... but what's the chart you wrote about? Is that in Ron's ebook?

    That's all you can do is find a similar light (or shade) to the subject you're shooting..but that's not always possible with birds up in holes in trees etc.

    Would a light meter work at all or is this strictly a color meter issue? I know the camera has the light meter but it measures the light coming off the subject... not the light around the subject. But there again how do we get to the subject to measure the light around it?

    thanks again,
  9. The chart is the one in the D2H manual, page 55 to be exact. You are correct, sometimes it is not possible, but even in those situations I think I can use this to help me get a better starting point. Time will tell in the next couple of months, when we start getting leaves back on the trees :lol:
  10. Love the woodies

    Bill I am amazed at how well the stacked tele did, what a nice series great exposures and colors on all of them.
  11. GeeJay


    Jan 26, 2005
    Hi Bill,

    Now have to find my D2H manual. I know it's here somewhere. That'll be my project for the week :lol:

    Thanks and I'll look for your posts later when springtime hits,

  12. Re: Love the woodies

    Thanks, Mike, it has been quite a surprise to me as well, and a pleasant one. I don't know if I have just gotten "lucky" and the two I have somehow work better than most, but I'm not complaining. No AF, and keeping things steady is quite important at that focal length, but it is nice to know that I can do it.

    Looks like you folks had a super time, wish I could have been there.
  13. Go to www.nikonusa.com to the support section, you can find a link to a down loadable copy there. If you can't find it, let me know, and I can email you a copy.
  14. GeeJay


    Jan 26, 2005
    Hi Bill,

    Thanks!! Wow, I've spent the morning looking for it and will continue today... have no idea where I stashed it... but have been concerned.. I'll get back to you later today after I tear the house apart.

    Thanks a bunch!!!

  15. GeeJay


    Jan 26, 2005
    Hey Bill,

    I'm delighted to tell you that I actually FOUND my D2H manual and while doing it cleaned out two closets and a bunch of drawers.

    Thanks very much for offering to help with the manual. When you get to Sanibel Island I'll take you to dinner and to Ding Darling for birdies.

    Also am pleased to see that color temperature chart on page 55. That could be helpful with the color meter but it's not broken down very well. You'd have to do some guessing and some test pictures for sure.

    Many thanks and I really appreciate your help,

  16. F15Todd


    Feb 1, 2005
  17. HarryB


    Jan 28, 2005
    Viera, Florida
    Excellent shots. The wood uck's colors are sweet. I really liked your GBH shots. If you had made down to Florida you could have gotten those with a 50mm.
  18. GeeJay


    Jan 26, 2005
    Todd, thanks for the site for the manual. I've bookmarked it for future reference and know I'll lose my manual again..

    Bill, how do you get such vivid color in your pictures. I've noticed it before. They seem sharper than most and they're all beautiful color. Is there any secret you can share with us or is it just practice and more practice?

    Your pictures in this post are really beauties :!:

    Thanks again,

  19. Thanks, Gaye, I just try to follow the bits I have learned from Ron and all of the folks that are here. Remember that I shoot one of those crummy, obsolete, old, junky D2H's with that really crummy LBCAST sensor :wink: . In general, I have most things turned off in the camera, such as sharpening/etc., so what you see is pretty much what you get. About the only thing that I do is in Capture 4 I often do a slight "color boost" with Nature setting, but that generally just ups the saturation slightly. As of late I have been working with curves a bit more as well, which may help a bit. But with the Wood Ducks, for example, I didn't do anything special at all. I must say that I was really happy to see the subtle purple color on the top of the males head, that quite surprised me.

    Glad you found your manual, now that you have the link to the one online you will never lose it again......
  20. Thanks, Harry, but I'll be darned, I never realized I was shooting a "Wood Uck", I would have sworn that bird was a DUCK :lol: , always glad for a better ID :wink: .

    That's it, just rub it in with those trained Disney birds you folks get. I still think you all go out there smelling like fish to get them to come in so close.......

    Oh, by the way, I DID use a 50(0)mm...........
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