Those members of the Cafe who also read DPR may recall that I did a couple of shoots at the Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City last summer. The Aviary generously allowed me a bit more access than usual, and in return, I shared photos of the (then) newly hatched African Crowned Crane chicks for their use. A win-win arrangement ensued, and I found that the Aviary was extremely serious about their committment to treating the birds on-site with the utmost of care. I was in Salt Lake City for ten days in late February into March, and the Aviary provided me with greater access to photograph more of the birds. I'm going to be sharing my shots with them for their website in the coming months. Aviaries offer some special challenges. While some birds are accepting of humans, others are very timid and can be seriously frightened by perceived human threats. The Tracy Aviary was extremely careful of how close I could be to any timid birds. Where this was an issue, I shot through the cages to limit the potential for trauma for the birds. One such case of a timid type of bird was shooting Scarlet Ibises. I shot a substantial number of images through the cages. These posed some interesting challenges. The scarlet ibis is truly red, and almost incandescent in sunlight. It's not much of an exaggeration to say that the birds have a glow about them. However, the beak of the scarlet ibis does not share the crimson hue of the feathers. In order to get a good angle on the ibis while not frightening them away, I shot from outside the cage with a 200-400mm AFS/VR lens, with only a minor adjustment of the aperture to f/5.6 so that the cage would blur out in the DOF. Working with a lowly D100, I could estimate that I would see a spike from the red channel, but lacking the sophisticated RGB histograms on the newer cameras, I'd have to watch my exposures carefully. I also knew that if I shot for the red only, I'd lose some detail on the beak. And the ibis had just picked up a ripe fresh cricket to eat... So I shot several photos knowing the red would be a bit hot, hoping I could compensate in processing. Lacking the machine gun speed of some of the other cameras wasn't ideal for my images, but even the sound of the D100 shutter made the bird begin to ease away from a clear view, so it was probably a wash in the end. D100, 200-400mm AFS/VR, ISO200, 1/400s, f/5.6, exp. comp. -0.7, processed in NC, no crop The background and related bokeh were severely affected by the cage between me and the ibis. Were I a better PS user, I might blur that much more, but that's another exercise. I wonder just how this would render with a lens that has a "displeasing bokeh", but that's yet another exercise. Additionally, I'd have liked to capture the end of the ibis' beak more clearly where it's nibbling on the cricket. However, a smaller aperture in the range of f/8 or smaller tends to start to bring the cage wires into the DOF to some degree, or if not in clear focus, creates a grid of blurred lines on the bird. I'm still experimenting with just how this works. I find that each of my lenses has a different "cage point" than the other. In general, the more open the aperture, the less the effects of the interposed cage on the subject focus and sharpness, but the background almost always shows some artifact. At some point, it would be interesting to play with this image in RML, because I think the red highlight details could possibly be recovered more than I did in NC, but that's based on the anecdotal information I have about that package. I probably should punt the NEF over to Peter or Iliah for a test... But this study in scarlet is done. For the moment, at least. Even if you're in the red, always shoot. John P.