Birds at Pennington Flash (1) Feeders

Joined
Jan 24, 2006
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1,259
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Greater Manchester, England
I have been spending some time at Pennington Flash Country Park near Leigh. This is an area of woodland and scrub, with a variety of ponds caused by subsidence after a long history of coal mining.
I was testing my new D200 with my 300mm f/4 AF-S by sitting in the Bunting hide, which has a large number of bird tables and other feeders allowing very close views of a variety of birds.

Song thrush
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Dunnock (or hedge sparrow)
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Larger birds visit too, including mallard, moorhen, magpies, wood pigeons and this handsome pheasant (who obviously had a narrow escape from whatever damaged his tail).
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The hardest birds to photograph were the tit family - they rarely stay still. I was lucky to get these shots as one paused on a perch before grabbing a seed to take away.

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The guy next to me said it was a marsh tit and I was too polite to disagree, although the willow tit and the marsh tit are very difficult to distinguish. I'm not really a bird expert, but on looking at these photos and checking the literature, I think this is a willow tit - confirmation or correction would be appreciated.
Long-tailed tits are the smallest and most active of all, they don't often come to feeders, but this little chap took an interest in the last piece of fat in the closest feeder.

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I was using the 100 ISO setting, which obviously causes some difficulties and a relatively high failure rate due to low shutter speeds, but I like the quality of the images, most of these are moderately cropped.

Alan
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2006
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Pennines UK
Hi Alan, i like the punk LLT, with the D200 and 300mm f4 you should be able to get good sharp shots at higher ISO without having to worry about noise, ISO 320 and 400 would be fine and offer a higher number of sharp images, i'll post some examples if you would like?
 
Joined
Jan 24, 2006
Messages
1,259
Location
Greater Manchester, England
with the D200 and 300mm f4 you should be able to get good sharp shots at higher ISO without having to worry about noise, ISO 320 and 400 would be fine and offer a higher number of sharp images, i'll post some examples if you would like?
I'm sure you're right - and I'd love to see some of your examples, of course. But that doesn't mean I'm wrong :smile:

Exposure is always a compromise. The highest quality photographs (film or digital) require small apertures, fast shutter speeds and low sensitivities (ISO settings): having all three simultaneously is impossible of course, except in the brightest light, so each shot is a three way compromise. You have to judge the subject and the conditions and the effect you want.
After 2 years with my D70 limited to 200 ISO, I wanted to find what effect 100 ISO produces. I like the effect, particularly the tonality - you may or you may not. Discuss :wink:

Alan
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2006
Messages
599
Location
Pennines UK
I didnt mean it to sound like i was saying you where wrong, just that in my own testing, i see little difference in colour, contrast or dynamic range from changing ISO on the D200. The only thing you get is more noise.

Here are two recent D200 shots at ISO 400
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Notice the preservation of fine feather detail.


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Notice the good colour, not the wan high ISO colour you used to get in some older digital cameras.

I only use ISO 100 if i must have noise free images, and if i need to have my shutter time as long as possible, for example.

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Just my opinions...

I'm sure you're right - and I'd love to see some of your examples, of course. But that doesn't mean I'm wrong :smile:

Exposure is always a compromise. The highest quality photographs (film or digital) require small apertures, fast shutter speeds and low sensitivities (ISO settings): having all three simultaneously is impossible of course, except in the brightest light, so each shot is a three way compromise. You have to judge the subject and the conditions and the effect you want.
After 2 years with my D70 limited to 200 ISO, I wanted to find what effect 100 ISO produces. I like the effect, particularly the tonality - you may or you may not. Discuss :wink:

Alan
 
Joined
Jan 24, 2006
Messages
1,259
Location
Greater Manchester, England
I like these shots Paul: I think the belly of the nuthatch is a proper test of the tonality and it looks good to me. The mandarin looks a little OTT, but that's the way mandarin drakes really are. Both look as if they were taken in rather duller light than I have had at Pennington recently. I agree that there is no problem with using 200 or 400 ISO when circumstances require.
I expect that I would need to use these settings if I get a 1.4 or 1.7 x converter to use with my 300mm, even in good light.

Alan
 

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