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Trumpeter Swan at Hierman Reserve - ID Please

Discussion in 'Birds' started by Retief, Nov 24, 2005.

  1. New winter migratory bird season, and football is over, for now. Went to the Hierman Reserve for a couple of hours this morning with Jim Thiel. We have had pea-soup fog all week and expect rain starting tonight so we had no idea what to expect. We found 25 degree weather and even a bit of son, and a whole bunch of Trumpeter Swans. The birds are showing early this year, hopefully a good one.

    Fly Out:

    Bad Hair, Eczema, Muscovy????? Help, please...



    Nice to look at, and photograph, something other than a football player for a change.......:cool: 
  2. Bill...I have a question for you. I need some info before I go to the Merritt shoot in Feb...When shooting birds, what speed should be used and should I set the D2X to high speed crop? Also should I use S priority or A priority or Auto?

  3. Bill it was good to see you this AM. I was just looking at my shots also. That one duck is strange. I will be waiting to see what it is. I was very happy with the outing. My focus issues seem to be over. I will post a few of mine in a while.
  4. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Love the Swans. Well I love all swans :>)). These are special though.

    Nice shooting.

    Don't know what mr duck is though.

    (sun and good light in WA....:>)) hummmmm
  5. Melissa, things here in Washington are quite different light-wise than in Florida. Yesterday I used both Manual as well as Aperture Priority, and found that shooting Aperture Priority was generating more blown-highlights than I wanted. The problem we have here is that the light varies from moment to moment due to clouds as well as subject orientation, which can also cause interesting colors at times. Notice the first shots that Jim and I have, obviously the same set of birds at slightly different times in flight, which are above the trees, in the sun. Compare those to shots just off the water with trees as a background. We often shoot a sequence through the whole range.

    What I find works well for me in these conditions, is to shoot Manual and use Auto-ISO, as you can see from my EXIF information. I believe that Frank and others shoot mostly in Manual in Florida as well where the light remains much more constant, sunny ALL THE TIME :wink: . To me, the most important thing is, especially with these white birds, is not to blow out the highlights. I believe that Jim was shooting Aperture Priority the whole time and we were right next to each other, you can see that the results are not much different.

    As to HSC, again I'll defer to Jim's shots. I would LOVE to have HSC on my D2H, but alas with 4mp I can't simulate it well by cropping that deeply, so on the similar shots I didn't try. Now, when my new D200 arrives, that will be an entirely different story.

    As to the speed, I find that the old standard 1/focal length works quite well, remember that you have a 1.5 factor to consider. When shooting with my 500+1.4 TC I try to stay at 1/800 or above, although you will notice that the first image I posted was at 1/400. This was due to my having a CF card in the camera, not yet formatted from my last FB game, and having that fly-by occur into gorgeous light before I was fully ready. Figured I'd shoot anyway, and I'm glad I did.

    So, if I were you, I'd probably shoot in M mode, fastest shutter speed you can set for the conditions to keep ISO as low as possible, with the aperture set for the DOF you want. HSC when the birds are far away, and not if they are close-up. If I were you I'd also ask this same question in the Merritt thread, I'm still trying to see if I can make it down this year myself, I hope so.

    By the way, I sure am glad that Jim and I went down yesterday, it is raining like crazy here today.......
  6. Jim, I couldn't help but notice that the first shot you posted and the first shot I posted look quite similar....hmmmmm.....were we standing next to each other or something????? :wink:

    I'm glad we went down as well, what a change today, eh? Should be a fun "exploratory" on Sunday as well. Seeing the results, again, of HSC I sure am anxious for the D200 to arrive now. Have you seen the link Scott Sherman posted? With the grip, my camera will be bigger than yours again....:biggrin: :biggrin:
  7. Thanks, Gale, to be honest it was such a treat to not only have the sunshine but to have a subject other than a kid in a football uniform :biggrin:

    We are generally allowed 9 days of sun during the winter. The tough part is guessing not only which days this will happen, but which hours as well.......
  8. Bill...Thank you so much for that information. I like the idea of using auto ISO. It think that may be the key. Like you said, I will ask the Merritt crew the same question to find out what their thoughts are on this.
  9. I don't remember who first suggest Auto-ISO to me, but at least with my particular D2H it helps a lot. Good luck and I hope to meet you at Merritt this year.
  10. HarryB


    Jan 28, 2005
    Viera, Florida
    Nice shots Bill. The first one is my favorite of the bunch. Good work.
  11. radz


    Nov 12, 2005
    Beautiful Swan shots ,liked the inflight&Swan dance.
  12. bfjr

    bfjr Guest

    Nice set Bill
    1st and last are my favs !
  13. The wife says the duck is probably a Comb Duck. The beak colour is a little disconcerting as the female's beak is black like the male but without a comb. It could be a juvenile. They are native to South America and similar birds known as Knob Billed Ducks occur in South and Central Africa.
  14. Nice series Bill. Good to see you back posting, it's been a while. We'll have to catch up.

  15. Thanks, Harry. I really like the first one as well, I think I shot about 10-15 shots during that flight sequence but I really liked the light and wings on that shot. Not sure it would have been any better if I had been set up properly, I'm pretty happy with it at 1/400th. I had just had my 120-300 on the camera prior to this.
  16. Thank you very much, and very nice to meet you. I just looked at your gallery, and I love the Painted Stork series of images, I will have to spend more time there. It looks like this is another part of the world to put on my "get to" list :smile: .

    If you liked the Swan Dance, I have some from last year that show this much better, one in particular is a take-off sequence coming out of a mist hanging on the pond. One of those nice surprises, I thought it would be horrid.

    Thanks again,
  17. Thanks, Ben, it is nice to have some blue sky behind them for a change. You should get yourself up the coast for a shoot with us. It looks like I will be down your way at least once next year, perhaps we can meet up then?
  18. This one is driving me nuts. I can't find anything like in Sibley's, I may actually have to go and find a "real birder" to help out :Shocked: . I looked at a bunch of Comb Duck pages and I see exactly what you mean regarding the beak color. I may have to send a copy of this off to someone at the Audobon Society to get a better ID. But you are right, everything else, except for location, sure matches the Comb Duck, including the size, this was a large duck, almost goose size.

  19. Louie, you betcha. I am going exploring tomorrow to find Big Ditch, where the Snowy Owl supposedly is. Then I'm off to England for a couple of weeks, how about we get together after that? Maybe a trip to the Skagit Flats and the River for some Bald Eagles?
  20. I have had another look the pic and it just could be a White Winged duck, see http://www.arkive.org/species/GES/birds/Cairina_scutulata/GES011707.html?size=medium
    though normally you can see the white of the wing in these, the White Winged duck is from Assam and highly endangered. We just happen to have both White Winged and Comb Ducks in the collection at Slimbridge and as tomorrow is one of my volunteering days there I will have a look and also show your pic to the experts there and see what they say.
    Whatever it is I think it has escaped from a collection somewhere rather than being a truely wild bird.
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