Friday, December 28, 2012

Owning a nice camera for birdwatching

When I am out with my camera, I tend to be a pretty mediocre birdwatcher.  Rather than chase around for identifying marks, I will often just shoot a quick photo to try and figure out what  it was later.  Photography first.  Birdwatching second.

To make this work, you need to be able to get a shot that's decent, with enough light and details for an id.  While down in Bosque del Apache, we saw a hawk sitting on a dead tree about a quarter mile away. Of course, the hawk is only about 18" tall.  Step one is to have an excellent lens, and I love my Nikon 500mm.  I could have taken the time to put on a teleconverter to get closer, but I didn't want to take my focus off the other photography we were doing.
 The second step is to have an excellent camera.  This is the crop from the picture above.  Not only can you see details of the hawk, with a little local knowledge, you could probably figure out what he is in the middle of eating.
Pretty amazing what you can resolve with a nice camera (D800e), a nice lens, a sturdy tripod and some decent lighting.
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