Last night I was at the wildlife refuge with the goal of playing with the camera settings trying to find the best metering/focus settings. The D7000 is a different animal than my D80 when trying to capture birds in flight (BIF).
I did not bring anything but my basic camera bag that contains the flash, lens cleaner, etc. . No tripod and no flash light. So . … but of course as the sunsets when it was getting dark the illusive (till this night) Sandhill Cranes started landing in large numbers 30 feet from the trail. I want a good Sandhill Crane shot so bad!
I tired to shoot the landed birds using high ISO but at 6400 and hand held they were grainy – Ok for small prints but not good for on screen computer viewing. I got out my sb800 and took two pics and then the batteries in the flash went dead.
Mumbling to myself for not having packed the tripod I walked back to the car. Fumbled in the dark and found I had no new batteries for the flash, put a new battery in the camera. Now it it was real dark. Somehow the camera battery door had come open and caught on something and came off. Well s$@&!
I will spare you the comedy of hunting through KRP’s dirty car for the door finally locating it on the blacktop of the parking lot. It had somehow flung itself (notice I take no responsibility here LOL) up and out the open car window – go figure. Whew – found and put back on panic over. I walk back to the landing zone.
By now it is very dark. I am now hand holding a camera set at 6400 ISO being attacked by mosquitoes, in a crummy mood because of the battery door incident (like that incident?) and watching these great birds come in wings open not 10 feet overhead – I could feel the air their wings created – and I ended up ducking a few times :).
I am now left with trying to hold the camera still enough to capture the birds after they have landed. Even with the VR (vibration reduction feature found in some Nikon lens) the ISO has to be bumped up so high that grain is a show stopping issue. If I only had the dang tripod! I decided to try something else and used the on board camera flash again while trying to hold the camera still enough. I even switched over to shutter priority. Then I tried the evil green auto setting. Oh and cranes with white eyes is rather dork.
This is the only shot worth showing really – not a great photo but I think it is kind of cool.
You can only push the settings so far. So I headed back to the car and will try another day or night and will bring my flashlight and tripod.
This evening I stopped by to watch the cranes come in and took a couple sunset pics.
I left one with the vivid settings I had set and the other I went with the more neutral on the color saturation.
KRP was off a couple of days this week so she took me out hunting birds. We made it to the Colusa Refuge – lots of ducks, a few Egrets, but otherwise most of the big birds have not arrived yet. Everything is about 2 weeks behinds schedule here. Even the rice, corn, and squash fields have not been plowed or harvested yet. So it was rater a bust finding any Sandhill Crane birds.
I really enjoy sitting outside away from the noise of the city and the blah blah blah of all the silly people in this neighborhood – the birds of a different feather. I just drive out to the refuge and sit there for hours. I listen to the different birds singing out their songs and I even hear there wing beats if it is quit enough. The frogs croaking, the bees and (unfortunately) wasps buzzing it is quite the symphony. If something interest me I try and snap a picture. Sometimes the birds and sometimes?
In one section of the refuge the staff flooded two fields. Seriously, there were over a hundred cranes – putting the birds just about an eighth of a mile out of the range of my longest lens. ha! I waited on the other side of the refuge hoping a few birds would fly over and land – a few did the other night – but nope no cranes. So I started waiting out the little sparrows that hide up in the weeds along the edges of the trails and pond. Eventually a few little immature White Crowned Sparrows (the strips on their heads are kind of a chestnut rust color and no white more gray on the heads so fairly sure of identification) started hopping in and out of the brush. It is hard to locate them and take a picture of them when they come out – an I tell you those little birds are quick!
I am starting to wonder about myself. I am sitting forever watching birds? Field guide at my side? a have a vision of my grandparents in mind here . ..