The Green-winged Teal is our smallest duck and to my eye the male is strikingly handsome and colorful, especially when you can catch the light just right on the iridescent greens of the crescent above and behind the eye. It’s amazing how that crescent turns black in an instant at differing light angles.
1/3200, f/6.3, ISO 640, Canon 7D Mark 2, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM +1.4 tc, not baited, set up or called in
I photographed this dandy little male two mornings ago at Farmington Bay when it came out of the water to preen. Though the setting is busy and somewhat unattractive I enjoy seeing the entire bird, including the feet, for a change of pace. But my point with these photos is more about bird photography technique than it is about classically beautiful images.
I’ve said before that whenever possible I almost instinctively shoot birds at relatively high shutter speeds in most situations because I gravitate toward action and behavior shots and birds are so very fast and unpredictable. Here my 1/3200 sec shutter speed is fairly typical for me. But I’d photographed this duck for quite a while as it preened on the shore of the pond among a group of foraging coots so I decided to drop my ISO from 640 to 500 for just a couple of shots in order to reduce the grain (noise) in some of my images. Doing so of course dropped my shutter speed by half.
1/1600, f/6.3, ISO 500, Canon 7D Mark 2, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM +1.4 tc, not baited, set up or called in
Naturally the teal chose that precise moment to give me a nice wing flap at an angle with good light on the entire body and my slower shutter speed of 1/1600 sec could not freeze the wings, which disappointed me. If the setting had been more attractive and less busy I’d have been even more disappointed.
Photography is often a bag-full of tradeoffs and juggling shutter speed with ISO is almost a given with birds. Often it’s a matter of style and preferences – how much noise are you willing to tolerate and do you want perfect static shots more or less than you do action images. In this case I could have switched from f/6.3 to f/5.6 for more shutter speed and less depth of field. But I didn’t and you simply can’t go back and do it all over again…
Adobe finally updated ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) to support the Canon 7D Mark 2 and these two images are the first ones I’ve been able to process with the new camera using my usual work flow. What a joy! I’ve been shooting in both RAW and JPEG for over two weeks now so I’ll be extra busy in the next few days as I cull almost 4000 RAW images and delete all those JPEGS at the same time I’m trying to maintain my normal shooting, culling, processing and blogging schedule. Throw in all the preparations for the upcoming holiday and my plate is full to overflowing (as it will almost certainly be Thanksgiving afternoon…)
I apologize for all the photography geekiness in this post but without that geekiness there are no quality images. Back to more typical fare tomorrow.