Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Bird season approaches!

Great weather and cooperative birds have been keeping me busy lately, hence the lack of blog posts! With spring fast approaching, I've been shifting to photographing birds. April and May are a marathon of songbird photography for me.... starting in Texas and following the migration north to Ontario.

Songbird photography is tricky.... the birds are small and rarely sit still. Capturing sharp, well-framed photos requires being fast and efficient with a long lens. I get rusty at this over the winter and have to tune up my technique each spring, which is what I've been up to lately. I've been using my new 50D body and have found it to be excellent for bird photography. I'm most impressed with the incredibly quick and accurate autofocus, as well as the fast frame rate. It blows away my 1DsIII body for shooting birds. A downside is the 50D files have more noise (digital grain) than 1DsIII files, especially in low light. This doesn't surprise me, the 50D is way less expensive and has a smaller sensor. Nevertheless, the files are still pretty good - very publishable - and I expect to use this body for the majority of my songbird photography this spring.

Here are a few recent bird photos.

Photo 1: White Pelican landing - Salton Sea, California
EOS 50D; 500/4IS & 1.4X teleconvertor
Exposure: 1/1600 @ f/5.6; ISO 250

Photo 2: Pyrrhuloxia on cactus - Tucson, Arizona
EOS 50D; 500/4IS & 1.4X teleconvertor
Exposure: 1/1000 @ f/5.6; ISO 200; fill flash at -1 2/3

Photo 3: Black-throated Gray Warbler - Madera Canyon, Arizona
EOS 50D; 500/4IS & 1.4X teleconvertor; 580EX II flash & Better Beamer
Exposure: 1/60 @ f/5.6; ISO 250; fill flash at -1 2/3

Photo 4: Townsend's Warbler - Cave Creek, Arizona
EOS 50D; 500/4IS & 1.4X teleconvertor
Exposure: 1/160 @ f/5.6; ISO 400

Photo 5: Yellow-eyed Junco - Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona
EOS 50D; 500/4IS & 1.4X teleconvertor; 580EX II flash & Better Beamer
Exposure: 1/60 @ f/5.6; ISO 400; fill flash at -2


  1. Anonymous4:37 PM

    Absolutely gorgeous birds and photos!!

  2. Awesome shots! You are so lucky!

  3. Anonymous4:45 PM

    I came upon your website via "Mountain Life Magazine" website and...................... I am totally blown away by your awesome photography on wildlife! You're absolutely talented. I'm glad I clicked on your link. :)


  4. I've been checking in on your blog for awhile now from Montana, truly amazed and intrigued by your adventures. I'm a big admirer of birds myself and have enjoyed your photographs. Well done!

  5. Hey Ethan, good to see your crazy adventure is going well. I think I was at Salton Sea probably a week or so after you - I am in southern CA doing some bird work on contract. Salton is definitely an amazing place, as are the others you are visiting it appears. Hope your good fortune continues!

    GBI Kyle