Monday, October 08, 2007

Shorebirds at Palo Alto Baylands

Early Sunday morning I went down to the Palo Alto Baylands (which I haven't visited in over a year) to photograph some shore birds. This was my first outing with my new bird photography set up so I wanted to play around and see what the gear could do and what I could learn about long lens technique. A few things I've learned:

1. Its true, you can never have enough reach for birds,
2. You really need a sturdy support, especially when its windy,
3. AI servo is totally the way to go,
4. Birds in flight really is quite challenging to photograph,
5. You don't need 10 fps for birds.

I was also curious to see if I could encounter some of the 1D Mark 3 focusing issues about which there has been much discussion on the forums. Since I haven't used the 1-series AF extensively and am new to this type of photography it is hard for me to conclude if my OOF shots were because of my error or body error. I shot a whole series of pictures at 10 FPS trying my best to track a bird with the center AF point. From looking at the sequences, my observations:

1. The focus is bang on through-out the entire series, or
2. The first image is out of focus (because I jumped the gun pressing the shutter) but over the next two images focus is locked after which the it is bang-on for the rest of the series

I had a great time and will definitely be going back the next couple of weekends. I'll also be trying to use the tele-converters the next time I am out.

I am also in the process of moving all my pictures over to Zenfolio. I evaluated both SmugMug and Zenfolio and in the end Zenfolio resonated with me much more. I have a few more pictures in my Palo Alto baylands gallery.

Technical Specs: Canon 1D3, 500mm f/4 IS, f/4, 1/2000s, ISO 320.

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