Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pelicans, Godwits, Willets, Plovers & more

Yesterday morning I went down to the Palo Alto Baylands to photograph some birds with a friend I'd met on the photography forum We later also went over to Shoreline Park to photograph American White Pelicans.

One of the things I wanted to see is if I could use a Rebel XSi to get more reach with the telephoto lenses, so I spent the first 1/2 hour shooting with the XSi. Unfortunately, the XSi has two big pitfalls for wildlife photography:
  1. Confidence in AF. I just wasn't confident that the AF was locking onto the part of the bird I wanted.
  2. Tiny buffer. The Rebel XSi's small buffer definitely was starting to become a limitation, even for just photographing shore birds.
I quickly abandoned the idea and used the 1D3 the rest of the time. When I got home and downloaded the images, my AF confidence worries were justified. A greater proportion of the XSi images were out of focus compared to the 1D3. Also it seems that the Rebel XSi greatly out resolves the Canon 600 with a 1.4x teleconverter so the added 'reach' of a 12mp 1.6x crop sensor really gets lost. I think the new Canon 800 f/5.6 will definitely be able to handle the resolution of the XSi sensor, but the tiny buffer is a deal breaker.

I managed to get several images from yesterday that I am happy with. Starting at the top we have: American White Pelican, a sparrow, Semipalmated Plover, Black-necked Stilt, Plover again, Marbled Godwit, Plover again, American White Pelicans, Long-billed Curlew, a baby Hare, American Avocet, and finally a Curlew again.

You can see the full set of images from yesterday here.

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