About a year ago I featured the birds that are frequent visitors around my home.  Last weekend I wasn’t in the mood to do a lot of traveling so Jeannine and I and our 2 Leos hung around the house.  We did a lot of cooking and I had made Pho from a recipe I found and it was confirmed as very close to home made based on my friends mom’s recipe.  So when it comes to birds, I’m easily distracted and when a flock of 50+ Pine Siskins flew in I picked up my camera and started a bird count.  Over 2 hours later, I had taken more than 120 photos using my D800 and a 300mm f/2.8 lens.

Photo of the Week 28: Through Dark Eyes (Junco hyemalis oreganus) EQ: D800, 300mm f/2.8    Taken: 10-17-2015 at 12:18 Settings: 300mm, 1/500s, f/4, ISO400, +1/3EV         Conditions: Overcast

Photo of the Week 28: Through Dark Eyes (Junco hyemalis oreganus)

EQ: D800, 300mm f/2.8    Taken: 10-17-2015 at 12:18

Settings: 300mm, 1/500s, f/4, ISO400, +1/3EV         Conditions: Overcast

I like the D800 in lower light situations compared to the crop sensor of the D7200.  I have found that with the D800 I can push the ISO to 1600 and I am fine with the noise but with the crop sensor I need to cut that in half or around ISO800 or less for similar noise levels.  I shoot using spot metering and adjust the focus point based on the composition and what I want in sharp focus.  This gives me the control of the focus instead of letting the camera decide for me.  The image above is of a Dark-eyed Junco, which is very common in Santa Cruz and is here all year long.  In other parts of the country they are sometimes called snow birds since they breed in the Boreal forests and return to the lower 48 states in winter.  Jeannine calls them a dime a dozen when I call out another Junco so the engineer in me translates that into point 85ers (10/12 ≈ .85 cents for those outside the US a cent is a penny or 1/100 of a USD). 

Pygmy Nuthatch (Sitta pygmaea) 300mm, 1/800s, f/3.2, ISO320, +1/3EV, 11:23

Pygmy Nuthatch (Sitta pygmaea)

300mm, 1/800s, f/3.2, ISO320, +1/3EV, 11:23

House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) 300mm, 1/500s, f/4, ISO400, +1/3EV, 12:16

House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)

300mm, 1/500s, f/4, ISO400, +1/3EV, 12:16

Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna) 300mm, 1/800s, f/3.2, ISO320, +1/3EV, 11:22

Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna)

300mm, 1/800s, f/3.2, ISO320, +1/3EV, 11:22

Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus) 300mm, 1/800s, f/4, ISO640, +1/3EV, 10:40

Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus)

300mm, 1/800s, f/4, ISO640, +1/3EV, 10:40

Life is a compromise and photography is no different.  I decided I wanted a greater depth of field so I set the aperture to f/4 then set the shutter speed to 1/500s so I could keep the ISO low and in this case ISO400.  Here’s the compromise.  Increasing the aperture increased the depth of field but that increases the sharpness of the background or reducing the bokeh.  Now that the aperture was reduced, I had to compromise on the other settings.  I really wanted to use ISO100 but that wasn’t possible since with the sky being overcast I would have had to reduce the shutter speed to a point I would introduce camera shake and if the bird moved at all I would get blur from that too.  These are the decisions you need to make with every shoot.  I’m not saying you need to do this for every photo but you need to revisit your settings as the lighting conditions change.  I keep telling myself to look at the light meter.  Keeping an eye on the meter will allow you to make adjustments to get closer to your ultimate desired settings.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens) 300mm, 1/500s, f/4, ISO320, +1/3EV, 11:26

Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens)

300mm, 1/500s, f/4, ISO320, +1/3EV, 11:26

The Pho turned out great and it is now placed to my favorites recipe book.

Western Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma californica) 300mm, 1/800s, f/4, ISO320, +1/3EV, 11:25

Western Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma californica)

300mm, 1/800s, f/4, ISO320, +1/3EV, 11:25

Your comments are welcomed and if you have any questions about the photo or any other questions leave me a message.

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