Friday, November 13, 2009

the bird

These are from a series of test shots I took this afternoon at the beach. The focal length is 300mm (600mm 35mm eqv.) shutter speed 1/100th aperture F8 hand held with e510 IS in mode one. The conditions were generally unfavorable. The light was jumping two or three stops as the clouds were constantly changing in a cold southwester about fifteen knots buffeting me around making it hard to keep the camera on target and steady as well as chilling me to the bone and making my hands stiff.

I was down shooting in the swamp on Wednesday when one of the park regulars walking by on the trail overheard me muttering to myself while I was navigating through the many obstacles in my path. We got into an extended discussion of photographic issues. He wanted to know what one would need in the way of gear to shoot birds, not serious birding but just for fun. I told him, that birding is a demanding form of photography and those who dabble in birding at least need some very long lenses. A 35mm equiv of something like 500-800mm would be a minimal requirement. I told him the big problem with econo lenses is getting enough light to shoot at F8. My experience shooting wide open at 300mm with the 70-300 Zuiko hasn't been favorable. Great for shooting women and children where you want some softness but not great for birds. On my Wednesday shoot using the the 14-54mm wide open I managed to bring home some acceptable photos shot at 25-50mm at 1/8th -1/15th second hand held in IS mode one. Doing a little rough calculation I decided to see if I could bring home anything at 300mm F8 shooting at 1/100th or 1/125th with IS in mode one. I had never ventured down that slow, always considered anything below 1/200 or 1/250 as a waste of time. So considering all the things going against me on this Friday shoot, the cold gusty wind, etc. I was pleased to see that 1/100th produces something on the order of 40% keepers.