Drama Queen

Oh, those Pine Siskins--always arguing.

Pine Siskins are big babies: they tweet more or more meanly than humans.

Technical info: This is a throwback shot. I am planning on selling my Sony wildlife setup soon, but I hauled it out just to see how it compares to the new stuff. It really does well, but this image also had a little help. (more on that shortly)

The only big difference between Sony + Canon 300mm lens and the telephoto lenses on the medium format Phase One camera? The size of the sensor. On the Sony, at 300mm I had very little room to react to the bird antics. On the Phase One, the field of view is significantly larger, and it makes it easier to include the action.

I compensated by putting the Sony + Canon on a tripod, and aiming it where the best action tended to happen.

This was the most amusing of the 121 shots I took. The action was fast, so I had to really do some drastic adjustments to allow me to take fast exposures:

  • ISO 1000

  • Shutter speed 1/2000th of a second

  • Aperture f/8

Yep: those the things I’d learned using the Phase One with the 240mm + 2x extender.

Problem: at that ISO, the resulting image was quite noisy, so I did two things to deal with that. First, I processed (developed, as digital photographers still call it) in Capture One software. It has defaults that are very effective at taming noise without making a mess; I also adjust the usual stuff: white balance and overall/spot brightness tweaks. Second, I post-processed the image in Topaz’s Sharpen AI software, which made the slight noise that Capture One leaves in as a really creamy photograph. I tweaked contrast and brightness slightly in Affinity Photo (poor man’s Photoshop, and quite useful).

I will feed this back into the work I’m doing with the long lenses and the Phase One camera. It’s wider field of view is definitely useful. But I also learned that the Canon 300mm lens is a classic and highly regarded for very good reasons; it’s a special lens. I don’t know if I can really stand to let it go, but the small field of view in the 35mm format is…unfortunate. Still, this is one of the most fun images I have ever made; it’s definitely not all about the equipment, sometimes you need to get lucky. In photography, as in comedy, timing is everything.

Poor me: I have to experiment some more. I am so sad about that. <cue hysterical laughter>