Last Saturday, I got up really early, and was down in deep southern Ohio not long after sunrise. This was a bird mission, primarily, and my target was a large wild area in Adams County that I had not visited in a few decades. Time has not been kind to this place, and an infestation of nonnative honeysuckle shrubs and various other factors have caused a sharp reduction in plant diversity, and as a consequence, overall biodiversity.
I had to kick around quite a bit before finding a honey-hole. But finally, while cruising a gravel lane, I spotted a clearing surrounded by various native shrubs, saplings, with a backdrop of more mature forest. Best of all, there was a robust thicket of fruiting staghorn sumac, Rhus typhina. I knew this spot would produce some action, so I parked, hauled my rig in, and pushed up against some small trees.
I had my Canon 7D Mark II on the tripod, connected to the 500 f/4 II lens with a 1.4x teleconverter sandwiched in between. Given the camera's crop factor, that makes the setup the equivalent of an 1120mm lens. With no cropping at all, the titmouse nearly filled the frame. When I reviewed the file later, I saw that the photo was pretty much razor sharp, so I cropped it down to highlight the bird's face and attendant plumage details. These are truly handsome little animals.
Finally, the unseasonably springlike day caused the wren to burst into song, and to my great pleasure, it jumped into the lower boughs of a honey locust to deliver its long gushing aria. Yes! By quietly moving a few feet, I got a narrow but clear opening, and was able to click off the best images that I have ever managed of this species. The honey locust thorns were a real bonus.
When a bird habitually returns to the same perch, it is a photographer's dream. I just locked my focus on the tip of the tree, and didn't even look through the viewfinder. When I saw one of the bluebirds flying towards the perch, I'd just trip the shutter as it drew near, and the Canon's 10 frames a second burst mode produced some nice results.
I still wish I had pulled that stupid purple ribbon off, though.