Friday, January 6, 2017

Female Northern Cardinal, in flight

A female Northern Cardinal nears a perch, and flares its wings. This species, which is Ohio's state bird, is very common in central Ohio where I live. They're pretty easy to photograph, at least when at rest, but are so striking I could probably shoot them all day.

One way to try and make photographs of very common species stand out is to capture them in unusual postures, situations, or in flight. Making a sharp image of a rapidly moving songbird on the wing (click the photo to enlarge) is not easy. In this situation, there was a feeder a few feet to the left, and that's where this bird is headed. As it was about 12 F when I made this image, birds were hungry and the feeders were quite active, and I saw an opportunity. By pre-focusing my camera at a point a few feet off the feeder's right side, I could wait, (frozen) finger on the trigger, for targets to enter the bulls-eye zone.

I got plenty of opportunities with several species, but the vast majority of images will be throw-aways. Only a few times did I nail a photo when the bird was: 1) smack in the focus area; 2) and displaying good posture ( head not turned away, wings in a pleasing position, etc.). Because of the cold and the need to attend to something else, I only spent about a half-hour at this, but want to go back and try some more.

This shot was made with the new Canon 5D IV, and I'm finding this to be a stellar camera, especially for bird photography. Its focus acquisition system is amazing, and it handles high ISO levels well. For this shot I used the Canon 800mm f/5.6 lens, at f/5.6, 1/2000, ISO 1600, exposure compensation +1.7, no flash.

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2 comments:

The Furry Gnome said...

Amazing picture!

Jack and Brenda said...

That's a beauty! Female Cardinals have an beauty that rivals the males.
I caught a male Cardinal approaching our bird feeder and took a sequence of photos. I used 3 of the images to create a collage in Photoshop. http://jackhoying.com/jack/cardinal.jpg

P.S. I like to use natural branches as sides on my bird feeders to make for more realistic settings.