The Trials and Tribulations of Digital Bird Photography

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: The Trials and Tribulations of Digital Bird Photography
From: knightl <>
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 17:24:00 +1000
Following on from previous threads on digital cameras, I've been coming to grips with my new camera, bought at least partially on the basis of its 8x optical zoom.

On its first outing, I managed to get some reasonable shots of the laughing gull on Bribie, with the main hassle keeping the bird in the frame at extreme magnification.

In subsequent outings, I have found the autofocus to be useless on pelagic trips, as it is unable to lock onto fast moving birds over water. Using the manual focus isn't particularly easy, as the focusing screen isn't that clear at high magnification nor is the focus that obvious. The other gripe is that the camera goes into sleep mode after 30 secs of inaction, which is a pain when you are waiting for the petrels to hove into a photographic position [nothing more frustrating than the viewfinder going blank just as the bird is coming into position - and you lose 2 secs while the camera wakes up].

That said, I got some reasonable shots of the shearwater rafts and the gould's petrel [tick] on Saturday's Southport pelagic [and a recognisable shot of the tahiti petrel as well].

Photographing the cuckoos at Dayboro yesterday was a bit easier, but I still had some focus problems. The humourous thing is that the first bird I saw when I got to Apex Pk was a classic grey oriental cuckoo [tick], which promptly disappeared as I pulled the camera out. The fan-tailed and horsfield's cuckoos were most obliging and allowed photographs from a reasonable distance.

The cuckoos were picking up the grubs from a couple of different locations, and the question I would like answered, is how many grubs does it take to fill a cuckoo's stomach?? They certainly seem to be able to pack them in.

Regards, Laurie.

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