Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon

Nov. 4, 2013 – Ridgefield NWR – 39 images

Today’s shots are from Nov. 4th, 2013, when the weather was gray, cloudy, and showery.  I’m using a mixture of focal lengths today–some 500mm, 700mm, and 1000mm.  At the end of the day, it got dark very early due to the thick cloud cover and I tried some high ISO test shots (the last 7 shots) just for the heck of it, shooting whatever I could find on my final loop of the day.

Let’s start with a Red-tailed Hawk up in a tree.  [Click once on the thumbnails below to see a larger view!].

Canon 5D Mark III. 1/1000, f5.6, ISO 2500, 500mm.    (9:07 a.m.)

 

_X5A5566-Edit-Edit-Edit20131104RNWR  red-tailed hawk

 

This is what I believe is a juvenile Golden-crowned Sparrow.  Not the best shot but a cute bird.   Canon 5D Mark III. 1/1000, f4, ISO 2500, 500mm.    (9:51 a.m.)

_X5A5571-Edit20131104RNWR  immature golden-crowned sparrow

 

My first spotting today of a Black-tailed Deer.  She was having a little breakfast to start the day.   Canon 5D Mark III. 1/1250, f4, ISO 1250, 500mm.    (10:18 a.m.)

_X5A5601-Edit20131104RNWR  black-tailed deer

 

 

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I only got a few frames of this Red-tailed Hawk fairly close up in a tree.  At the time I was sure they’d be throw-aways due to the dark conditions and the limbs in front of the hawk.  After I processed the shot, I ended up kind of liking it.  The hawk is extraordinarily beautiful and the green around it helps make the bird pop, even if it is partially obstructed by leaves and limbs.  Canon 5D Mark III. 1/1000, f4, ISO 1250, 500mm.    (10:44 a.m.)

_X5A5614-Edit20131104RNWR  red-tailed hawk

 

Over on the gate near the Ducks Unlimited sign, some Golden-crowned Sparrows were hanging out.    Canon 5D Mark III. 1/800, f4, ISO 2000, 500mm.    (10:52 a.m.)

_X5A5641-Edit20131104RNWR  golden-crowned sparrow

 

 

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I’m now stopped just past marker #11 and there’s a beautiful immature Bald Eagle perched on the limb of the lone tree south of the road.  I’ve taken shots from here (275 feet) with the longer focal lengths and thought I’d try it at 500mm.  Conditions were against me though and this was actually shot through some fog.  Canon 5D Mark III. 1/1000, f4, ISO 2000, 500mm.    (11:24 a.m.)

_X5A5661-Edit20131104RNWR  bald eagle

 

One of the big surprises of the day was that this American Kestrel let me approach much closer than kestrels typically allow–about to 25 feet.   Canon 5D Mark III. 1/1000, f4, ISO 2000, 500mm.    (11:56 a.m.)

_X5A5697-Edit20131104RNWR  american kestrel

 

 

_X5A5705-Edit20131104RNWR   american krestel

 

This next series of shots of a Hooded Merganser pair were the last at 500mm.  Both birds were unusually unaffected by my presence (in my vehicle).   This first shot catches the bird in a little head shake.   Canon 5D Mark III. 1/1250, f4, ISO 2500, 500mm.    (1:30 p.m.)

_X5A5735-Edit20131104RNWR  hooded merganser

 

And, a flattened-out hood.

_X5A5747-Edit20131104RNWR  hooded merganser

 

Nice pose!

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Both eyes in the same shot!   🙂

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Lovely profile pose!

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The female was perched on this log while I was taking the male’s picture.  For this stationary female, I should have slowed the shutter speed to gain a better ISO setting, but the image turned out okay anyway.

Canon 5D Mark III. 1/800, f4, ISO 2000, 500mm.    (1:34 p.m.)

_X5A5797-Edit20131104RNWR  hooded merganser

 

Now I’m parked just past marker #11 at the same spot the above immature eagle was captured.  The bird that is perched at the top of this tree (275 feet away) is a nearly-mature Bald Eagle, probably 4-years old based on the almost completely white head and tail feathers.  I decided to change over to 700mm and put on the 1.4x III converter.

This first shot shows the bird just trying to keep its balance on this precarious perch.    Canon 5D Mark III. 1/1250, f5.6, ISO 2000, 700mm.    (2:03 p.m.)

_X5A5824-Edit-Edit20131104RNWR   bald eagle

 

The bird decides to make a small leap to a branch a few feet to my right.  Unfortunately, I didn’t nail the focus but I love the pose.     Canon 5D Mark III. 1/1250, f5.6, ISO 2000, 700mm.    (2:14 p.m.)

_X5A5861-Edit-Edit-Edit20131104RNWR   bald eagle flight

 

Here’s the same bird relaxing on its new perch and checking me out.    Canon 5D Mark III. 1/1250, f5.6, ISO 2000, 700mm.    (2:16 p.m.)

_X5A5879-Edit20131104RNWR  bald eagle

 

My field of view out of my truck passenger-side window is very limited since I have to lean across the seat to take these shots.  I had no idea about what was approaching from my right (one of the disadvantages of the requirement that visitors are to stay inside their cars from Oct. thru Apr).  All I could see is that the 4-year old bird decided to take off, so I tried to get some shots of it in flight.   Canon 5D Mark III. 1/1250, f5.6, ISO 2000, 700mm.    (2:19 p.m.)

_X5A5891-Edit20131104RNWR   bald eagle flight

 

 

_X5A5892-Edit-Edit-Edit20131104RNWR  bald eagle flight

 

 

_X5A5897-Edit20131104RNWR-2  bald eagle fkight

 

 

After shooting the younger bird, I looked up and noticed that a pair of mature birds had now taken its place in the tree.  I missed the landing of this pair but now I had two new subjects to photograph.  I guess they call this “right place, right time.” 🙂  I took lots of shots of these two but it wasn’t long before the lower bird hopped onto a perch that put a big branch right in front of it.  So this next shot is one of the few I got of both birds fully unobstructed and having decent poses.    Canon 5D Mark III. 1/1250, f5.6, ISO 2000, 700mm.    (2:20 p.m.)

_X5A5914-Edit20131104RNWR  bald eagles

 

Here, the top bird ruffles its feathers and calls out at the same time.   Canon 5D Mark III. 1/1250, f7.1, ISO 2000, 700mm.    (2:25 p.m.)

_X5A5945-Edit-Edit20131104RNWR  bald eagle

 

And again, the top bird giving me the eye(s).    At this point, I switched over to 1000mm, replacing the 1.4x with the 2x III converter.   I try bettering my ISO by slowing my shutter speed to 1/400.  By doing this though, I risk ending up with very blurry shots if the birds suddenly take flight since 1/400 will usually not stop flight action.    Canon 5D Mark III. 1/320, f8, ISO 1250, 1000mm.    (2:52 p.m.)

_X5A6044-Edit20131104RNWR   bald eagle

 

I decide to leave the eagles and drive on down the road a hundred yards or so.  Off to my right are some Northern Pintails in the water–not way out there but not real close either.   Canon 5D Mark III. 1/400, f8, ISO 2000, 1000mm.    (3:01 p.m.)

_X5A6062-Edit20131104RNWR  northern pintail

 

Driving a bit further down the road I spot a Northern Harrier atop one of the posts near marker #12.  I didn’t dare get closer than 50-60 feet.  Even at that, the bird gave me only a few frames before flying off.   Canon 5D Mark III. 1/400, f8, ISO 3200, 1000mm.    (3:04 p.m.)

_X5A6080-Edit20131104RNWR  northern harrier

 

Just readying for takeoff.   Canon 5D Mark III. 1/400, f8, ISO 3200, 1000mm.    (3:04 p.m.)

_X5A6082-Edit20131104RNWR  northern harrier

 

On my approach to the main parking area, I was surprised to find this pair of Black-tailed Deer working the berm on the right.  The doe didn’t care that I was there but the buck was quite skittish and began walking away from me quickly.  I started up the truck and followed him a short distance stopping in a position that allowed me to shoot freely from the driver’s side window.  I may have made a little sound to get the deer to stop and turn around for a second.   Canon 5D Mark III. 1/400, f8, ISO 4000, 1000mm.    (3:16 p.m.)  Notice that my ISO setting is starting to creep higher as conditions get darker.

_X5A6098-Edit20131104RNWR   black-tailed buck deer

 

The doe didn’t run so she was so close I couldn’t get her all in the frame.   Canon 5D Mark III. 1/400, f8, ISO 4000, 1000mm.    (3:17 p.m.)

_X5A6123-Edit20131104RNWR  black-tailed doe

 

Driving to the parking area, this Western Scrub Jay is perched maybe 20 feet away on a post.   Canon 5D Mark III. 1/400, f8, ISO 4000, 1000mm.    (3:22 p.m.)

_X5A6168-Edit20131104RNWR  western scrub jay

 

 

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EXTREME HIGH ISO TEST SECTION

Conditions are so dark now, I elect to turn up the ISO to extreme high settings just to see what kinds of images I can get in low light conditions.  These remaining shots are true test shots–some more successful than others.   The next 4 images were taken at ISO 10,000.  In addition, the b&w harrier was at an extreme distance.

_X5A6211-Edit20131104RNWR   b&w northern harrier high iso test

 

A preening duck at ISO 10,000.    Canon 5D Mark III. 1/1000, f8, ISO 10000, 1000mm.    (4:05 p.m.)

_X5A6216-Edit20131104RNWR  preening duck high iso test

 

I had to sacrifice a lot of detail here for less noise.  Not a good result.    Canon 5D Mark III. 1/1000, f8, ISO 10000, 1000mm.    (4:12 p.m.)

_X5A6225-Edit20131104RNWR  northern harrier flight high iso test

 

A Great Blue Heron from a reasonably close distance.    Canon 5D Mark III. 1/1000, f8, ISO 10000, 1000mm.    (4:18 p.m.)

_X5A6252-Edit20131104RNWR  great blue heron high iso test

 

And, a Nutria at about 30 feet–ISO 12,800.   Canon 5D Mark III. 1/500, f8, ISO 12800, 1000mm.    (4:28 p.m.)

_X5A6274-Edit20131104RNWR  Nutria 12800 ISO

ISO 12,800 shot of a harrier close to 200 feet away.   Not enough pixels to support much detail.   Canon 5D Mark III. 1/500, f8, ISO 12800, 1000mm.    (4:35 p.m.)

_X5A6302-Edit20131104RNWR   northern harrier high iso test

 

A last test shot of a Great Blue Heron at close range.  This is a full frame image at ISO 12,800.   Canon 5D Mark III. 1/500, f8, ISO 12800, 1000mm.    (4:41 p.m.)

_X5A6321-Edit20131104RNWR   great blue heron high iso test

 

These high ISO tests reinforce the notion that closeness to the subject is a major key to sharpness–as it is in any situation.  Long distance shots really become bad quickly and are seldom usable.  Good post-processing tools and technique are necessary to reduce noise while not sacrificing too much detail.  I’ve seen from these tests that in extreme low light situations, it’s probably best just to pass up longer distance shots when high ISO settings are necessary.  Close to the subject shots, however, do have a chance of a decent result.  Lighter colored subjects do better than dark subjects since noise is more noticeable in dark areas of an image.  In other words, all the guidelines remain the same as in ‘normal’ ISO photography but the necessity for ample pixels on your subject becomes more apparent quickly and a much higher percentage of shots will be destined for the trash.

I want to say Happy Birthday to my mother-in-law, Jo, who would have been 92 today, Nov. 4!

My next blog post will cover my Nov. 13 shoot.  Take care and we’ll see you then!

 

This entry was posted on Monday, November 25th, 2013 at 12:19 pm and is filed under The Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “Nov. 4, 2013 – Ridgefield NWR – 39 images”

  1. Gary says:

    Wonderful Eagle shots Scott!

  2. Gary says:

    And the buck!!

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