I headed back out to the Ridgefield NWR, in SW Washington State, last Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. My weather website had told me that there would be some clearing but mostly cloudy. It turns out it was dark, 100% cloud cover, with even some fog for much of the day. I sure didn’t see that clearing that I was promised until my 7th hour of shooting! So, I’m still in search for a decent website that can forecast the weather a day or two ahead. There has been so many times I was sure I planned on the right day of the week to go to the refuge and it turned out that the following day would have been much better. I would really like for the weather site to predict more accurately the cloud cover percentage by hour and also the light index by hour. Several sites I have found do attempt the hourly cloud cover forecast but I haven’t seen any that deal with a brightness index. Does that even exist? If anyone has come across a site or app that deals with these, please leave a comment!
About the only thing good that I can say about a dark, low overcast day like today is that what light there is, is more or less evenly spread around and from no particular direction. So no matter which direction I shoot, the lighting situation is about the same. I call this “equal opportunity” lighting. But with my not-so-fast f5.6 lens, days like this require a fairly high ISO setting, which the 5DM3 body can handle fairly well. But this doesn’t mean I would choose ISO3200 if I didn’t have to use it to get the shutter speeds I needed. For sure, a shot using ISO800, for instance, is going to be of higher quality–noise wise–than an ISO 3200 image. We’re all familiar with a basic rule of digital photography which is to use the lowest ISO setting you can get away with for the best noise-free picture quality.
Today’s shots vary in noise quality. Thanks for taking the time to check out the shots!
First off, I notice three Sandhill Cranes in the water nearly 200 feet out, walking to the other side of the lake. It’s early and really dark so I gave this image kind of a painted quality. I haven’t really decided if I like it or not. Maybe from a distance. (7:49 a.m.) ISO 3200
[Please click on the images to see them in a larger view].
Here is after the birds reached the shore. (7:50) ISO 3200
Here’s a lone Pied-billed Grebe in low light. (9:57) ISO 3200
Out in the grasslands area near post 13, Harriers are active. Here’s a female with a prospect in sight. (11:25) ISO 3200
This could be the same bird as shown above, now perched on a refuge sign. (11:30) ISO 3200
I’m parked by marker #11 and I see a Great Egret approaching for landing outside my driver’s side window. Here are three shots of the landing. (1:02 p.m.) ISO 3200
Near Rest Lake, a flock of Cackling Geese prepare to land in the water. This is about when the clouds started breaking just a bit. (1:24) ISO 800
And in South Rest Lake, a Mallard isn’t too bothered by me. (2:06) ISO 800
A Northern Harrier makes one of its pinpoint turns in mid-flight in an attempt to secure lunch. (2:15) ISO 800
Back to South Rest Lake where the Mallard pairs is still hanging around. (2:26) ISO 800
And a few more Harrier shots to close out the day. (2:41) ISO 800
(3:07) ISo 1000
(3:10) ISO 1000
(3:20) ISO 1250
That’s it for today! Thanks for looking and take care!