Yes, more bluebirds

I know what you're thinking.  However, Saturday morning, the bluebirds and I had an extraordinary time.

See, I checked the bluebird box last week and they had quite a nest built up inside the box.  I figured I had just missed all the photographic opportunities of them building the nest.  I was pretty bummed about that, because I think those can be some of the best images.  I guess I was living right, or someone knew how bummed I was because Saturday morning, they added a few finishing touches to the nest that allowed me to get some great shots.

ISO 6400, 600mm, F/6.3 @ 1/1250th second

The light was not the best so I knew I was going to be shooting at higher ISOs.  This made me go with the Sony A7R II for my body choice.  I probably ended up missing a lot of shots because it is so much slower than the A77 II I normally use in terms of FPS, but I also might not have gotten these shots at all due to the A77 II not being able to do as well with higher ISOs.  

This was one of my favorite images of the morning.  Blondie is bringing in a little extra padding for the nest.  

I was able to capture this image with my Sony A7R II, LA-EA3 Adapter and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.  I had this setup mounted to my Sirui tripod and PH-20 GImbal Head.  The PH-20 ended up being a vital piece of this setup.  For these in flight shots, I just pre-focused on the area in front of the house, then locked the PH-20 down.  I knew this head wouldn't be slipping.  I knew once I locked it down , it wasn't moving.  So, after I pre-focused and locked the head down, I would just wait for her to come in and fire away.

 Some skill, some good timing and some good luck...

I know you're sick of bluebirds...

...but I'm giving you another heavy dose today.  

These guys are just easy pickings right now and until spring REALLY springs into action, there isn't much else to shoot around my parts.  And...they are homesteading in my backyard, so it's hard not to shoot them right now.

Here we go...

All of these were from shot this morning in my backyard before any real light was available, so they were all shot with ISO 3200.  Let's start with Blondie.  Here she is atop one of the "posing" logs.  She had just finished having a mealworm breakfast from the buffet just below where she is standing now.

Here is another one of Blondie. You can see she is on the exact same "posing" log.  This was a little later when more light was available.

Thou shall not forget Dagwood.  You can see a theme here.  He's on the same "posing" log as Blondie was.  The reason they like this spot so much are for a few reasons.  It is a great go-between for them from food to the nesting box.  I also have mealworms in a hole in this log just beneath where they are standing so they hit that little hole frequently and bounce up here when they are finished.  Works out pretty well.

Here's Dagwood on a different log.  This is another "posing" log I have setup.  It is hollow in the top, so I put mealworms and sunflower seeds in there so the birds will land here for photos.

Notice the backgrounds on these photos.  They aren't happy accidents.  I have setup my logs and photo blind in such a way to give me these nice backgrounds.  The first few shots you see have a gold background because the background is this tall, golden yellow grass.  I have no idea what it is called, but it gets 3-4' tall and is just far enough away from the log that it just turns into a gold backdrop.  This will fade to green as the weeks move along.

The last image is from a log that is a little shorter than the other one.  So instead of having the gold background, it has a lot more green grass.  

The moral of this story is your background is SUPER important!  

When I was growing up I used to watch this TV Program called The Great Space Coaster.  There was this puppet character on there named Gary Gnu.  He would do a "news" show.  His tag line was always "No gnews is good gnews with Gary Gnu.".  That's how these backgrounds are when you are isolating birds.  If it isn't noticed, you've done a good job of selecting a background.

All of these images were made with my Sony A77 II and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.  All resting atop my Sirui tripod and PH-20 gimbal head.