Male Goldfinch

I spent some time with the backyard birds again this weekend.  I'm always adjusting feeders, food, props, etc. to either attract new birds, or get birds in the best possible light.

I am super thankful I have a ton of Goldfinches at the feeders this year.  For whatever reason, I've not had them in the past.

ISO 1600, 420mm, F/6.3 @ 1/1600th

This is one of the male goldfinches.  I may literally have a dozen or more of them at my feeders and/or logs at any given time.  They are always pretty active, so chances are they will end up in a good light spot.  This was taken in early morning, golden light.

Image made with my Sony A77 II and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.  Combo supported by my Sirui tripod and PH-20 Gimbal Head.

Yellow Variant House Finch

Yesterday afternoon I spent some time in the bird blind.  It was my first chance to photograph from the blind since adding a new log as a prop.  Boy did that thing work out!  The birds were all over it.  I had more opportunities to shoot than I could manage.

One thing that was super cool was getting to photograph this Yellow Variant House Finch.

ISO 1600, 460mm, F/6.3 @ 1/1600th of a second

Hover over the image to see camera settings used.  Click on image to view it larger.

I had never seen one of these birds before so I had to call my resident bird nerd, David Akoubian from Bear Woods Photography.  He said he thought it might be a Yellow Variant House Finch, and he was right.  After a little Googling, I found out some information about these birds.  Apparently the yellow variant is derived from diet.  I guess if their diet does not contain a certain carotenoid pigment, it causes more yellow than red coloration.  From what I read these birds are more common in Hawaii and the Southwestern US because many of the natural foods in that area lack the necessary carotenoids.  I was certainly glad to see him at the feeders.  Maybe he will hang around for a while.

Image made with my Sony A77 II and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.  Camera combo was mounted on a Sirui tripod and PH-20 Gimbal head.

Backyard Goldfinch

This past weekend I was able to get out in the backyard bird blind for a little photo time.

I am excited this year to have many birds I didn't have last year, and in good numbers, too.  One of the birds I have a lot of this winter are Goldfinches.  Goldfinches certainly aren't a rare bird or even rare to this area, but for whatever reason I didn't have any last year.  I am very excited to see them this year and I am hoping they stay around until spring when they get their breeding plumage.  They are much prettier then ;)

I was able to catch a one of the male goldfinches on a branch with a mouthful of flower.  Since this was taken on Valentine's Day, I can only assume he was delivering them to Mrs. Goldfinch.

ISO 3200, 460mm, F/6.3 @ 1/500th second

Hover over the image to see camera settings used.  Click image to view it larger.

The light was really not great so I had to bump my ISO up a bit more than I like to get a high enough shutter speed to freeze any action.  Even though this bird is sitting on a branch and not flying, if he even moves his head a little at all and your shutter speed isn't fast enough it will be blurry.  From many experiences of missing shots because of a slow shutter speed, I'll tell you do not be afraid of higher ISOs.  The moral of the story here is it is better to have a sharp, noisy picture than a blurry one that is unusable.

This image was made with my Sony A77 II and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.  These were mounted on my Sirui Tripod and Ph-20 gimbal head.  This combination is great for bird photography of any kind.