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More Fall Color From Maine

I cannot even begin to tell you how great the fall colors were when we were in Maine for our workshop last month.  It was some of the most intense fall color I had seen in a very long time. I tried capturing it in many different creative ways.  One of those ways was to put one of the many birch trees in one half of the frame and have the fall color melt into the other half of the frame by using a shallow depth of field and a long lens.  I did this same technique for this image, but I changed the focus point to be the leaves just past the birch tree.  

Aperture Priority, F/5.6, 1/125th, ISO 800

For this image I used my Nikon D500 and Tamron 150-600 G2 Lens.  I had that setup mounted to my Sirui W-2204 tripod with K30X Ballhead.  I simply set my aperture to wide open, and being only 7 or 8 feet away from my subject, I was able to get a very shallow depth of field and isolate the leaves.

Got you, Kingfisher!

So, if you've ever tried to photograph a Kingfisher of any kind, you know how incredibly frustrating that can be.

One morning while down in Florida, we chased one for probably a half hour before we conceded.  First, the little things are super, super fast.  Secondly, it seems every time you get your camera setup and almost ready, they wait until a nanosecond before you hit the shutter then  they fly off.  You repeat this process several times and they continue to watch you setup and fly away before you can trip the shutter.

One morning, I guess we were living right.  We were actually shooting an osprey that was having a fish on another tree and out of nowhere this Belted Kingfisher came and landed on this other dead snag not very far away.  He would land, scan the water for a fish, dive down and then come back to the snag for a bit.

ISO 640, 600mm, F/6.3 @ 1/1000th second

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

Now, when I tell you he would land, dive and come back....the little boogers are so fast that he did it several times but never sit still very long at all.  So, I had to be quick.  Luckily, the osprey sat on his tree so long that I had plenty of shots of him...plus he had already finished his meal.

This image was made using my Sony A77 II and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.  All mounted on my Sirui Tripod and PH-20 Gimbal Head.

Mrs. Bluebird, depth of field and focus

Yesterday I was telling you a little about how I have my yard setup for photographing birds.  I mentioned that I have my blind setup right at the minimum focusing distance for my lens.  The lens I use most often for these types of shots is the Tamron 150-600mm.  When using the lens at 600mm at the minimum focusing distance the depth of field (DOF) is pretty small.

ISO 640, 600mm, F/6.3 @ 1/500th second

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

If you look at the above image, you can see how shallow the depth of field is.  You can see the eye is tack sharp, but 3 or 4 inches away the bird's tail is out of focus.  It is important to remember this when using a telephoto lens at the longer end  close to your subject.  Since the DOF is so shallow your focus is critical.  If I had missed the eye by even a tiny bit, it would have been soft.  Images of wildlife or birds rely on the eye being in sharp focus!

When I hear people complain about getting soft images out of any telephoto lens, it is usually related to distance.  Either they are so close that the DOF is so shallow that they simply miss the focus point, or they are too far away and end up cropping the image heavily and expect the image to be sharp.  Keep this in mind when using those longer lenses.

This image was made using my Sony A77 II and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.  Both mounted on my Sirui Tripo and PH-20 Gimbal Head.