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Animals CritiqueSandhill Cranes

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Charles Haacker
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Sandhill Cranes

Post by Charles Haacker » Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:20 pm

I don't shoot a lot of wildlife, usually because my reach is too short, but my new A6000's kit long zoom (E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS) is equivalent to a 315 mm on a full frame, which is half again the reach I've had in the past. So given that Nebraska is smack on the Sandhill flyway and they arrive by the tens of thousands in mid-March, I got up before dawn and drove a hundred miles or so to arrive at sunup at a fixed overlook on the Platte. (They used to say of the Platte, "Too thick to drink and too thin to plow.") :D

I have to shamefacedly confess that I shot almost 10 rolls (equivalent) so thank goodness it wasn't film. People with longer arms than me were getting skunked too so I shouldn't feel too bad. My first 100 or so frames were made at 1/320 sec and when I checked I realized that even on a tripod that was nowhere near fast enough. I ended up deleting all of those when I got back. Everything usable was made at 1/800, and now I know that wasn't fast enough. Well, learning curve. (N)
Attachments
DSC01717.EMlr.jpg
The sun was just coming up and beginning to burn off the ground fog; it gave a bilious color to the lightening sky. The dam birds were probably half a mile or more away, all merrily squawking their squawky squawks to say, "We know you are there with your pathetic little camera and we don't care neener neener hahahahahah pthbbbbbbbt." Then a bunch of them took off for the cornfields. It was what there was to shoot so I shot it.
DSC01805.EMlr.jpg
This is not a composite. It was one of the few frames I managed to get with birds and rising hazy sun in the same frame. Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and d'Artagnan. This is also one of the few that I actually like.
DSC01876.EMlr.jpg
I thought 1/800 sec would be adequate but I had a terrible time getting anything sharp enough to suit my sharp-freak ethos. This is not sharp but it's sharper than a lot of 'em, and I like the lighting. It is cropped. The blasted bird was even farther away.
DSC01886-Edit.EMlr.jpg
You probably already know this is a composite. It's the same lone bird as the previous slide but I thought it needed something more than negative space. The dam birds were never where they needed to be and they don't take direction well. The formation has been slightly motion blurred because it didn't look right otherwise. I was unhappy with the sharpness of pretty much everything owing to using too slow a shutter. Better luck next time.
DSC01895.EMlr.jpg
This was an afterthought as I and everyone else was leaving (the birds spend their days foraging in the cornfield stubble which is less photogenic). That cannon is on a Canon I think. I'm guessing it's at least a 400, and the fella I was standing next to was using a 600.
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Post by davechinn » Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:37 pm

Charles Haacker wrote:
Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:20 pm
I don't shoot a lot of wildlife, usually because my reach is too short, but my new A6000's kit long zoom (E 55-210mm F4.5-6.3 OSS) is equivalent to a 315 mm on a full frame, which is half again the reach I've had in the past. So given that Nebraska is smack on the Sandhill flyway and they arrive by the tens of thousands in mid-March, I got up before dawn and drove a hundred miles or so to arrive at sunup at a fixed overlook on the Platte. (They used to say of the Platte, "Too thick to drink and too thin to plow.") :D

I have to shamefacedly confess that I shot almost 10 rolls (equivalent) so thank goodness it wasn't film. People with longer arms than me were getting skunked too so I shouldn't feel too bad. My first 100 or so frames were made at 1/320 sec and when I checked I realized that even on a tripod that was nowhere near fast enough. I ended up deleting all of those when I got back. Everything usable was made at 1/800, and now I know that wasn't fast enough. Well, learning curve. (N)

Looks to have been a successful mornin' Chuck !!! I'm with you on not shooting a lot of wildlife. My reasoning though, is not much interesting wildlife within reach for me to strike much of an interest. Although, that's some kind of dedication to get up before dawn and drive a 100 miles. Kudos to you for your effort and series of shots presented. The first one displays a sense the environment and #2 is my favorite of your set. The composition is different from the norm and is an unusual shot, but to me, is very likable.
Dave
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Post by Psjunkie » Fri Mar 23, 2018 10:18 pm

Enjoyed the series Chuck...no real comment for improvement, only tip might be up the iso to try and get a faster shutter, then shoot to the right, stuff you already are well aware of...

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Post by Charles Haacker » Sat Mar 24, 2018 12:05 am

davechinn wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:37 pm
Looks to have been a successful mornin' Chuck !!! I'm with you on not shooting a lot of wildlife. My reasoning though, is not much interesting wildlife within reach for me to strike much of an interest. Although, that's some kind of dedication to get up before dawn and drive a 100 miles. Kudos to you for your effort and series of shots presented. The first one displays a sense the environment and #2 is my favorite of your set. The composition is different from the norm and is an unusual shot, but to me, is very likable.
Dave
Thanks for looking in, Dave! I like that second shot a lot, too. It's fairly "arty" for me who doesn't really do art. :D I used to be a night owl but some years ago everything shifted and now I'm as lark-y as they come, usually rising before dawn, so it really wasn't a hardship. ;)
Psjunkie wrote:
Fri Mar 23, 2018 10:18 pm
Enjoyed the series Chuck...no real comment for improvement, only tip might be up the iso to try and get a faster shutter, then shoot to the right, stuff you already are well aware of...
Thanks Frank, and yes, I could have cranked the shutter and not sure now why I didn't. My favorite go-to cheat is to put the ISO on auto, usually "capped" at 3200, where I find I can usually minimize the noise. I could easily have put the shutter at 1/1000 or even 1/2000 and now I wish I had, but I may get another crack at them and an opportunity to test a higher shutter. I shot some geese at 1/800 and seemed to stop their motion okay but, well, live and learn... (N) (?)
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Post by uuglypher » Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:34 pm

Nice series, Chuck.
From your narrative it sounds like you learned a lot on your first trip to the Platte for Sandhills!
Evidence of your self-education shows !

Maybe we could arrange a meet-up along the Platte next year?

Dave

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Post by minniev » Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:15 pm

Very enjoyable series Chuck. I think you've figured out the sharpness factor. Focus is the hardest for me on birds in flight. My equipment isn't the best for that but there are some tricks my camera has that help overcome it enough that I can occasionally get a decent one. I've had minimal luck with sandhills in spite of yearly treks to our own sandhill sanctuary. This year I did find a couple in someone's yard just outside the sanctuary! They are beautiful birds. I love your composite!

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Post by St3v3M » Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:02 am

Wow that's a lot of birds, and big ones too! S-
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Post by PietFrancke » Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:05 am

Wow! Looks like you found a very cool place to be while those birds are moving from one place to another. Very cool!

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Post by Charles Haacker » Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:57 pm

uuglypher wrote:
Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:34 pm
Nice series, Chuck.
From your narrative it sounds like you learned a lot on your first trip to the Platte for Sandhills!
Evidence of your self-education shows !

Maybe we could arrange a meet-up along the Platte next year?

Dave
Thanks so much, Dave, and yes, I would love to meet on the Platte next year! :thumbup: I'm blue-skying about spending a little to get into a private blind across from a well used nesting site.
minniev wrote:
Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:15 pm
Very enjoyable series Chuck. I think you've figured out the sharpness factor. Focus is the hardest for me on birds in flight. My equipment isn't the best for that but there are some tricks my camera has that help overcome it enough that I can occasionally get a decent one. I've had minimal luck with sandhills in spite of yearly treks to our own sandhill sanctuary. This year I did find a couple in someone's yard just outside the sanctuary! They are beautiful birds. I love your composite!

Yah, that guy is loaded in more than one sense of the word.
Thanks, Min. The Sony A6000 has pretty sophisticated follow-focus which was one reason I decided to try my luck. The system works incredibly well follow-focusing a whirling-dervish Andi. :D I saw the picture you made of the two in the yard. And thanks for the comment on the composite; I wondered if it worked or not. (BTW, Sigma offers a 150-600mm F5-6.3 Sports Lens for Sony E Mount. Cheap at $2,349.00 :rofl: )
St3v3M wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:02 am
Wow that's a lot of birds, and big ones too! S-
Thanks, Steve. I read somewhere they have a wingspan of 5 feet or more, but there's a whole bunch of species, some smaller, some bigger.
PietFrancke wrote:
Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:05 am
Wow! Looks like you found a very cool place to be while those birds are moving from one place to another. Very cool!
Thanks, Piet. There are websites that map places you can see them. This spot is free to the public but they were awfully far away. I'm seriously thinking that next year I might pay a few bucks to a private outfit that has a blind on the river across from a nesting site where it might be more likely to get closer.
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