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Sandhill Cranes

Posted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:20 pm
by Charles Haacker
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)

Re: Sandhill Cranes

Posted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 12:37 pm
by davechinn
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

Re: Sandhill Cranes

Posted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 10:18 pm
by Psjunkie
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...

Re: Sandhill Cranes

Posted: Sat Mar 24, 2018 12:05 am
by Charles Haacker
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) (?)

Re: Sandhill Cranes

Posted: Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:34 pm
by uuglypher
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

Re: Sandhill Cranes

Posted: Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:15 pm
by minniev
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.

Re: Sandhill Cranes

Posted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:02 am
by St3v3M
Wow that's a lot of birds, and big ones too! S-

Re: Sandhill Cranes

Posted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:05 am
by PietFrancke
Wow! Looks like you found a very cool place to be while those birds are moving from one place to another. Very cool!

Re: Sandhill Cranes

Posted: Tue Apr 03, 2018 1:57 pm
by Charles Haacker
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.