Archive for Backyard Bird Studio

Returning our yard to the birds

Posted in Bird Photography, Favorite Places, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 22, 2018 by lilybug1960

Returning our yard to the birds.
 
I had the request from several people here at the NANPA Nature Celebration to post some of the things we did in our yard to return it to a more natural environment for us and the birds and in turn improve the photography opportunities. So here is an abbreviated post.
 
First and foremost, we eliminated the use of all chemical pesticides and herbicides. When we use something on weeds that we can not pull out, it is vinegar and epson salt with a few drops of dish soap to allow the solution to stick to the foliage. We then started planting many native plants around the gardens to attract bees, butterflies and beneficial insects. We allow the plants to decay vs pulling them up after they bloom. The seeds feed the birds and the decaying plants attract insects that Warblers, Vireos and Tanagers will eat. Once everything is dead and dried out we cut it to the ground and let it become compost for the soil the next year. We cleared some of the under brush in an effort to prevent fire from racing up the mountain, but in the cleared area we planted and allow native shrubs to grow which offers cover and nesting areas for the birds. Just inside the transition area we built our birds studio, which is a few posts and sticks that give the birds a place to search the area. These posts are where we photograph them. The birds are curious and will follow other birds in to investigate. We do put out some mealworms and seed, mainly in the winter and early spring during the migration or to help with the cold weather.
 
I make sure that the birds see me sitting on the porch to get used to my presence. When I am not there I try to put something like a jacket so they see an object. They quickly get over any slight movement or noise when I am photographing. Doing a few simple things like this will amaze you as to the number of birds that will come in, especially ones you usually don’t see in the area.
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Other Options for Wildlife Photography

Posted in Bird Photography, Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2018 by lilybug1960

Other Options for Wildlife Photography.
 
It is interesting to talk with all the photographers out there who photograph wildlife and birds. We all want longer lenses, but we don’t want the extra weight. My go to lens, the Tamron 150-600mm Di VC USD G2 lens is only 4 pounds, but that is a lot for people for some folks, and for me if I am carrying if for a long period of time. I have spent a few days talking about the new Tamron 70-210mm f4 Di VC USD lens, but for those that want a little more length without a lot of added weight, the perfect lens for you is the Tamron 100-400mm Di VC USD lens. This is my lens when I am walking through the woods, especially on our mountainous terrain, because of the smaller size and less weight. It has the LD (Low Dispersion) glass and weighs in at about 40 ounces! You can get a tripod collar for it so using it on a gimbal head is easily done as well. The lens focuses very fast and tracks very well, and being so light is easy to pan with birds in flight as well. It has the dual MPUs, one for focus, one for Vibration Compensation, so all the great new technology is at work. There are lots of great options out there for birds and wildlife, many under $1000!
 
Tamron 100-400mm Di VC USD lens on a Nikon D-500, Manual Exposure mode, f8, ISO 900, shutter speed of 1/125th of a second, Sirui P224S monopod and L10 head, processed in Lightroom Classic CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #Sirui, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiProfessional

Just a little more on the Tamron 70-210mm f4 lens

Posted in Bird Photography, Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2018 by lilybug1960

Just a little more on the Tamron 70-210mm f4 lens.
 
As I look at my images and decide on the effectiveness of a lens, I look at my depth of field and how smooth the background will appear when and if I want it out of focus. In this image I want the background to be smooth with no detail, so I chose f4 as my aperture. I want very little detail to distract from the subject. In other words, I want a palette of colors. When I painted I was able to chose my background with my brush, with this lens I feel I am able to get that smooth look by isolating with the shallow depth of field without getting any odd shaped objects in the trees back lit trees. These back lit trees can make or break the image, and a lesser designed and constructed lens can be a “deal breaker” for the finished image. It is often referred to as “bokeh” and is simply the shape and quality of the out of focus objects. This lens has beautiful bokeh and the huge bonus is that the price doesn’t break the bank. I am really looking forward to getting this lens out for some scenic work later this week in Jackson Hole!
 
Tamron 70-210mm f4 Di VC USD lens on a Nikon D-500, Manual Exposure mode, f4, ISO 800, shutter speed of 1/160th of a second, hanheld utilizing the Vibration Compensation feature of the lens, processed in Lightroom Classic CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster

The Tamron 70-210mm f4 lens and 1.4x tele-converter

Posted in Bird Photography, Equipment I Use, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2018 by lilybug1960

The Tamron 70-210mm f4 lens and the 1.4x Tele-converter.
 
I like looking at all options for improving my results when I am out photographing. When I figured out that the Tamron 70-210mm f4 lens is a viable option for bird photography, I decided to answer one of those “what if?” questions. What if I needed just a little more lens when I am out walking with the lens? Would the Tamron 1.4x tele-converter be an option to give me a little extra reach? The answer is yes! I went out yesterday morning and waited for the birds to come visit my studio while drinking my morning coffee. I set up using the 70-210mm lens with the 1.4x tele-converter. It didn’t take long for the birds to fly in and for me to find out just how nicely the combination worked. The idea of using an f4 lens is to have the extra speed of a wider aperture, the 1.4x tele-converter will take away one stop of light meaning the lens will be an f5.6 and at its longest zoom length it becomes a 290mm lens. Using it on my D-500 with the crop factor of 1.5x, the lens is the equivalent angle of view of a 435mm lens. Now, please understand, it isn’t a 435mm lens, but the angle of view it produces is the same as a 435mm lens. That is why I often use an APS-C sensor camera for wildlife is the more narrow angle of view it can produce. That is another post for another day.
 
When using this combination, the Tamron 70-210mm f4 lens and the 1.4x tele-converter, I have a lightweight, very affordable option for when I am out hiking and doing some birding. Why not just use a 100-400mm lens, you ask? Again the added speed of the lens, f4, is great to isolate a subject with a narrow depth of field, and the size and weight are fantastic. There are so many great options out there for photographers right now and I strongly recommend getting into a dealer and try them out. Better yet, find out when a Tamron event is near you and get some hands on use with one of their sales and technical experts. Even better yet, come out to the NANPA Nature Celebration in Jackson, WY next weekend and take one out in the field, shoot with me, then you can even go back in and get the right lens for you! I will also be down in Griffin, GA this Tuesday doing a presentation to the Griffin Chapter of the Georgia Nature Photographers Association and I will show examples of images with all of the options that I use.
 
Tamron 70-210mm f4 Di VC USD lens with the 1.4x tele-converter on a Nikon D-500, Manual Exposure mode, f5.6, ISO 1400, shutter speed of 1/125th of a second, Sirui P224S monopod and L10 head, processed in Lightroom Classic CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #Sirui, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiProfessional

The Tamron 70-210mm f4 lens for birds!

Posted in Bird Photography, Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2018 by lilybug1960

The Tamron 70-210mm f4 lens for birds!
 
When I picked up the new Tamron 70-210mm f4 Di VC USD lens, I didn’t envision myself shooting birds with it. I thought it would be more of an upclose wildlife lens, portrait type lens and landscape lens. With my trip to Wyoming just around the corner, I wanted to get the lens out and do more work with it and just get familiar more. I took it to the back porch last night and the lighting on the Backyard Studio was great as the sun was setting behind the posts. I set up and the birds came in quickly. This gave me a chance to test the lens handheld reacting quick for birds in all directions. They would land on my left and right, but not stay perched for more than a few seconds at a time. I would pan over, press the focus button and became really impressed with the speed of the focus! If I were to call the technical people at Tamron, they would tell me that is a result of the Dual MPUs in the lens (I read it on their website). It is also why I could see how well the Vibration Compensation steadied the lens too.
 
Another feature I love about the lens is how the focus and zoom mechanisms are both internal. As I zoom in or out, the lens doesn’t change length or when focusing the front doesn’t turn either. These features are going to be more important when I am doing landscapes in a week. The lens is super light, only 30 ounces! To save you the math, that is less than 2 pounds! I purchased the optional tripod mount since I will use it for landscapes and that feature will be nice for longer exposures. I look forward to using the lens for more birds, and doing some landscape work with it as well. It even makes me want to go out and do a few portraits to see how well it handles them too, because I can just tell it will do great. One more point, Tamron mentions the great “Bokeh” or in simple terms the quality of out of focus objects in the background in their write up of the lens and from the images in the post, you can see how smooth they background appears at f4. I really like this lens and it will become a staple in my bag no doubt.
 
Both images metadata is the same. Tamron 70-210mm f4 Di VC USD lens on a Nikon D-500, Manual Exposure mode, f4, ISO 800, shutter speed of 1/160th of a second, handheld utilizing the Vibration Compensation feature of the lens, processed in Lightroom Classic CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #BirdNirdvana, #Tamron70210mm

Subtle Beauty

Posted in Bird Photography, Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 10, 2018 by lilybug1960

Subtle Beauty.
 
Although female birds tend to be less colorful, their subtle beauty is apparent when you take time to study them. We have one pair of Northern Cardinals here in Bear Woods, and I have tried for a long time to get a nice portrait of the female. She decided to finally agree to a portrait yesterday.
 
Tamron SP 150-600mm Di VC USD G2 lens on a Nikon D-500, Manual Exposure mode, f8, ISO 900, shutter speed of 1/125th of a second, Sirui P224S monopod and L10 head, processed in Lightroom Classic CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #Sirui, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiProfessional

Carolina Wren Portrait

Posted in Bird Photography, Equipment I Use, Favorite Places, Photography Workshops, Random Thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2018 by lilybug1960

Carolina Wren Portrait.
 
The Carolina Wrens that raised their brood in my re-purposed watering can fledged earlier this week. They are now hanging around the woodpiles learning the tricks to hunting and flight. The parents are taking time to themselves playing in the yard, taking dust bathes in the garden, just enjoying life with 5 little beaks to feed. When they do visit the Backyard Studio, they don’t stay long, but I was able to catch one of the adults as he paused for a moment at a post. I love this time of year in the studio because the leaves are just giving the background color and it really forms a nice pallet of color. The trees behind the studio and about 50 feet away so they simply area blur. I am really looking forward to what the summer and fall will produce with all the Warblers visiting!
 
Tamron SP 150-600mm Di VC USD G2 lens on a Nikon D-500, Manual Exposure mode, f8, ISO 1000, shutter speed of 1/125th of a second, Sirui P224S monopod and L10 head, processed in Lightroom Classic CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronUSA, #TamronLensesUSA, #TamronImageMaster, #Sirui, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiProfessional, #BirdNirdvana