Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Baby Sparrows

Every year a pair of House Sparrows nest in a tree in our front yard.  The chicks are big enough to see when they poke their heads up for food.  Last night I took a few shots at feeding time. The impromptu photo shoot was kind of funny.

When the father sparrow got close the little fellers peeped frantically and strained their little necks for food. As the father bird left to get more bugs the little ones would slowly scrunch down (like deflating jack-in-the-boxes) until you couldn't see them. After each shot I looked at my camera screen and maybe edited a couple shots in camera. Then the father would return, the little guys would peep loudly, and taking their cue, I'd swing my lens up to capture them just before they hunkered down again.

These were all shot with the Pentax K-5.  It was the first time I used my most recent purchase, a 200mm, f2.8 prime lens.  I had to factor in partial cloud and late afternoon sun blocked by lots of tree shade. First I set the camera to TAv (a setting unique to Pentax), which allows me to set both the aperture and shutter speed and lets the camera set the ISO.  The camera was choosing way too high an ISO, giving me too much noise, so I reverted to Manual; choosing to shoot at the widest f-stop and the slowest shutter speed that I dared and the lowest ISO allowable.

I'm thinking my next purchase should be a good tripod.  The 200mm is a bit heavy and my aim and hands are not very steady.  While the photos turned out okay, if you look closely you can see edge blurring.

These first two photos were edited with Nik & Photoshop software straight from RAW files.

F2.8, 1/500, ISO 2500

F2.8, 1/500, ISO 4000

These were edited from RAW files in camera. With Nik I reduced the noise and lightened them up a bit with Photoshop.

F2.8, 1/400, ISO 6400
F2.8, 1/500, ISO 2500
F2.8, 1/500, ISO 2500

F2.8, 1/500, ISO 2500
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F2.8, 1/320, ISO 3200


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