Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bird Behavior, Bathing and Photography

The fun of photographing birds at of the animals is capturing the unusual.  Partly it can be luck, but also it is understanding the behavior of the animal that you are observing and trying to photograph.  I have a large number of images of ducks and gulls swimming and walking, so lately I've been observing them in order to capture of the behavior.  One of the events that I have observed is that when birds bathing and preening, they will usually rise and spread their wings, which gives you different action and behavioral photographs.  The idea is to have patience observe and be prepared for that event.  The other day when I was down at Jenney Pond in Plymouth, Massachusetts, both Mallards and Ring-billed Gulls were preening and bathing, which led to some interesting photographs. 
In order to help people with their photography, I am going to provide some technical information on what equipment I used and what settings and further information on post processing.
I utilized a Nikon D7000, with a Sigma 300 mm f 2 .8 lens along with a Sigma 1.4 tele-converter.  Because the Nikon D7000 has a 1.5 crop sensor, my equivalent focal length was 630 mm.  I used a monopod - Monostat-RS, which I love because of its large swivel toe stabilizer that prevents involuntary movements and yet permits smooth motion, and the horizontal for photographing moving objects.

For this photograph, I wanted a partial blur.  So I had set my f-stop to f 13 and my shutter speed was 1/250 sec.  For all my photographs, I had my ISO set at 400.- D7K_9503-Edit November 25, 2011 NIKON D7000
For this series of pictures my f-stop was f 7 .1 and the shutter speed ranged between 1/1001/250th of a sec. For more infoation about creating blurs check out A GUIDE TO PLEASING BLURS by Arthur Morris and Denise Ippolito at

- D7K_9506-Edit November 25, 2011 NIKON D7000
Male Mallard
- D7K_9603-Edit November 25, 2011 NIKON D7000- Up-side Down Mallard D7K_9550 November 25, 2011 NIKON D7000- D7K_9559-Edit-Edit November 25, 2011 NIKON D7000- D7K_9541-Edit November 25, 2011 NIKON D7000- D7K_9514-Edit November 25, 2011 NIKON D7000

Ring-bill Gulls  - D7K_9666-Edit November 25, 2011 NIKON D7000- D7K_9531-Edit November 25, 2011 NIKON D7000- D7K_9524 November 25, 2011 NIKON D7000- Ring-bill Gull JumpD7K_9534 November 25, 2011 NIKON D7000- rING-BILLED gULL D7K_9527 November 25, 2011 NIKON D7000 
Post processing was done in Lightroom and with NIK software, Viveza 2 and Color Efex Pro 4, which allowed me to control the contrast, saturation and the detail in the pictures.
As I continue to look at the pictures, what I identified as mallards, except for the male Mallard.  O am thinking that the pictures are more of a Black Duck-Mallard hybrid, because of the bill color and that there is a touch of green on the ducks head