Friday, November 7, 2008

Of Koels and cool cameras

This juvenile Common Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea) continued its nonstop demands for food from a pair of Blue-faced Honeyeaters (Entomyzon cyanotis) at the caravan park today.

For a large, incessant caller the bird has been surprisingly difficult to spot in the tall trees. It came a little lower early this morning. But feeding was done at such a rush I missed two chances, and then the Koel moved out of sight.

In a post with emphasis as much on photography as the natural world, I like the attractive patterns in the out of focus branches and leaves behind the bird. A plug for image stabilisation: 420mm=630mm, handheld at 1/60sec F14 ISO400. Naturally many more blurred shots hit the trash.

Here's a Golden-headed Cisticola (Cisticola exilis) on a sugar cane flower stalk, also early today. The side-on pose helps keep all in focus. 420mm=630mm handheld at 1/800sec F10 ISO400.

And finally a Monarch butterfly on one of the few Tyto lagoon-edge weeds not to have been sprayed in the last few days. Not a macro, this is another handheld 630= shot, at F13 1/1250sec ISO1600. The picture has been lightly sharpened, without any denoising. Not a super shot, but a telling example of camera technology at work.


Denis Wilson said...

Amazing photos, Tony.
Hand-held, with such a long lens you would need Image Stabilisation I feel sure.
I was tempted to go with a mirror lens at 500mm simply because it is so much lighter than a conventional lens. But they can produce unusual distortions in the outside of the image. Centre focus is good, but anyway, I have not gambled with that investment, yet. Apparently there is great variation in quality between different configurations of the mirrors.
I once tried out a 500mm conventional lens (at the local camera shop), but could barely lift it, and I am not prepared to commit to carrying a tripod, every time I go out in the bush.
Beyond that solution, it seems one ought go to "Spotting Scopes". New ones have a digital camera built in - now that looks like the way to go.
But just as with Hi-Fi systems, cars, (and many other things in life) - finances eventually become a determining factor. Otherwise we would all have Hasselblads or Leicas.
At least I can enjoy your excellent photos via your blog.

mick said...

Great post - again. I especially like the photo of the juvenile Koel.

Mosura said...

Great pivs! I'd never have picked that butterfly shots as iso 1600.

Duncan said...

You get some great pictures Tony, care to tell us what camera body you use, we know you have a Tamron zoom.

Tyto Tony said...

Gidday Denis, Mick, Mosura, Duncan:

Excuse general reply, but I presume general interest in camera stuff.

Bought Canon 40D and Tamron 28-300VC together. Camera great - and strong enough to carry lot of dangling weight for hours on cycle jaunts; lens not so sharp. So ummed and ahhed and as $A plunged decided to get Canon 300L+1.4 extender before prices soar.

Underlying factor for prime lens was to deny myself excuses for bad pix. If they're lousy now, it's me. I spent years hacking others' pix to fit newspaper layouts. Didn't learn much about taking them. Photog friends always on hand for that.

Digiscoping seems to me limited in use, needing a hefty tripod, slow and fiddly, and not so cheap, because a first-rate scope (essential) costs more than a good lens.

Tyto Tony said...


After posting last comment I looked more closely at Cisticola and noticed it had gone very soft (happens to others posting on bird forums (not fora, please), but first for me - though image refused to load three times, so some file corruption probable. Sorry about that.

Duncan said...

Good gear Tony, look forward to lots more great pictures.

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