Squirrel Photo Taken with Sigma 150-500mm Lens – Click on the image to see the full-resolution original, unedited. Camera settings: f/6.3, 1/500 sec, ISO-1000, 500mm
I got a new lens for birding and photography. It’s gigantic (compared to what I’ve been using). I have yet to carry it out into the field but I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of this test photo… A squirrel in my backyard, shot at 500mm, on a cloudy day! My camera is a Canon EOS Rebel T3i and the lens is this one:
It’s discontinued, so the price has dropped quite a bit lately. It used to sell for over a thousand!
Here’s another test photo I took of a house finch in the rain:
House Finch, Click to see the original full-resolution, unedited.
Camera Settings: f/6.3, 1/500 sec, ISO-1250, 500mm
I found this brochure from Eastman Kodak Company hidden inside a book I bought. As a photographer, it is one of the more interesting things I’ve found in books. It describes the following kinds of film:
Kodak Film Facts 1970s Vintage Catalog (side 1)
Kodak Film Facts 1970s Vintage Catalog (side 2)
Finches and Dark Eyed Juncos are both pretty aggressive birds.. It’s not uncommon for a Junco to get in the middle of this bird feeder and fight off every bird that tries to land, but today the tables were turned and the House Finch was winning.
About this feeder: I switched to this Gardman Hanging Feeder Tray after using traditional wood and tube feeders last year. I like the idea of a metal feeder because it doesn’t get moldy or deteriorate from all the rain we get. I also like the platform feeder because it’s easy to see all of the birds in it…. I found with hopper style feeders, the birds would just throw out tons of seed. I feel I have more control of the quantity of seed available this way. I just put a cup of seed in it every morning. I will have to admit that some days I refill it twice when the birds are especially hungry, or when a bird like a Scrub Jay decides to come by and store a lot of the seed in their throat for later use!
The Gardman Hanging Feeder Tray can accommodate 5-6 birds BUT most of the time there’s only 1-3 on it because birds fight so much. Pine Siskins seem to be much better at sharing the feeder than the other birds, so it might depend on what species you have.
About this photo: I have a lot of practice taking bird pictures… I’ve taken thousands. Practice is the key. But here’s why this photo “worked”:
- It was very sunny! This helps a lot! I have taken many grainy/blurry photos during cloudy and rainy days. Sometimes such photos help me to identify birds, but they are far from being a photo I would show off.
- I used Shutter Priority mode on my Canon EOS Rebel T3i and I set it to 1/500th of a second. I almost always use Shutter Priority when taking bird photos. If you have such a mode on your camera, you can practice and try to figure out what speed works best for your situation. I use a 270mm lens and use a minimum of 1/400th of a second. In general, the longer the lens, the higher the speed you will need.
- I used “Continuous Shooting” mode so that as long as I held down the shutter button, my camera took shots. Then I just select the good ones!