American Goldfinch DSLR video; filmed in Cape May, New Jersey

It was a real treat to get some close footage of our vibrant state bird recently.  I knew that I would want footage from several different angles to create diversity… even in a short wildlife video.  Varying the focal lengths and my angle of view on the birds was how I tackled that challenge.

Footage shot in 1080p at 30fps on the Canon EOS 7D with the tripod mounted Tamron SP 150-600mm VC zoom lens.  DSLR was set to the desired shutter speed of 1/60th of a second and I adjusted the aperture and ISO value to get as good of an exposure as possible for each clip.  Unfortunately it was a windy day so I had to strip the audio of the birds interacting and feeding.  I don’t think anyone would have enjoyed listening to the hissing and popping caused by the wind hitting the microphone outdoors.

For the birds…

This was one of my favorite recent bird photos. Getting a sharp close photo of any songbird is usually somewhat of an accomplishment, but capturing one doing something “cutesy” can be especially endearing.

NJ Bird photo

White-throated Sparrow

This photo was largely the result of right time, right place. But composition-wise I knew I wanted a bit of negative space on the right side of the frame, so the image would not appear too crammed. I went with an aperture of F/7.1 to pull some of the vegetation into focus as well as ensure decent sharpness throughout the bird’s body.

My Personal View on Post-Processing

I read a lot about “must have” post-processing programs and plug-ins to “get the most out of photography”. I think the trends like adding background textures, post-processing blurs, and over-the-top HDR programs will eventually go the way of the Dodo.

Do you think Ansel Adams would have benefited from importing someone else’s floral patterns behind his powerful mountain images with often ominous storm clouds? Probably not. Did he go beyond basic post-processing? Not really (mostly what I consider rudimentary contrast enhancements). Does his photography have some of the greatest longevity we’ve yet to see? Of course!

Bird photo

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

If I don’t see semblance of a compelling image through my viewfinder or in the Camera Raw preview, I simply move on, and try to compose better next time I shoot.

Just my two cents.

Quack!

As winter quickly approaches, my mind always drifts towards the migrant ducks that congregate near Long Beach Island in New Jersey. Some of the challenges include isolating a single bird amongst their groupings, trying to predict where the diving ducks are actually going surface, and dealing with the very slippery jetty you have to walk out on.

Harlequin Duck

Quack!

I like this intimate view of the Harlequin Drake because you get a nice view of his intricate patterns, and the very comedic value of a cute duck with his mouth agape!