Wanamassa Birds

I frequently stroll the streets of Wanamassa, NJ, with camera at the ready to take pictures of birds.

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Location: Ocean, New Jersey, United States

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

More on Killdeers

It was my experience with killdeers at Oceanport over the weekend that convinced me I needed more zoom. The 420mm (630mm in 35mm terms) that I was getting with the combination of my 300mm zoom lens and the 1.4x teleconverter just wasn't getting me close enough to the birds to get a good enough picture. So, I lashed out on a 2x teleconverter to see if 600mm would be enough. Well, it took me about ten minutes to realize that the results were so good that I should try both teleconverters together, giving me 840mm (1260mm n 35mm terms).

I started out using a tripod because it just seemed the right thing to do with such a long lens. In this configuration, I have to use manual focusing, and that's quite challenging for me because so far just about every picture I've taken with this camera (a Pentax K-x) has relied on auto focus. At least in this digital day and age it doesn't cost anything to waste an image, and indeed my hit rate wasn't great. But I did get a few reasonably well-focused pictures like this:

This next shot is not so well-focused, but this is a juvenile killdeer and it is indeed a rather fuzzy little bird. Just like its parents, it was taking great delight in running very fast through the grass.

I became frustrated by the limitations of the tripod, particularly given the mobility of my targets, so I decided to try out hand holding the camera. Around this time, the killdeers disappeared. I finally found them on the little stretch of beach. This shot is a little bit soft. I just missed the optimum focus point.

But this one is much better. The bird had squatted down into the beach as though digging a nest. It stayed there for quite a while with its back to me. But then it leapt to its feet and hared off up the beach. Fortunately, I was able to take this shot before it was gone.


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