A DAY WITHOUT A PLAN – WHAT??

Finding myself with an unplanned day is rather unique for me.  I usually begin to map out my upcoming weekend as soon as the previous weekend has ended!  Not today, however.  But, I always have a contingency plan tucked away in some tiny corner of my subconscious itinerary.  And, such was the case on this day.  Several months ago I had discovered an isolated place that was operated as a part of the California State University Science Department, called the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary.  So it would seem today would be the perfect day to visit.

Located deep in the San Joaquin Hills of Orange County California, this small sanctuary provides a wonderful escape from the busy activities that usually accompany the Southern California lifestyle.  Passing by shaded ponds and numerous feeding areas, a small trail provides the opportunity to view many of the numerous animal species that call this area home.

The Western Scrub Jay

The House Finch

The House Finch

The Western Scrub Jay

You knew I had to include at least one plant

I hope I’ve identified these birds correctly.  The one bird on the left of the third shot has caused a question in my mind.  I’m not certain he’s a House Finch.  He refused to face the camera.

This was really my first attempt at photographing birds and I quickly learned my zoom lens was not powerful enough for serious bird photography.  It’s a funny thing about birds, they really don’t settle into one place very long.  I actually shot several photos of birds blurred in flight as they began their winged journey to their next destination.  They didn’t seem to care that I wanted to take their picture.

So, I tip my hat to a fellow blogger, Bob Zeller, who is a master at bird photography!  You should check out his blog.

Thanks for stopping by.  I’ll see you tomorrow.

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~ by photographyfree4all on September 21, 2010.

31 Responses to “A DAY WITHOUT A PLAN – WHAT??”

  1. Some days it’s best to not have a “plan” – it’s when some of the best results are produced! Great shots here, even without the zoom lens, you still captured some good detail. Love the last shot, you can almost “feel” how soft it is! Love your post today!

    I agree, Bob Zeller is a master at bird photography!

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  2. The last shot was a late addition that almost didn’t make it to press. But, I finallt decided – why not?! I love the way the sun is shining only on the center. Thanks for your kind comment, Holly! I’m so glad you stopped by today.

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  3. If this is your first attempt at photographing birds, I would say that, all in all, I think you are off to a pretty good start. First, you don’t need a super long lens, although it would be a plus if you did. I would say that a minimum of 300mm would be good. Most of my bird shots I have used my 100-400mm zoom. Plus I usually end up doing a bit of cropping when I edit.

    I use the 100-400 because it helps me to be more mobile. If I am sitting in a blind, then I have the opportunity to use my 500mm.

    But getting back to your shots, I think you did excellent on the composition on the 1st scrub jay. The sharpness was a tad off but you can work on that. I suspect that you hand-held the camera. If so, try to set your camera so you use only the CENTER focusing point. Put that dinky little spot on the bird, the eyes, if you can,and fire away. Shoot aperature priority at a large setting, nearly wide open. That will insure you get the fastest shutter speed possible for the exposure. Also, you get a nice blurred background, and that makes the bird stand out even more.

    On the 2nd one of the finches, the female on the window sill i pretty sharp, and with a little creative cropping you could get a good photo without trying to get an extreme close-up.

    That is another female finch in your 3rd picture. You were faced with a difficult lighting situation on that shot. I hate to take pictures when there are those harsh shadows.

    Another nice shot of the scrub jay in your 4th image. Great composition again, putting th bird towards the right side of the photo.

    And of course, that last photo if really great. I like that soft look that you got there.

    I’ll be looking for more. 🙂

    Bob

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  4. nice shots of the scrub jay

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  5. Additional comments. I noticed that you use the Canon 50D. It is a very fine camera. With those 15MP you will get a large file so it is more adaptive to tighter cropping. If the 135 you own is your longest, for birds you need to st step a bit. Tamron makes an excellent 28-300mm lens with there version of image stabilization. I think Tamron calls it VR. I think it sells for somewhere around 600.00, give or take. I have recommended it some friends of mine and they think it is excellent. With it you could get some excellent images, and with your 15MP you would have room to crop your bird images. And of course that 28-300 would be great for all of your other work, too. It would be a great lens to leave on your camera all of the time.

    Bob

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  6. That’s exactly the plant I love to photograph. Nice photo. I love, love, love the look of the Western scrub jay! The picture can spark many stories! Awesome pose!

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  7. More information. That lens: Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC Autofocus Lens

    Sells for 599.00 at B&H photo, plus there is a 50.00 rebate.

    Oh, they have VS for vibration control.

    Bob

    P.S. And no, I won’t lend you the money.

    bobzeller said this on Your comment is awaiting moderation. September 21, 2010 at 1:00 pm

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  8. Bob, you are a wealth of information. I knew you’d come through with a great comment like this! I hope everyone will make their way to your blog to see some real bird photography! Thanks for this information and evaluation. I really appreciate that you took the time to help me better my attempts. I’m quite sure this will only be the beginning for me. Thanks, again!

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  9. Thanks, John. I appreciate you kind words. Thanks for stopping by.

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  10. I’ve been looking at another zoom lens, Bob. Thanks for this tip! I’ll definitely check it out.

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  11. Hey there,
    well I must say, you have some EXCELLENT photos, I’m in love! I’d like to tell you about each one, haha, but there are A LOT!
    Again, I’m super new at this. How do you make a watermark for your photos? I’m not necessarily needing it yet, but might be a good idea for me to check in on that. Thanks again!
    Sarah

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  12. Isn’t this a beautiful plant to shoot, Martina? It has such beauty without the color that most would associate with a great flora pic! Thank you for your kind words here. I really appreciate it! I hope you’ll stop by again.

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  13. Now, there’s the Bob Zeller humor! How about lending me half, Bob? jk 🙂

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  14. Thank you for such kind words, Sarah! I’m so glad you stopped by and added to this post with your comment. I hope you’ll visit again, soon!

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  15. Oh, the watermark is something that is added through photoshop. But, I think you can probably add it with whatever editing software you may be using. I happen to have PS Elements 8. I’m new at this, too. We’re all on this journey together and every comment helps to make us better. Thanks for stopping by!

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  16. Lovely photographs! I have tried to take a few bird shots myself but can never seem to find the little critters when I want to actually photograph them!

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  17. One mor thing about lens. If you could afford to go for the 100-400mm lens, you would never, ever regret it. Seeriously.

    Bob

    P.S. I won’t co-sign for you, either. 🙂

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  18. Thanks for this comment, David! It’s really difficult to capture them in their natural habitat! this was a bit easier in that they were accustomed to visiting the feeding areas of the sanctuary. I’m glad you stopped by today!

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  19. HAHA!! There’s that humor, again! 100-400 is no doubt the best way to go. If I can, I will. Thanks!

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  20. Nice work for a first time out with the birds. Be careful… birds can be addicting. So can L glass 🙂

    There are a number of really nice lenses out there in that focal range and with Photokina in full swing there are still some announcements to be made regarding new glass. My favorite rig for both birds and dragonflies is the 300mm f4 IS married up to a 1.4x Extender II. I have been known to then augment that setup with a Macro Extension tube to allow me to shorten my minimum focusing distance for the dragons and damsels.

    Also, though from experience it may be difficult to find in Southern California, if you’re going to be wandering around and not hidden by a blind when you are making your bird images, a little bit of hunter’s camouflage can help shorten that circle of fear with the birds. My walking-around gear (long-sleeve mesh shirt, denim pants, and boonie hat) cost me all of about $70 and has helped with birds, Odonata, and butterflies.

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  21. Thanks for your comment and all of this information, Jim! I really appreciate it because I’m in the process of analyzing which lens to buy next. This information is very helpful. You and Bob have really set me to thinking. I’m glad you stopped by and hope you’ll return soon.

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  22. The birds were lovely, but I especially love the plant at the end. 😉

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  23. I do too, Cynthia! I think his is such a beautiful plant to shoot. I so glad you stopped by today. I hope you’ll visit again.

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  24. I’ve attempted to shoot the birds in my yard but have not gotten very good results yet. You’re right they don’t like to hold still long enough! And the little ones take off at the smallest sound, like my lens trying to find a spot to focus on. That scares the little ones away everytime. But I too shall keep trying, one of these days I’ll capture the feathery little guys!

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  25. Keep shooting, one day it will happen KKH! Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ll visit again.

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  26. That first shot of The Western Scrub Jay is just great! I have never been shooting birds – but now that I have got a tripod that must be a coming experiment 😉

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  27. You’ll love it, Truels! I was hand holding these shots and working with some very difficult shadows, but still felt good about some of the shots I got. be sure to let us know how you did. I’m so glad you stopped by today!

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  28. I like the bird shots but I love the last soft cottony one 🙂 very nicely done!

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  29. Thanks for stopping by today, Michael! I liked that one as well. Some shots just appeal to you – this is one of those, for me. I hope you will stop by again, soon.

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  30. For me, I find even when I have a plan, I end up shooting something completely different! So, I rarely have a strict plan. I like to be inspired by the things I see around me so I keep things loose.

    I really like the last shot! So fluffy and light!

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  31. Thanks, Milkay! I liked that shot, too! Thanks for stopping by!

    Like

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