ILE: It Ain’t Just Crane Chicks! « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

ILE: It Ain't Just Crane Chicks!

What’s Up?

On Thursday morning, I worked with the chicks for a while in the early light. Soon it clouded over and the wind dropped to nothing so I spent more than an hour doing wildflowers. I swam at about 3pm and after my second meal it got dark and windy soo I drove down to the lake hoping to find momma crane brooding the chicks. She was right where I thought she would be. The chicks did not peek out at the right time, but I got some neat stuff of both adults in the downpour.

What can I say? I love photography.

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Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of photographers whom I see in the field and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

This image was created on 12 MAY 2020 at Indian Lake Estates, FL. I used the Induro GIT 404L/FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 1.4xteleconverter, and the 61-MP Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital Camera Body. ISO 400. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/2500 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:15am on a clear sunny morning.

Tracking Flexible Spot (M) AF-C was active at the moment of exposure.

Image #1: Black-necked Stilt adult foraging

ILE: It Ain’t Just Crane Chicks!

Though I have been concentrating on the still-small, super-tame Sandhill Crane chicks, there are often other interesting subjects around. With the low water levels, there has been some decent shorebird photography. Other subjects have included both vultures, Cattle Egret, Great and Great Blue Herons, White Ibis, Boat-tailed and Common Grackles, Osprey, mayflies, and a wide variety of wildflowers.

Image #1 was created while standing behind my tripod (at not quite full height). Note that the longer the effective focal length, the shallower the angle of declination; that means that it will appear as if you were lower than you actually were. Getting close to this species at Indian Lake Estates is not easy so I moved very slowly and was lucky that the bird approached me as it foraged.

This image was created on 19 MAY 2020 at Indian Lake Estates. I used the handheld Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens (at at 400mm) and the 61-mega-pixel monster, the Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital camera body. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial. ISO 800: 1/125 sec. at f/7.1 in Manual mode. AWB at 8:18am on a cloudy somewhat bright morning.

Tracking Flexible Spot (M) AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and performed almost miraculously with the AF point holding on the adult crane’s head!

Image #2: Passerine chick on road

Don’t Quit Too Soon

Tuesday morning past began cloudy and fairly still. I was going to pass on the crane chicks and do some wildflowers when I spotted one of the adult cranes lying on the grass. I knew what that meant; the chicks had gotten tired of feeding and needed a break. When the adult lies down, the chicks climb into its feathers for some R&R. After a while, they peeked out and soon went back to feeding on bugs and grubs. I stayed with them until almost 8:00am and decided to head home when the sun came out.

At the last second, I decided to turn onto Banyon Drive and see if there was anything to photograph. I did not get far before I came upon a small passerine chick that had fallen out of its nest and parked itself in the middle of the road. By the time I put the a7r iv onto the 100-400, it had clouded over again. Though it was already warm, I threw on a sweatshirt so that I could lie down on the edge of the road comfortably and without having to worry about fire ants.

I am guessing that the chick is a Common Grackle as there have been lots of them in the area. Any thoughts?

Image Questions

Wide-open was f/5.6. Why did I stop down to f/7.1? Why wasn’t I worried about sharpness while handholding at 400mm at only 1/125 sec?

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5 comments to ILE: It Ain’t Just Crane Chicks!

  • avatar Frank Sheets

    I have to choose the stilt. They are one of my favorite birds and this one was done to perfection. RE the chick, I hope it survived, but I kinda doubt it. Increased aperture for DOF, 1/125 because because you know the Sony stabilization is amazing and your hands are steady as a rock!

    PS: I am getting a lot of good information out of the Sony guides. Much appreciated. I was never a fan of the zebras because their presence seemed distracting, however using Patricks suggestions and adjusting exposer to just faint showing of zebras, I am getting pretty darn good exposures with the histogram way to the right and being able to control the highlights in post. Good file quality with as much information to the right as possible. Thx again.

  • avatar Warren

    Wide-open was f/5.6. Why did I stop down to f/7.1? – I agree with Elinor. I believe you were close to the chich, so your depth of field was really small. You needed to stop down to get most of the bird in focus. (You can see how shallow the DoF is by looking at the gravel…)

    Why wasn’t I worried about sharpness while handholding at 400mm at only 1/125 sec? – I again agree with Elinor. You were laying down and able to rest your elbows (or likely a forearm) on the ground for stability. In addition, the lens has Optical stabilization and the camera has IBIS.

  • avatar Maggi Fuller

    Did you move the chick from the middle of the road?!

  • avatar Elinor Osborn

    7.1 because you were just a few feet from the chick? 1/125 because your elbows were propped on the road and more steady than hand holding?

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