Sunday, June 02, 2019

Terns, Geese, And American Widgeons As I Experiment With the Focus On My Camera At Potter Marsh

Bird pictures -especially birds that aren't very close - have been iffy for the years I've had my Canon EOS Rebel T3i.  With my old film Pentax I could just twist the focus until I got what I needed, but these digital cameras are much more complicated.  Manual focus is not intuitive.  It's worse than that.  And the auto focus simply does not know what precisely I want to focus on when a bird is surrounded by leaves in front and behind.

I gave up on my manual a while back, finding I could usually get clearer instructions via Google and YouTube.  Today I printed out some internet pages on how to manually focus my camera, including some from an online manual, to take to Potter Marsh.  I really wasn't expecting to see the Falcated Duck that was reported still here as of May 30 (and I was right), but I figured it would be a good chance to maybe get closer to learning how to manual focus.  And if you hang out an hour or more there, things happen.

These pics today are better than my last couple of attempts, but some of these birds were relatively close.  The flying pictures came out better than others have.  The one thing I suspect that helped was that I figured out how to pic the spot (in the view finder) the camera uses to focus.  You'll find much more precisely photos all over the internet, and I'm working on that.  But I don't have a 400x lens, and that perfect sharpness isn't necessarily the goal either.

The Terns

Arctic Terns are amazing birds.  The fly from one pole to the other each year.  They're sleek and their black heads and orange beaks and feet contrast sharply with the rest of their white feathers.  And they can hover in one spot - like a hummingbird - before diving to catch a fish.


American Widgeon

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