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Kestrel, k20d & iso 3200
Posted By: LaRee, 12-20-2008, 01:30 AM

Yesterday morning I heard a bird call I'd not heard before. I stepped out in the backyard and saw what a thought was a small falcon fly by. After grabbing my camera, I stepped back outside and down the steps leading into the canyon behind my home. The last I saw the bird was heading east. I thought he was gone, but as I turned I spotted it. It was early morning and no sun. I thought my best chance was to use Tav mode on the k20d and let the iso fly.

I've never seen a Kestrel in my neighborhood before. I was thrilled to have been able to grab a few shots before it took off again.
These are all 100% crops of about 50% of the full frame. I did run these through PSPX2 noise reduction and then a low pass of Focus Magic. I normally don't use noise reduction as noise doesn't really bother me. But for these I thought it improved things even sacrificing feather detail. I was amazed at how clean the iso 3200 was even before my very light noise reduction (30.0% w/70% blend in pspx2).

The first shot is iso 1600. Yes, somewhat oof. I was shaking like a leaf. Not only was I nervous about getting the shot before the bird flew off but I hadn't picked up the k20d and F*300 in a few weeks and I was kind of weak. But here he is, perched on the edge of our wheelbarrow.

The rest are at iso 3200. Hmmm...what is that under the birds foot?

By golly, he has his lunch! Dang it, one of my yard lizards. I love my yard lizards. Sigh, such is nature and life.

This is the last shot I got before he got spooked and took his lunch elsewhere.

Exciting stuff for me! I am *kind* of a birder and this was a thrill for me. My youngest son was so excited when he saw the photos, and bummed he wasn't with me with his camera shooting. I am very impressed with the way the k20d handles noise at high iso.
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12-20-2008, 01:39 AM   #2
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wow, what a great shot of this majestic being. The details are very good. Sometimes birds only visit places of good fortune. This is probably the case.
12-20-2008, 04:40 AM   #3
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Those are great LaRee Very pretty bird, I think he didn't have money for a sobee so he ate their mascot
12-20-2008, 05:51 AM   #4
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Great shot

this is on my list of need a better image.

I find due to the very small size, (only slightly bigger than a robin) and their normal perch on high wires they are very hard to capture.

One thing we should do, and I tried to get this going before, is start a "lunch" thread.

Your shot is great, here's mine

Who else has a shot of a raptor with his.her lunch?

12-20-2008, 06:57 AM   #5
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Wonderful shots, LaRee.
I love to watch these little predators work. We have an abundance of then here in central Illinois. They're masterful fliers and hunters. I've seen many of them hovering in the air over their prey just by a small flittering of their wings waiting for the right time to strike. As Lowell suggested, they are also masters at staying out of reach of the camera! To get a pic plus get one with it's prey was a real treat! Thanks for posting.
12-20-2008, 08:26 AM   #6
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A beautiful bird and a great opportunity to shoot it! You must indeed feel privileged.
12-20-2008, 08:44 AM   #7
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Great shots LaRee. That is really one beautiful bird. We see them flying overhead quite often but have never seen them up close before. Fantastic colors.
12-20-2008, 08:51 AM   #8
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Very impressive! Had you not mentioned using iso 3200, I would not have even thought about it. Noise is not a problem for me either in most cases, particularly on these shots. Great color and beautiful bird!


12-20-2008, 08:55 AM   #9
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That's a great use of high ISO... it looks a little soft, but I'd have never guessed that it was at 3200. Did you do any noise reduction in PP?

That's my driving force for wanting to step up to a K20... the ability to boost ISO, if even just a little, to get faster shutter speeds. Most of my photos are of the kids, so trying to capture them without motion blur is a tuffy indoors.
12-20-2008, 09:26 AM   #10
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Nice shots, LaRee! #2 is great and it is hard to believe those are 100% crops at ISO 3200.
12-20-2008, 10:32 AM   #11
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Your K20 does way better then my K10 at 1600 ISO. Makes me want one more now. Very nice series LaRee. JIMBO
12-20-2008, 10:41 AM   #12
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Great stuff LaRee. Really impressive ISO performance, and great bird stalking.

I have a question... Generally I take "100% crop" to mean a 1:1 pixel representation from the sensor to the screen. So a 640x480 picture represents 640x480 pixels as captured by the sensor, but using this nomenclature, I don't know what you mean about the 50% of the full frame. A 100% crop is a 100% crop right?

BTW, thanks for you're compliments on my Tamron 70-200 "samples" I posted over on the other forum... I didn't want to hijack that guys thread too much by carrying on a conversation over there. Those same shots are floating around this forum somewhere.

QuoteOriginally posted by LaRee Quote
These are all 100% crops of about 50% of the full frame.
12-20-2008, 11:30 AM   #13
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Love the makes your pictures that much more awesome! Great job!
12-20-2008, 01:17 PM   #14
Damn Brit

Well spotted and great captures Laree.

12-20-2008, 01:44 PM   #15
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Great series! There is no need to apologize for quality. When light is scarce and no tripod is at hand, we do what we can. Compelling subjects demand that you try.

What a treat to document the predator with its prey! We have Kestrels in my region, but as Lowell noted, they tend to stay up on the wires. To find one at eye level taking time to eat his lunch is a tremendous opportunity. Thanks for sharing.


(Thinking that K20D would be a good thing...really impressive 3200 ISO...)

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