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04-02-2017, 03:14 PM - 2 Likes   #25141
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The frogs have returned, along with a friend (?). Pentax K-5iis and A* 300mm/4 with F 1.7x AF adapter.

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04-02-2017, 03:27 PM   #25142
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
My backyard blind has kind of turned into a lens testing place. Today's candidate up for a trial run, the K-1 with the A-400 and F 1.7x AF adapter on it. 680mm ƒ9.3.

I tend to think the 1.7x is my ultimate lens testing machine. With the K-3 and Tarmon 300 ƒ2.8 and 1.7 I get very sharp images. With the A-400 , I get images that look good up to about 2650x1600. Pixel peeping they are quite soft, but still more resolution than you need for web sized images.

The Tamron is also a joy to use with the 1.7, one finger drag MF that is almost instantaneous. The A-400 has a long throw that has to be cranked with your full hand. It's really hard to catch up with small birds using it. With the Tamron, one pinky finger on the focus ring and a small movement gets you from minimum focus to infinity almost instantly. No taking your hand off the lens and torquing again.

Even in direct sun it was hard to lock focus. That is to be expected with a lens that is ƒ9.3 wide open. But as with most long lenses, when you nail it, you get something useful.























Ignore the 780mm on the bottom of the frame, my math was really bad this morning.

I put the combo through it's paces but bottom line, I can't really recommend it. It was more work for fewer keepers, and none of the images is anywhere near the sharpness of the Tamron 300 with the same TC on a K-3. I was thinking I'd maybe use this combo when I need 1000mm and then crop to a 1000mm field of view, it's not sharp enough for that. At least it focuses on a K-1. On a K-3 I have never been able to get it to focus reliably. It's not that it's all that bad, it's just I feel the Tamron 1.7 and K-3 are much better. Having a lens rated as a 10 for sharpness on the forum ruins you for anything else.

It's amazing how sharp a 2k file taken with an average lens and TC can be reduced from 36 MP.
Great photos. I am considering putting a backyard blind. Can you show a photo of your blind?
04-02-2017, 05:03 PM - 15 Likes   #25143
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A couple from today..
.
04-02-2017, 06:20 PM - 5 Likes   #25144
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First nice day of the Spring. Had to go to Beaver Lake with the 150-500...



















04-02-2017, 07:07 PM - 2 Likes   #25145
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Feeders are attracting a wider variety of birds.
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04-03-2017, 04:28 AM   #25146
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That pirate looks fit enough!!
04-03-2017, 05:54 AM - 11 Likes   #25147
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
First nice day of the Spring. Had to go to Beaver Lake with the 150-500...
QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
Feeders are attracting a wider variety of birds.
Similarly, spotted some relatives of the woodpeckers during my China trip. The greater, the blue/golden throated and the greater Yellownape

The Blue-throated barbet:


The Golden-throated barbet:


The Greater barbet:


and the last, but not least, the Greater yellownape:
04-03-2017, 07:45 AM   #25148
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxians Quote
Similarly, spotted some relatives of the woodpeckers during my China trip. The greater, the blue/golden throated and the greater Yellownape

The Blue-throated barbet:


The Golden-throated barbet:


The Greater barbet:


and the last, but not least, the Greater yellownape:
Beautiful birds - and well shot!!

04-03-2017, 08:22 AM   #25149
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxians Quote
Similarly, spotted some relatives of the woodpeckers during my China trip. The greater, the blue/golden throated and the greater Yellownape

The Blue-throated barbet:
The Golden-throated barbet:
The Greater barbet:
and the last, but not least, the Greater yellownape:
I am so jealous of the variety of birds you see. And envious of your skill with the camera.
04-03-2017, 09:08 AM - 1 Like   #25150
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QuoteOriginally posted by ivanvernon Quote
Great photos. I am considering putting a backyard blind. Can you show a photo of your blind?
I could, but I'm not sure how much good it would do you. My "backyard is an acre and rises about 60 feet from the front the property to the back, as well as being pretty heavily wooded. So a lot of the advantage of my blind is what's near the bind. Plus my blind is so ratty I'm going to have to replace it.

Because my blind is on a hill, the floor of the blind is at least foot below ground level for the areas where ground feeding birds feed. The landings are is uphill from my chair.

That makes images like this, possible. I'm not much higher than the bird so I'm shooting closer to "bird eye" level.


I have lot's of trees near the feeders. So I can often catch birds waiting in the branches for their turn at the feeders. Shots like this depend on that....


One of the components of my set up is a 12 foot 1x6 positioned between two trees, so that it's the right distance away for closeups with the lenses I have. I have attached a pole to the edge to create a little more natural looking environment.


I have most of my feeders attached to a wire that I can lower when I'm shooting so I'm about the same hieght as the birds, but which is raised after I'm done shooting to keep the bears and squirrels out of it. No feeders are within 8 feet of a tree, including tree branches, to keep the squirrels out. I've again built a feeder that looks somewhat natural and hides the seed the birds are eating from my camera.


I have an extensive series of feeders to accommodate large flocks. I've had as many as 400 birds here at a time, and that is often when you get the best images as there will be many birds waiting in the trees for their turn at the feeders.













And I make extensive use of "cheater sticks", natural looking branches that I've trimmed to fit into holes I've drilled in my feeders, often birds will perch on this twigs before they head to the feeder.





I also have 3 3x10 ft ground feeding plots around the feeders for ground feeders. There ae good number of birds who are by nature ground feeders, who won't use elevated feeders..







I've also had foxes and Pine Martens eating bird seed off the ground near the feeders.

In essence the point is, what is around the blind, is much more important to your images than the blind. I still haven't figured out how to attract warblers, I know they live right behind my house in the summer, but so far, I've had no luck getting them to the areas around feeders (and the blind) so I can shoot from the blind. I suspect it's going to take planting some berry bushes, and cutting enough trees to provide them with direct sun. Putting the blind in is just the first step. Being able to build a bird friendly habitat is the crucial step. And building habitat in a small space friendly to all the birds in your area that you might want to photograph is even harder. They often have very different requirements as to what makes the space comfortable for them. The one thing in your favour being, the presence of birds by itself seems to attract other birds. So, when things go well, you get lots of opportunites.


My set up to date...


The feeder is on the west side of the photo, affording me direct morning sun on the rail feeders, and direct evening sun on the hanging feeders on the east (right) side of the image.. You definitely need to take your sun angles into account when laying this out.

I tell you once you get a blind going, it never stops. I basically have a whole little Nature Reserve, right here in my back yard.

The other advantage I have is I have enough hawks, owls, foxes and martens coming into my yard to keep vermin like mice, moles voles, and squirrels under control. And I still have my feeders 20 meters from my house for pest control purposes. My original feeder set up was on my porch, great photos, really bad for pest controll.. Without the predators, this whole set up is a recipe for a house full of rodents. And none of those predators is a household cat, who might attack my ground feeders.

So, good luck with your blind. I'm sure you can come up with something that will suit your property, even if it isn't something like mine. With this blind nearing the end of it's life, I'm actually looking for something a lot smaller and portable, that I can set up off my property. I have many occasions when that would be useful. But I'm also thinking of putting a solid roof over this one so i can continue to use it through the year. I find back yard blind time to be a relaxing break from whatever else is going on.

Last edited by normhead; 04-03-2017 at 01:57 PM.
04-03-2017, 09:28 AM   #25151
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I could, but I'm not sure how much good it would do you. My "backyard is an acre and rises about 60 feet from the front the property to the back, as well as being pretty heavily wooded. So a lot of the advantage of my blind is what's near the bind. Plus my blind is so ratty I'm going to have to replace it.

Because my blind is on a hill, the floor of the blind is at leas foot below ground level for the areas where ground feeding birds feed. The landing are is uphill from my chair.

That makes images like this, possible. I'm not much higher than the bird so I'm shooting closer to "bird eye" level.


I have lot's of trees near the feeders. So I can often catch birds waiting in the branches for their turn at the feeders. Shots like this depend on that....


One of the components of my set up is a 12 foot 1x6 positioned between two trees, so that it's the right distance away for closeups with the lenses I have. I have attached a pole to the edge to create a little more natural looking environment.


I have my most of my feeders attached to a wire that I can lower when I'm shhoting so I'm about the same hieght as the birds, but which is raised after I'm done shooting to keep the bears and squirrels out of it. No feeder are wishing 8 feet of a tree, including tree branches, to keep the squirrels out. I've again built a feeder that looks somewhat natural and hides the seed the birds are eating from my camera.


I have an extensive series of feeder to accommodate large flocks. I've had as many as 400 birds here at a time, and that is often when you get the best images as there will be many birds waiting in the trees for their turn at the feeders.















And I make extensive use of "cheater sticks", natural toking branches that I've trimmed to fit into holes I've drilled in my feeders, often birds will perch on this twigs before they head to the feeder.

Sorry I had interrupt this post, photo bucket is totally messing up my computer right now. I can't use it to retrieve links to my photo files without it freezing my whole computer. I'll try and finish later.

IN essence the point is, what is around the blind, is much more important to than the blind. I still haven't figured out how to attract warblers, I know they live right behind my house in the summer, but so far, I've had no luck getting them to the areas around feeders so I can shoot from the blind. I suspect it's going to take planting some berry bushes, and cutting enough trees so provide them with direct sun. Putting the blind in is just the first step.

Hmm, clearly you have put in no advanced thought or planning into your efforts to photograph birds



Please keep up the great work
04-03-2017, 10:23 AM   #25152
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aslyfox Quote
Hmm, clearly you have put in no advanced thought or planning into your efforts to photograph birds

The unfortunate part is I really didn't. This has been completely trial and error for me. Many of the things i do, I've never seen recommended in a book on the subject, several of which I've purchased. I'm just hoping to help someone else with their own learning curve. But, given how little of what i read was useful to me in getting this far, I'm sure anyone who tries a back yard blind is going to go through what i did. Taking some basic principles and learning to apply them to their situation. Which could quite possibly be so different than mine that they have to come up with their own unique set of operating procedures. At this point I'm considering a raised garden with berry plants to bring berry foraging warblers up to camera level. That's something that could work in an urban garden. But that's the thing. You have to come up with strategies that will work in the space you have with the local bird population. My strategy of being prepared to feed hundreds of birds a day isn't for everyone.

This time of year when you come out of the woods to the back of my property the sound of the birds roosting within a short flight to the feeders is deafening. Given the bird population I support, my wonder is not that I get so many images, it's "why don't I get more and better?"
I'm almost looking to getting the spring migration over so things can get back to "normal".

Right now, these guys are eating 120 lbs of bird seed every two weeks. Close to 10 pounds a day. I buy it in 40 pound bags, from the farmers co-op. just to keep the cost down.

I would hate for anyone to think any that what I do has anything to do with luck. It's all to do with creating favourable probabilities, so a great shot also depends on some luck, but you have to create the circumstances for that luck to happen.

Others pay to go see baseball games or the theatre or whatever. I pay to sit out in the back observing a flock of birds. Each to their own.

Last edited by normhead; 04-03-2017 at 07:44 PM.
04-03-2017, 10:29 AM   #25153
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
The unfortunate part is I really didn't. This has been completely trial and error for me. Many of the things i do, I've never seen recommended in a book on the subject, several of which I've purchased. I'm just hoping to help someone else with their own learning curve. But, given how little of what i read was useful to me in getting this far, I'm sure anyone who tries a back yard blind is going to go through what i did. Taking some basic principles and learning to apply them to their situation. Which could quite possibly be so different than mine that they have to come up with their own unique set of operating procedures. At this point I'm considering a raised garden with blurry plants to bring berry foraging warblers up to camera level. That's something that could work in an urban garden. Bu that's the thing. You have to come up with strategies that will work in the space you have. My strategy of being prepared to feed hundreds of birds a day isn't for everyone.
I think your insights are very helpful and instructive

Thanks for sharing
04-03-2017, 10:31 AM - 1 Like   #25154
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QuoteOriginally posted by Brooke Meyer Quote
He is.
My reaction is the same as that for many dancers I've watched; I see it, but I know it cannot be done.
04-03-2017, 11:15 AM   #25155
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
My reaction is the same as that for many dancers I've watched; I see it, but I know it cannot be done.
I dated a couple of dancers when I was younger, just the way they walk and move is different. A life time of training leads to some identifiable gaits and traits.
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