Sunday, January 27, 2013

First Light Birds

More first light tests yesterday (see yesterday's post) were conducted using a 1.4x teleconverter. Knowing that eastern Iowa would receive sleet and ice today the Saturday test pushed to find more willing subjects at mid-distances. 

At the Wapsipinicon State Park in Anamosa, Iowa (a few hundred yards south of where artist Grant Wood is buried) the open water attracts many ducks and geese. Flying overhead was a lone bald eagle looking for its next meal. After circling just below the dam, the bird of prey nabbed something in the water and started down river where I was stationed. I had been concentrating on the Canada geese sunning themselves while looking for minnows to eat. After I took a few photos of the eagle passing in manual focus mode, I later applied it to an online photo editor, and played with background and text as an experiment. 

Canada geese are year round residents of eastern Iowa. With ample open water and food sources available the large birds tend to stay rather than migrate. At times this becomes a problem for people wanting to stroll near rivers or lakes without walking in bird poop. Since temperatures meant that anything organic on the ground was frozen, yesterday's walk to photograph the birds included a caution not to roll off a frozen surprise.

First light tests went well. Things learned included the need for strong lighting, re-learning manual focus photography and anticipating where subjects may be in motion before the snap of the shutter. Simple.

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