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Photo Binge 2014 – Day 2: Pedernales Falls State Park

July 17, 2014
Painted Bunting

© – Painted Bunting

Day 2 of the Binge saw me go north to Pedernales Falls SP near Johnson City, Texas.  I only visited one state park last year during the Binge, and that was South Llano River SP.  I had not been to Pedernales Falls since February for various reasons, so it was nice to drive back up to that park and see the bird binds.

Queen Butterfly

© – Queen Butterfly

Unfortunately, the light was not very good.  It was cloudier than had been forecast, leaving me without a lot of light do my magic.  The wind was down, so I was able to take advantage of butterfly gardens in between the two blinds.  Tons of Queen butterflies and a smattering of a few other species were enjoying the Blue Mist flowers.

Inside the blinds I had limited luck.  The older blind had some decent light for a while, but the birds were few and far between.

Northern Cardinal

© – Northern Cardinal

The newer blind had a wider assortment of birds.  But breaking from my “Seldom is heard a discouraging word….” policy, there were a number of things that impacted my ability to make good images in the blind.  The light issue is an obvious one and that was nobody’s fault.  In an effort to bring the birds closer to the viewing public, the perches are now too close to the photographer’s window.  This is in terms of focal distance (even for 300mm which is the standard long lens before you get into professional glass), in terms of viewing angles (too close to the window makes for more shots that seem like they’re pointing down), and frankly the nearest perch is so close that it invades the infamous circle of fear.  I can understand why they moved the perches–people want to get closer.  But closer gets you no closer to getting a good shot when they are too close.

Criticism #2:  Suet is a wonderful attractant for the birds.  But when applied as they have been on the perches, it ruins all chances for photography.  In my days learning how to solder, they taught us that a bigger glob does not mean a better job.  The same could be said for the suet.  Moderation folks.  Moderation…

As always, a bad day of shooting is better than a good day doing just about anything else.  And thus, it was still a good day.  I have maybe 3 or 4 keepers out of the day.  A little longer road trip is planned for the third day of the Binge.

About the Images:
All three images were shot with the Standard Gear, with tripod but no flash.  The Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) was present with the evidence that the globs of suet were distracting.  Tech specs were ISO 400, 1/125 sec at f/7.1.  The Queen butterfly (Danaus gilippus) were present in huge numbers.  Getting it lined up on the focal plane was another story all together.  ISO 400, 1/100 sec at f/6.3.  And the lady Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) out of the old blind showed great evidence as to the really lousy lighting conditions.  ISO 400, 1/125 sec at f/7.1.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2014 2:03 pm

    Very nice work.

  2. July 17, 2014 2:10 pm

    For me these photos are absolutely great. I wish I could shoot mine like that.

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