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In the Field: New Lens Day 2 @ South Llano River SP

February 16, 2016
Perched Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)

© – Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)

Day 2 of shooting with the new lens took me to South Llano River SP near Junction, Texas.  This trip brought two specific challenges: One from the weather and one based on my choice of blinds.

The weather was downright cold.  Certainly nothing resembling the sub-zero temperatures that hit the East Coast this past weekend.  But at about 25°F, it was the coldest weather I’d been out shooting in for as long as I could remember.  Layers and gloves saved my sanity, but gosh it was cold.

The other challenge was where I made the decision to shoot.  As long time readers of this blog know, South Llano River SP has four blinds.  My favorite of the four blinds is the Acorn Blind.  Intimate little blind near the primary powered camping area.  My least favorite in terms of good shots in the past is the Juniper Blind.  It is fairly close to the Acorn Blind–I generally use the same parking lot when making images from either of the two.

The Juniper Blind, located just off of the primitve camping area, has some depth to it, a gentle downhill slope, and a lot of space to cover.  But it also has a fairly accessible open window from which to shoot from.  With my new found 600mm maximum focal length, I thought I’d try to Juniper Blind to see if the extra 180mm was enough to make the blind workable for me.

Pine Siskin (Carduelis pinus)

© – Pine Siskin (Carduelis pinus)

And it was just okay.  It took until about 10AM for the blind to give me the kind of light that I needed.  I had a little bit of light before that point, but not enough to get rock solid focus on my feathered subjects.

In retrospect, I also choose poorly when it came to metering patterns.  Rather than moving to a center-weighted exposure metering pattern, I was using a metering pattern that was great for back lit subjects, of which I had none.  Lots of wasted exposures by not getting the settings right in the first place.

After a significant period of time I moved down the Acorn Blind where I found (surprise) wonderful light but a very narrow set of bird species.

All in all it was a good morning of shooting.  The Tamron 150-600 performed admirably.  I brought home a handful of really nice shots that will find their way into the portfolio.

About the Images:
Both images were made with the Canon 7D Mark II and Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD lens at 600mm.  The settings on the Western Scrub-Jay were ISO 400, 1/320 sec at  f/9.  On the Pine Siskin they were ISO 400, 1/250 sec atf/13.  Both required some work in both Lightroom and Photoshop to dampen the light a little bit.

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 16, 2016 6:44 pm

    How wonderful. Thank you.

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