Sunday, October 20, 2019
Saturday, September 28, 2019
That bold yellow eyebrow and olive cap made it a tossup between Wilson's Warbler and Hooded Warbler, but the olive cheeks clinched the ID for Wilson's Warbler!
Between the moments when the warbler was in view, I did manage to also get some pics of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird coming to the feeder.
This following image is an excellent example of "rolling shutter" that is common among cameras when trying to shoot in electronic or silent mode. Only the Sony a9 can shoot 20 fps silently without this effect.
Sunday, September 8, 2019
Naturally, August came around and I got the first of many "sorry, its still on backorder" emails. The most recent came on Thursday before Labor Day. Then, minutes later, I got notice that the lens had shipped! It will be here Tuesday.
The first thing I did was to see how its 840mm focal length (w/ the 1.4TC) compared to the digiscoping rig at 875mm (Swarovski STX85+Sony a7III+Zeiss 35/2.8 @ 25X).
|Sony a9+200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 @ 840mm|
|Digiscoped @ 875mm|
|Sony a9+200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 @ 1260mm|
Next, a House Finch on the thistle feeder. Despite the pink-eye, for which the bird appears to be recovering from, the image quality from both systems is very impressive. Advantage to the Sony, of course, for having extremely fast AF capabilities while I need to focus-peak manually using the scope in order to get the equally-sharp image from the digiscoping rig.
|Digiscoped House Finch|
|Sony 200-600mm House Finch|
I had no problem acquiring focus-tracking with the lens on this Chimney Swift that flew over the deck. Despite its erratic flight path I was able to keep it in my viewfinder for dozens of sharp images.
All in all, this new Sony 200-600mm f/5-6.3 is making me seriously contemplate the need for the 100-400mm f/5.6 lens that is now tucked back into the cabinet.
Will it be the death of my digiscoping days? Not hardly. Yes, it allows me much more versatility in the field for capturing those avian moments, but I won't stop carrying my scope in the field, and digiscoping is just too much of a challenge to give up. After all, I feel much more comfortable photographing the moon and Jupiter using the scope than I do trying to do so with a telephoto lens.
Bring on the hawks!
Thursday, September 5, 2019
I had a bit of play with off-camera flash this afternoon. The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were coming to the deck feeder so I was hoping to try to catch the adult male's brilliant red gorget. Using a Godox V860IIs flash unit mounted on a tripod near the feeder I triggered it using the X1T-S trigger mounted to the Sony a7iii at the end of the scope. I shot in HSS using a 1/2000 sec. shutter speed.
The system worked great. Unfortunately, the adult male Ruby-throat never showed. The only visitor today was a juvenile male that tended to be spooked by the system. I think the noise of the camera shutter was the culprit.
Its not something I'll use often but its nice to know that it works.
With thanks to Andrew Sturgess I was able to re-find the Whimbrel that was reported a day earlier by Bruce Arnold and Tim Thompson.
I parked at Mouillee Creek and rode the bike along the Middle Causeway of Pt. Mouillee SGA this morning. Skies were clear and the Sun was on the horizon. By the time I had reached the North Causeway it was directly in my eyes and causing tears to run down my cheeks. I caught up with Andy, who was heading south along the dike separating Vermet Unit and Cell 5. He mentioned that the Whimbrel was just flushed and had flown around the back of Cell 5, so I continued east.
About 100 yds up the dike I flushed the Whimbrel into the Sun, but it quickly circled back behind me and landed on the rocks along the Lake Erie shoreline. With the Sun now behind me I had gorgeous views of a gorgeous bird. As it preened I digiscoped it from about 60' away.
It would make its way back onto the dike, where it foraged along the trail ahead of me before flying off to the west. It would later be found by others in this same area. Beautiful bird!