Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Allusive American Bittern, and a Wood Duck

Wood Duck

After three weeks of not getting out to do any bird photography, I was able to do some yesterday. Monday's are often a great day to go out to the bird sanctuary because it is the day that the fewest visitors seem to be there. As a result the birds are a less timid, which makes photographing them much easier. Yesterday I spotted a few pairs of Wood Ducks, including the one photographed above.

I also spotted an American Bittern, the third one that I've seen in the last three years, and got a chance to shoot it. Sadly, focus was off on each one of the shots, and so a good photo of an American Bittern still alludes me. I think the problem may be somewhat linked the teleconverter I'm using, because I was able to capture images of a Bittern on my first encounter, with just the bare AF-S 300mm F4D IF-ED, mounted on a D50. The other issue may have been that I was using dynamic auto focus area, rather than single point AF. I know I had my focus point on the bird for each shot, but when I look at the EXIF data it shows that the camera focused on spots around the bird. That leaves me to believe that dynamic AF is confused by the feather patterns on the bittern and looks for something else to focus on. Hopefully my next encounter isn't a year from now, and I get some in focus shots.