Monday, November 2, 2009

Dull weather ravens

Yesterday was a typical mostly overcast day. I set out to shoot pictures of ravens in the morning after going out before for the sunrise.
When I photographing ravens I know I need exposure compensation, usually up to two spots, the birds are very dark andI have to choose between getting detail in them and the rest of the picture at times. The only time this is not the case is when I have the sun shining directly on the birds.
Ravens most quicky and they come pretty close. I like to keep a speed of 1/1000s or faster. This means high ISO, especially on less than sunny days. Yesterday I ended up using iso 1600 on a 1DIIN camera which is the best I have for fast focus but not the best for high ISO (since it is several years old).
Decided to put the shots in a separate gallery:
A few shots in flight but nothing spectacular. The best were from behind:
and close to ground:
A lot of shots of on the ground behaviour.
Some of this was displacement activity -- basically doing other stuff to make others think they are not after food. The ravens grab and throw around stones, grass and leaves, pull sticks out of the ground and toss them. For example, this shot of a raven tossing grass:
I had some Cheezies left over from Hallowe'en. Cheezies are a fine product of my home town and it is rare to find them for sale here. They go over well with ravens. I would have loved a great shot of a bird flying off with a bag but didn't get any I really liked so only posted a few of them on the ground:
Plus a lot of shots of eating meat on the ground. My favourite was one where I caught the bird yanking at a piece of meat to pull away a small piece:

Overall a reasonable morning although a bright sunny day would have yielded better shots.
Usual problems with ravens up close. They are big birds relative to the distance from the camera so it is common that parts of them end up out of focus, especially when shooting at f2.8.

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