Silly bird

San Diego Zoo logo

Considering that I got started in photography in 1966, one might think that I would know everything there is to know about photograph. As someone more famous than me said several times: “Wrong, bison breath!”

Computers have turned the world of photography upside down, so when digital photography came along, some old dogs had to learn new tricks.

One of those new tricks is the burst mode. My Canon 760D is capable of taking 5 pictures per second, and that’s on the low end of digital cameras. I’ve read reviews of cameras taking 60 pictures per second, which is on the order of quality video without actually being video.

I have been playing around with the burst mode on my camera using my new Tamron 150-600mm lens since it allows me to get so much closer to wildlife.

Today, at the San Diego Zoo, the Great White Pelicans were preening themselves. Watching that is kind of like watching cats groom themselves. I could sit there all day long and just watch.

I got quite a few funny pictures of these pelicans preening. This is one of the best:

Great White Pelican preening at the San Diego Zoo

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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6 thoughts on “Silly bird

    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      Yes.

      Because of that, when I come home I have to go through the 20 burst-mode pictures to decide which one I want to keep.

      However, I’m also discovering that all those focus points play a role, too. Mine has 19 focus points, which is about the only way one can get pictures of birds in flight. When a bird is in flight, though, it’s rare that there is anything around except that bird, so those 19 focus points are great for tracking it since there’s nothing else to focus on.

      When I get to the Zoo and the grasslands, having 19 focus points all vying for their chance to be dominant plays havoc with focus, so I started experimenting and have found that switching from 19 focus points to 1 spot focus (which is in the center of the image) solves those problems with small changes in focus.

      For this Great White Pelican, I was in spot focus mode so all the pictures were good as far as focus goes.

      I have also discovered that shooting at f/10 or higher helps the overall focus because of the better depth of field. However, when at 600mm and in poor lighting, f/10 usually isn’t an option. On that note, though, I have discovered the automatic exposure compensation and can quickly set it to +5 (brightest) which lets me shoot at f/10 or higher in poor light but the camera’s computer algorithms brightens the picture automatically without the introduction of excessive noise.

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        1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

          You can see where the spot focus was on this picture. I was so close to the bird and the lighting was bright and I wanted to stop action so this picture was 150mm, f/5.0, 1/4000. Next time, perhaps 150mm, f/10+, and 1/1000.

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