1/200sec @ f/5.6
300mm, ISO200, 0ev
Evaluative Metering, No Flash
Nikon D300, AF-S 70-300mm 4.5-5.6
This is probably my favourite bird photograph I have taken. It was pure luck of the draw with this one. They are fast and very small birds, difficult to catch standing still. As I followed the bird with my lens it gradually became less afraid and more inquisitive of me. I was shooting at around 5-6 frames per second (the Nikon D300 is still competition beating with this feature – soooo important for any wildlife or sports photography). As it landed on the perch in the shot it bobbed its head about from left to right, up and down. They are so quick – fast shutter speed is paramount. If you can’t get fast enough with low ISO, ramp it up. It’s better to get a noisy picture than no picture at all. In this case my shutter speed was far too low and my aperture was wide open – this made for a lot of post-processing in the sharpness department to slip it past my super critical eye while it wasn’t looking!
If I could have the moment again I would certainly boost the shutter speed up to nearer 1/1000th second (as a rule of thumb, the shutter speed should be 1/(focal length) – in this case my focal length was 300mm but my shutter speed was 1/200 – TOO LOW!!) and the sensitivity would have been bumped closer to 800 or even 1000. I would probably stop down the aperture closer to f/8 or 9 to add to the sharpness gained from the faster shutter speed. I would also have removed the covering of forest trees and created an overcast day for beautiful soft diffused light!! All said and done I am certainly proud of the composition. I honestly don’t think I could have got the positioning much better had I struck up a conversation with the bird and asked it to pose for me.