Great Crested Flycatcher

December 22, 2010
Great Crested Flycatcher

1/200sec @ f/7.1
420mm, ISO1000, 0ev
Evaluative Metering
Nikon D3s, AF-S 300mm f/4, AF-S TC-14EII

One of my first bird captures with my new camera, new 300mm lens and my new 1.5x tele-extender. I have to say I am pretty happy with the results so far. As I should be with the amount of money I spent on all of it. In fact if my photography got worse I would be extremely concerned.

The Great Crested Flycatcher usually sits at the top of the trees perching on the branches that are furthest away from a potential photograph. It was pure luck that this one happened to be more curious than most. The conditions for the shot were also on my side, an overcast day creating an awesome softbox in the sky. It stayed perching for just long enough for me to fire off three shots in rapid succession. I have definitely become quicker at framing for fast subjects. The focus is a little slow on the new lens (I was warned). I think I got pretty close on this shot though.

Couple of critiques on the shot. The Out of Focus (OOF) branch is not great. It doesn’t distract the eye too much as the in focus branch is in roughly the same spot. I think I focused just below and in front of the eye making it slightly OOF. I think the bird moved slightly as I took the shot and as such the shoulder is in perfect focus with the eye being just out. In summary, I am very happy with the new gear and look forward to becoming more accustomed to it and improving further.

Looking at the tech specs from the shot it is apparent that I could have pushed the ISO a little further. The D3s can shoot in the dark before it shows noise. This would have meant a higher shutter speed and perhaps less OOF areas around the eye. I could have also stopped down the aperture a little further giving more depth of field and helping with the eye and the back of the head OOF areas.