White-breasted Nuthatch (no.2)

December 24, 2010
White-breasted Nuthatch (no.2)

1/1000sec @ f/9
420mm, ISO1000, 0ev
Evaluative Metering
Nikon D3s, AF-S 300mm f/4, AF-S TC-14EII

The snow makes for a wonderful natural reflector. This capture of a White-breasted Nuthatch is helped by the fact that the light was being reflected from below its perch. Without the light from below the bird would be extremely underexposed due to most of the light coming in from behind and to the right of the bird. If I had wanted to get an even better exposure I would have used a small amount of flash to help the light reflected from below fill in the shadows. I used a little bit of dodging and burning to put some more light in the shadows. It does a decent job but not as good as if I had got it right in camera.

Some good points to the shot are the pose and framing. The background is well separated from the foreground. The detail is good for a hand-held shot.

Some critique to the shot would be the same old problem with depth of field (DOF). The lens was stopped down to f/9 so I am surprised that the DOF is as shallow as it is. I have a hunch it is to do with the tele-extender. I believe this affects the DOF even more than the normal issues with a 300mm lens. The light is not perfect as stated in the initial paragraph. This could have been helped with a flash or shooting slightly later in the day with the sun angle coming from behind my position rather than from the side.