American Tree Sparrow

September 14, 2012
American Tree Sparrow

1/800sec @ f/8
420mm, ISO400, 0ev
Evaluative Metering
Nikon D3s, AF-S 300mm f/4, AF-S TC-14EII

There is not much of a story to this image. I set up to take pictures of birds in my back yard, and this one happened to land in front of my lens. I managed to compose quick enough and take the shot before it flew off. I am very happy with the shot for its sharpness and colours; however, as always I am not as happy with the depth of field (DOF).

As I become more experienced and see more and more photos by the pros, DOF is becoming more of an issue in the shots I take. Trying to fill the frame with the 300mm lens and a 1.4 TC – while keeping optimum aperture and shutter speed for sharp images – makes DOF extremely shallow. F/8 is starting to get on the small side for the amount of light needed to keep the ISO low on an overcast day, any smaller and noise becomes an issue.

While I might seem like I am complaining, the balancing act I have just described is one of the reasons I love photography. This is especially so with small bird photography, as they move extremely fast and you have to be ready for the shot. You don’t get a second chance.

Of course there are many things I would like to change. I would have liked to get a shot with the bird’s feet in the frame, rather than behind the OOF bark in the foreground. Had the bird been on my side of the branch, I would have got more detail in the bark, and I think the shot might have less issues with DOF. One part of the shot I do like is the fluffed up breast feathers. From what I remember, this was due to it being windy. I feel it adds movement to what could otherwise be a very static shot. I did have a shot pre and post fluffed feathers; however, both were less dynamic than this one.