Purple Finch (Male)

November 3, 2012
Purple Finch (Male)

1/1000sec @ f/7.1
420mm, ISO1250, -2/3ev
Evaluative Metering
Nikon D3s, AF-S 300mm f/4, AF-S TC-14EII

This shot is a little different to most of my bird shots. I usually like to get them in less dramatic light; however, this shot stood out to me as moving away from my “standard” bird shot. The shot itself is as close to straight out of camera as I get. I cropped a little from the original frame and worked with the curves tool. As always there is some selective sharpening done with a High Pass filter.

The Purple Finch is one of the more colourful birds I have seen up here. The Northern Cardinal doesn’t seem to want to come up here to which I say it’s name should be changed. Most Orioles seem not to venture this far North either. I have seen some Waxwings; however, they don’t like to sit on picture perfect perches so f**k em’.

As to the technicalities of the shot; I set the exposure comp. at -2/3 as the sun was still a little harsh at 3:44pm. You can see across the upper portion of the beak the highlight could be considered blown. There are also highlights in the feathers that would have popped out the right-hand side of the histogram. There is a lot of dynamic range for the sensor to capture in this shot. I would rather the highlights not sit too far to the right and the shadows be a little noisier, hence the exposure compensation.

The ISO was set to auto based on a shutter speed of 1/1000th second and an aperture of f/7.1. I like the auto ISO feature with the D3s as I know the noise at higher ISO’s is going to be low. It also means I can set shutter speed fast enough to capture small birds jumping around on branches and aperture to get as much DOF as possible with a 300 f/4 and 1.4 TC. I probably could have gone a little smaller on the aperture as usual; however, with my set-up it likely would not have meant much more DOF and the ISO would have gone up. I cannot stress enough how important it is to understand the exposure triangle to get the most out of your shots. If the above two paragraphs mean nothing to you then look up “exposure triangle” on the interwebs.