Tricksy Cardinalses! And other news…

One of my photography goals for 2013 is to get a photograph of a cardinal which fills a sufficient amount of the frame. This is quite a challenge as they bolt as soon as they suspect something and I have a lot of somethings; kids, a dog, cats, squirrels, and my clumsiness. Once the weather gets a little better I will be able to hide a little more, right now I am constrained to the back door window and my kitchen window, which adds another layer of potentially dirty glass in the way. This shot comprises about 1/12 of the total frame.

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SLT-A99V, Minolta 200mm f/2.8 HS APO G @ f/4, ISO 200, 1/80s

As does this shot.

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SLT-A99V, Minolta 200mm f/2.8 HS APO G @ f/4, ISO 800, 1/250s

And then one of my cats walked up to the door and made a noise and this guy was gone…

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SLT-A99V, Minolta 200mm f/2.8 HS APO G @ f/4, ISO 800, 1/250s

I’ve had a little bit of luck behind closed doors, but I feel like I can do better and get closer.

I am home briefly from Seattle, Washington and I have to return next week. Last week I had the privilege of visiting Ron Martinsen of ronmartblog.com and shoot his book case with the A77, A900, and A99 – sort of. I didn’t get what I thought from the A900. I put the A900 in Mirror Lock-up and I guess Nikons wait a bit and then take the shot after the shutter button is pressed. Not the A900. It just puts the mirror back if you don’t press the shutter button again. So I got dozens of samples from the A99 and A77 with my 85mm f/1.4 ZA lens and only three from the A900, two of which were test frames. Not all was lost, however as I did get the A77 and A99 shots AND as a bonus I shot a set with the A99 with the Minolta 200mm f/2.8 High Speed APO G lens. So I will be able to compare the A99 and A77 short term as well as the 85mm and 200mm lenses. As you can see, I also got some shots of the Seattle skyline and Mount Rainier on the one day the weather cooperated. I also shot with a circular polarizer on my 85mm lens.

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SLT-A99V, 85mm f/1.4 ZA @ f/4, ISO 200, 1/500s

I had one huge issue with trying to get shots from this side of downtown Seattle. There weren’t many places without power lines in the way without trespassing. I had to shoot over a fence in a driveway to get these. Here is one with my A77.

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SLT-A77V, 24mm f/2 ZA @ f/7.1, ISO 100, 1/200s.

I’m back there next week. Hopefully I get the chance to re-shoot the book case with the A900 but if I don’t, at least I got what I got.

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4 comments on “Tricksy Cardinalses! And other news…

  1. Gene says:

    Great shot of the Seattle skyline. My fave would the 85mm shot.
    I feel your pain about shooting songbirds. I spent a lot of last summer working on this problem before I started to get shots I really liked. Here’s a short list of what I had to do…
    – Get a shooting blind. I got mine from Cabela’s for $45
    – Feed the birds so they come to you. Regular feeding is essential.
    – Provide good water.
    – Set up some natural perches near feeders or water.
    – My best lens for this kind of work is a Sigma 120-400 on an A77. Seems like overkill considering that with the blind I might be less than 10′ from the subject. One hard lesson I’ve learned is that you need more focal length than you think.

  2. And what is your conclusion about a99 (may be in comparison with traditional Sony DSLRs)

    • I’m about to write something about that, actually. I have learned a couple of things lately which has changed my perception of how things really are.

      In general, I do think the A99 deserves the title of flagship for Sony, but I think it may be too early to make any overall conclusion as I am waiting for the firmware updates next week to put my hands on APS-D.

  3. […] posted a while back about the elusive Cardinals in my back yard. I can say now, they aren’t nearly as elusive as I thought. In fact, they’re frequent visitors. […]

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