Oh dear, my favourite picture of a European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) is a highly noisy one. I was returning home after a short photo trip at the edge of the forest when I took this photo. I always take a look on that trail when I pass by because I have seen before some female roe deer. This time a buck roe deer was grazing right in the middle of the trail, I have almost unnoticed it because it was so dark. Everything was perfectly aligned for a picture, the only thing missing was the light and because of that I had to lower my shutter speed to 1/80 sec.. I am luck I didn’t get any kind of blur but at this level of noise the motion blur would pass unnoticed. After some post-processing I managed to get the noise out but the picture became a bit to soft for my liking, maybe in the future I will learn some better post-processing techniques and I will do a better job but for now I have to get satisfied with what I’ve obtained. My aperture was wide open at F/6.3 and the auto ISO went to the highest limit set of ISO 4000.
It was early April so a lot of trees were in bloom which made me eager to find birds perched in a nice setup. Something like this Goldcrest (Regulus regulus) but maybe in not such a crowded set-up. This little guy is the smallest bird in Europe but in the European folklore is called ,,the king of the birds’’, probably because of his gold crest feathers. I am always glad to spot it but not always successful in taking photos of it as it has fast moves and doesn’t stay in one place for long. For this picture an F6.3, 1/800 sec. shutter speed and Iso 2200 did the trick.
The Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella) though, chose a branch with lichens and a nice clean background for his photo shoot. Because he was static in frame I lowered my shutter speed to 1/640 sec. so that the ISO, set on auto, would be as low as possible. Because of the light and the bright background the subject would turn dark so now I had to raise the ISO. One way of doing that while it is set on auto is to change the exposure compensation. In this case I used +1.3 step exposure compensation and the ISO was automatically raised to 900.
It was this period when I first saw my first Redwing (Turdus iliacus), actually my first flock of Redwings that was probably stopped in their way to the breeding grounds. The redwing is a bird in the thrush family, Turdidae, which is slightly smaller than the related song thrush and can be easily identified by its red underwing feathers. The redwing has an extensive range but even so is believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List and is therefore precautionary uplisted to Near Threatened. The causes of the decline can be severe winters that lead to high mortality and could wet summers that lead to breeding failure.
My favorite bird pictures from this blog post are these of a European robin (Erithacus rubecula) that flew and perched in front of me while I was heading to a bird observatory at a lake. It first sat on this cut branch, in full light and relatively close to me. Because he was close a good amount of detail can be seen especially on the face where I’ve pointed my focus. Two lady bugs can be also seen on the branch. For this shot an 1/800 sec. was enough to get the bird sharp and get a decent 1100 ISO. At one point he moved further in a much crowded spot with less light where he was in shade. When he turned his head in my way to see if I’m still headed in that direction his face got lit by a beam of light which made for a great picture in my opinion. In order to lower the auto set ISO I have lowered the shutter speed to 1/400 sec. giving me only ISO-320 for this picture.
The little Eurasian wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) also showed up in front of me on two different occasions in that period of time. First time I was photographing some birds in flight on the lake when the wren came out from some tall grass few meters away from me. It took an interest in me, checked me out for a while, pose for some photos as the wren’s like to do, then flew away. The light was not the greatest so the ISO was raised to 2200 and I got more noise that I’ve ever wanted to. The next time one showed up between some branches, looked at me, then turned around and showed me his ass. I got the proof in this picture. Because he was in shade I lowered my shutter speed to the highly risky 1/250 sec., a move that I would never do with a rare species or nicer set-up. For this move I have paid in sharpness, thing you can clearly see when zooming in.
There is a place on a side of a lake a often visit where at every sunset I can see hares, roe deer and pheasants. It is private property and you have to surround a small stream to reach the place but it can be easily seen from the trail that goes around the lake. That patch of land is also used as a runway by a small plane owner. In one particular night, right after the guy landed his plane a male Common pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) came very upset to the place. I was following him through the viewfinder while taking pictures and when he reached the place I have noticed what all the fuss was about: the guy with the plane disturbed his girls, 3 female pheasants. It was the first time when I photograph female pheasants and probably a rare chance to have both females and a male in the same frame. It was already so late in the evening that at F6.3 and 1/125 sec. shutter speed the ISO was still raised to 2800.
I first tried to photograph this Common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) with my 24-70 mm lens because it was sitting on the edge of a lake in a public park. After some unsuccessful frames I took out my 150-600mm lens and took this shot. It is not the best picture I could have produced but it is a decent close-up with the moorhen.
And for the end of this article a picture of a Hooded crow (Corvus cornix) in an appealing composition. For this photo I used F6.3, 1/800 sec. shutter speed and ISO-320.
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For all species found on my spotting adventures, take a look at INaturalist.
The gear that I’ve used for spotting and book used for identification, here.