Notes to readers of this Blog


Thank you for dropping by to check out my blog. You will see a lot of other Blogs about birds I follow down the left hand side. I strongly encourage you to check some of these out as well, they are entertaining and I love to see birds from all over the world, I hope you do too.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Disaster or blessing? Time will tell

I have had my Canon 7D for about 16 months now. The other day I used it in the car, then got out and went to take more photos and something had happened. The autofocus wasn't working. Initially I thought it was a problem with the lens, which has been playing up recently.
After trying other lenses, I started to twig something else was wrong. After searching on-line, I found a lot of threads about a particular problem with the Canon DSLRs. Extreme change in temperature can do something to the chip inside the camera. Alas for me, the issue with mine was the autofocus.
Still, I am a bird-watcher, and after a few days of just being a bird-watcher, I'd had enough. I had to head into Papunya from Mt Liebig as I had some students at Papunya I needed to do some training with at some stage. Took the camera along "just in case".
After visiting the students, I visited the Poo Ponds (as we weird bird-watchers do) and was pleasantly surprised to see among other birds, a Yellow-billed Spoonbill that had been there last week, an Australian Pratincole (which hadn't), 5 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and one Wood Sandpiper (some of which had been there last week) as well as a number of other birds including a Whiskered Tern. I was contemplating my navel or maybe I was looking at the settings on the camera, can't remember which, when I heard a mad panic among the birds on the ponds. I looked up to see a Brown Falcon had just made a swish at none of them in particular, and followed that all the way to the far side of the ponds from me. Eye up at the eyepiece, my ears were alerted to another panic session in front of me. The Pratincole was piping wildly and the White-necked Heron (hadn't noticed that there - great bird watcher I am) flapped madly as something else zoomed past me. Black Falcon! Oh no! Today of all days, no autofocus, no IS on the lens, oh well. I watched and the Pratincole managed to escape. All three birds then circled high, the Black Falcon the highest until it was just a dot under the clouds.

So, disaster or blessing? I had set the camera to the "M" dial mode. I couldn't move the F stop from 5.6 so I figured that would have to do for the aperture. I had the shutter speed at 1/1600th and the ISO at 800. I also had changed the focus point to the max 19 points rather than a single or extended spot I normally have. OK, all the settings at what I hoped might work and clicked away at the Black Falcon. Below are the results. As to the question, I have often been amazed how some photographers only ever use manual focus for their photos. Maybe not a disaster, but maybe not a blessing either. All these shots are from today.

Black Falcon

Pacific Black Duck

Whiskered Tern

White-necked Heron

Yellow-billed Spoonbill

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