Saturday, January 23, 2010

Baytown Eagle

I made a trip over to Baytown today to try and photograph the pair of nesting eagles located off of Tri-City Beach Road. I don't really have enough lens for this type of birding but I had a great time watching and photographing the eagles just the same! This shot was taken with a crop camera (Canon 40D) using a 100-400mm zoom lens at 400mm and using a Canon 430EX flash equipped with a Better Beamer flash extender. Today I could almost understand why some folks might buy a $12,000 800mm lens. Almost! :-)

Title: "Baytown Eagle" (rollover)

Camera / Lens: Canon 40D / Canon 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 L zoom
Post-processing: Adobe Camera Raw > Photoshop CS4 > Nik Viveza plugin > Topaz Adjust plugin


Doug Haass said...

Welcome to my world Barry! Those eagles are a fine sight to see. I hope you got a chance to hear them calling to each other. That's pretty cool too.

Don't feel bad about not getting close enough. I shot them with my 500mm and did not fare any better. I'm going back with my 2x in the next day or so.

Nice job trying to mask the gray sky with the texture. You apparently lightened the textured shot as there is more detail in the eagle's feathers in that version.

I'm not sure what you were set at on the beamer. If you were going with our normal external flash setting for birds (50mm and -3 stops) you probably needed to go to 105mm and not dial it down any. You may not have enough power to reach with the 430EX. They are about 100 yards in from the road.

Barry Armer said...

Thanks Doug!

You mean to say that 430EX flash is adjustable? :-)

I'm still trying to learn all the features on my camera and have never even read the manual on the flash. I had it in ETTL mode with the little wide-angle diffuser thingy up out of the way which I think may be a default 50mm setting but not sure. Guess I've got some reading to do?

The metadata on this shot says 89.7 yards was the "distance to subject" so he landed a little closer to me than he did to you. :-)

Have fun if you head back over there sometime soon. I'm looking forward to seeing how the eagles look through a 500mm X2 lens.


Cindi said...

Great shot! I really like what the texture did to the feathers and how the branches are framing the bird. I have found that some textures do lighten images without anything being done to the texture, but by the blending mode you choose. It is pretty incredible what those telephoto lenses cost...and what they weigh!

Doug Haass said...

Yes, the flash should be adjustable on the back. Even though you are shooting in ETTL II you can dial over or under exposure. My 580 EX can, but I'll have to look up the specs on yours. You should also be able to set the zoom to a higher number (105mm) where it will force it to provide a more concentrated beam of light.

Distance, when they are on the nest and you are across the road mine goes to infinity, which doesn't give an actual distance at that point. I just know at the fence line I'm pretty sure it was close to 300 feet. Moving across the road opens that distance even more, by about 30-35 feet, give or take.

Larry said...

Great shot and post processing Barry. Doug - while we were out there one of the photographers had a range finder and pegged the distance from the fence to the nest at 169 yards! Don't know how accurate those things are. We also almost got hit by two mulligans from the golf course.

Doug Haass said...

Wow. I knew they were way back there. Yeah, I was there on a Sunday and it was pretty light for golfers for some reason. I did glance back every so often when they were teeing up to keep from kissing an errant ball with the back of my head.

Barry Armer said...

Thanks Cindi and Larry!


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