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View Full Version : OT: I took some cool pics today



Evan
10-26-2007, 09:18 PM
I was working in the shop when I heard a loud squawk by a crow. That usually means something like "INCOMING" when they use that tone of voice. I grabbed my Canon with the newly acquired 500 mm telephoto lens (750 mm equivalent on the Rebel) and snapped some pics. They aren't as clear as could be since to use that lens handheld I have to keep it wide open and use ISO 800 so I can set the shutter at 1/2000 second. Still, they are pretty cool. A big eagle had cruised into the area and the local crows took exception.

http://vts.bc.ca/pics3/eagle2.jpg

http://vts.bc.ca/pics3/eagle1.jpg

The crows around here deal with those guys with military precision. They fly in formation and take turns peeling off in pairs to harass the eagle until he gets fed up and leaves.

This is a montage of several pics of the crows cruising above the eagle in formations. They usually fly in squads of 2 to 6. There were about 12 crows after his butt today so it didn't take long for him to leave.

http://vts.bc.ca/pics3/crows.jpg

dicks42000
10-26-2007, 09:52 PM
Today there was a red-tailed hawk orbiting over head, harassed by the usual retinue of crows...this lasted some 2-2 1/2 hours before the hawk gave up and headed east...
No camera handy, either. Nice pics Evan. That's some lens.
Rick

JRouche
10-26-2007, 10:09 PM
Crows are some of the smartest birds flying about.. Great shot Evan..

I was gonna ask you a question re: tripod shots. I have the rebel XT and wanted to shoot the moon last night. It was full and orange due to the fires.

I set it up on the tripod and set it for a delayed time shot so I wouldn’t be touching the camera when the shutter went. I still got some fuzzy shots. Like there was vibration from the shutter opening/closing. No wind or breeze. It was open for a 30th for the lighting. Any suggestions? Never had that problem before with my film Nikon, always real crisp. Thanks, JRouche

dp
10-26-2007, 10:15 PM
That's interesting. We have murders of crows visit often over summer, especially when we set out peanuts for the Stellar jays. We've noticed they do things as a pack. Often one lead bird will circle and land, snatch a peanut and leave quickly. On the second such peanut snatching success the rest of the birds will flop out of the trees and fill the yard with teaming black. They'll each grab a minimum of three peanuts and leave. With as many as 20 or so (very difficult to count) that cleans out our peanut stash quickly. A single sentry will remain in the tree though out.

One thing we learned quickly is that when one crow first sees our peanuts set out it will make a certain call and within moments the sky is filled with circling crows who then settle into the surrounding trees to assess the risk. They and the jays are fun to watch - they're very much more organized than most every other bird in our area.

Rustybolt
10-26-2007, 11:10 PM
One of the best places to see that sort of thing is a duck blind. Great Horned owls cruising the treeline at dawn. Bald eagles, cranes. deer. And of course ducks. All just minutes from my house.

The crow population around here was devastated several years ago by west nile virus. They are just now building back up. Very smart birds. One crow sitting on the lip of a trash can facing outward and walking around the rim. His buddy( who was in the trashcan) jumps up on the rim to spell him while he gets down in the trash bin and eats. They must have done that a dozen times before they ate their fill and flew off.

andy_b
10-26-2007, 11:11 PM
"The Birds" was just on TV last saturday i believe. that's one of my favorite Hitchcock movies.

andy b.

aostling
10-27-2007, 12:10 AM
I set it up on the tripod and set it for a delayed time shot so I wouldn’t be touching the camera when the shutter went. I still got some fuzzy shots. Like there was vibration from the shutter opening/closing. No wind or breeze. It was open for a 30th for the lighting. Any suggestions?

The Nov/Dec issue of Photo Techniques has an article called "The Effect of Mirror-Slap on Image Resolution." In this test, with a 200m lens and tripod, it turns out that mirror-induced vibration peaks at 1/30th shutter speed.

A few cameras have mirror lock-up, or trip the mirror initially when using the self-timer. Either way, mirror vibration dies down before it affects the image. My Sony Alpha has this feature on the 2-second delay, but not on the 10-sec delay. Is there a such a feature on the Rebel?

Evan
10-27-2007, 12:59 AM
It was open for a 30th for the lighting. Any suggestions?

The moon is a sunlit object. Use the same exposure you would on a sunny day. F8, ISO 100 and 1/60 should do.

Also, the most difficult thing to get right on the Rebel when doing astrophotography is the focus. There are aftermarket split prism focusing screens available. I haven't checked to see what they cost or how hard it is to install.

oldtiffie
10-27-2007, 01:54 AM
The eagles must be smarter in OZ.

When I was in Woomera (Rocket Range in South Australian in the desert) in the 1950's the wedge-tail eagles were often over-head just cruising on the thermals. Some local birds, which were much more maneuverable than the eagle would wait until it descended to about 500>1,000 feet or so and then attack the eagle and pull its feathers out. The eagle just seemed to take it but it was circling/spiraling and climbing ever so slowly and those birds just kept at it. Then the thin higher air where the eagle was in its element caused the "pest" birds lungs to collapse or hearts to stop or just get disorientated and they would fall like a stone. But the eagle dived and over-took them, waited and caught them on the way.

Dinner on the wing. Then onto the ground or its nest (aerie?) and "dinner was served".

The eagles were all but wiped out by farmers who thought - mistakenly - that the eagles were taking young sheep and cattle. They did get stuck into dead stock - as carrion do.

But it was a magnificent display of controlled flying!!

Doc Nickel
10-27-2007, 03:39 AM
Not a bad pic, for an adapted older lens. Bit of chromatic abberation on the highlights, though. :D

Last spring, right at the beginning of the halibut season, the birds flocked in from miles around as soon as the canneries started having some waste they could pick at. One morning I was driving into town (only a 3-mile trip) and these fellows (http://www.docsmachine.com/photography/eagle003.jpg) were gathered along a low ridgeline, presumably waiting their turn at the goodies. There were a total of 13 or 14 along the whole treeline.

This fellow (http://www.docsmachine.com/photography/eagle002.jpg) kept a wary eye on me as I walked up and took this with a 300mm image stabilized lens, but this guy (http://www.docsmachine.com/photography/eagle004.jpg) wasn't so trusting, and took off before I could get a good angle through the limbs and branches.

This guy (http://www.docsmachine.com/photography/eagle005.jpg) emptied his ballast tanks first, then took off- I'm pretty sure you don't want to see a photo of that. :D

Down at the river (at the cannery, just across the road from the treeline/ridgeline) the eagles were outnumbered (http://www.docsmachine.com/photography/eagle-gulls.jpg) about 90,000-1 by the seagulls, but still managed to carry of their fair share of the treats.

Then, this past spring, the nest right across the street was occupied again- there's about three to five nests within 500 yards of my property, only two or so are occupied at any given time. Anyway, this guy (http://www.docsmachine.com/photography/Docn4602.jpg) (or girl, I don't know) probably raised a couple of hatchlings this year, although we never saw them. (This nest is an easy 45 feet up a large cottonwood.)

And finally, just a week or two ago, I was sitting here and heard an owl hooting. Nothing new, I've heard 'em every night for the past few weeks, but this time it was early enough in the evening that I thought I could still spot the bird before it got dark. Sure enough, I just had to follow the hooting about thirty yeards into the woods, then crank my flash up to almost full power to get this shot (http://www.docsmachine.com/photography/hornyowl.jpg) of a Great Horned Owl sitting 40+ feet up in a tree.

Doc.

Evan
10-27-2007, 06:04 AM
Nice pics Doc. The eagle I shot yesterday is most likely one of our residents. We normally have a family group in the valley here. They like to soar over our hill as it produces good thermals and gives them a good head start in any direction. I'm not really into bird photography but couldn't pass up the opportunity. I have never tried looking for the nest of this guy as they have a pretty big range. I would like a chance to get some still shots using this long lens with it properly mounted on a tripod. I'm surprised the pics turned out as well as they did.

We have a great horned owl hanging around the hill here too. I hear him on a regular basis. We also see a number of other raptors including the occasional prairie falcon. Last fall I saw a group of giant pelicans soaring over the far hill about 2 miles away. They looked like freekin manned gliders they are so big. There is one (just one [1]) lake that they nest on here in BC and we are at the extreme east of their fishing range. Those guys have up to a 9 foot wing span!

Evan
10-27-2007, 06:17 AM
JRouche,

I forgot to mention about the remote shutter release for the Digital Rebels. It is trivial to make one. On the left side is a 2.5 mm stereo jack where it plugs in. All it takes is a simple switch closure to trigger the shutter. If you want to get fancy you can use two switches and implement shutter half press for the autofocus too.

http://vts.bc.ca/pics3/rebelshutter.gif

Alan in Oz
10-27-2007, 08:15 AM
For Oldtiffe, this might be OT, but there was no mistaking eagles did take lambs up to several days old, would swoop down from a fair height and pick up, carrying them 20 - 30 feet into the air before dropping. Enough to wind them and in for the finish off. While the total numbers taken did not appear large, fox's and wild dogs would get more.

Orrin
10-27-2007, 08:40 AM
Doc and Evan, thank you for posting some very interesting pictures. Doc, the picture of the lone wary eagle is sharp as a tack. Beautiful.

Best regards,

Orrin

laddy
10-27-2007, 09:03 AM
Boy, This thread is for the birds! Yuk, Yuk, Yuk. Great pictures. Crows were cawing here a few weeks ago. I went out to see why and saw a huge black snake entering a knot hole in the neighbors tree. A week later the neighbor was cutting his grass and Brupppppt! a piece of snake passed my head doing about 90mph.

J Tiers
10-27-2007, 10:13 AM
Around here, the smaller birds will mob the crows in similar fashion. They also mob hawks.

But the hawks cruise through and get dinner anyway, typically pigeons. The pigeons are slow, big enough for a decent meal, and too dumb to mob the hawks.

A sparrow or even a blackbird isn't worth the bigger hawk's attention as food.

geraldvowles
10-27-2007, 10:39 AM
When we were kids we were out walking with my Dad and came upon a young horned owl on a low branch. My brother and I kept its attention while Dad took off his shirt, snuck up behind it and caught it in his shirt. About a week later we got another one the same way. We raised them as pets but those were sure no pets. They hated crows by instinct so we'd catch crows and toss them in the pen with the owls. you could almost see the owls grinning at them for awhile saying "hello breakfast" as the crows sat off in the corner doing more than their fair share of emptying ballast (as Doc Nickel put it:D ). The outcome was always predictable. They were also big on rabbits and any kind of fish.

We used to tether them on a long braided fishing line and hook them to a fence post as a "crow magnet". Worked better than any decoy ever set for ducks. Those old crows would arrive in a frenzy. Catching them to put the tether on was the toughest part - getting those talons right through your hand was no fun. We learned to poke a long pole through the wire in front of them and brush their feet with it until the'd step onto it. Then we'd give it a little flip and they swing down upsidedown. We swing them back and forth for awhile like that and they'd go into a kind of trance (they loved it). If we went too long they'd eventually fall off onto their heads and it would shake them out of it and then we'd have to start over.

We has an annual trophy (a carved crow) for the guy that shot the most crows in a season. As I recall, the winner one year got 212 of them. We'd lend him one of the owls and while he was off hunting my brother and I would take his nice big Oldsmobile 88 for test runs in the field. Then we'd wash it off before he got back and he'd give us a quarter each for being so thoughtful! I suspect he knew what was going on thought.

Looking back we were nasty little bu**ers for 8 to 10 years old weren't we. But those were the times and we were just as quick to help the local small farmers out or anyone else for that matter without thought of payment (as long as they looked the other way while we swiped a wad out of their snuff can - and then puked all the way home).

But that's got nothing to do with those great photos that started this thread. I enjoyed all of those pics. Thanks much.

-Gerry

Paul Alciatore
10-27-2007, 05:17 PM
Neat pixs!

oldtiffie
10-27-2007, 07:18 PM
For Oldtiffe, this might be OT, but there was no mistaking eagles did take lambs up to several days old, would swoop down from a fair height and pick up, carrying them 20 - 30 feet into the air before dropping. Enough to wind them and in for the finish off. While the total numbers taken did not appear large, fox's and wild dogs would get more.

Thanks Allan,
I stand corrected.

Seems the West Coast Eagles are in a spot of both with dropping the ball too. But they are getting what Financial people would call a "dead cat bounce".

Evan
10-27-2007, 08:46 PM
but there was no mistaking eagles did take lambs up to several days old, would swoop down from a fair height and pick up, carrying them 20 - 30 feet into the air before dropping.

There are a lot of myths and unsubstantiated folklore surrounding all of the top-of-the-food-chain predators and eagles are no exception. The bald eagle weighs up to 15 lbs and can lift off the ground up to 1/2 it's own body weight. A newborn lamb averages 12 lbs and in a few days may weigh 15 to 20 lbs. The only newborn lamb an eagle can lift is one so underweight it won't survive more than a few hours at best.

JRouche
10-27-2007, 09:55 PM
A few cameras have mirror lock-up, or trip the mirror initially when using the self-timer. Either way, mirror vibration dies down before it affects the image. My Sony Alpha has this feature on the 2-second delay, but not on the 10-sec delay. Is there a such a feature on the Rebel?

Now thats a smart feature, very smart. Thats what I was thinking was the slight residual vibration from the mirror flippin was causing the vibration. On an electronic camera that would be simple to program in..
Thanks... JRouche

JRouche
10-27-2007, 10:07 PM
The moon is a sunlit object. Use the same exposure you would on a sunny day. F8, ISO 100 and 1/60 should do.

Also, the most difficult thing to get right on the Rebel when doing astrophotography is the focus. There are aftermarket split prism focusing screens available. I haven't checked to see what they cost or how hard it is to install.

The camera wanted 60th, I overrode the setting to 30th to try and get more light in and adjust it out later in PS..

Tell me!! I was manually focusing but my eyes aren’t what they used to be. Took me awhile to just get the focus where I thought it was good. Discouraging to say the least. The pic was in focus, just blurred. It was superimposed on itself leading me to believe it was a vibration during exposure.. Thanks, JRouche

JRouche
10-27-2007, 10:18 PM
JRouche,

I forgot to mention about the remote shutter release for the Digital Rebels. It is trivial to make one. On the left side is a 2.5 mm stereo jack where it plugs in. All it takes is a simple switch closure to trigger the shutter. If you want to get fancy you can use two switches and implement shutter half press for the autofocus too.

http://vts.bc.ca/pics3/rebelshutter.gif

Ok Evan, Im on that one thanks.. I'll just do the tip to sleeve.. Any chance you know which is ground, Im gonna guess sleeve due to the common between focus and trigger? Gonna find me some really light wire (pair) and a switch... Thats a better trigger than what I have been doing. Thanks again, JR...

darryl
10-28-2007, 01:25 AM
Nice pics.

Very timely on the remote focus and expose too- I'm building one as we speak. I'm planning to use wire from an old computer mouse. The one I'm using has four conductors, so I'll put two of them together and wire them to the sleeve, then the other single wires to the ring and tip. The mouse wire fits the plug's body nicely ( I got the right angle plug and it looks decently sturdy, with a reasonable strain relief for the wire- a radio shack part-) The mouse wire is also quite flexible, so far being matched only by headphone or ear bud wire, which both are a pain to use since the actual copper wire inside the plastic is almost non-existent. I thing the right angle plug will also be better because it leaves the wire pointing straight down where it would want to be hanging anyway. This will probably result is a bit less strain on the camera jack.

Yes, the rebel xt has a mirror lockup function. I haven't used it, but it's recommended to also use the remote shutter release when mirror lockup is used. I too find the bit of vibration as the shutter is operated a little disconcerting.

Also as we speak I'm putting the finishing touches (mechanically at least) on a stabilizer handle for this camera. I'll post a few pics shortly.

aostling
10-28-2007, 01:39 AM
But the hawks cruise through and get dinner anyway, typically pigeons. The pigeons are slow, big enough for a decent meal, and too dumb to mob the hawks.


I don't know where you live, but Arizona pigeons are about the fastest birds on the wing. http://www.azwns.com/Birds.htm states they fly between 28 mph and 82 mph. I get swooshed by a flight of pigeons daily on my descent of Telegraph Pass Trail -- its on these downflights that they really seem to open up their throttles.

darryl
10-28-2007, 03:36 PM
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v136/heinrich/raven.jpg

I'm surprised this fatty let me get this close. I could have touched it. There was another one just beside it. They didn't flinch as 5 or 6 harleys rumbled to a stop at this pullout.

Evan
10-28-2007, 04:34 PM
I have one of those too, taken at a pull out in the Jasper National Park. Bold as brass and was waiting on the ground a foot from the driver's door on the car.

You really can see the world in a Raven's eye.

http://vts.bc.ca/pics3/raven.jpg

tony ennis
10-28-2007, 04:42 PM
'Evermore.


Love,
Edgar

darryl
10-28-2007, 04:47 PM
Evan, that could be the same bird. My pic was taken- guess where- en-route between Jasper and Banff.

darryl
10-28-2007, 05:11 PM
This has got to be the biggest eagle I've ever seen, bar none.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v136/heinrich/biggesteagle.jpg