Friday, January 03, 2014

Bird shots from Kerala

Sometime back I was seriously toying with the idea of selling off my D90 and Sigma 150-500mm lens.  There were a few reasons why I wanted to sell, my upcoming plans of going full frame and also the fact that I was not at the moment doing too much of birding action. While going full frame requires money, letting a lens gather dust in the cupboard does not make me very happy. Also the D90 is getting slightly long in the tooth and though it can soldier on for some more years, I felt that it is better to let go.

At the shop where I had given the lens for a checkup and cleaning the shopkeeper was incredulous that I wanted to sell the lens. Taken aback by his feedback / comments I decided to try out the two of them. Surprisingly, I was pleasantly surprised with the first result itself. It was a simple shot of a kite that I managed to catch against the sun. Stretching my expertise with Corel, I was able to come up with a decent usable asset.

I decided therefore to load up and take the two to Kerala as well. On the day after Christmas my siblings and I landed up at Poovar where we decided to take a short boat ride through the backwaters. Once there I got some of my best shots with the D90 + Sigma 150-500mm combination. The camera was set on burst and I was lucky with the following factors in my favour:
  1. A slow moving boat and relatively calm waters
  2. Light from the sun shining on the subject directly
  3. A bird in the act of feeding or hungry; a more satiated animal would have moved off and birds are notorious for seeking shelter once they have nothing else to do.

Pied Kingfisher by Bernard Solomon on
Pied Kingfisher by Bernard Solomon
450mm, f/9, 400 ISO, 1/320 seconds
Processed in Lightroom 5.2

Pied Kingfisher - Part II by Bernard Solomon on
Pied Kingfisher - Part II by Bernard Solomon
450mm, f/9, 400 ISO, 1/320 seconds 
Processed with Lightroom 5.2

I am very happy that I took the gentleman's advice and did not sell the equipment in a hurry.  I think the Sigma mounted on the D7000 would get better results. But I had the Tamron Macro mounted on that body. And got such a good snap that I do not regret the combination at all. Please take a look. A macro can therefore do very well as a wildlife lens push comes to shove and its portrait taking abilities are second to none. Check out the bokkeh. Of course the three factors were at play here as well.

Blyth's kingfisher by Bernard Solomon on
Common kingfisher by Bernard Solomon
180mm, f/5, 100 ISO, 1/60 seconds
Processed in Lightroom 5.2

As you would have noticed I am trying out Lightroom, and I must say that I am very impressed. But I am not fully convinced to move away from Corel AfterShot Pro. But more on my final decision later. In the case of the D90 and the Sigma, I have decided that I am keeping them. I might still decide to sell the D90 in which case the Sigma would then do service on the D7000. The D610 which has a 1.5x mode would take the Tamron very well. 

If things go well I will cover the ceremony of a close friend on the 2nd of February. I might get the FX camera before the ceremony but as of now I plan to cover it with the DX bodies only. 

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