This little guy dropped in looking for a few good seeds for breakfast before fluttering away. The feathered critters in the area are finding their meals in the wild these days. The typical snow cover which previously funneled their culinary activities towards feeders has seemingly been displaced by foraging in the wild. Last year, I went thru about ten pounds of seeds and I doubt that half that amount will be consumed this year. That’s why I got a bit excited to see a critter fly in that was not your usual chickadee.
I’ve set up a bit of a blind near the house and have the Nikon D3s and 200-400 f/4 with a TC-20 IIE preset up. The combination gives me an effective 400-800mm but at a price. The D3s factory focus spec maxes out at f/f.5.6 and this combo puts me at f/8 (f/4 X 2), so your working past the edge. You have to have a good technique to get it right….and that where practice comes in….and a bit of research to get the settings correct.
1) Nikon D3s
- Autofocus mode: AF-C Continuous servo tracking focus – Custom Menu setting a1 @ Release + Focus
- Exposure Mode: Manual set Aperture @f/8 and Speed @1/60 sec
- AF Area mode : Focus Pattern Dynamic area- AF @ 9 points – Custom Setting a3 (pg 92 of Manual)
- Shooting Mode: 8 fps (1st shot maybe out of focus, 2nd/3rd crisper)
- WB: Auto
- ISO: 300-500 (need to push it to get shutter speed up) esp in low flat morning light
- Shutter speed: 1/60 minimum
2) Nikon 200-400mm f/4 VR II
- Vibration Reduction on
- Switch between manual mode and AF
3) Really Right Stuff Pano-Gimble Head & RRS TH-DVTL
Yep, all that gear and stuff help to catch a glimpse of this simple hearty gold finch……