Well when I took this image I thought it was a sparrow. However, I did not think sparrows had any red on them, but I wasn’t sure if this was mating plumage. After reference my library critter books, I owe Mr. House Finch an apology. And after confirming a comment from a thoughtful reader on another posting, I owe a hugh apology to Mr. Common RedPoll.
Wow, talk about doppelganger and misidentity. I went back to my critter books and sure enough this is the Common RedPoll, What is uncommon is that he lives in the arctic tundra and not near the capital of New York. That is to say, they have been known to have erratic migratory patterns and this is how he got here. They are supposed to fly in flocks and are very approachable. It was interesting to read about these little critters and it’s amazing that he stationed himself near my feeder and obliged me to take his Image with one of the best lens I have ever used from Nikon, the new AF-S 80-400G f/4-5.6.
There was a slight dusting snow on the ground when I took the image. It was early morning and the coldness of the air was still in the 40′s. After I spied the red patch of plumage, my movements were in shuffle and stop mode as I made my approach. This little bird was nestled into a thicket of lilac bushes.
This was my first time shooting with the new 80-400mm lens, so when I glanced down and saw my setting at 1/60 sec at 400mm at F/5.6, I had some second thoughts to boost my ISO. It’s a fairly common rule of thumb to have you lens length be the denominator in your speed. So I should be shooting at 1/400. However, not wanting to flush an already nervous critter, my hope was that the new lens technology and some good hand holding techniques might capture our friend.
Once in viewfinder and framed so I had a clean background, I set the focus point on his breast feathers, and with the shutter half pressed, the D3s and the 80-400 AF-S focus locked onto the House Finch. In continuous mode, I fired a burst of three images. Then shuffled slowly closer and repeated the process.
Once I had my images ingested and viewing the uploads in post production, it was amazing how crisp and sharp the feathers appeared. No softness due to slow speed or being extended out at 400mm and handheld. I’ll be looking forward to some more image taking with this fine new lens. It has a very good build feel, very similar to the new 70-200 f/4 and outputs some very high quality images….