Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Bird and The Lens!

You thought I am gonna tell you about the birds and the bees? Ha ha ha...

Last weekend I noticed this "black bird" outside my dinner's window picking at the giant flax plant. My photo-head told me that is a perfect subject for a lens test!

Click on the picture to see the bird on the flax!

It was much later that my daughter Ming-N told me that "black bird" is a native Tui! Duh! I think all Kiwis would know that! hee hee...

Through Wikipedia I learned this native bird love to feed on flax nectar, Wiki also point out that the so called NZ flax is not a flax at all!

"They are actually perennial plants Phormium tenax and Phormium cookianum, known by the Māori names harakeke and wharariki respectively."

I decided to shoot the Tui with my FIFTEEN year old Nikkor 300/4.5 IF-ED telephoto!

The Nikon 300/4.5 IF-ED is a very compact lens for it's 300 mm focal length. It was very popular in the 1970 and 80's, I remember fondly that it was a standard issues to Reuters photographers.

While working in Singapore newspapers in 1994 I went to see a Mr. Lam at the Nikon outlet, Center Point and was ecstatic that he kept a BRAND NEW IF-ED for me! Thank you Mr Lam!

Fast forward to the present, so here I am sitting at the dinning room with the 15 years old faithful mounted on my D300 DSLR and a monopod is use to support the not so light SLR and lens combo.

The old and the new... 300/4.5 IF-ED and D300 DSLR sitting on a monopod.

There I was, trigger finger on the camera release; eyes glued to the flax plant outside the window... my wife must think I am going ga-ga ;)

Luckily I only have to wait for 40 minutes and my subject landed noiselessly on the plant and started to feed.

I managed to fire off 36 shots, (RAW format of course!) while the Tui leap from one stalk to another. I had SIX MINUTES and she disappeared as fast as she came!

My ISO was set to 800 so I can use a fast 1/800 speed and the 300 lens was at f5.6, focusing was CRITICAL! What auto-focus? This is the time you wish you have auto-focus! Ha ha ha...

I managed to get FOUR good shots, if you have shoot birs before; you will appreciate how difficult it is... especially with a fast moving Tui who is all over the flax plant!

Below are the BEST three frames, click on them to get a bigger view.

I am rather please with myself that my aging eyes still "have it", the ability to manual focus quickly and accurately and my old workhorse 300 IF-ED is still able to deliver first class shots!

Famous Last Words:

Telephoto lens are great for compressing foreground and background subjects.

In my shot "Pillars of Strength"...

While doing a shoot at the Tein How Gong temple in Kuala Lumpur, I saw this bright red pillar inscribed with "We live in the same universe but call our country home."

The pillar was framed with the Asean tallest building; the Petronas Twin Tower.

The Nikkor 300/4.5 IF-ED lens was used to bring the three "pillars" together. A Nikon F3P and Kodak Ektapress film were used to capture this image in year 2000.

You Might Also Like:

Tui Obsession!

Nikkor 300mm f/4.5 IF-ED Redux


Anonymous said...

Did you take those photos of the Tui through the window glass CY? the result is all the more impressive if you did. One thing those Photos dont capture is the amazing song Tui make. They are very good imitators also.

cy.leow said...

Yes,all the Tui photos were shot through the rather dirty window glass! I was gonna clean the glass b4 the shoot but found the garden tap connector broken! I think the extream 480mm (eqv) focal length and ultra shallow DOF made the dirt on the window glass invisible ;)

heather said...

lovely photos. Very natural, Did you know that tuis have different "dialects" depending in where they come from? eg, tuis from the Chatham Islands sound different from tuis from NZ.