Birder's Guide

NOV 2016

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 11 of 43

10 Birder's Guide to Gear | November 2016 Canon PowerShot SX50 HS ably get better images by digiscoping with my smartphone camera. The Canon SX50 just doesn't perform well in low light...or, if it does, you can read about it in the user manual. In brighter light, the images are good to excellent—good if you just point and shoot, excellent if you play around with the +/– settings that seem to have something to do with exposure. Still, there's the problem of light and dark in the same image. An American White Pelican on a sunny morning at the preserve is illustrative. There's a lot of white on that bird, and it's being blasted by the rising sun, but there's also a fair bit of color in the image—on the bird itself and in the pea soup it's swimming in. It was a beautiful sight, and I'm satisfied with the image, es- pecially considering that the bird was just there. Like the cormorant, it just swam by. The image wasn't staged or set up. That's a huge difference from the bird photography of yesteryear. Challenge II: Fast and Furious • Bushtit Some of Ansel Adams's most famous pho- tos are of scenes that must have been over- run by Bushtits. But as far as I'm aware, you can't actually see any Bushtits in his photos. Adams prepped for hours—some- times for days or even weeks—to create his immortal art. That's cool, but it's no way to get a photo of a Bushtit. The Bushtits in my neighborhood make Black-capped Chickadees look like sloths— ample and inert. Heck, they make hum- mingbirds look relatively sedate; at least, hummingbirds sometimes perch on ex- posed snags for many seconds to a minute or so at a time. Bushtits are tiny and hy- peractive, forever on the go; Bushtits rarely come out in the open, and they're practi- cally devoid of field marks. They're a chal- lenge to photograph. With the SX50, I got some decent pho- tos of the neighborhood Bushtits. Case in point: this female in early-morning light. A sloth or hummingbird at that distance would have been sharper, but this bird was out in the open for just a few seconds and moving quickly past. I think it's fair to say that, given adequate light, you can get a Bushtit Photo © Ted Floyd Swainson's Hawk Photo © Ted Floyd

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