Maple blossom, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — not an actual macro shot…this was taken at 1200mm equivalent from just about closest focus distance (maybe 4.5 feet) with the Sony Rx10iv’s Clear Image Zoom. I find that if there is enough detail in the image, and limited background, Clear Image Zoom works very well. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 160 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Maple Blossom, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — it is that time of year again, and you are going to have to endure a few maple blossom shots 🙂 These tiny flowers form on the very tips of the maple twigs wherever there are maples. I actually met a researcher at the Wells Estuarine Research Reserve the other way who is doing a year’s long study of the flowering of maples on the Reserve. My study is less formal, but I rarely, if ever, miss photographing the blooms when they are at their best. Our yard is full of big maples and a few of them have drooping branches that put the flowers within reach. Take note of the complex structure of the flower, and how the burst out of the buds that you first see on the branches. The flowers are indeed tiny. Depending on what device you are viewing the photo on you are probably seeing the flowers at twice life size, as you would view them from less than arm’s length. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent (with a bit of Clear Image Zoom added so maybe 800mm equivalent). Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. It was an overcast morning so the light was somewhat flat…not bad for close up photography.
Eastern Bluebird: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — When shooting from my backyard photo blind, I prefer shots of my birds away from the feeder, but I also photograph them when they are on the feeder…you just never know what interesting behavior you might catch. I can testify that this bluebird is not singing or calling…just a big gulp. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 200 @ f4 @ 1/500th. Plus .3EV exposure compensation. The red behind the feeder is a thankfully temporary road construction sign on the street a block over. 🙂
Downy Woodpecker: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — The Downy Woodpeckers are as faithful at the feeders as the Chickadees, but there are, at least by appearances, only two of them, most of the year. One male and one female. When the young fledge we will have at least one extra for the remainder of the summer, but by fall we are back to our nesting pair. Of course, we might have more than one nesting pair visiting our feeders, in shifts, two at a time, and I would never know. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Northern Cardinal: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — the Cardinals have not been particularly cooperative so far this year. They are never close when I have my camera ready. These were taken from my backyard photo blind, but she was hanging as far back in the trees as she could get before actually being in the neighbor’s lawn. Both of these have received the ML Super Resolution treatment in Pixelmator Photo, as they are relatively aggressive crops. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/640th. +.3 EV exposure compensation.
Song Sparrow: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — The Song Sparrows were back under the feeders at my backyard photo blind before any other migrant bird. That is too be expected, as they are early birds in the fields and marshes here in Southern Maine as well. However, this will be only the second year we have had them in our yard regularly so I was happy to see them. They don’t sing often around they yard, but I caught this one up on the fence behind the feeding station, giving song. Technically this is an interesting photo for a couple of reasons. First it is an extreme crop from the full frame as even at 600mm equivalent, the distance was great and the bird was tiny (a 2.8mp crop from a 20mp frame, or the equivalent of a 4200mm lens), and second because I used “Machine Learning Super Resolution” in Pixelmator Photo to enlarge the crop and restore some of the resolution (bringing back up to 6.8mp). Depending on where you view this (on my blog or on FaceBook or Instagram) and on what size screen you view it on, you may or may not be able to appreciate the level of detail the combination of the ZEISS lens, the Sony sensor, and the Pixelmator software was able to render under challenging conditions. It will not stand up to pixel peeping, as the Machine Learning part becomes evident, but it is pretty impressive at normal viewing sizes. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 200 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
House Finch: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Already this year is different than last year, bird-wise. Last year the House Finches made a brief appearance right about now, for a single sighting, and then disappeared until late summer. They were replaced at the feeders by Purple Finches soon after that one visit, so we did not miss them. All considered, I prefer Purple Finches to House Finches anyway. Purple Finches are somehow more “wild”, less domesticated than their aptly named House Finch cousins. The small tribe that frequented our yard spring, summer, and fall were the first to pay more than a fleeting visit to the feeders, so there was the novelty factor. This year the House Finches have been here several days, and are at the feeders several times a day, for extended visits. All finches have the capacity to hog the feeders…as they sit on the perch and throw seed around until they find just the right one. As in this set of photos of our male, taken at close range from my backyard photo blind. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 200 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
White-breasted Nuthatch: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — Even when photographing from my backyard photo blind, I like to catch birds away from the feeders, and I have, of course, set up the feeding station with that in mind…placing the feeders naturally among many perches. The Nuthatches remain a challenge. They rarely perch either on the way into the feeders or on their way out…and if they do they are always way back in and far away (relatively speaking). So I have reason to celebrate every nuthatch caught away from the feeders. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 500 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Eastern Gray Squirrel: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I looked out of my window yesterday afternoon, peaking between the blinds, and saw a squirrel on the maple branch above me. He appeared to be eating the maple blossoms…I have been watching the maple blossoms since they were just tiny red beads on the branch tips. Maple blossoms are one of my favorite things about spring. They are so beautiful, and so unlikely. I suspect the vast majority of Americans do not know that maples flower, and certainly do not know how beautiful the flowers are. Our blossoms are not quite ready to open into full flowers yet, but they have made a lot of progress the past few days. I certainly did not expect to see the squirrels eating them. A google peruse this morning shows that it is common behavior…to the extent that are recommended “cures” to keep squirrels from decimating ornamental maples in folk’s yards. We have so many maple trees here in Southern Maine, and even in our yard, that it would take a plague of squirrels of biblical proportions (as they say) to do much damage. Much as I appreciate maple flowers, if the squirrels prefer them to my sunflower seeds in season, I say “let them eat flowers!” Anyway, I got my camera and spent a while watching and photographing the squirrel getting into all kinds of greedy postures among the maple blossoms. Each of these three shots tells its own story, and together they tell a tale. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 400, 250, and 250 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Black-capped Chickadee: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — this Black-capped Chickadee spent a few moments dispatching a small seed, one bit at a time…the way they do…with the seed held between the foot and the branch, and bending down to peck at it with the beak. Taken from my backyard photo blind with the Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 320 @ f4 @ 1/500th.