A good size population of birds hangs out in my front yard so I put out a bird feeder. It didn’t take them long to jump all over the free birdseed and I have to replenish the feeder every day.
The birds won’t go near the feeder if I am nearby, so I set up my camera and 200mm lens on a tripod near the feeder, set focus, enable the remote control shutter release, and sat in a chair farther away from the feeder to watch. After a few minutes they returned to the food and I started clicking pictures.
Below is a House Finch or Sparrow, not sure which, on the feeder.
I thought that I might also catch a grackle or dove but they weren’t around at the time. I did get what I think is a male House Finch. The males have red feathers on their breast. I am not completely sure, as I am not great with bird identification, but it was something to photograph.
I had a few issues getting the remote to work from so far away. My other challenge was focus as I was balancing aperture and shutter speed and I ended up with a relatively shallow depth of focus, which did help to blur the background and isolate the subject a bit. I set focus on the bird feeder but it would swing around as the birds landed on it.
As you can see the trees are blooming and attracting bees, so I put on a 20mm extension tube and tried to get some good bee photos using the 24-120mm lens.
The main challenge is that bees don’t like to sit still and getting focus on them is mostly luck as the autofocus has a lot of trouble with extension tubes. I kept trying, alternating between autofocus and manual focus and got a few (bee) keepers.
The above images are all cropped a bit. Using the extension tube I had to reduce the shutter speed a bit as I was getting less light. I didn’t want to bump the ISO too high but I probably could have pushed it to ISO1600.
Believe it or not I boosted the color saturation on the bee pictures, because the flowers are really pale. Still looks a little flat to me, but it looks different on different monitors.
Hope you enjoyed my discussion of the birds and the bees.
4 thoughts on “Birds and Bees”
A friend of mine set up his bird feeder next to his garden shed. He then cut a small hole in the side of the shed where he could poke a lens through and still keep the camera sheltered from the weather and reasonably secure. I’m not sure how he managed with the remote trigger but he got some good pictures.
I like your bees, unfortunately Spring hasn’t arrived here yet so the tress are still bare 😦
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There is a Nikon phone app that can be used to connect to the camera remotely using WiFi and can be used to trigger the shutter. I thought about trying that if the IR remote did not work. The WiFi connection is slightly more tedious to set up, but I could hide around the corner and use it.
Also, the minimum focus distance with this lens at 200mm is well over a meter, so maybe I will experiment with how close to the bird feeder I can get. But the closer I get, the narrower the focus depth, making it more difficult to get the bird’s eyes in sharp focus.
I don’t quite have the budget for one of those 500+mm lenses just to take photos at my bird feeder.
I know what you mean about lenses. A friend of mine is a very keen bird spotter and she recently showed me her new lens. It was a Canon 800mm ( I think ) and she’d bought it second hand. I didn’t like to ask how much it had cost 🙂
I am not entirely certain they are bees vs. wasps, but I generally like bugs (outside of my house) unless they are ants.