Monday, June 3, 2013

105 Shots Of A Stick And One Bird

How much of your camera do you actually use?  I’ve had my Nikon D300 for five or six years now and I’m still finding new things it do to play with it.  I’ve played with Auto Bracketing for years to create HDR images.  I have multiple Nikon speedlights so I can use Nikon’s CLS (Creative Lighting System).  My latest thing to play with is the built in Interval Timer.  We put a bird feeder out in back of the master bathroom over the winter.  (It wound up being much more of a squirrel feeder rather than a bird feeder.)  It was about four feet away from a window, just slightly above the level of the upper pane when opened.  We set up a stick for birds alit on before dropping down to the perch on the feeder.  All was set.  I put the camera on a tripod on the counter and focused on the stick.  With the focus set to manual I knew it wasn’t going to “hunt” and would stay on the stick.  With the Interval Timer on the D300 I could set the number of shots, the time between shots and when I wanted the sequence to start.  Well, I wanted the sequence to start immediately (and that’s an option), so I clicked the shutter and walked away to do other things.  What happened to all those shots?  Hit the "Read More" to find out.

Based on the title of today’s post, you may have guessed that things didn’t work out that well.  I became the proud owner 105 images of the stick.  Today’s image is the same stick, but shot the old fashion way.  I stood at the window, camera at the ready and waited for a bird to show up.  This little guy stayed around for about fifteen seconds.  That’s actually a long time for a bird to perch, but he/she just hung out looking around at her/his world.

Technology is great.  It just has to be applied properly.  Using the Interval Timer and taking a shot every ten seconds, trying to get something as fleeting as a bird was probably the wrong application.  Finding a great spot that will surely have a dynamite sunrise and using the timer is possibly a better use for this feature of the camera.  Besides, once set up, secured, and started, you can always jump back in the car and get a little more sleep.  The sun will rise without you watching it and the camera will record it.  Just make sure the wind doesn’t blow the rig off a cliff or something.
Most people I know have very capable cameras, but they've never read the manual or poked around through the menus.  Rather than going out and buying more gear, it might make sense to learn to use the equipment you already have.