08 December 2006

A bird in the bush is worth...

Back to some nature & wildlife photo­graphy. This is a photo I took in New Zealand last year. It's a whitehead (Maori: popokatea), one of the protected species of birds on Tiritiri Matangi Island, a 220-hectare nature reserve with some of the best birdwatching in all of New Zealand, and of anywhere I've been in the world (I'm relatively new at birdwatching, though).

This shot demonstrates how lots of megapixels can compensate for not having as long a lens as one might have wished for with wildlife photography. A 400mm or even 600mm lens would be better for birds, but I'm still saving up for one of these babies. I was shooting with my 70-200mm lens, but I evidently didn't even have time to zoom it all the way out to 200. I shot this at 160mm, wanting to make sure I at least got something before the bird flew away, which indeed he did as soon as I shot it. Miraculously, I was able to focus quickly and get a good image. But I was at least 10-15 feet away from the bird, and he fills up less than 1% of the frame of my original photo. So I had to crop severely to make him fill more of the frame. However, thanks to the 12.8 megapixels of my Canon 5D, I could enlarge that tiny a portion of the photo, and he's still as sharp as can be. I cropped out everything that was not essential, leaving the bit of flax bush that he was perched on. It's quite characteristic of their habitat. At that distance, with that lens, and an aperture of f/5.6, my depth of field was less than a foot. This made for a good separation between subject and out-of-focus background.

I plan to make cards out of this photo and offer them to the gift shop on Tiritiri Matangi to sell, and will donate the proceeds to help with the protection of all these wonderful species of birds. That's one more way where my faith and photography can be integrated. I believe in stewardship of God's creation, and if I can use my art to help with that, what a privilege!


Sørina Higgins said...

12.8 megapixels! Yikes, that's fantastic.

I love what you're planning to do with this beautiful picture. What a wonderful interweaving of art, nature, & ministry.

The only way I've ever used photography in a sort of ministry way was taking pictures of all the young actors & actresses in a theatre group, then publishing them with little bios in the playbill. The children loved it, and I loved helping the ladies to be beautiful, and the gentlemen to be strong & proud. It was good.

Anonymous said...

Oh I remember that one! I hope it's still on the list of photos you might frame for gifttttts.
What a wonderful thing to do with it, as well. I'd pay good money for that.
--Viola Girl


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