Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Happy Dilemna - 21 Jul 2014

It was sunny and hot late this afternoon with forecasts calling for 90's tomorrow and clouds the rest of the week. So I took the opportunity (and permission) to head back to Cell 3 to see if I could get better digiscoped images of the Wilson's Phalarope and Stilt Sandpipers.  I also wanted to spend a little time photographing shorebirds using the Nikon 1 V1 attached to the Nikon 300/2.8 VRII via the FT1 adapter.

I parked the bike at the south end of the cell and walked to the open water between the NW and SW mudflats. Lesser Yellowlegs were abundant, but I managed to find three Stilt Sandpipers and one Short-billed Dowitcher among the shorebird cluster. 

I spent a short time digiscoping them with the Sony RX-100 III.  With the sun at my back it was much easier to focus using the Hoodman Loupe on the camera's LCD display. Focus peaking worked much better, as well, especially using magnification assist (MF).  I even managed to refind the Wilson's Phalarope and get a few photos of it before he swam back out toward open water.

I then removed the scope from the tripod and mounted the 300/2.8 VRII and attached the FT1 and Nikon V1.  With an EFL of 300*2.7*1.7 = 1377mm the reach is not as good as with the digiscoping gear, but image quality is much, much better!

Here's a shot w/ the D7100 and 300/2.8 VRII and TC17EII for another comparison.

Using manual-assist autofocus (manually focus on the bird then allow AF on the Nikon V1 to lock on) I was able to get shutter speeds of 1/2000 sec. at ISO 200.  Images were bright, with great color saturation. Focus was spot on, and keeper rate was 90+%.  The only down side to this combo is the 10MPx limit on the V1 and lower magnification.

I was able to spend some time w/ the Wilson's Phalarope. The bird spent some time preening, then foraging nearby. At one point he dove and got tangled in seaweed, then had a wrestling match trying to free himself from his tangle.  

Anyone with a 500mm or 600mm Nikon should seriously consider getting a Nikon 1 V3 and the FT1 adapter.  This would be a serious shorebird combo that would generate breathtaking images!

But I love digiscoping and the challenge of greating wall-worthy photos from it. So I won't be retiring it just yet.  Its just nice to know that there other options for pushing the EFL's of our photo gear!

BTW, there were 62 American White Pelicans on the mudflats in both the NW and SW corners of Cell 3, and 70 were counted today!

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