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blackburnian

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blackburnian last won the day on November 10 2023

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  1. Structurally all wrong for Wilson’s, those birds are thick billed and big headed which creates a unique profile The OP’s birds have thinner bills with much more rounded, dove-like heads Additionally, Semipalmated is significantly more likely given date and location
  2. It would be very helpful to know what you currently shoot with. Any autofocus issues will have more do to with the camera itself as a properly functioning AF system should do the most of the work for you. In terms of finding the bird in the viewfinder, it simply takes practice. It’s crucial to understand your camera’s strengths and limitations. This will save you a lot of frustration in the field. Shoot to your strengths. Assuming you shoot with a DSLR or mirrorless system, I recommend shooting in manual (M) mode with auto ISO. This means the camera will determine the correct ISO, while the user determines the aperture and shutter speed. Note that shooting in manual mode does not mean using manual focus (you should be using autofocus). In most situations, it is best to leave your aperture wide open (the smallest value, usually between f/5.6-f/8.0 for an affordably priced lens), so you don’t have to worry about that too much. In the rare instance when you want to bring the background more into focus or the light is simply too steep, you can “close down” your aperture. A wide aperture lets more light into the sensor (which is ideal for low light conditions such as dawn and dusk) and also allows for the much desired creamy/smooth background (shallow depth of field). A super wide aperture (f/2.8 or f/4) is the primary reason that the big professional prime lenses are so large and expensive. This leaves shutter speed. Light and shutter speed are inversely related. Low light= slow shutter speeds Steep/direct/bright light= fast shutter speeds The lighting conditions are not the only thing that factor into how fast you should be shooting. You also have to take into account how kinetic your subject is. A perched, relatively still subject means that you can shoot slower, while a fast-moving bird in flight requires an appropriately fast shutter speed. The best and only way to improve your photography is field experience. It is possible to come a very long way in a short amount of time. To address your final question, what camera and lens is best depends on your budget and aspirations. 400mm is generally seen as the minimum focal length recommended for bird photography, but I’ve seen phenomenal results with shorter lenses (300mm f/2.8 or even wide angle lenses). For most, I would recommend a mirrorless system. I shoot Canon, and the R7/RF 100-400mm combo is one of the more cost effective set ups on the market. Nikon and Sony (as well as a couple others) also have excellent options. If budget is no issue, most professionals shoot with one of the premier full frame bodies (Sony A1, Canon R5/3, etc) with either a 400mm f/2.8 or a 600mm f/4 lens. These setups will usually cost upwards of $15,000.
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