I stepped outside with my 80-400mm lens to photograph a male lesser goldfinch bathing in the fountain Friday evening. In order to get a decent exposure with the fountain in deep shade at that time of the evening, I set the ISO to 1000 which is way outside my comfort zone…ten times outside my comfort zone, in fact since I almost always use ISO 100. I had a discussion with Ed Rotberg, an outstanding bird and wildlife photographer who was the judge at my camera club meeting the other evening. He suggested I use the higher ISO settings that would allow me to get a better exposure, especially in shaded or dark areas. He also suggested that the most successful wildlife photographs featured the subject’s eyes that not only have catch lights but that look at you from within the photo. I was pleased that this little goldfinch, who is not much bigger than the Anna’s hummingbirds that also visit the fountain, kept his eye on me most of the time I photographed him. I realized that the photos without that eye contact were not nearly as interesting despite their having catch lights.
Focal Length 400mm – ISO 1000 – f/5.6 – 1/320