2014—Bolting

The basil has bolted and the finches seem to be bolting down the seeds as fast as they can eat them. This male lesser goldfinch, I think the same one I photographed on the fountain yesterday, was so intent on devouring as many basil seeds as possible that he didn’t fly off when I walked outside with my camera just after noon. He looked at me, his beak full of seeds, as if to say, “oh, you again?” and then kept eating. There were clouds so the sun wasn’t quite as intense as it could have been at that time of day.

I’m happy with the exposure. I decreased the contrast slightly in Lightroom and increased the yellow saturation but those are the only adjustments I made other than cropping.

Focal Length 400mm, ISO 800, f/5/6, 1/1600

Day 188-58

I went out after 7PM and sat on the patio and both the male and female finch came to feed on the basil seeds even though I sat just a few feet away. The female was much shier than the male so I didn’t get any shots of her but as you can see, the male’s beak is covered with basil seed. I decided to try flash. My friend Richard suggested I try flash after reading how dissatisfied I have been with my exposure lately. And even though I didn’t bother to attach my speed light and just used the on camera flash with its output reduced by about two stops, I think I improved my exposure and overall photograph significantly. Thanks, Richard, for reminding me that it is OK to use flash. Next I’ll be experimenting with my speed light and the Better Beamer, a fresnel type lens that attaches to the speed light to project the flash output for lenses over 300mm.

I much prefer this shot to the midday one because of the shallower depth of field and the lack of clutter in the shot. I was much closer to the bird so more of the background went out of focus despite using the same aperture. This photograph is not cropped and I made no adjustments to it other than my standard Lightroom preset.

Focal Length 400mm, ISO 500, f/5.6 1/200 On Camera flash with output at -2

Day 188-19-2