Canon EOS 7D
A month ago Canon announced a new model, the EOS 7D. Ever since, there’s been a lot of buzz about the camera because of all the cool features it has, at a price that’s about $1000 less than the 5D Mark II (which caused quite a stir when it came out last year). Now the 7D is flying off the retailers shelves, and everyone is scrambing to get one. I saw it reported that Adorama had 700 of them but they’re all gone. People who ordered from Amazon.com are getting notices that their cameras have been shipped. My friend John in Sierra Vista says that his will be arriving tomorrow, so I’ll be stopping by his place when I go to the Patagonia Arts Festival next week to check out his newest toy!
The new 7D shoots at 18 megapixels, which is probably overkill for the smaller APS-C sensor it uses (it’s approaching the limit of how much resolution you can get from the lenses). But the camera also has a new improved autofocusing (AF) system and a brand new iFLC metering system, which uses the color of the subject that the camera has focused on to help determine exposure (this feature is long overdue!). And the video capture is their latest incarnation, which should be an improvement over that in the 5D Mark II and the Rebel T1i. Ever since I tried out the video on the 5D Mark II, I’ve wanted to have this capability, mostly to make video for my web sites.
The 7D sports TWO Digic 4 processors, so it’s fast and can shoot at 8 frames per second, nearly as fast as my 1D Mark III. It can capture 15 images before filling its buffers, which is fewer than the Mark III, but there’s nearly twice the pixels! You might be wondering why anyone would want to shoot that fast, but anyone who shoots wildlife, especially birds, can tell you that this is a Good Thing.
Another cool thing for wildlife photographers is that the APS-C sensor effectively “multiplies” your lens by a factor of 1.6, so using an affordable 100-400mm zoom lens on this camera body is equivalent to a 160x640mm lens!
So now the question is, do I buy the EOS 7D, or wait for the 1D Mark IV to come out?
Tags: Canon EOS 7D
Here’s an excuse to go do some scenic landscape photography. I found this information on the National Park Service web site:
The National Park Service will offer three fee-free weekends this summer to encourage Americans seeking affordable vacations to visit these national treasures. There are 391 national parks located across the country in 49 states.
The 147 National Park Service sites across the country that charge fees for entry will waive these entrance fees during the weekends of June 20-21, July 18-19, and August 15-16, 2009.
The entrance fees being waived at the 147 sites that usually charge for admission range from $3 to $25. The 244 other parks do not charge entrance fees. The waiver does not include other fees collected in advance or by contractors—such as fees charged for camping, reservations, tours and use of concessions.
The National Park Service website provides information to help the public plan their park adventures at www.nps.gov.
Tags: Landscape Photography·National Parks
May 16th, 2009 · Birds
By Thomas Hays
Spring is here and early summer is on the way. With early summer comes baby birds leaving the nest. Many people see a baby bird on the ground and immediately think they should do something to help it. However, before you try to help any baby wild bird you should be certain that the bird really needs your help. There are several things to consider before you attempt to provide assistance.
A key point to remember is that some birds actually nest on the ground, especially precocial birds. These are birds that are covered with down feathers and can move about with the parents almost as soon as they are hatched. Gallinaceous birds (quails, pheasants, turkeys, grouse), shorebirds and ducks are precocial. Therefore, if you see baby quails, turkey, shorebirds or ducks on the ground before they can fly, remember, they belong there.
Another thing you should know about is fledglings. These are baby birds that have left the nest but are not fully feathered. Their flying skills are limited to short low flights or long hops. Do not worry if you see a fledgling on the ground. Most birds leave the nest before they can fly and this is a normal part of their development. The parents will coach the young birds to safety by calling them or landing on the ground and leading them to shelter. The baby may be very noisy and that , too, is normal. The baby calls to the parents for food in much the same way a human baby cries for attention. Robin, Towhee, Jay and Sparrow fledglings are most frequently encountered on the ground in backyards and parks. Remember, they belong there.
Now you know that not all baby birds require your assistance. So, how do you determine if a baby bird is healthy and happy or one that truly needs you help?
The first thing you need to determine is if the parent birds are taking care of the baby or not. To best accomplish this clear children, pets and yourself out of the area but position yourself out of sight such that you can still observe the baby. This will give the parents the opportunity to come to the baby. Wait patiently for at least one hour to see if the parent birds come in to the baby. Why so long? You must remember that the parents will usually have more than one fledgling to feed and care for and each baby must wait his turn to feed.
If it is not possible to keep the neighbors cat or children away from the bird, by all means move the baby to shelter. This is best done by capturing the bird by placing a towel over it and releasing it in low, thick shrubs. Do not place a fledgling high in a tree. Remember, they cannot fly yet. Start timing the hour over again. Contrary to popular believe, the adult birds will not abandon the fledgling because you have touched it. They have very strong parental instincts, much like humans. The baby will continue to call and the adult birds will generally find him and continue to care for him.
What should you do when an hour has passed and the parent birds have not returned to the baby? Remember, all native wild birds are protected by law so the first step is to call a rehabilitation center or the local wildlife agency or game warden. These people are the best ones to advise you on the local species.
If it is not possible to reach anyone immediately you will need to take action. Locate a container which is large enough for the fledgling to stand and turn around in, but is small enough so that it can not flutter around and hurt itself. Line the bottom of the container with paper towels or tissues. Carefully capture the baby with a towel and place it in the container. Cover the container with the towel remembering to leave a small gap for air circulation. Place the container in a quiet and warm location. Do not play music for the bird or place him on a heating pad and avoid peeking at him as that will induce stress on the baby.
Continue to try to reach the proper officials. It is very hard for the average person to care for a wild baby bird. Different bird species need different foods and feeding the wrong food can be a disaster. Avoid feeding bread to young birds. Adult birds have gravel in their crop and can grind bread crumbs. Often, the crop of baby birds is empty and the bread can compact and can cause death.
ALWAYS REMEMBER that all native wild birds are protected by law and it is not legal for you to posses a wild bird unless you are licensed to do so. Get the fledgling to a licensed, experienced person as soon as possible. If you cannot reach your local game warden try the local animal shelter, humane society, police or veterinarian. With luck they will be able to provide you with the contact information that you need.
After 35 years as a professional ornithologist and bird bander Thomas Hays now assists others in developing bird and wildlife friendly habitats in their own back yards. Visit me at http://tomsbirdfeeders.com/ to see how I can help you formulate a backyard habitat for the birds in your area. Visit our website for more helpful hints on attracting birds and wildlife to your property.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Thomas_Hays
Tags: Baby Bird·Baby Birds·Baby Wild Birds·Fledgling·Fledglings·Leaving The Nest·Parent Birds·Pheasants·Precocial Birds·rescue wild birds·Shorebirds·Towhee·Wild Bird
I bought the Canon 100-400mm IS L-Series lens when I bought my Canon EOS 3e film camera back in the 1990′s. It has gone just about everywhere with me. I always keep it in my daypack, along with a camera body and the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. When I can’t take the Canon 600mm prime lens with me, the 100-400mm is my long lens for bird and wildlife photography. It’s much easier to travel by plane with this lens than it would with the 600mm lens. When mounted on a camera body with a smaller sensor, such as the Canon 20D or the newer Canon 50D, the “multiplication factor” of the smaller sensor makes the lens equivalent to a 160-640mm lens on a body with a full-size sensor, like my old EOS 3e. And the image stabilization makes it possible to hand hold some shots that might not otherwise be possible with a non-stabilized lens.
This is an L-Series lens, which is Canon’s family of higher end lenses, but reports I’ve seen, and my own results, show that it is not as sharp as other L-Series lenses. However, on a day with good light, it does take great photos that can be printed at 13×19-inches or larger. And it definitely takes much higher quality images than the Canon 75-300mm lens, so I would recommend the 100-400 as the best lens for getting started in bird photography. If you’re like me, you’ll keep this lens for a long time and get lots of use out of it for bird photography, travel, and dayhiking. If and when you graduate to a longer prime lens for bird photography, you’ll still want the 100-400mm around to use as your backup lens, or for mounting on your spare body for bird flight shots and close action shots.
Tags: 600mm Lens·75-300mm Lens·Action Shots·Bird Flight·Bird Photography·Camera Body·Canon 20d·Canon 50d·Canon 600mm·Canon Eos·Canon Lens·Daypack·Film Camera·Image Stabilization·Multiplication Factor·Photography Travel·Prime Lens·Quality Images·Series Lenses·Wildlife Photography
Every year for the past several years, as the holiday season approached, I would think to myself that I should put together a collection of Birding Christmas Cards. Of course, I’d get busy, then it’d get too close to the holidays for anyone to want to send out cards, so I’d think that I’d just wait until early “next year” to do it. But who thinks about the holidays after they’re over? And who thinks about Christmas cards in the heat of July? Not me! And so they wouldn’t get done. Sigh.
But then I got a special request from one of my customers for a Christmas card with my Gila Woodpecker on a Saguaro image on it. So I finally had to get my act together and create borders and a layout for holiday season greeting cards.
At first, I thought I could just find some seasonal clip art and use it to make a festive border around the images on my birding note cards. Since my first cards would depict birds in the desert, I wanted borders that would be distinct for the American Southwest desert. But the longer I looked for green or red desert Xmas clip art, the more I realized there wasn’t much out there. Besides, the clip art I did find was either too cartoonish, or didn’t match what I had in mind. I didn’t want some hokey saguaro cactus with Christmas lights, or cartoon roadrunners. Which made me realize I was going to have to go through my own images to find something that I could make Christmasy for the borders of my birding Xmas cards.
Fortunately, I have an extensive library of images to pick from, and so I was able to find what I wanted. I found mesquite leaves in my Vermilion Flycatcher in Mesquite image, which happens to be a first-place winner in the Arizona Game and Fish 2009 Calendar Contest. And I found branches of red berries in my Hermit Thrush with a Berry, another award winner and a favorite of my customers. After some cutting and pasting and hours of trying and retrying different layouts, I came up with two Christmas card border designs – one with berry-laden branches of pyracantha in the corners and mesquite leaves along the sides, and one with larger mesquite leaves in the corners and simple red lines. I think you’ll like them. I’ll be working on more border designs and will (hopefully) get them done before the next holiday season…
Tags: American Southwest·Arizona Game And Fish·Birding Christmas Cards·Calendar Contest·Card Border·Christmas Card·Christmas Cards·Christmas Lights·Gila Woodpecker·Hermit Thrush·Note Cards·Place Winner·Red Berries·Red Desert·Roadrunners·Saguaro Cactus·Season Greeting Cards·Seasonal Clip Art·Southwest Desert·Vermilion Flycatcher·Xmas Cards
The Canon EOS 20D was a workhorse for me! About 18 months after the EOS 10D had come out, the new 20D became available. In many ways it was similar to the 10D, but the most important change for me was the new 8 megapixel sensor and the “instant on” feature. The “instant on” feature alone was worth the price of the camera, because I no longer had to either keep the camera on all the time by pressing the trigger every 30 seconds or so, or find myself waiting for an excruciating two seconds whenever I forgot to keep the camera on. Two seconds can seem like an eternity when you’re waiting for the camera to warm up as you’re watching a hard-to-capture bird like a Bald Eagle as it pounces on its prey.
The 8 megapixel sensor was also a great boon! It had less noise than the sensor on the EOS 10D, with more pixels! I have no problems blowing up photos into 13×19 prints using images from this camera. And for my sharpest images that were taken at ISO 800 or less in bright lighting conditions, I can blow them up to 24×36 inches.
Generally, I used the EOS 20D for landscape and macro photography. But when I was out doing bird photography with my EOS 1D Mark II and the 600mm lens, I’d put the 20D over my shoulder with the Canon 100-400mm zoom lens or the Canon 400mm f/5.6 lens mounted. I’d do most of my shooting with the 1D and the 600mm lens, but if there was suddenly close by bird activity, or birds flying overhead, I could use quickly grab the 20D and get the shot. I found the 400mm f/5.6 lens was very fast for flight shots, but the single focal length made for lots of lens changing when I wanted to do landscapes too. So I gravitated toward using the 100-400mm zoom most of the time. An additional advantage to the 100-400 lens was it had Image Stabilization (IS), while the 400mm f/5.6 did not.
When I traveled by plane, I used to take the EOS 20D and the 100-400mm lens for bird photography, and a smaller zoom like the 24-70mm f/2.8 for landscapes and scenery. Because the 20D has a small sensor, it has a multiplication factor of 1.6x, which makes the 100-400mm lens equivalent to having a 160-640mm lens on a body with a full-size sensor. Add a 1.4X teleconverter, and it becomes equivalent to a 224-896mm f/8 lens. Unfortunately, autofocus doesn’t work with the teleconverter on this body and lens combination.
The 20D and the 100-400mm lens served me well in Maui, where I had more fun photographing birds than I did windsurfing or snorkeling. I was able to get some great shots, like this one of a ‘Auku’u (Black-Crowned Night Heron) at the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge. This is also the camera and lens I would use to dayhike with, and I was able to get this great shot of a Cactus Wren on a Cholla Cactus at Sabino Canyon near Tucson with it.
Tags: 24-70mm·400mm Lens·600mm Lens·70mm·Bald Eagle·Bird Activity·Bird Photography·Bright Lighting·Canon·Canon 400mm·Canon Eos·Canon Eos 20d·digital camera·digital SLR·Eos 100·EOS 10D·Eos 1d Mark·Eos 1d Mark Ii·EOS 20D·Eos Canon·Image Stabilization·Landscape Photography·Lighting Conditions·Macro Photography·Megapixel Sensor·Workhorse·Zoom Canon
The Canon EOS 10D was my first digital SLR. Up until this camera came out, digital SLR’s were way too expensive and only good for three or four megapixels. The 10D came out with six megapixels and a price that was thousands of dollars less than other digital SLR’s at that time. But the fact that it could capture six megapixels for such a low price is what sold me. I knew that I’d be able to make decent blowups, 11×14 or maybe larger, from “negatives” with that much data. And since I already had Canon lenses for my EOS 3, a film SLR, all I needed to buy was the body and some memory cards.
I used the 10D for landscape photography and beginning bird photography. At first, I would take my old film camera and the 10d, and take similar photos with both cameras to compare the results. I quickly figured out that the digital images were just as good as the slides I took with my EOS 3e. I loved how I could see my results right away with digital, while I had to wait a week or more for my slides to be developed. And I could take all kinds of experimental or practice shots without worrying about running out of or wasting film. Not to mention that even a 1GB memory card held a lot more images than a roll of film and changing memory cards was a lot quicker and easier than changing a roll of film! Eventually I realized that I wasn’t even using the film camera any more, it was just taking up space in my bag. So I sold it and gave away my refrigerated rolls of Fuji Velvia and haven’t looked back since!
The EOS 10D gave me great results for landscape photography and got me started in bird photography. I have images created by that camera that are sharp blown up to 13×19 inches and I sell in that size. One of the advantages of this digital camera is that there is a “magnification factor” due to the size of the image sensor, which effectively multiplies the length of a lens by 1.6. So my Canon EF 100-400 zoom lens was now a 160×640 zoom. It was like getting a new longer lens! This helped out tremendously for bird photography, since I could now zoom in much closer that I could with my film camera. Then I bought the Canon teleconverters, a 1.4x and a 2.0x, which multiply the length of the lens again. So with the 1.4x teleconverter, my 100×400 lens became equivalent to 224×896 after the camera’s multiplication factor and the teleconverter’s 1.4 magnification. The 2.0x made it a 320×1280, if you can believe it, but unfortunately autofocus doesn’t work when you use the 2.0x teleconverter with that lens. But even without autofocus I was able to get some good images of birds, like Wood Ducks in Oregon, that I couldn’t have done without magnification.
I was really happy with this camera, but there were a few drawbacks to it, like the nearly two seconds it would take to wake up after being in its power saving sleep mode (it would go back to sleep after 30 seconds or so). Pushing the shutter button would wake it back up, but it would take what seemed like forever to get ready, which in the case of birds, was way too long. This cost me quite a few great bird images! Sigh…
One of the neat things about the Canon EOS digital series of cameras is that they come out with new improved models fairly often. Back in the days of film cameras, it would take many years before you’d see a new model with new features hit the scene. In some cases, it took decades. But the EOS 20D, the replacement for the EOS 10D, came out only 18 months after the 10D. The EOS 20D featured “instant on,” which was a big enough deal for me that that feature alone was worth the upgrade! But it also had a bunch of new features and its image size was increased to eight megapixels, which made easier to get great blowups 13×19 inches and larger!
Review of the Canon EOS 20D
Tags: 1gb Memory Card·Bird Photography·Canon Ef·Canon Ef 100 400·Canon Eos·Canon Eos 10d·Canon Lenses·digital camera·Digital Images·digital SLR·EOS 10D·Eos Canon·Film Camera·Fuji Velvia·Image Sensor·Landscape Photography·Magnification Factor·Megapixels·Memory Cards·Old Film·Practice Shots·Taking Up Space