Although we’re in the dead of winter, bird breeding season will be upon us soon in Florida. If you are heading down south this year, you’ll want to be prepared, so start thinking about what you’ll need in terms of gear. Despite the temptation to take out a second mortgage on your home and purchase a 600mm lens, you can get by in Florida with a lot less, mainly because the birds are much larger. A 300mm f/4 lens with 1.4x teleconverter on a crop-sensor body, like the Nikon D7000 or D90, can give great results, especially if you have a good tripod.
Check out my recommended Nikon gear for birders over at B&H Photo:
Here’s a detail shot of the spires atop the Cadet Chapel at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. I created this image from a 5-shot HDR merge in Nik’s HDR Efex Pro, including the B&W conversion.
Image details: Nikon D3s with 24-70mm f/2.8 AFS G Nikkor lens, 5-shot sequence @f/11; ISO 200.
Here’s another “lost” shot from my trip to South Dakota in 2005. To recap, I’d been fooling with HDR sequences to try out with Photoshop CS2, but I was never happy with the results. I had always liked this particular image, but couldn’t get it “right” with HDR until I reprocessed it in HDR Efex Pro, using a modified version of the “Natural Landscape” settings I developed with Tony Sweet. Suddenly, all the magic that was there that chilly October morning in Custer State Park came back to me.
Here’s another shot from the Western Museum of Mining and Industry, located just north of Colorado Springs, CO. This is a 5-shot HDR merge using Nik’s HDR Efex Pro, finished off in Capture NX 2 with some Tonal Contrast from Nik’s Color Efex Pro 3.0.
I returned to the USAF Academy yesterday determined to photograph the interior of the Cadet Chapel. The pipe organ has over 4000 pipes! I first consulted Google Earth, to determine when the sun would be illuminating the chapel’s western side. I then called ahead, to make sure there were no unplanned services this day. I brought my tripod, D3s, and two lenses; the 14-24mm AFS G Nikkor and the 24-70mm AFS G Nikkor. This shot was with the 24-70mm at 24mm. I made a 5-shot exposure sequence and blended the images in HDR Efex Pro. Final processing was with Capture NX 2. Hope you like it!