Bluebirds are Back!

Bluebirds are back!

This is the third year that bluebirds have nested in our box outside my home. Last year I missed the whole feeding/fledging process when I was in Prague. This year I was determined to get some pictures. And I forgot how challenging this is to do, especially with my current set up.

At my old house the bluebird box was in a better location. The box did not have anything behind it for 20-30 feet, which gave the images nice soft backgrounds. The box was facing due east, which made for nice light in the mornings, and it had a nice dark roof adding contrast. It was easy to get image like this.

3600-_DM49112b.jpg1/2500 sec; f/13; ISO 4000; 400mm

 

At my new house, conditions aren’t quite as ideal. The box faces southwest, it is very close to a tree and it has a reflective copper roof. Most of my images look like this.

3600-180513-_5D41401.jpg1/2000; f/18; ISO 3200; 205mm

 

This year I decided to experiment with adding fill flash to the images. I set up in my car using a Vacu-pod to mount the camera to the passenger window. I found that with the flash on the camera the window opening is not tall enough for me to mount the camera on the inside, so I have to place the Vacu-pod on the outside of the window, so the camera and flash are outside the car. (Tomorrow I will show you a picture of the setup)

I am using a MagMod MagBeam to extend my flash output (use this link to save 15% off at Hunts Photo) and a Quantam Turbo SC battery pack to help my Canon 600 EXII-RT flash recycle faster.

Here is a without and with flash example. You can see the flash example has warmer color because I am using a Rosco #302 warming gel over the flash. To me this look more like sunlight than the cold light of the flash. These images were all taking using manual settings on the camera to control the exposure off the bright roof of the bird box and manual settings on the flash to control the flash output.  Most of the flash settings were done at ½ power. Today I am going to experiment with ETTL flash and compare the differences. I’ll post more on that tomorrow.

3600-180513-_5D41241c.jpgWithout and with flash

 

Here are couple of images I liked from yesterday.

3600-180513-_5D41275.jpg1/2000 sec; f/14; ISO 3200; 205mm; flash at ½ power

 

3600-180513-_5D41257.jpg1/2000 sec; f/14; ISO 3200; 205mm; flash at ½ power