I’ve been testing out my new Canon 60D camera for the past week, shooting at everything that moved, and a few things that didn’t. Reading the manual for my new camera made my eyes glaze over, so after looking at the pictures that pointed out the names of various knobs and buttons, I rushed outside to give it a try.
My portrait of a Great Egret at a nearby lake turned out very nicely…
…as did this one of a feeding Tricolored Heron:
Experimenting with the new camera’s settings, I made quite a few mistakes. Thinking I could “improve” upon the reflections in these shots by deepening the field of focus, I inadvertently set the exposure compensation while believing it was the aperture. Unbeknown to me, I had run it off the scale at -5, so the rest of my photos that morning turned out nearly black. I was able to rescue a few test shots by post-processing with Picasa ('’Poor Man’s Photoshop”). This degraded the images, but I hated to just throw these few away (all those mega pixels going to waste!).
The first blacked-out shot was of a Northern Mockingbird that settled quite close to me in my “hiding place” at a pothole in the wetlands near my home:
A cropped image of the same bird emphasized its eye, and despite all the processing, retained pretty good feather detail:
A male Northern Cardinal stood out against the sky:
Like the other photos above, my shot of the female cardinal was probably salvageable because of the brightness of the sky:
…then dove away, revealing its reddish under-tail coverts:
Most of my photos were beyond help, but this spoiled image of a male Indigo Bunting in winter plumage was worth saving, if only for the lovely turn of his head:
My final shot in this bad batch was a Loggerhead Shrike that was perching atop a palm tree in our front yard as I arrived home:
Settings were restored to normal following a more in-depth perusal of the camera manual. I resolved to always check the following before setting out on my next photo safari: ISO (400), Auto-Focus (ON: 1-shot; 3 m to infinity), Aperture Priority (SET: f/5.6), Metering (Center-point), Focus Point (single center), Image Stabilization (ON), and most important after this experience, Exposure Level (mid-point). Hmm… did I forget anything? The next test shots were more satisfactory.
A Red-bellied Woodpecker appeared in a tree across the street from our home: