Tufted Titmouse Eating a Sunflower Seed

One of the more interesting things we’ve been able to witness as far as the bird watching goes is the different habits of the individual species. While the Finches are happy to sit on a bird feeder perch and eat, other birds such as the Tufted Titmouse will take a seed and fly somewhere else to crack it open and eat the insides.

The other day, we were fortunate enough to capture this routine with the camera. It’s really quite fascinating!

NIKON D200 @ 300mm — ¹/125 sec, ƒ/5.6, ISO 100 | zoom in
Tufted Titmouse Holding a Seed
NIKON D200 @ 300mm — ¹/125 sec, ƒ/5.6, ISO 100 | zoom in
Tufted Titmouse Cracking Seed
NIKON D200 @ 300mm — ¹/125 sec, ƒ/5.6, ISO 100 | zoom in
Tufted Titmouse Eating the Rewards

In looking at the photos, you can really see how the feet are used to anchor the seed while the bird pecks at it. The whole event took less than 5 seconds (yay for the high speed frame rate of the Nikon D200). Overall, these birds are very efficient! After completing this task, we watched it return to the feeder a few more times, each time selecting one seed and disappearing to eat it.

Fun With a New Birdfeeder!

Ever since my wife and I moved away from suburbia we’ve been admiring the wildlife which surrounds us. We’ve seen plenty of white-tailed deer, rabbits, skunks and other various wildlife. We’ve also seen a huge number of different birds in the fields behind our house.

Just recently, we decided we might as well take advantage of these birds and get a couple bird feeders. We selected a humming bird feeder, a thistle feeder and a regular bird feeder. These got mounted on a pole system to our deck railing. Let me tell you — I haven’t had this much fun taking photos in a long time!

The location of the feeder is just outside the kitchen window. What this means for me is that I can setup my camera on a tripod inside the house and shoot through a window screen. While I realize this is less than optimal, it’s convenient and fun! Plus, it doesn’t tend to scare away the birds.

NIKON D200 @ 300mm — ¹/160 sec, ƒ/6.3, ISO 200 | zoom in
Tufted Titmouse

One of the first birds we saw was a Tufted Titmouse. This cute little guy is one of our favorites! The tuft on the top of his head is ‘retractable’ for lack of a better word. Sometimes, it’s sticking up like in the above picture. Other times the top of its head is almost perfectly smooth.

NIKON D200 @ 300mm — ¹/40 sec, ƒ/5.6, ISO 200 | zoom in
Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak

One of my favorite birds we’ve seen thus far is the Rose-breasted Grosbeak. These are a bit bigger than the tiny titmouse and are great fun to watch. Ironically, the female looks almost nothing like the male except for the head shape.

NIKON D200 @ 300mm — ¹/40 sec, ƒ/5.6, ISO 100 | zoom in
Female Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Clearly the same head / beak shape — totally different coloring which actually isn’t all that surprising. After looking through the bird book, it seems there are many species where this is the case.

One of the more common birds we get are finches. American Goldfinches are numerous as are Purple Finches and House Finches. Ironically enough, it’s quite hard to tell the difference between the latter two.

NIKON D200 @ 300mm — ¹/45 sec, ƒ/11, ISO 100 | zoom in
Male Purple Finch on a Bird Feeder

From all we can tell, the above is indeed a Purple Finch. They are quite bright and really fun to watch. However, as much as I think we’ve got the males of the purple finch / house finch debate figured out, the females are even more difficult. Both are brown and beige and neither has any real distinctive markings.

While all of the above photos were taken through a screen, I think they came out pretty good and hey — I had fun!

Adobe Lightroom 2 Released

While this may be old news to some of those in the photographic community, Adobe has released the long awaited Adobe Lightroom 2. I won’t bore you or repeat what others are saying as I’m sure by now, there have been a flood of great discussions and reviews on the subject by such people as Scott Kelby of Photoshop Insider and a long list of new features from Victoria Bampton. But I do have to say, this new release is fantastic!

I completed the upgrade about two hours ago and everything went very smoothly. Of course I was careful to back things up first, but there were no problems that I’ve found yet! It’s really too early for me to give an exhaustive review, but right off the bat there are a few very noticeable improvements in the Library module.

My Impressions

The first is the fix I was truly waiting for with regards to storing photos on removable media. Since I do most of my photo organizing work on my MacBook, I really don’t want to clog up the laptop drive with all the photos I’ve ever taken. Especially now that I’m shooting more for stock where I take a lot of photos of the same thing. These have no value on my laptop as they aren’t something I’d want with me on a daily basis. Adobe has created a solution to this problem by updating their Folders tab in the left navigation pane to show which volume has the photos. The small green light next to the volume name means that the volume is currently attached to the computer. If I had photos on another volume which were in this catalog, and the volume were disconnected, the light would be red. This update also allows for the user to see a user selectable statistic on this line as well. Right-clicking on the volume line allows the user to select between Disk Space, Photo Count, Status or None. The status statistic simply displays whether or not the volume is online. I find this somewhat redundant as the user can already tell this by the red/green light. Photo count shows the number of photos in the current catalog, but for my uses, this isn’t really all that important. Therefore, I’ve chosen to have it display disk usage. Your mileage may vary.

The other improved feature is the filtering capabilities. While Lightroom 1.4 had most of these filtering abilities, the improved user interface (at the top of the thumbnail viewer) is great. It’s much easier for me to filter on what I want quickly and with less fuss. Also, it allows the saving of preset filters — a real plus for me as I like to use color codes for different types of photographs. Using a preset filter, I can quickly and easily find all photos tagged with the red color tag (my stock photo color) with a rating of 4 or more stars. Taking it a step further, I can save the above preset with certain keywords (such as ‘Microstock’ and ‘Needs Uploading’) and I can find all stock photos with a rating of four or more stars which needs to be uploaded to microstock websites. Now that’s helpful!

Conclusion

While I still have a lot of investigation and learning (I was not one of the Beta Testers), thus far, I’m very impressed! I’ll probably continue to update as I figure out more of the new features — especially in the develop modes.

Welcome to digitalnotions.net

Welcome to www.digitalnotions.net!

The goal of this site is to discuss my photography, blogging and web design adventures. I’m really not sure exactly what this will turn into, but for now it offers me a way to post photography and technology related posts which will hopefully be of use to some people. I wish to encourage comments and therefore, have attempted to create an easy to use commenting form which is available for all posts.

While the basic site design is now complete and I’m going to be making this a living, breathing and changing blog, I have yet to finalize all the details which will start happening over the next couple weeks. At times, the site may be down or in a state of dis-repair. Please bear with me! I know some frown of releasing a site to the world in a less than complete state. However, my goal is to attempt to provide useful information. And for that, site layout, and design aren’t nearly as important as the content of the posts.