Just after the sun peaks over the trees, the golf course fills with life where before there was none. Instantaneously, as if by some natural alarm clock, one can hear birds of all kinds singing and squirrels jumping from tree to tree. There are other feeders in the neighborhood that are very popular with the wildlife. They seem to attract everything from finches and pigeons to squirrels and large cranes. Now that I have my 70-300mm lens I thought it would be nice to get a feeder of my own.

It has taken a few days but some birds have found our backyard and modest feeder. The tree that it hangs from is young and its branches don’t support much weight yet. My neighbor has a more mature tree with a house-like feeder. Larger birds can often be seen there fighting off the smaller ones for food. I fancy ours as the safe haven for the little birds.

The 70-300mm has a feature called VR II (vibration reduction). There is a rule of thumb about minimum shutter speeds that goes like this: If you are shooting handheld, your minimum shutter speed should be the inverse of the focal length provided that the subject is not moving. So, at 300mm you should shoot at 1/300 of a second to avoid blur from camera shake. With VR II turned on, Nikon claims that you can shoot at four stops slower and get the same result. This appears to be accurate shooting still life.

The above photograph was purposefully shot at a lower than adequate shutter speed to get the motion effect. Unfortunately, this caused the rest of the composition to be less than tack sharp. This lens really rounds out my bag.


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February 2008
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