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BIRDS AS ART ON-LINE Bulletin #82 June 19, 2002



Those who have knowledge of photographic conditions and opportunities (for nature and especially for bird photography) in early fall in the Boston, Massachusetts region, are asked to call or e-mail.  I am especially interested in speaking to those who have an intimate knowledge of either Parker River or Great Meadows NWRs.
Do note that both In-the-Field Workshops held in conjunction with the Boston Photo Weekend are filled, but that there is lots of room in the Saturday Seminar:  "The Art of Nature Photography."  Please see the web site for details and a registration form.
Arctic Hare, Churchill, Manitoba   Copyright 2002 Linda East/BUNNIES AS ART
Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens, D-30 camera.
When as we descended towards the Churchill Airport on May 29, we were aghast. It seemed as if the entire world was frozen solid. Though there was some open water, most ponds and lakes, the Churchill River, and Hudson Bay were frozen.  Snow covered most of the tundra with drifts in places more than 4 feet deep.  Locals felt that the season was at least two weeks behind the past (globally warmed) decade. 
Snow Bunting--male, Churchill, Manitoba   Copyright 2002 Linda East/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens, 1.4XII TC, D-30, fill flash with Better Beamer
Moss transplanted to feeding station (pretty clever, hey?)
Then it got colder.  On the mornings of June  6-8 temperatures ranged from 24 to 26 degrees F.  We did have some  wonderful opportunities with Willow Ptarmigan, Snow Bunting in various plumages, Lapland Longspur, Hudsonian Godwit, and Oldsquaw. (Sorry, I just cannot stomach "Long-tailed Duck.)  One of the highlights was a tame arctic hare that we encountered at the old rocket range. 
Horned Lark, Churchill, Manitoba   Copyright 2002 Linda East/BIRDS AS ART
Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens, 1.4XII TC, D-30, fill flash with Better Beamer
It did get warmer for two days before we left on June 10, but Hudson Bay and the river and most lakes and ponds were still frozen solid.  While we did manage to get some chances with species that we thought would be easy (like Semipalmated Plover, golden-plover, and especially Arctic Tern), we were all somewhat disappointed.   But nature photography is just that, nature photography.  When Mother Nature decides to deal you a hand of unseasonably cold or just plain bad weather, then all that you can do is make the best of the situation and the opportunities presented to you.
As we explored the possibility of continuing on to Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, it became apparent that we would be unable to complete our flight reservations, so we somewhat reluctantly had to cancel the final leg of our journey.  (The thought of arriving at a wilderness camp with 6 large pieces of checked luggage and four carry-ons between us had been somewhat terrifying...)                     
D-30/60 QUESTION    
Bulletin subscriber Phil Weiskittel asked:  "Every review I've read of the D60 has centered on the image quality; I have not seen a review that even mentioned the autofocus or metering.  I trust your opinion as a working pro doing the same type of photography as I do.  Have you had any experience with the D30/60?  What did you think of the autofocus and metering? 
Here is my answer: 
I have no personal experience with the D-60, but have followed along closely as Linda has worked with her D-30. In addition, I have learned a bit about metering on the D-60 from folks on my IPTs that have been using them and from others as well.  The evaluative metering in the D-60 and the D-30 is extremely different from the evaluative metering systems in Canon film cameras (like the EOS 1v).  But an intelligent photographer should have no problem learning to make properly exposed images (with and without flash) in short order just as Linda has done.  You simply take an image, look at the histogram, and then dial in a bit of plus or minus (usually minus) exposure compensation if need be.  You do need to understand how to evaluate a histogram but if you do some reading or have someone show you that it takes about 30 seconds to get the hang of it.   So even though the D-30 meter is "different," it is still easy to learn what it is doing and make great images along the way.
As for the AF, one shot AF, and AI Servo with slowly moving subjects (like swimming ducks), is accurate and acquires fairly quickly as long as their is some contrast in the subject (just as with film cameras).   For flight photography, the D-30's AF system encounters great difficulty. Linda was able to make some in-focus flight images but attempting to do so was extremely frustrating at times.  (She found that pre-focusing on an object at about the same distance as the flying bird is likely to be was helpful.)  The AF with the 1D is far superior for flight shooting.     

I will be presenting "Putting Art in Your Nature Photography at this year's NECCC (New England Camera Club Council) Conference (July 12-14, 2002) in Amherst, MA.  Subscribers planning to attend (or others) who might wish to help out at the BIRDS AS ART vendor's table are asked to call or e-mail me at their very earliest convenience.  (I am looking for only two folks to help out, so please call immediately if you are seriously interested.)  For information on the NECCC and this year's conference, visit:  I have spoken at this event in the past and there were many great programs offered.  I believe that this conference boasts the highest attendance of any photographic forum of its kind; it is one great big photography party!
The guidelines for the photo contest are as follows:
Best of Show
Grand Prize: $500.00

Categories: Birds  * Reptiles * Wildlife General  First Prize: $200.00  Second Prize: $100.00  Third Prize: $50.00
First, second and third place prizes will be awarded in each category.

1.      $25.00 entry fee covers three entries.  This fee includes a one-year individual pass to The St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park.  There is no additional entry fee to annual pass holders. (Subject to change)
2.      All entries must be 8x 10 un-mounted black and white or color prints.
3.      All photos must have been taken at The Alligator Farm during the 2002 season.
4.      Each entry should bear the photographers name, address, phone number, category of photo, and total number of entries.
5.      Winning photographs will be displayed at The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park and on our web site
6.      If you would like to have your photos returned by mail please enclose a self addressed stamped envelope and label return photo on the back of each photo to be returned.  All photos not returned or picked up become the property of the St. Augustine Alligator Farm.
7.      Deadline for entries is July 15, 2002. 
8.      Winners will be notified before Aug. 15,2002
Photos should be mailed to:
The St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park,  999 Anastasia Blvd. St. Augustine, Florida 32080
Good luck!
Bird photographers in the San Francisco area who are interested in photographing at the heronry in Golden Gate Park next season, and in donating images to an local educational project are invited e-mail Gib Robinson at:  Gib also mentions that he can put you on to some tame juvenile redtails "wandering around the lake like tourists) right now!
Years ago, Bryan Geyer of Really Right Stuff (makes the  best camera body plates in the world) sent me a small tool kit as a gift.  Having it in my vest over the years has saved the day for me and for many IPT participants.  I contacted his source, but was unable to get the same exact kit from them, so I contacted a firm in Colorado (via the web) and was successful.
Here are the details:

Tecra Part #       Description                                Price
PSK100              Photographer's Small Kit...........$36.75

The kit Includes: Wiha 5pc. Set (Slotted Sizes:  1.5, 2.0, 3.0, 3.5 mm; Phillips Sizes: 000, 0, 1; and Handle), Dumont Hi-Tech 0c 3 1/2" Fine Tip Tweezers, and Vinyl Storage Case.  This price does not include shipping (UPS Ground).  If you have any questions, please contact Cindy Stover at Tecra Tools, Inc., 1-800-284-0808 (303-338-9224 from within Colorado) or e-mail her at  Please do mention BIRDS AS ART if you decide to purchase this product. 



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