Saturday, September 06, 2008

Photo Friday- the ordinary

The Common Blackbird [Turdus merula] is a very ordinary bird but its also one of my favourites.
They always seem quite inquisitive and cheeky and i suppose i can easily imagine them popping out of a pie as they do in the Sing a song of sixpence nursery rhyme .

The strange thing about blackbirds is that they are not all black. Only the adult males are truly black [with a bright orange beak], the females and the young are brownish.

This part -brown part-black blackbird is a first winter male. Eventually, all his brown freathers will tuurn black.

This male actually has some greyish-blue feathers that tone well with the scattered flower petals.

Somewhat oddly, its quite common for blackbirds to have white patches.
Completely white blackbirds which generally aren't true albinos are also possible. they are called albinistic forms and they generally have normal coloursed eyes bills and legs and varying degrees of white feathers from completely white to a speckling .

This young blackbird is hiding behind some leaves thinking that its completely hidden - lucklily I was only hunting him with a camera.

These photos are all digiscoped using a small 10x40 monocular . Digiscoping means taking photos through a spotting scope or telecope to increase the range of the camera [ usually for nature photograhy of birds or animals but its also a technique used by astronomers].


MamaDuck said...

Hi there! These are good! I've got a Nikon Coolpix eejit-proof camera which I think I've taken to its limits. (Hard to tell when I'm not good with technology and all the instructions are in Spanish anyway)Do you think the digiscope would work with it?

Alison Ashwell said...

Hi mamaduck
I would think that your Nikon coolpix would work well. A lot of people recommend a variety of coolpix models for digiscoping.

My camera isn't generally recommended for digiscoping because it has a more powerful lens , but even so I've had really good results
My monocular is a cheapie from ebay but it has really good optics for its size , weight and price.

I wanted to be able to take the setup with me on a daily basis rather than have to take it on special trips.

I don't know if your particular camera has the option of adding on lenses - if so getting the adaptor mounting and then an f-adaptor to hold the scope steady is a really good idea.
If the camera doesn't have the option for extra lenses, there are other kids of adaptors that will hold the two together.

I've really noticed the difference from hand holding the scope and having it fixed in position.

You can always have a go with binoculars if you have any to hand - sometimes people call this digibinning.

You may need to play with you camera settings to get the best results - sometimes you need to set the camera to macro mode , and adjusting the distance between the camera and binocular objective is also something that needs to be experimented with.

Here are some places with leads of information to get you started.

Andy Bright's Digiscoping Forum

getting started in digiscoping

natural attrill said...

I like blackbirds, lovely photo's Alison. Interesting to read about the white ones, I'd love to see one of those.

Magpie Magic said...

Really like the pictures of the blackbirds. One of my favourite birds. :-)

MamaDuck said...

Thanks a lot! (Finally got back here!)I'll see what I can do. My husband has a digital 35mm which is a bit big for carrying everywhere, but his distance and night shots usually come out well. I carry mine almost everywhere, photograph everything, then make a selection of the least blurry, put them through Picassa, and get there in the end. I'm a total plod really, but I enjoy myself.

Your lemur photos are fabulous. Magazine features always seem to focus on their faces, and those mesmerising baby eyes, consequently I had no idea how long and glorious their tails are. Coo!