Experiments in high ISO – backyard birds

The cold and snow have brought out the usual cast of winter characters to our back yard.  It was too cloudy for typical photography, but I set the camera and long lens on the tripod in the kitchen bay window and made some experimental captures using 800-1000 ISO.

Male Northern Cardinal

Normally, I try to avoid high ISO because it produces too much pixel noise (graininess).  But I find now that if you don’t crop and enlarge too much, it looks OK.  I probably wouldn’t print one for a contest, but it’s handy for documentation, or when you really need the shot regardless of image quality.

Female Northern Cardinal

You can get fast enough shutter speeds to freeze the birds, if not the snowfall.

From Winter 2011

It’s rare to see two Carolina wrens at the same time.  That’s one reason I began this series.

European Starling

These don’t usually come to the feeder in winter.   I’m no fan of them, but they do have some nice iridescence.

From Winter 2011

I like the bird perched above the sweetgum balls.

From Winter 2011

Goldfinches like sweetgum seeds.

From Winter 2011

A tufted titmouse won’t sit still for long.

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