Beyond the BackyardCircle B Bar Reserve

Some Birds, the Moon, and Sensor Dust!

Yesterday at the Circle B Bar Reserve, Michael and I came across a group of White Ibis in my “treasure tree” along the Heron Hideout trail.  I’ve had many lifers in that tree, but I almost passed it without a second glance when I saw just a few common White Ibises at the treetop.  Then I noticed the moon.  Then I realized I could frame a bird portrait with the moon in the background.  Then the birds started flapping and I started clicking!!

White Ibis on Top of the World!
White Ibis on Top of the World!

I remembered to dial in a small aperture (f/45.0) so that both the bird and the moon would be in focus.  My usual birding apertures, in the f/5.6 to f/8.0 range, would have rendered the moon as a slight white blur.   I loved how the White Ibis’ wing stretches over the moon – it’s like he was victoriously celebrating being on top of the world!

Anhinga
Anhinga

Anhinga are often found all over the reserve, spreading their wings to dry them after a nice swim.  This one was perched at the very top of the treasure tree.  This was the first composition I noticed with the moon in the background.  I got home and showed the picture to Rich.  He immediately put on his skeptical face and asked, “is that a real picture?  I know how well you use Photoshop!”  I assured him that the image was real, and that I had several witnesses who saw the moon.  Rich was still skeptical.  Other photographers apparently are not to be trusted!  So I pulled up the image on the back of my camera, straight from my Compact Flash card.  My tricky husband said, “yeah, but I know your 5D III lets you combine images in camera.  How do I know you didn’t do that?”  Well…I guess I could have!  These new fancy cameras are fun!  I’m not sure I ever quite convinced Rich that this wasn’t a Photoshop job… :)

There is a downside to using such a small aperture.  It yields so much of the image in focus that every single bit of sensor dust shows up in your image!  I hadn’t realized how dirty my sensor was…and after the time required to clean up dust specs from these images, I will definitely be cleaning my sensor before heading back out to shoot!

Sensor dust - 100% view of a portion of the image, with several medium-sized black specs visible
Sensor dust – 100% view of a portion of the image, with several medium-sized black specs visible

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