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Thread: White Wag Tail

  1. #1
    RogerCook's Avatar
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    Roger

    White Wag Tail

    I went to Cabrillo Beach Sunday to try to get some shots of Skimmers (which I have never photographed before) I had seen there the day before and the life guard said are you here for the wag tail? I have never heard of the bird but he explained it was apparently very rare to be seen in the lower US and he said it was over by his life guard tower. So off I went to get a shot, when I got there I see a line up of birders with binoculars on tripods and cameras luckily they were there because I never would of found it due to it looking like a very small sparrow on the sand. I was kind of unimpressed by this little bird so I got my shot (although from very far away) and went back to looking for the skimmers. Here's the bird if anyone is interested and I'll be posting some shots of skimmers next.
    White Wag Tail

  2. #2
    JPS's Avatar
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    Re: White Wag Tail

    Hi Roger,
    I have no idea how rare this bird is in this part of the US, but if it is you can hold your head high and say you captured it; on camera of course.

    I think I would have cropped a bit tighter if it was mine, but you said it was a very small bird, framing the way you have certainly shows how small it is.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. #3
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: White Wag Tail

    Hi Roger,

    I am not sure if this advice really applies to your shot, but I'd like to pass on some advice that may help you/others when shooting such subjects.

    I find, when photographing birds from too far away, typically for ID purposes or if rare, it pays to aim the focus point at their feet. If I try to focus on the eye, because they can be smaller than the focus point, or if they suddenly move, it often focuses on the ground inches or feet behind the bird and gives a soft subject.

    Focusing on the feet at least gets the DoF centred where the bird is standing and even if it hops a bit, you stand a chance of being much closer to correct focus distance.

    Of course, you'll still likely have all the other problems; subject movement and slow shutter speed due to poor light, but this tip may help someone.

    An interesting shot by the way, our wagtails are not that colouring (at least, not the ones I have seen).

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 11th December 2012 at 07:34 PM.

  4. #4
    RogerCook's Avatar
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    Re: White Wag Tail

    John and Dave, Thank you for the complements and pointers, I would have tried to get a little closer but there was a lineup of birders and I didn't want to be the one who scared him away.

  5. #5

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    james

    Re: White Wag Tail

    Lucky break Roger , feel good about seeing a rare species.

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