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ShawnZ

Least Sandpiper

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I know what you are thinking, "too bad about the feet". Okay, maybe YOU are'nt thinking that, but someone will, trust me smile

I guess sometimes you can actually get down too low smile The funny thing about this juvenile least sandpiper is where I found it, next to a railroad track, foraging in a rain puddle.

Of course the rain puddle was in the vicinity of 40th avenue west in Duluth, which at the right time of year can be shorebird gold. Minolta5d, Tokina80-400mm, f10, (don't recall the other settings), cropped, levels, USM. Comments and critiques always welcome.

Regards,

Shawn Zierman.

leastfeet2.jpg

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Pretty funny when 'low perspective' means hiding the feet behind a grain or two of sand. Me--I never would have noticed if you hadn't mentioned it. I love the picture--bg is really soft and nice with his coloring. And I'm delighted to see some new bird postings this morning.

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That is a sweet shot Shawn. Did you see that over by the steam plant ? If it is a secret spot and don't want to say I will not feel bad. I was just curious.

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MarinerMagnum, I'm pretty sure your 400mm lens would have this same effect if you were close enough to the subject and shot as low as this. It's all about subject to lens distance. Basically, when I'm this close to the subject, and this close to the ground, at this focal length, everything in front of and behind the subject is going to be thrown out of focus (bokeh) because as the distance between subject and camera decrease so does the depth of field. The f10, could be f16 and there would be little difference in the end product except that I would have less shutter speed to work with. The f10 is only to cover the focus on the subject from bill to tail, because with this lens, you have to stop down a bit to get edge to edge sharpness. Where as from what I've seen, a 400mm Canon L series lens can have excellent edge to edge sharpness wide open at f5.6. I'm sure others could chime in with more scientific and precise explanations at what I'm trying to get at. Anyway, this is why minimum focusing distance is so important to me, and why I would love to own the old Sigma prime 400 f5.6, (one version of this lens has a minimum focusing distance around six feet!, and is very sharp wide open from what I've read). This is a hard lens to find these days however.

Jimalm, this was taken near the entrance to the erie pier area, otherwise known to birders as 40th Avenue West. You can clearly see this whole area when you are crossing the Bong Bridge heading from Wisconsin back into Minnesota. Where as the steam plant will be on the left hand side of the bridge, the

Erie Pier/40th Avenue West area will be on the right hand side.

During spring and fall migration this can be a phenomenal birding area. In recent years, this area has turned up some amazing accidental species including a Northern Wheater! Look that one up in the bird book and you'll see what I mean by accidental! Basically just take the 40th avenue west exit off the highway, when you get to the first stop sign turn right and park in front of the (usually locked) yellow gate. Then just walk in on the dirt road and start looking around the Pier area and adjacent water features. This area has historically always been open to birders, fisherman, naturelovers, beer drinkers, etc.

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Thanks for the info Shawn. I will have to take a stroll down there one of these days. I will look up the Northern Wheater when I get home. No Sibleys at work grin

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Shawn, that's an excellent explanation of relative DOF based on distance from lens to subject.

When I shot the 100-400, with its minimum focus distance of six feet, I frequently shot wild birds from a blind setup when perches were 6.5 feet away, and backgrounds 40 feet behind the bird were soft and buttery at f8 and f9. I shot at those apertures because, like Shawn, I wanted as much DOF on the bird as I could get, and because the 100-400 sharpened up considerably when stopped down to f8. The Canon 400 f5.6 has excellent edge-to-edge sharpness shot wide open.

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One more thing about 40th avenue west/Erie Pier area. If you go out and really muck around be aware that the water areas in the pier area have some of the most quicksand like mud that I've ever experienced. I nearly got myself stuck so bad once just a few feet out from the water's edge that I vowed I would never tempt fate like that again. I mean it, you really sink in, deep and quick. Good luck by the way if you go check it out. Someone just saw some buff breasted sandpipers out there this week.

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Yes, I am a belly crawler smile It's amazing to me how much closer I can get to some species by crawling vs stalking bent over. This fellow was more than cooperative however and posed for over a half hour and only left after some of his kind landed right next to him at the puddle, then they all left together. I'll post a picture of the pectoral that landed right next to this fellow so you can compare the subtle differences between the two, though in person, the pectoral is noticeably bigger than the least peep.

jmalm, there have also been burrowing owl, forktailed flycatcher, and McCown's Longspur recorded at 40th Ave. West!

I have also had many slow days there too, so don't let my hype it too much, but it's definately worth a visit during peak migration periods.

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Okay, here is the picture of the pectoral sandpiper that landed right next to this least peep that I was photographing. It was clear to me that the pectoral was not gonna stick around long so I just gripped it and ripped it, got off four frames and then they were gone. When they start talking their peepy talk, they usually are saying goodbye smile

pectoral.jpg

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You have gotten some great shots there Shawn. I’m going to have to start doing the belly crawl. The only consistent place for shore birds around here is in the mud and that could cause some problems.

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excellent work. I would belly crawl , but with a belly my size, I would be more like a teeter totter than a creepy crawly thing. more likekly to scare the birds thinking a walrus was coming.

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