LITTLE BIRD CLOSE-UPS: CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Small Bird Close-Ups


These close-ups pictures of birds at our feeder would be a lot closer if they would hang around while I’m outside with the camera rather than shooting them through a narrow sliver — and very off-center — spot in the kitchen. It’s a good camera for this purpose. The Panasonic Lumix FZ-1000 has a long (25 to 450 mm) Leica f2.8 lens on it and enough bells and whistles to do a lot of things I have yet to figure out.

The learning process on this particular camera is the most complicated yet and I’m embarrassed to admit that often its “i-auto” setting does a better job at capturing complicated lighting than I can manage manually. It automatically compensates for backlighting, haze, will block a screen and find a pretty clean background — something no other camera has done as well. But, I don’t always want to compensate. Sometimes I want the backlighting and I want the screen.

I do a lot of switching around through its many settings. It has a brilliant black-and-white as well as several other monochrome settings. Actually, it’s got settings that even when I read their so-called manual, I’m still not sure what they are supposed to do and whether if I try to use them, they will make other settings inoperable.

This is a big camera, too, as big and heavy as a full-size DSLR, but most of the weight is its huge lens. Because the one lens can do pretty much anything, it winds up my default camera, even though my Olympus gets superior color and a finer finish.

I suppose if you have enough money, you can get the perfect camera, but lenses are more expensive than the cameras with which they work … and I’m out of funds.

So back to the close-ups of birds. They are as good as they can get shooting through a not really CLEAN window (we cleaned the inside, but no one has figured out how to get the outside clean … we’re working on that). Shooting through glass always leaves a bit of fuzziness anyway, and a not-so-clean window with reflections …

Still, these came out pretty well. If they ever let me come back there to shoot, they will be much better. These days, though, if I make noise IN the kitchen, they fly away. And there’s always some loud barking dog hanging around. And when the squirrels get busy, the dogs go completely berserk!