Bird Kingdom Return Visit

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to do a Bird Kingdom return visit, allowing me to get a bit more practice photographing perched birds and a few other critters with my Nikon 1 J5.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 87mm, efov 235mm, f/6.3, 1/320, ISO-3200
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 87mm, efov 235mm, f/6.3, 1/320, ISO-3200

This time of year Bird Kingdom is always more crowded with families on vacation so I planned my visit for the morning to avoid the crowds as best I could.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 70mm, efov 189mm, f/5.6, -1 step, 1/25, ISO-800
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 70mm, efov 189mm, f/5.6, -1 step, 1/25, ISO-800

Some of the birds were a bit more playful during the early part of the day and it can be quite a bit of fun capturing them in unusual positions.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm,m efov 810mm, f/5.6, -1 step, 1/80, ISO-800
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm,m efov 810mm, f/5.6, -1 step, 1/80, ISO-800

As you can tell from some of the EXIF data I’m still not completely used to my Nikon 1 J5s yet. The odd time I still inadvertently apply exposure compensation.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm,m efov 810mm, f/5.6, -1 step, 1/80, ISO-1600
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm,m efov 810mm, f/5.6, -1 step, 1/80, ISO-1600

I have been finding that my hand-holding technique at slower shutter speeds is improving somewhat, although I still can’t match shutter speeds obtained when using my Nikon 1 V2.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 48mm, efov 128mm, f/5.6, -1 step, 1/40, ISO-3200, 21mm MOVO extension tube
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 48mm, efov 128mm, f/5.6, -1 step, 1/40, ISO-3200, 21mm MOVO extension tube

I brought my 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 and some MOVO extension tubes with me, using them to capture the above image of some spider legs. This is my favourite combination to shoot macro-type images.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 100mm, efov 270mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-3200
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 100mm, efov 270mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-3200

Having visited Bird Kingdom many times in the past I made a point to also bring my 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 zoom. The 10-100mm non-PD lens has a shorter minimum focusing distance than the 30-110mm. I’ve found that it is ideal to capture images in the small bird aviary, especially when shooting with one arm¬†outstretched.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/60, ISO-12800
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/60, ISO-12800

The nocturnal display area at Bird Kingdom is always a good place for a challenge, like the above image of a bat captured hand-held at 1/60th at ISO-12800. Even with PRIME noise reduction this type of image pushes the J5 to its absolute limits. It’s just something that one needs to accept when using a smaller sensor camera.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 141mm, efov 381mm, f/5.3, 1/500, ISO-1600
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 141mm, efov 381mm, f/5.3, 1/500, ISO-1600

Waiting for the right moment is always helpful when photographing perched birds, especially ones with long beaks. Capturing these types of birds at an incorrect angle can result in a portion of the beak being out of focus.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/200, ISO-1600
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/200, ISO-1600

Some of the individual birds can be quite jittery. This can make it a challenge to capture an image as they seldom stay still long enough to acquire focus on them.  The specimen above was more cooperative than usual during my recent visit.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/8, 1/640, ISO-1600
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/8, 1/640, ISO-1600

Others will stay perched for longer periods of time, allowing for some fun with symmetry and depth-of-field.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 70mm, efov 189mm, f/6.3, -1 step, 1/200, ISO-3200
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 70mm, efov 189mm, f/6.3, -1 step, 1/200, ISO-3200

No visit to Bird Kingdom would be complete without a snake or lizard image thrown in for good measure.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 100mm, efov 270mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-3200
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 @ 100mm, efov 270mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-3200

Getting decent framing and focus on the small, faster birds is always a challenge and makes for good practice.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/200, ISO-3200
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/200, ISO-3200

Others, like the Red-Capped Cardinal above, often perch in dark, secluded areas making it difficult to get a decent exposure. During this visit I had a bit of luck with this specimen perching in somewhat better light than usual.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/320, ISO-1600
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/320, ISO-1600

Folks who visit Bird Kingdom often tend to have some favourite species. The White-Cheeked Turaco above, is one of mine.

Technical Note:
All images in this article were captured hand-held in available light using a Nikon 1 J5 and native 1 Nikon lenses (CX 70-300mm, 30-110mm, 10-100mm non-PD). Images in this article were produced from RAW files using my standard process of OpticsPro 11, CS6 and Nik Suite. All images were composed using the J5’s rear screen only.

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12 thoughts on “Bird Kingdom Return Visit”

    1. Thanks Joni! The finches at Bird Kingdom can be a bit of a challenge at times as they tend to be a bit skittish. They are a bit calmer on days when there are fewer visitors at the facility which is understandable.
      Tom

  1. Birds are so fascinating! I love the detail you get, and the colors. As well, much appreciation for the exposure factors.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the images Naomi – and found the EXIF data helpful! Shooting with the J5 does help with colour rendition as well as a bit with image sharpness since the J5 does not have a low pass filter.
      Tom

  2. Hi Tom,

    Some more great images.

    The image of the bat at 12,800 is amazingly clear and has plenty of detail without much noise at all! I took the liberty of saving a copy on my system to look at it at 100% on my screen and it is remarkable. (I discovered previously that your images are bigger when saved and viewed 100% than the maximum magnification from within your documents. Not sure why that would be.

    I did this because I noticed that Photographylife has a maximum size of 2048 pixels, and I knew that a 2048 pixel image should be larger on-screen than they come up in your pages. So I was curious to see how large your images were. And I see they are indeed 2048 pixels. on the longest axis..)

    1. Hi Dave,
      If you click on images in my articles they should open up larger in a separate window. You are correct that I set my images at 2048 pixels, the same as they are on Photography Life.
      Tom

  3. Are you using the rear LCD at arm’s length or some type of external viewfinder? Amazing shots at that high ISO.

    1. Hi Jim,
      All images were composed using the rear screen of the Nikon 1 J5 only. Thanks for your comment – I added some additional detail in the ‘Technical Notes’ section to clarify things for readers.
      Tom

      1. Hi Tom,

        I’d be interested to understand how you hold the J5/70-300 combination. With the V2/70-300, one can use the eyebrow as a third point of contact to steady the combination. But with the J5 screen only that isn’t an option…

      2. Thomas, maybe consider making an article with tips on how to hold the Nikon 1 J5 camera steady, specially when using low shutter speeds and longer lens. I just don’t think I have the skills to get sharp focus with a back screen only camera. Thanks!

        1. Hi Joni,
          Thanks for the suggestion! I will need to practice a bit more and refine my technique before I would feel comfortable penning such an article…but I will certainly keep that in mind.
          Tom

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