Photographing Birds with the Zuiko 40-150mm/f4-5.6R — First, let me say that I have a great deal of respect for those who have the patience, knowledge, and skills to be really good bird photographers. I am not one of them.
I hadn’t been out on the streets of Los Angeles for quite a while, so I thought I would take an early train into the city, and walk the streets for the day. However, for whatever reason, I didn’t get much sleep the night before, so I was still in bed when the Northbound train pulled out of the station. My Plan B was to go to the Santa Ana Zoo. I have mixed feelings about zoos. I hate the idea of locking up wild animals, but a zoo is not a circus, and they do serve an educational purpose, and some have rescue and breeding programs that insure the species does not become extinct.
Spirit is an example. She has been at the Santa Ana Zoo since 2009. Having injured a wing, she is no longer able to fly, hunt, or defend herself in the wild. I was surprised how tall she is — I’d guess about three feet tall???? With wingspans of up to six feet, bald eagles are not small birds.
I don’t know much about birds. I can’t identify most of them, don’t have the proper lenses to photograph them, in the wild, and especially not when they are in flight. If you are a bird, you probably don’t want to hire me. However, I thought I’d give the Zuiko 40-150mm/f4-5.6R a try at the zoo. The Santa Ana Zoo has small aviary, some emus, Spirit, and lots of sparrows.
The zoo also has lots of primates — in fact, that is what it is known for. The challenge with shooting the monkeys is that they are in enclosures with very small mesh fencing, making it difficult to achieve focus on anything but the mesh. Anyway, I was here for the birds, and found Spirit to be in a large area that is very well protected from other predators, since she can’t defend herself. Auto focus didn’t seem too promising but I soon found that by focusing manually, I could throw the mesh out of focus enough so that it seemed to disappear, and I could focus on Spirit’s eyes — or eye, as she always had her head turned to one side.
For those who care, I was shooting with an Olympus OMD-EM5 with the aforementioned Zuiko 40-150mm/f4-5.6R. I used aperture priority, auto ISO allowed to range up to 3200, auto WB. Spirit was photographed at ISO 1250 and 1/320 sec.
Thanks to Kerrie Spinks for identifying the species, for me. “(I am Australian and have been chased by emus when out mustering sheep and I went too close to their ground nest).”