One of the Joys of Going on a Photo Tour . . .

One of the joys of going on a photo tour is you’re with photographers all the time. There’s no one saying it’s time to go — except when the bus is leaving — no one to ask how many times you’re going to photograph the same thing.

During our recent photo tour to Costa Rica, the group noticed a nesting pair of s great kiskadees in the parking area. The birds built their nest in a palm tree right in the main parking area of the lodge. We walked below the nest to meals and returning from meals.

Great kiskadee nesting in a palm tree near the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano in northern Costa Rica.

The nesting kiskadee pair was just part of our day. The pair carried grass and fibers into the nest throughout the day. One bird could spend four or five minutes inside the nest packing the grass in just the right spot. Then that bird would fly out and the other member of the pair would fly in with a beak-full of fibers. That bird would pack their fibers in place, round and round inside the nest, then rest in the opening for a bit, and fly out.

Great kiskadee with a beak-full of nesting material.

Over and over again we watched this pair of birds perfect their messy nest.

Great kiskadee with another load of nesting material.

Finally when the light was lovely on the nest, I suggested we stop and photograph the kiskadees building their nest.

For the next hour, we stood together and photographed the kiskadees.

We compared shutter speeds to see if we stopped the wings of the bird as it left the nest that time. Slight blurring — raise the ISO, get a faster shutter speed and give it a try next time.

Someone got the crown pattern on the top of the kiskadee’s head. It looks like a bulls-eye if you’ve never seen it. “Wow! I need to get that next time!” someone in the group said. And off we’d go again. Waiting for the bird to fly out of the nest and show us its head pattern.

Over and over and over we photographed two birds as they built their nest. Those birds gave us such joy. We learned so much about our cameras and photography thanks to them.

My thoughts go out to that pair of determined birds in Guanacaste Costa Rica. I hope they are sitting on a clutch of heathy eggs that will mature into a nestful of great kiskadees.

My photographer friends at the great kiskadee nest in Costa Rica.

Canon R6 and a Small Bird

Snowy plovers are only 6.25 inches tall. They are not a large bird and are easy to overlook as they blend into the beach.

I found this one yesterday on the Texas City Dike in Texas City, Texas. (Is that enough Texas’ for you?). I was walking along the shore and carrying the Canon R6 with the 100-500mm RF lens and 1.4x extender.

The bird let me get fairly close and even let me crouch down a few times.

The camera kept focus no matter how quickly the bird scurried along the beach.

All were shot with Aperture Priority, f10, shutter speed 2000, ISO 800, wide zone auto focus.

Canon R6 — Very Impressive

My Canon R6 arrive last week and today was the first time I had a chance to take it out for a test shoot.

I am impressed!!

My outing today was mainly to test the auto focus on the R6 compared with the more expensive R5. Conclusion: I can’t see any difference.

The Canon R6 reminds me of my Canon 5D Mark IV and I was not disappointed with the R6.

My first bird this morning was a ring-billed gull. It was just standing on the beach so not much of a challenge. Canon R6, 100-500mm lens with a 1.4x extender. Auto focus 1, Servo, one focus point.
Sanderling running on the beach. Same setting as above but using wide area auto focus. The camera stayed in focus. My job was to keep the camera on the bird.
Sanderling with the same settings as above. Remember, these birds seem to never stand still.
Royal tern in flight. Wide area auto focus. There were 10 or 12 shots in this series as the bird flew by. All were in focus.
Brown pelican going into a plunge dive. With the R6 on rapid release, I captured 10 or more shots as the pelicans did their dive. Each was in focus..

Notice that I compared the Canon R6 to the Canon 5D Mark IV when comparing auto focus capabilities. My Canon 5D Mark IV always beat my 7D Mark II in the auto focus arena. The 7D Mark II would miss a shot here and there in a series. The 5D Mark IV got all the shots in a series in focus. That’s the same thing I saw in my test today with the Canon R6. It held auto focus throughout the series without missing a single shot!

Not once today did I notice the Canon R6 hunting for the subject. I pointed the camera at the bird, the camera locked on the focus, and I clicked the shutter button. We were working as a team — the camera and me.

I’ll post a more thorough comparison of the Canon R5 and Canon R6 in the next few days. This is just the beginning.

Sequence of brown pelican diving.