I finally had a little bit of time to give my new Canon EOS 50D camera a little bit of a workout at Mead Gardens. For the most part, I'm pleased with the results. Especially at lower ISOs, the 50D gives me more detail than my 40D without any more noise. At higher ISOs, though, it's a different story. I'm not sure that the 15 megapixel sensor is any benefit over the 40D's 10 megapixel sensor at ISO 800 and above. Part of the problem, though, may well be that I also decided to try out Canon's new "highlight tone priority" (HTP) feature. I'll explain more about this in a future post, but for now, suffice it to say that I do not think it's beneficial for wildlife photography--in fact, I think it makes my photos noisier (and more importantly, uglier noise) in the shadows. The next time I go out, I will turn HTP off an compare my results.
Wood Ducks and a Green Heron
Other than that, I had a pretty good hour at the park. I found a few other birders there, and we walked the gardens together. We have been observing a Cooper's Hawk nest over the past few months, and now the juveniles are out and about. The Cooper's Hawk pictured here was perched in a tree over the lake, so I'm a little concerned for the Wood Duck ducklings in the lake. It appears that there are two families of Wood Ducks there, and one has older ducklings than the other. The younger family has at least 6 ducklings following the mother right now, and the Cooper's Hawk appeared to be licking his chops.