Photo Stories

Photo Story: American Tree Sparrow Feeding on Seeds

The weather on the day after Christmas was a balmy 50 degrees fahrenheit and sunny.  At this time of year, the temperature here is usually in the 20s with snow on the ground.

American Tree Sparrow Feeding on Seeds

American Tree Sparrow

Since the weather was so nice, my wife and I decided to go on a late afternoon nature hike at one of the local parks.  I decided to bring along my new Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L Lens and give it a test.

I attached the Canon EF 1.4X Telephoto Extenderto the lens since the most likely subjects that I would encounter would be birds and I would want the extra reach.  On my Canon 5d Mark III, the 100-400mm lens and 1.4x telephoto extender will only autofocus at the center focus point with a minimum aperture of f/8 at the long focal length.

We hiked for about 45 minutes and on the way back I spotted this American Tree Sparrow in the bushes.  I was surprised when he moved out of the heavy bushes and into the field landing on this plant and started harvesting the seeds.

I was happy with the sharpness of the image from the Canon 100-400mm lens, especially since I had the 1.4x teleconverter attached.

The field in the background really helped with the look of this photograph.  It provided a relatively clean background, and the curved grasses add a nice touch to the photo leading the eye to the center of the photo and the subject.

Photo Details

Camera: Canon 5D Mark III
Lens: Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS II lens with 1.4x III telephoto extender
Focal Length: 560mm
ISO:  800
Aperture:   f/8.0
Shutter Speed: 1/160 of a second
Exposure Compensation: +2/3
Lighting: Sunny Late Afternoon

Processing

  • Cropped the photo in Lightroom 5.
  • Added contrast and pop to the photo by using the Fur and Feathers I filter in Topaz Clarity.
  • Applied the Lighten/Darken Center and Film Efex: Vintage Filters in Color Efex Pro 4.
  • Used Viveza 2 to selectively lighten the darken the image.
  • Selectively removed noise from the photo using Topaz DeNoise.
  • Selectively sharpened the photo using the Unsharp Mask Filter in Photoshop CC 2014. 
  • Added a vignette using the Vignette: Lens Filter in Color Efex Pro 4.

Written by Martin Belan

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