Osprey – Part One

On the 14th of April, I stood in the cold wind in the middle of a yard for about twenty minutes shooting photos and videos of an Osprey intent on doing pretty much little beyond perching on a tree limb and occasionally vocalizing. 

You can click on these photos for a larger version but I didn’t bother with the full-size photos because it was a cloudy and dingy day and 1280 pixels in width is perfectly fine for these shots. 

Part two will have better shots both because those shots were taken in a clear and sunny day and also because I used my D7000 and D200 with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens and the Nikon 80-400mm f/5.6 VR lens along with the Nikon P900.

But, on this day, I had only brought the P900. 

Mind you, these aren’t bad shots but I’ve seen better. Not from me, but I’ve seen better. 

As mentioned, the bird did little more than look around and occasionally vocalize, apparently calling for its mate (or someone that answered but which we couldn’t see). 

I was probably standing about 30 yards away and trying to keep my shivering to a minimum so as to not spook the bird . . . who ignored me.

Unfortunately, most of the videos were shot with Matrix Metering and the sky, though not bright, was bright enough to result in an underexposed image. 

Eventually, I played with the settings and got slightly better results. 

Still, you’ll see the exposure change as I zoom and the camera meters based on where I was aiming.

You’ll note the image is not steady . . . again, holding the camera up at an angle, wearing no jacket, hat, or gloves, and standing against a stiff breeze in about 35º weather.

I got pretty chilly, I tell you what.

Why was I out there that long? I was hoping to catch the moment it took off. Mind you, I had little confidence in me being able to capture the moment because the P900 is NOT an action camera. 

What I did capture were a lot of instances where the Osprey appeared ready for flight but was — just like me — only struggling to retain its balance against the cold wind. 

It was perched on a tree right at the edge of a lake and many times it acted as if it had spotted a likely target . . . 

. . . only to resume looking around as if it was waiting for a bus.

People deride and bemoan the performance of the P900 but given the conditions, I’m perfectly happy with these shots. Nothing I’d hang in a museum but more than fine for the blog. The next batch of photos are, as I said, better.

Meanwhile, know there are a lot of similar photos but that’s the fault of the Osprey for not doing anything interesting for long stretches of time. 

When it finally did move, I wasn’t fast enough to catch the action because I was zoomed in too far. Also, I was unprepared for it to dive nearly straight down.

Look, I know it’s a lousy video but I was cold and miserable and the bird fooled me. Once lost, it was difficult to regain focus on the fast-moving bird . . . but I did catch it shaking off the cold water. 

It flew around for a bit and then settled on a brach across the lake . . . too far to get a clean shot. My brother-in-law tells me their success rate is less than 50% as far as catching fish. 

I don’t know the exact distance but by this point, I was ready to call it a day and take shelter from the dropping temperatures and cruel winds. 

I know many of these shots look the same but if it’s any consolation, I could have posted about twice as many that looked exactly like the above. Speaking of which, here’s a gallery of the above shots. 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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