Throwback Today — 006

As mentioned, these posts are a chance for me to get my D100 and D200 out, make sure the batteries are charged and there’s a fresh CF memory card waiting to receive photos, and go out and shoot with them old workhorses.

This is all about the D100 coupled with the Nikon 80-400mm zoom (a lens from around the same era, about 20 years ago). Unlike last time, I picked some easier subjects to shoot . . . maybe.

D100 — Find the Hummingbird

You thought you were safe, didn’t you? Just because I’m shooting an ancient camera, it don’t mean I can’t take decent photos. Or, at least, no worse than usual.

So, on this day, I sat outside in the patio and watched hummingbirds swarm the feeders. It will be interesting to see how much longer they will be doing it since they started early, and it’s 18/31 of the way through August.

Two things about these photos. One, they are cropped, but because the D100 is only a 6MP camera (which, at the time, was quite the luxury), the originals are not as big as what I get from the D7500, and hence the crops are smaller.

And, two, while I mentioned hummingbirds and other birds, those are not the only things I photographed. When the photo departs from those two subjects, I’ll let you know. For instance, the photo above is not of a bird, but a wasp.

A wasp that was competing with a hummingbird and keeping it at bay . . .

The D100 has a different feel than the D7500.

For one thing, it’s beefier and heavier, but it also has different controls and menu setup than my last two Nikons.

It’s also considered more of a professional camera as opposed to a prosumer camera . . . it will probably outlast both my D7000 and the D7500.

The buttons and dials are smoother and have a more solid feel to them, and, overall, the camera feels more substantial whereas modern cameras (unless top-of-the-line) feel . . . plasticky.

I’ve always been impressed with the color rendering of the D100. it seems . . . richer. And, I mean right off the bat, even before I process the photos. And, yes, the photos are processed, but no more so than what I usually do to my photos.

That was supposed to be an action shot, but I was still getting my legs, so to speak, at both setting the camera for action shots and of swinging a heavier camera with a heavy lens . . . although, the balance of the combination is better than it is with the D7500. However, the shutter release is different, and burst shots are not as fast.


The above photo, if you click on it, will open to a version 1280×850 pixels. But, it’s not a crop; I just choose a smaller size when I link it. The original is 3000×2000 pixels (6MP).

Note: That’s a pipe cleaner wrapped around the center post of the hanger. That keeps bird’s legs from getting pinched should they slide down the curved portion of the metal hanger. Years ago, I found a dead bird with its leg trapped at the pinch point of one of my feeders (in Michigan), so now I always modify feeders and hangers to make sure birds don’t get snagged.

That’s one of the photos that I processed a whole lot. The dynamic range of the camera doesn’t compare to modern cameras, and neither does the noise reduction. That means I shot at ISO 400, and the original looked like this:

Focal Length 400.0 mm (600.0 mm in 35mm), Aperture f/5.6, Exposure Time 0.0008s (1/1250), ISO 400

I used Topaz Denoise, Color Efex Pro, and Lightroom to brighten the dark areas and eliminate the ensuing noise I introduced. Same for the next shot that is part of the same series.

I also think the bokeh on the D100 is better than in the D7000 and D7500, probably because of the larger and fewer pixels in the sensor. Theorists will tell me this is nonsense and that it depends on the depth of field and the distance of the background from the focus plane.

I can usually tell the difference between photos taken with the D100 and my other cameras. Of course, this is also in part due to a change in the processing of the camera and the available color modes. For instance, the D100 doesn’t have a Neutral setting for color because that wasn’t introduced until later models.

Whatever the reason, I still think it can and does take beautiful photos . . . provided I take care to use it properly.

What do I mean by that? Well, action shots are still a problem . . .

By the way, this next photo is not of a bird . . . just giving readers a heads up.

Solar/LED ornament

That’s supposed to soak up solar energy during the day, and shine at night . . . as it turns out, the LED is on during the day and the solar panel must not be working very well because once darkness falls, there’s only a barely perceptible glow from the single LED inside the orb. Made in China, you understand.

Not a problem, though, because we didn’t buy it for the illumination it promised (we’re not outside at night). Besides, it was on clearance, so it wasn’t a big investment.

Anyway, once I set things up right, use trigger control, and hold the camera steady, well then, I can get decent action shots.

That’s at ISO 900, which is ok for brightly lit subjects . . . plus, the denoising tools have improved significantly in the last 20 years.

. . . what I would have given for those capabilities back then! Well, not much, really, since I made do without them.

Identifying that bird was a bit of an effort, I tell you what! It wasn’t until I actually saw it sing/call that I realized what it was. And, frankly, I’d never seen them before, can you believe that!?

It’s a female Red-winged Blackbird. I’d even noticed the rust markings on the tops of the wings in other photos, and I didn’t make the connection because they’re so different from the male.

Next, I was trying to catch a hummingbird feeding on the myrtle, but was too slow. That’s one of the issues with the 80-400mm lens; it was always too slow to focus, so I’d miss stuff.

On the other hand, on semi-stationary subjects, it does great . . .

. . . but I’m not sure what that hummingbird was doing. I don’t recall them blowing out they throat like that (it was directed at a bird off-frame). I’ll have to check the tons of hummingbird photos I have to see if I caught any other hummer doing that. . .

I like this next photo even though the hummer is in the shade . . .

Here are a few more action shots before moving on to a strange bird that’s been hanging around for a few weeks . . .

As I mentioned above, a strange bird has been coming to the feeders for a few weeks now . . .

So, that’s a Northern Cardinal . . . a bald Northern Cardinal.

When we first saw it, we assumed some sort of molting issue, or possibly a disease . . .

. . . and we were concerned he might soon die. But, having been a while now, I did some research.

Specifically, I searched for “bald Cardinal” and got THIS. I know most people don’t click on links, so let me give you what The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Project Feederwatch says:

This is fairly common among Cardinals when the weather gets really warm. They get some kind of mite that seems to prefer their head feathers. My guess is that they pass it to one another as their heads come in contact with feeder or tree surfaces. It only seems to thrive during the warmer part of the Summer here in Delaware. It apparently does not cause any debilitating illness and, as the weather cools, their feathers grow back. It is interesting to me in that it exposes their otherwise hidden dark skin color.

I had assumed it was always the same one, but I suppose it could be multiple birds, and it has been very hot this past month.

On the positive side, this is the first year we’re seeing a lot of juvenile cardinals, sometimes five or six at the time. We also hear them more often, so it must have been a good brood year for whatever pairs have been nesting in the neighborhood.

Anyway, that’s the D100 on a good day. The gallery for these photos is HERE, and the slideshow is linked below.

Slideshow for Throwback Today 006 (27 photos)

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


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