This article shares a selection of handheld photographs of American Goldfinches that were captured in my backyard earlier this summer. Although American Goldfinches visit periodically, we don’t typically see them with any regularity until August. By the fall most of the birds have migrated out of the area.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
I recently built a small DYI bird photo perch adjacent to the pond in my backyard. American Goldfinches can be a bit skittish so it took a while for a few individual birds to feel comfortable using it. This DYI bird photo perch has enabled me to capture some images with fairly clean, unobstructed backgrounds as you can see in the next three photographs.
My wife has planted a number of coneflowers in the backyard, with many of them proximate to the pond and our back deck. After the blossoms have dried out to some degree, the American Goldfinches visit frequently as they like to feed on the seeds.
As you examine the EXIF data you’ll discover that all of the images in this article were captured using Pro Capture H. As mentioned earlier, American Goldfinches tend to be skittish birds and they don’t stay perched very long.
I use Pro Capture H most of the time when I am photographing this species as I never know when I may be able to capture some leaping or flying behaviour. These birds are extremely quick and I enjoy photographing them launching into flight whenever possible. The next five photographs captured a bird leaping to another branch.
My standard settings for Pro Capture H are my Pre Shutter Frames and Frame Limiter both set to 15. I always use a frame rate of 60 frames-per-second and single point auto-focus. I love the fast frame rate available with Pro Capture H as it allows me to capture a good selection of body and/or wing positions. The five consecutive photographs above were captured in a total of 1/12th of a second.
Typically I concentrate my photographic efforts on American Goldfinches that are in close proximity to me, although I am not averse to photographing birds taking flight a distance away from me. For example, the finch in the above image was about 18 metres away (~59 feet). Showing more of the bird’s environment can be of benefit in terms of providing context.
The final four photographs in this article show an American Goldfinch taking flight from a coneflower.
Whenever I photograph American Goldfinches in action I use a shutter speed between 1/2500 to 1/5000. The more available light I have, the higher the shutter speed I use.
Using faster shutter speeds helps to reduce wing blur. At times this means that a higher ISO value is required. When needed I don’t hesitate to shoot as high as ISO-6400. Applying two rounds of noise reduction during my process in post (i.e. DxO PhotoLab DeepPRIME, Topaz DeNoise AI) handles the noise to an acceptable level for my needs.
I always look forward to having American Goldfinches in my backyard… even if they only visit for a relatively short period of time each year.
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. Crops are noted. This is the 1,073rd article published on this website since its original inception.
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