Oriole Leaving Pond

Yesterday I had my first ever opportunity to photograph a Baltimore Oriole leaving our backyard pond after taking a bath in it. We usually have a few weeks during the late spring when Baltimore Orioles visit our backyard. They regularly feed at our hummingbird feeders and will also consume orange sections that my wife puts out for them. Neither my wife or I had ever previously seen them take a bath in the pond, as they tend to be quite skittish birds.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 321 mm, efov 642 mm, f/8.6, 1/2500, ISO-3200, Pro Capture H, cropped to 3681 pixels on the width, subject distance 6.4 metres

Fortunately I had been out with my camera earlier in the day and it was sitting on the kitchen table. Our kitchen window overlooks our backyard pond and my wife called out that a Baltimore Oriole was in the pond taking a bath.

I grabbed my E-M1X, quickly turned my top dial to C3 (my standard Pro Capture H setting) and through the kitchen window, captured some images of it bathing.

Knowing that the Baltimore Oriole wouldn’t stay long, I composed a Pro Capture H run assuming that the bird would fly from left to right on an upward trajectory.  My intuition proved correct and within a few seconds I photographed the oriole leaving our pond. Here are 8 consecutive photographs from that Pro Capture H image run. These photographs were captured in a total of about 1/8th of a second.

OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 280 mm, efov 560 mm, f/8.6, 1/2500, ISO-3200, Pro Capture H, full frame capture, subject distance 6.5 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 280 mm, efov 560 mm, f/8.6, 1/2500, ISO-3200, Pro Capture H, full frame capture, subject distance 6.5 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 280 mm, efov 560 mm, f/8.6, 1/2500, ISO-3200, Pro Capture H, full frame capture, subject distance 6.5 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 280 mm, efov 560 mm, f/8.6, 1/2500, ISO-3200, Pro Capture H, full frame capture, subject distance 6.5 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 280 mm, efov 560 mm, f/8.6, 1/2500, ISO-3200, Pro Capture H, full frame capture, subject distance 6.5 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 280 mm, efov 560 mm, f/8.6, 1/2500, ISO-3200, Pro Capture H, full frame capture, subject distance 6.5 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 280 mm, efov 560 mm, f/8.6, 1/2500, ISO-3200, Pro Capture H, full frame capture, subject distance 6.5 metres
OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 IS with M.Zuiko MC-14 teleconverter @ 280 mm, efov 560 mm, f/8.6, 1/2500, ISO-3200, Pro Capture H, full frame capture, subject distance 6.5 metres

As is my standard practice when using Pro Capture H I shot at 60 frames-per-second with my Pre-Shutter Frames and Frame Limiter both set to 15. I used a single auto-focus point.

None of us can predict when we will be presented with a ‘first ever’ image opportunity like this oriole leaving our pond. Using a camera that we know intimately can make the difference between capturing our images successfully, or missing them because we were fumbling around with camera settings.

Technical Note:

Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard approach in post. Photographs are displayed as full frame captures. They were resized for web use. This is the 1,173 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.

How you can help keep this site advertising free

My intent is to keep this photography blog advertising free. If you enjoyed this article and/or my website and would like to support my work, you can purchase an eBook, or make a donation through PayPal. Both are most appreciated.

If you click on the Donate button below you will find that there are three donation options: $7.50, $10.00 and $20.00. All are in Canadian funds. Plus, you can choose a different amount if you want. You can also increase your donation amount to help offset our costs associated with accepting your donation through PayPal. An ongoing, monthly contribution to support our work can also be done through the PayPal Donate button below.

You can make your donation through your PayPal account, or by using a number of credit card options.



 As a reminder to our Canadian readers, you can get a special 5% discount when ordering Tamron or Rokinon lenses and other products directly from the Amplis Store. Be sure to use my discount code when you make your purchase.

Word of mouth is the best form of endorsement. If you like our website please let your friends and associates know about our work. Linking to this site or to specific articles is allowed with proper acknowledgement. Reproducing articles, or any of the images contained in them, on another website or in any social media posting is a Copyright infringement.

Article and images are Copyright 2022 Thomas Stirr.  All rights reserved. No use, duplication or adaptation of any kind is allowed without written consent. If you see this article reproduced anywhere else it is an unauthorized and illegal use. Posting comments on offending websites and calling out individuals who steal intellectual property is always appreciated!

13 thoughts on “Oriole Leaving Pond”

  1. As I use an E-M1 MkII the AF system is obviously a bit behind the cutting edge of the likes of the E-M1X , nevertheless would you agree that given a situation in which the camera is static and a bird taking off that any tracking option is unlikely to respond fast enough to refocus on a departing bird? Or could this be mitigated by having a large cluster area for it to travel through if it went laterally across the viewfinder rather than in a direction directly away/towards the camera? My impression from my experience with the MkII is no. To my mind this is very different to panning and following a target which would be keeping it in the frame for an extended period. Thanks for your thoughts which I am sure will be illuminating!

    1. Hi Mark,

      The important point to remember when using Pro Capture H with Olympus cameras is that the first frame of an image run locks auto-focus and exposure for the rest of the image run. As long as the bird flies parallel to your camera’s sensor when it takes flight it will remain in focus. I use a single, small auto-focus point for all of my Pro Capture H images. There is no need to use anything more than that. I always use Pro Capture H at 60 frames per second.

      Pro Capture stores images in temporary memory when the shutter release is half depressed and only writes those images to the memory card once the shutter release is fully depressed. In essence, when you use Pro Capture L or H you are committing images to your card after the desired action has already occurred. Of course individual photographers will set Pro Capture to suit their particular needs. With Pro Capture H I set my Pre-Shutter Frames and my Frame Limiter both to 15. This means that when I fully depress my shutter release my camera writes those images saved in temporary memory to my card. No additional images are created after I fully depress my shutter release. I use a different approach with Pro Capture L.

      The OM-1 has the capability of shooting with Pro Capture with continuous auto-focus up to 50 frames per second, if an appropriate lens is used. My M.Zuiko 100-400 f/5-6.3 IS is not one of those lenses. Its maximum continuous auto-focus frame rate is 25 with the OM-1, compared to 18 fps with my E-M1X.

      I’m working on a new article that features dragonflies in flight. This new posting helps illustrate how Pro Capture H can be effectively used to record images in temporary memory even before a dragonfly enters the planned composition.

      Tom

      1. Thank you for that fulsome reply. My understanding is that if one wanted to update the focus in ProCap L that would either require C-AF and panning to keep the AF point(s) on the target, or using the C-AF +Tracking mode – which I must admit I do not think it could react fast enough to a sudden take off by a small bird. At least in the E-M1 MkII.

        1. Hi Mark,

          That is an option that can be used.

          Keep in mind that a photographer can also pan while using Pro Capture H to keep the bird positioned in the frame for a longer duration. As long as the bird flies parallel to the camera’s sensor it will remain in focus. My preference is to use Pro Capture H at 60 frames per second as it creates a much higher number of potentially useable images. I’ve used Pro Capture H for larger birds in free flight and it can work well in those situations. It really depends on the preference of an individual photographer.

          Tom

  2. Wonderful photos of this pretty bird. I love my little ponds and the frogs that they draw to them. I have yet to see a bird bathing in any of them. Snakes drive in from time to time.

    1. Hi Joni,

      We placed an assortment of rocks in our pond to create shallow areas where smaller birds can bathe. Having a number of perching areas in the pond seems to make the birds feel more comfortable visiting it.

      Tom

  3. Great images! Always enjoy your posts. You may have already done this, but do you have a post showing yours camera set up for Olympus,along with your custom settings?

  4. Thomas, I have been following your website for several months now and always enjoy your images and writings.

    The images of the Baltimore Oriole are amazing, a real tribute to your abilities with the Olympus EM-1X camera, 100-400 lens, and the Pro Capture. The image quality you have achieved at ISO 10,000 is slightly mind blowing.

    I am currently using a Sony RX-10 iii as my main camera. I have been pursuing photography for nearly 50 years. I have used or owned film and digital formats from 4×5 inch to my current Sony with a 1″ sensor. Here again, your work the Nikon 1″ sensor system is really impressive.

    Olympus/OM-D is one system I have never owned. I am seriously thinking of upgrading to a system with newer autofocus and stabilization technologies. The Zeiss 24-600 (equivalent) zoom lens in the RX-10 is capable of amazing results with the best techniques, but is not up to the abilities of the latest cameras from other companies.

    I have been a nature (landscape, flowers) photographer for a long time, but I have become “wholly converted” to bird photography in the last few, i.e. pandemic driven, years. I wished I had started in this pursuit much sooner, but doesn’t everyone? But as we know it’s all about the pursuit of light, right?

    I have included the link to my website if you have time to look at it. Not much bird photography on it yet, but that is coming.

    Thanks for your time…Ed Sponholz, a Canadian ex-pat living in Tacoma, WA.

  5. Fantastic photos Thomas! Thanks for sharing all the EXIF data. I don’t have your camera, but the settings easily translate to my Nikon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *