Osprey Update

Older fledgling tests its wings as sibling looks on
About the Camera

Project Osprey continues! Resetting the camera’s factory defaults seems to have worked. I know … I know, this is anathema to all the purists who insist that I disable the auto settings and shoot in manual mode.

However, I’m not too proud to admit that the camera is smarter than me!

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 has an incredible reach as you can see in the image above. The insert shows the relative distance between me and the nest — it’s that little dot circled in red.

At 48x digital zoom, the FZ200 takes you right into the nest. Panasonic recommends shooting 24x optical zoom for a clearer photo with less noise. The longer zoom digitally crops the image which artificially enlarges what the camera sees. This results in pixelation, or a degrading of the image.

Still, to get that close with a DSLR would be cost prohibitive. The FZ200 has a reach of 2000mm. The shorter Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM Lens comes with a hefty price tag — US$8999. By comparison, I paid US$250 for the FZ200.

Be advised that a bridge camera (superzoom) sacrifices sensor size for distance. This will affect the clarity and detail of your captured images. However, this is not an issue unless you plan to sell copies larger than 8×10.

About the Photos

Two chicks hatched this year. In the header image the fledgling on the left is the older of the two. The younger one spends most of the day nestled down low, and only pops up when the parents have gone fishing. It has not yet begun to flap its wings. I expect the older one to fly any day now as they typically do within seven weeks of hatching.

In the photo below is the family of four. Notice the younger sibling in the highlighted circle (photo center) being attended to by the mother. Dad looks on from the left as the older fledgling stands center watch.

The sheet, or blanket is still hanging from the nest. As noted previously, it was most likely scavenged from a nearby campground.

Yes, the images are fuzzy, but as noted above that is the trade-off for such a long reach. At this distance the camera doesn’t know whether to focus on the birds, or the nest though I should be able to tweak that in the settings.

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