Comparing Cameras

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

I’m still trying to make up my mind as to which DSLR to buy. I long ago decided on Canon, and the Rebel’s a little small and a little too low on the megapixels for my tastes. In my price range, that leaves the 50D and the 5D Mark II (or equivalent older models, but I like newer toys. :-) ). The primary difference between these two are:

  1. The 50D is an APS-C sensor with a 1.6x Field-of-view crop. The 5D is a full 35mm camera.
  2. The 5D has 21 megapixels vs. 15 megapixels on the 5D.

I like to take pictures of two things: birds and bugs. (For family, friends, and pets I can use a point-and-shoot.) Keeping that in mind what makes sense?

Silver Argiope

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

Large orb weaver in web with stabilimentum, dorsal view
Silver Argiope, Argiope argentata, female
Robert E. Badham Marine Life refuge, Corona del Mar, 2008-10-09

Pallid-winged Grasshopper

Friday, October 10th, 2008

Grey grasshopper in desert
Pallid-winged Grasshopper, Trimerotropis pallidipennis
Corn Creek, Clark County, Nevada, 2008-09-28

#446 Wandering Tattler

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

I went back to Robert E. Badham Marine Life Refuge in Corona del Mar tonight after work. Unfortunately I had miscalculated the tides. I knew they’d be two hours away from where they were Tuesday, but I thought they were two hours further away from high tide and instead they were two hours closer to it. In fact,when I got there around 5:45 it was pretty damn close to high tide. I almost didn’t bother walking down from the street to the beach, but I scoped it and fortunately there were still a few birds hanging out including many Western and Hermann’s Gulls. There also appeared to be a few good shorebirds down there: some turnstones and plovers and what not.

When I reached the bottom, I found a couple of dozen Brandt’s Cormorants settling in for the night, a lone Black Phoebe, and small numbers but good variety of shorebirds: about five Black Turnstones, one Ruddy Turnstone, a Willet or two, one Sanderling, and one juvenile Black-bellied Plover. But it was while I was watching about four Black Turnstones in the flotsam, that I noticed one larger bird picking through the seaweed.

At first I thought it was another Surfbird like Tuesday’s, but the bill was much too long. A quick check of the field guide and I realized it must be the elusive Wandering Tattler, #446! It had a thin eye ring and a barely discernible white eyeline. The patterning was right, and although it was hard to make out in the fading light, through the scope you could just tell that legs were a pale yellow.

It was way too dark to get photos of this bird with my 4X point-and-shoot, but I did manage to get some photos of the Black Turnstones that I missed taking on Tuesday when I forgot my camera:

Black Turnstone on beach at dusk

I’m going to have to try this site again at low tide and in brighter light. There are several other spots to the south I also want to check out. Wandering Tattler was the last local shorebird I could reasonably expect, but the winter gulls should be coming in soon too, and possibly some near-shore pelagic birds like shearwaters and jaegers.

Moth Monday: Saltmarsh Moth

Monday, October 6th, 2008

White moth on clipboard
Saltmarsh Moth – Hodges#8131 (Estigmene acrea)
Brookhurst Marsh, Huntington Beach, 10-04-2008

Bill Butler found this sleepy fellow (gal?) on this past weekend’s bird census. I’ve seen the caterpillar of this species before, but this is the first time I’ve seen the adult.

Banded Argiope

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

Yellow and black striped spider
Banded Argiope, Argiope trifasciata
Brookhurst Marsh, Huntington Beach, Orange County, CA,2008-10-04

Today I once again participated in the quarterly bird census for the Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy. Breeding season is over so we tramped around in the pickleweed more than previously which turned up a lot of small leafhoppers, various moths, a few butterflies, and a couple of these gorgeous spiders.