Photographing Arctic

Photographing Arctic Breeding Birds with the Canon EOS D30

There is an abundance of reviews of the Canon D30 semi-professional digital SLR in the press and on the Internet. What follows is not another review, but wedding hire melbourne a field report of this photographer’s experience photographing Arctic breeding birds with the D30 for a week in Churchill, Manitoba.

My photography is focused mainly on birds using Canon EOS 35mm equipment, specifically the EOS 3, EF 500/4.5 L and an assortment of smaller lenses. For some time now I’ve been anxious to make the move to digital. So, when the opportunity to borrow a D30 for an upcoming trip to Churchill, Manitoba with Arthur Morris presented itself, I couldn’t pass it up. I was excited to use the D30, but I was also a little hesitant. Although the D30 is reputed to produce excellent images, reports of lackluster auto focus and a relatively slow frame rate led me to consider it “not quite there yet” for use as a serious bird photographer’s tool. I would definitely pack my trusted EOS 3 and plenty of film in case the D30 didn’t work out.

I wasn’t about to take an unfamiliar camera on such an important trip without first getting comfortable with it, so I tested the D30 for two days before leaving for Churchill. After skimming through the manual and setting up the camera’s custom functions to my liking, I was quickly on my way to making beautiful bird photos with the D30. With the exception of an LCD screen and a vertical row of buttons on the back of the camera, the D30 looks and operates just like any other mid-range EOS I have used. Once the menu options are set the way you want them, you will rarely need to refer to the LCD and can operate the camera almost entirely by the familiar EOS dials and buttons.

For my trial run I photographed a variety of subjects including barn swallows, yellow warblers, common terns, willets, semipalmated sandpipers and American oystercatchers at various locations in my home state of New Jersey. When reviewing the images after the first day, it became apparent that many of the shots seemed a little under-exposed. A quick search on the Internet revealed numerous posts reporting this problem with suggestions on how to test the camera’s meter. Sure enough, the meter proved to be 1/3 stop dark. There wasn’t enough time before my trip to send the camera to Canon for an adjustment, so I would have to remember to add +1/3 stop compensation above and beyond any compensation for a given scene. Although a minor inconvenience, it can be easy to forget when working quickly to capture action.