Double Crested Cormorants

Double Crested Cormorants

I never liked these birds. Just didn’t. They aren’t good looking and they just don’t have class. If you have a chance to observe them for a while, you will get what I mean. They don’t appear graceful with their aggressive flapping and dainty they ain’t as they move with jerks being carried by the biggest, ugliest gull-feet I’ve ever seen. Even their homes are a wreck. Their nests are large gangly messes made with old Dorito bags, a birthday balloon, and, yes, other dead birds. You can’t make this stuff up. These birds are just not cool. Oh, and did I say they are gluttons? After spending a good five minutes trying to jam this big catfish down its gullet, what did it do? Dove right back under looking for more.

But they sure can fish. They dive and chase fish with their powerful ugly webbed feet and they use a nasty hook at the end of their beak for snagging fish.

There is myth that Cormorants don’t have oil in their feathers like other diving birds and therefore have to spread their wings in the sun to dry them. Actually they do have oil, but the feather structure is very different than ducks and other water fowl and has less water repellency. It is repellent, but it needs a bit of sun to assist dry out.

Camera Stuff

I shot these with my new Canon 5DSr, Canon’s newest 51 megapixel marvel. I love this camera. I now shoot at 400 ISO in good light and can go up to 800 with great results. 800 ISO looks fantastic if you don’t crop but when you do, lumpiness shows.

Besides the megapixels, what impresses me most about this camera is something I never expected: I just don’t do much processing in LightRoom anymore. This camera’s picture quality is just so darn good, I find myself spending less time tweaking in software.

My lens is my ever-loved Canon 500mm image stabilized monster. I use this thing a lot. If you are going bird shooting, you need 500mm. If I could do it again, I think I would buy the 600mm as you can’t have too much length, but the 600 starts to get pretty heavy.

Below is the cropping power of 51 megapixels. Just amazing. But I warn you, your technique has to be perfect to be able to crop down this deep. The smallest movements even with image stabilization or being ever-so-little out of perfect focus will show up as glaringly sloppy work when you crop down all the way to pixel level.

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The Equipment:

  • Canon 5DSr
  • Canon 500mm L f/4.0 IS
  • Gitzo 3530LS carbon fiber tripod
  • Wimberley II gimbal head
  • LightRoom 6.2.1

Location Types: Nature Reserve. Galleries: Birds and Cormorants. Tags: 500mm and 5DSr.

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