Nature clicks #73 - Mourning Dove withstands the winter

Mourning Dove
Nikon D300s, Sigma 50-500mm / f4.5-6.3 APO DG HSM @ 420 mm (630 mm FX), 1/45s, f/6.3, -1.5 EV, ISO 100

We are back to "normal" here in Iowa. Yesterday it has snowed all day long and we have plenty of the white stuff in the woods here. As much as I hate driving in these weather conditions, I love the doors it opens for photography. The snow on the ground is one of the best light sources for wildlife photography. Despite a complete overcast of the sky the reflection of the light from the snow makes for great light conditions. There are no shadows to deal with and in this matter the dove got wonderful light from underneath.

It is tempting to crank the ISO settings of the camera up but the price is paid in post, where you have to deal with noise. I tried to push my limits (I think, there is nothing really to loose when you are at home and can shoot around the house). I set the camera to ISO 100 and just tried to get the best out of it. My Sigma 50-500 is one of the older models that doesn't have vibration reduction but shooting from a tripod probably doesn't make that much of a difference anyway.

The Mourning Dove here belongs to a flock that is hanging around our house all winter long so far. I believe they are beautiful birds and for me it is just mind-boggling that the law in Iowa does allow to shoot them (for the first time in my blog I really mean shooting with a gun and not with a camera!!). We always have one or two couples here that raise their young but I have never had such great light to make a picture of one of them. The snow pouring down tells the story about survival in winter for all birds. More to come…