Pileated Woodpecker

This is the first blog entry featuring pictures from my family’s trip to Cades Cove, Tennessee on Superbowl Sunday, February 5th 2012.

Bret Douglas said it would be like this. He gave some advice to some members of a local photography group that we are both members of. He said that it’s always a good idea to check the settings on your camera before you start shooting. Good advice Bret, I wish I had followed it.

I had my ISO set ridiculously high and accidentally left it that way when we stumbled upon this Pileated Woodpecker. I could have made some great photos at an ISO of 100, 200 or even 1,000 but these pictures were made at ISO 12,800. The D7000 is a pretty darn good camera but even it is going to produce pictures that are grainy at 12,800 ISO.   I adjusted the shutter speed fast enough that the exposure is right for the insane ISO but I should have fixed the ISO. I should have known something was wrong when 1/8000th of a second exposures were making properly exposed photos on a cloudy day. I guess I was too excited about seeing the woodpecker to think about it. One thing is certain, even with the bird pecking away, at the shutter speed I was using to compensate for the crazy inadvertent ISO, there is no motion blur in these pictures!

Bret says that he occasionally still forgets to check all his settings so I’m certainly in good company. I just can’t help but think how much better these would be if I had taken the time to make sure I didn’t have my ISO all out of whack.

From now on I’ll try harder to follow Bret’s advice and check my camera settings before I shoot. If I’m playing around with odd settings, I’ll set my set camera back to a good baseline starting point before I put it away.

Here’s some of the pictures I made of the Pileated Woodpecker that day. At the bottom is a link to a video that I made as well. Enjoy!

Pileated Woodpecker at Cades Cove TN

Pileated Woodpecker at Cades Cove Tennessee

Pileated Woodpecker at Cades Cove Tennessee

Interesting Looking Eyes on Impact

Pileated Woodpecker at Cades Cove Tennessee

Ready for a full swing at the tree.

Pileated Woodpecker at Cades Cove Tennessee

This impact even caused the feathers on the back of it’s head to flex.

Pileated Woodpecker at Cades Cove Tennessee

Later it flew to another tree and waited for us to leave.

You can click on any of the images to see a full size version.

Click here to watch the video I made of the woodpecker at work.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

-Phil

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