Galapagos Mockingbird

Galapagos Mockingbird

Galapagos Mockingbird

1/1600s @ f/5.6 ISO 1000 @ 400mm

Natural Light, Handheld

The Galápagos Mockingbird (Mimus parvulus) is a species of Mockingbird indigenous to Galápagos, and it can be found throughout the islands.  I captured this shot a few months back during my almost two-week visit there.  They are common and numerous amongst the islands, but I fell in love with these perky little birds.  They are fearless, as are most of the critters in Galápagos, and don’t mind screeching in your face as illustrated in the above photo.  I was only about 3.5 meters away from him (the minimum focus distance of my lens) when I captured this shot.

This image was taken at 8:40 a.m. on a bright, but overcast morning.  I had no trouble approaching close, as mentioned above, and was able to grab a few quick shots before he flew off (I picked this shot because he was exhibiting a natural behavior, screeching his head off).  This was taken with my primary wildlife lens:  the stellar Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM super-telephoto ($1,250 USD).  I’ve sung the praises of this lens on many previous posts.  It was shot wide-open at f/5.6, with a shutter speed of 1/1600s (no camera shake or motion blur at this speed).

You will also note that my ISO was 1000, but it looks almost as good as ISO 100 (virtually no discernible noise).  There is a little graininess in the colored background, but it is very slight. This great resolution is due in large part to my camera:  the Canon EOS 5D Mark II full-frame (22 MP) digital SLR.  It handles high ISO like a champ in most shooting situations, and I can get very usable (suitable for publication) images up to ISO 3200 and even beyond. This camera and lens combination is dynamite for wildlife photography, as the image quality of the above photo will attest.

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Super-telephoto

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Super-telephoto

I purchased my 5D Mark II in 2009, and Canon has since updated it with the 5D Mark III and the soon to be released 5D Mark IV.  Right now Nikon has surpassed Canon with quality sensors, but the 5D-series and 1D-series Canons still compete very well.  But the real kicker is that no one (including Nikon) has a lens like the 400mm, it is in a class all its own.  And there is no Canon-to-Nikon adapter available, so if you want this lens you will have to match it to a Canon body (sorry Nikon shooters).  I want to assure readers that I receive no compensation or consideration from Canon whatsoever, these are strictly my opinions based on my own personal experience.


Stephen F. Dennstedt

Photographer, Writer and World Traveler

Huaraz, Peru

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