This is a trip from mid-august that I’m just catching up on image processing for. One reason: it was an extremely successful outing. I went down to Moss Landing to do some experimenting with the autofocus on the X-T2 and because the reports were that a few thousand Elegant Terns had returned from nesting in Mexico and were hanging out.

Turns out, they were:

Jetty Road, Moss Landing Harbor

I’m really loving the X-T2 and moving to it has been a lot of fun; the much higher megapixel sensor than the X-T1 gives me a lot more crop ability and a lot more detail in the images, and so one thing I’ve started doing is shoot fresh images of species I have a fairly good library on to update those species libraries with new images off this sensor. That will allow me to retire older, not-as-good images, which is one way to incrementally improve your portfolio.

I’m still sorting out exactly how I want to configure autofocus for various situations; eventually I’ll write an article describing this. I’m finding I’m switching a lot between the different AF modes still, and since you can also define how big the point and region is, there are effectively almost a dozen different AF styles to play with, plus using both in single AF at the start of the burst or continuous. I’m finding strengths and weaknesses in all approaches.

(Fuji AF actually gets even more complex because there are five configuration settings that tweak the internal preferences of the AF, but in practice, I’m finding for most of what I shoot leaving it on config 2 (AF preference for objects in motion) seems to work best for me. But there are lots of ways to bend the Fuji AF system to your will, but you need to spend time understanding what to expect to know how best to use it.

On this trip, I was able to shoot a good number of quality images of not one, but two species I want good libraries on. The first one to wander by and give me an extended close view was one of my favorites, the Common Loon.

Common Loon

This Loon is in winter plumage and seems to be in a full mount (note the short lengths of the main flight feathers, they’ve been mounted out and are regrowing). That implies this bird can’t fly right now (which is normal for Loons in moult). I caught it in an extended preening session, which also involves the sitting up and flapping which I believe helps inject air into the feathers which helps improve their insulation in cold water. Plus it looks like fun.

Whimbrel

And as I was sitting there a shorebird walked out from behind a bush along the water’s edge, and at first I thought it was another Long-Billed Curlew, which are fairly common here, and then I realized it was the much rarer Whimbrel, a species for which I have a very limited library. And here we are with a bird that decided to walk right past my shooting location like I wasn’t there, and then even better, stopped to hunt and eat a crawfish.

Whimbrel

Some days it just all clicks.

Getting these images into the system and published means I’m finally caught up with the backlog from the last few months — just in time for the next trip…