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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

First visit to Wheeler's National Wildlife Refuge in Decatur, Alabama

This was my first visit to Wheeler's National Wildlife Refuge in Decatur, Alabama. I was testing out my Nikon CoolPix P1000.

Today, I finally visited Wheeler's National Wildlife Refuge in Decatur, Alabama. It was a lovely place with an observation area with one-way glass. There are nature trails, as well. I will have to save them for a future visit.

I wanted to take some more practice shots with my new, to me, Nikon CoolPix P1000 with a 125x wide optical zoom range. It is capable of taking pictures from 4.3 to 539 mm. Of course, the closer you zoom in, the more steady you need to hold the camera to get a clear shot.

I took over 600 pictures. Only about a quarter of them are worth keeping. Part of why I took so many is I am trying to transition from always taking automatic photos to trying to learn how to use the manual settings without any formal training.

Given that I can make repeated visits, I felt I could afford to use this as my practice day. I would not feel the same should I be on a cruise with a shore excursion that I paid a lot of money for. I knew I needed to train myself to use this camera before I go on my next cruise. 

Sadly, I apparently was two weeks too late to see the Sandhill Cranes. Today, I saw ducks, turtles, gulls, egrets, herons, squirrels, cardinals, and a beautiful little songbird taking a bird bath. I also saw a muskrat swimming in the water.

I realize that I really need a tripod or a monopod to do a better job taking pictures. I went to Walmart afterward to purchase one to try out. I needed one compact enough and light enough to carry with me on future cruises. So, that will be something else to field-test.

Eventually, I experimented and found a setting that feels pretty good. I used the following settings:

  • A - Aperture Priority-Auto
  • Image Quality - Norm
  • Image Size 16M 4608x3456
  • Picture Control - Standard
  • White Balance - Daylight
  • Metering - Matrix
  • Single rather than Continuous
  • ISO Sensitivity - Auto
  • Minimum Shutter Speed 1/125
  • Exposure Bracketing - Off
  • AF area mode - Face priority
  • Autofocus mode AF-F
  • Flash (never used)
  • Noise Reduction - NR+
  • Active D-Lighting - Off
  • Zoom Memory - Off
I also used the UV 77 mm filter that was one of the three that came with the camera.

(For trained photographers - you may find this rather laughable. But like I said, I have had zero training in this and have a lot to learn. I mostly am listing this for amateurs and for my own reference so I can repeat these settings again.)

Here are just a few of my very favorite shots.

And finally, here is this lovely purple flower that was near the bird feeder that the cardinals were using. I would be grateful if somebody could identify the flower in the comment section. It was part of the ground cover.

Have a great day! Thanks for visiting!

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