Black-capped Chickadee captured by Z 9 / 800f5.6AFS w/Profoto A10

Winter is here and with the cold comes the flocks to the feeders. It’s a wildlife photographer’s shag-gra-la! I’m very fortunate to have a number of locations that I can use to photograph the 69 species of birds here at The Ranch. One of them is from the bedroom, inside that nice, warm home. But here’s the issue that directly effects the sharpness of your images. The outside temp when I photographed this Black-capped Chickadee was 18, the inside temp was 61. Shooting out the open window (screen is removed), that warm inside air is rushing out and that causes heat shimmer. This is especially true when the heater turns on. Many associate heat shimmer with summer but it can occur anytime and any place where there is a difference in air temps.

Two other factors that can cause images not to be as sharp as desired in this scenario can be wind and carpet. Since I was using the A10, if there was wind causing the branch to move, I would have seen “ghosting” in the photo. And padded carpet is a really bad platform for a tripod as it provides very limited stability. While these are possible issue, seeing the heat shimmer I knew that was the culprit.

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