Natural Art: The Photography of Brad Hill

Quoth the Raven

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In the Field

Quoth the Raven. Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada. 12 October 2018.

I made an egregious error when I captured this image - I forgot I was using my Z7 mirrorless camera and and I stupidly went ahead and captured this wildlife image with it! And, of course, we KNOW (at least according to the pundits), that the new Nikon Z7 simply ISN'T a wildlife camera! ;-)

So...for others out there who may also choose to "against the grain" and use their Z7's for things they're not supposed to use them's a few tidbits I've picked up about the camera that might apply to how to best use it wrongly. ;-)

First...the mount adapter FTZ that allows you to use your F-mount lenses with the Z7 (or Z6) works just fine. And, at least up to this point, the autofocus seems to be completely unaffected by the adapter. I captured this shot using my Nikkor 180-400mm f4E lens (at 400mm with the 1.4x TC at 560mm). That lens has a VERY fast AF system, and when shooting this raven it seemed just as fast on the Z7 (attached with that FTZ) as it would on my D850. And that's a very good thing.

What about the VR? I haven't had a chance to do systematic VR tests on the Z7 yet (in terms of comparing the shutter speed I can hand-hold f-mount VR lenses on the Z7 vs. on the D850), but my gut is telling me that when you put an f-mount lens WITH VR on a Z7 you get better image stabilization than you would if you put that same lens on a D850. Case in point - I worked with this cooperative (and loud-mouthed) Raven for about 15 minutes and captured about 200 shots of it. Given the light was low I did the usual "juggling" of ISO and shutter speed and aperture - and ended up shooting all those 200 images at either 1/200th or 1/250s (and all were hand-held). The vast majority (85+%) were tack sharp, and almost all the soft ones were that way due to subject movement (not camera shake). When I shoot the 180-400mm f4E at 560mm on my D850 my "hit ratio" at 1/200-250s isn't anywhere NEAR this high (likely 50% or less). So it seems (and I will confirm this in time) that the in-body VR of the Z7 complements the VR of your f-mount lenses very, very well.

But just promise me one thing - that you WON'T use this camera to shoot wildlife. OK? (All the better for me if others don't get onto using the Z7 as wrong as I do!). ;-)

Here's a larger (2400 pixel) version of this cheeky Raven for your perusal:

Quoth the Raven: Download 2400 pixel image (JPEG: 1.2 MB)


1. This image - in all resolutions - is protected by copyright. I'm fine with personal uses of them (including use as desktop backgrounds or screensavers on your own computer), but unauthorized commercial use of the image is prohibited by law. Thanks in advance for respecting my copyright!

2. Like all wildlife photographs on this website, this image was captured following the strict ethical guidelines described in The Wildlife FIRST! Principles of Photographer Conduct. I encourage all wildlife photographers to always put the welfare of their subjects above the value of their photographs.

Behind the Camera

Quoth the Raven. Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada. 12 October 2018.

Digital Capture; Compressed RAW (NEF) 14-bit format; ISO 3600.

Nikon Z7 mirrorless body paired (using the FTZ mount adapter) with Nikkor 180-400mm f4E zoom at 400mm and with teleconverter engaged (total focal length of 560mm). Hand-held. VR on and in Sport mode. Z7 AF system set to AF-C with Single Point area mode.

1/200s @ f6.3; -0.67 stop compensation from "recommended" matrix-metered exposure setting.

At the Computer

Quoth the Raven. Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada. 12 October 2018.

RAW Conversion to 16-bit TIFF, including all global and selective adjustments, using Phase One's Capture One Pro 11.3 (from DNG file derived from Z7 NEF via Lightroom Classic CC). Global adjustments to this shot included modifications to exposure, white balance, and some highlight retrieval. Selective local adjustments performed using Capture One Pro's layers and masking tools. In this case adjustments were made on 8 separate layers and included local/selective editing of (or adjustment of) shadow recovery, exposure (balancing), curves (for selective contrast), noise reduction, saturation tweaks, and clarity.

Photoshop adjustments were limited to image re-sizing, conversion of Prophoto RGB colour gamut (to sRGB), final sharpening for online display, and insertion of watermark.


Quoth the Raven. Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, Canada. 12 October 2018.

Ten percent of the revenue generated by this image will be donated to Raincoast*.

Species Status in Canada**: This species is not designated as at risk.

The majestic Common Raven (Corvus corax) has an extremely broad geographic and ecological distribution - its natural distribution is one of the widest in the world. One factor contributing to this wide distribution is the huge range of foods (and feeding behaviour) of the raven - it's a scavenger, predator AND kleptoparasite. Its diet includes carrion, large numbers of arthropods, small rodents, bird nestlings, seeds, grains and more.

Ravens are considered to be among the most intelligent of birds and exhibit extreme behavioural plasticity. They will quickly learn innovative new methods to access food and even will form associations with other species (such as wolves) in order to obtain food. Some have even suggested that ravens will lead wolves to prey they have spotted from overhead, presumably so they can feed off the carcasses if the wolves make a successful kill (and once the wolves have had their fill).

*The Raincoast Conservation Society (and Foundation) is an effective and efficient organization that has been fighting for protection of unique habitats and species found in the province of British Columbia. If you are looking for a meaningful way to contribute to the conservation of BC's spectacular wilderness, Raincoast will provide maximal "bang" for your conservation dollars.

**as determined by COSEWIC: The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada