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What I learned about photography today ...


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How many bird species can you experts identify?

V

 

It's a little tough as the photo is kind of small, but I think I can see: swans, Canadian geese, mallards, teals, scaups, widgeons, and coots...there may be some other duck types that I can't quite make out. Definitely a nice selection!

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I can't count the times I patiently waited for the 2-second timer delay on the first shot out after shooting still life or landscapes.

 

I set a memory recall space with all the "regular" settings.

 

Now I'm hoping I don't have to count the times I forgot to recall the settings.

 

:o

 

Dave

 

Yeah - I've done the timer wait before. I've also done the ISO12,800 in bright daylight after coming out of a dark ride shoot at Disney World...and the 3-frame HDR blend shot of a bird because I had just snapped a contrasty architecture shot with strong backlight.

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It's a little tough as the photo is kind of small, but I think I can see: swans, Canadian geese, mallards, teals, scaups, widgeons, and coots...there may be some other duck types that I can't quite make out. Definitely a nice selection!

 

Looks like a couple of pintails too

Edited by kenevenpar
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I knew you guys were good!

 

We've had some unusually cold weather up here in the NW so much of the shallow water in the sanctuary is frozen. That forces the birds into a smaller area. There were a half dozen cars driving around that had amazing lens setups - they must have been a yard long and 10 inches across!

 

While I don't have the correct lenses for great shots, I sure enjoy watching and capturing what I can.

 

There were several eagles flying around and lots of other predators. I even saw a deer. Herons and egrets can be found there most of the year too. I was rather surprised that I didn't see sandhill cranes.

 

A nutria is visible in this picture, sending the swans squawking.

 

 

 

DSC09242_zpspthywras.jpg

 

Vic

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Vic, be a thinker and forget the specialty modes. A and S and M are all you really need. The reality is the modern cameras are just computers with lenses attached and when you go into specialty modes you are letting the camera do your thinking. That is my advice for today, what I learned today is that it is easier to photograph an NFL running back that it is to photograph an active two year old.....It is like trying to nail jello to a tree.

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Composition is certainly important but becoming a thinker with your camera will help you think about better composition too. I know I get lazy with thing at times and don't really think things through before I press that button....the results are usually less than what I wanted...

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  • 1 year later...

I went back to Ridgefield today and learned I REALLY don't have enough lens for birding. But it was a more normal cloud cover so the lighting was totally different today than last year.

 

I love the shadows in this one

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but I like the "fade correction" edition too. Part of the learning process was remembering which adjustment takes haze out of the air in Paint Shop Pro.

 

Vic

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I went back to Ridgefield today and learned I REALLY don't have enough lens for birding. But it was a more normal cloud cover so the lighting was totally different today than last year.

 

If you get into birding and wildlife - I have bad news for you. You're ALWAYS going to feel like you don't have enough lens for birding. I have gone out birding with everything from a 70-200mm consumer zoom to 150-600mm big zooms, 300mm & 400mm primes with teleconverters, 100-400mm with 1.4x TC, and no matter what, there's always SOME bird or animal that will be *just* out of reach, require a bunch of cropping, and make me wish I had just a little more reach. On an APS-C camera, I'm regularly in the 840mm to 1000mm reach capability - I've stood next to APS-C shooters with a 600mm F4 and 2x TC (that's 1800mm equivalent), and THEY still whine about wanting a little more reach.

 

It will never end. Just be ready. ;)

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If you get into birding and wildlife - I have bad news for you. You're ALWAYS going to feel like you don't have enough lens for birding. I have gone out birding with everything from a 70-200mm consumer zoom to 150-600mm big zooms, 300mm & 400mm primes with teleconverters, 100-400mm with 1.4x TC, and no matter what, there's always SOME bird or animal that will be *just* out of reach, require a bunch of cropping, and make me wish I had just a little more reach. On an APS-C camera, I'm regularly in the 840mm to 1000mm reach capability - I've stood next to APS-C shooters with a 600mm F4 and 2x TC (that's 1800mm equivalent), and THEY still whine about wanting a little more reach.

 

It will never end. Just be ready. ;)

 

 

Makes me suddenly happy about our small collection of dirty brown birds around here.

 

Dave

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If you get into birding and wildlife - I have bad news for you. You're ALWAYS going to feel like you don't have enough lens for birding. I have gone out birding with everything from a 70-200mm consumer zoom to 150-600mm big zooms, 300mm & 400mm primes with teleconverters, 100-400mm with 1.4x TC, and no matter what, there's always SOME bird or animal that will be *just* out of reach, require a bunch of cropping, and make me wish I had just a little more reach. On an APS-C camera, I'm regularly in the 840mm to 1000mm reach capability - I've stood next to APS-C shooters with a 600mm F4 and 2x TC (that's 1800mm equivalent), and THEY still whine about wanting a little more reach.

 

It will never end. Just be ready. ;)

 

:') You do get GORGEOUS pictures though!

 

Vic

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If you get into birding and wildlife - I have bad news for you. You're ALWAYS going to feel like you don't have enough lens for birding. I have gone out birding with everything from a 70-200mm consumer zoom to 150-600mm big zooms, 300mm & 400mm primes with teleconverters, 100-400mm with 1.4x TC, and no matter what, there's always SOME bird or animal that will be *just* out of reach, require a bunch of cropping, and make me wish I had just a little more reach. On an APS-C camera, I'm regularly in the 840mm to 1000mm reach capability - I've stood next to APS-C shooters with a 600mm F4 and 2x TC (that's 1800mm equivalent), and THEY still whine about wanting a little more reach.

 

It will never end. Just be ready. ;)

 

That shooter has little clue, IMHO.

 

The issue I have using a f/4 lens with a 2x converter is you're are f/8 which limits the autofocus in many bodies. Even the best bodies that can AF & f/8 do it slower and then only with center AF sensors. Now a 1200mm @ f/8 needs the best support, tripod and head along with mirror lockup and delayed shutter release. You can use it on static subjects but BIF's would be close to impossible.

 

If you are too far away tough. You must figure a way, pay the price, to get closer is you want to get the shot. What I mean by pay the price is, getting dirty, risk you camera gear, risk a broken bone, risk your life. My limit is dirty, most pros getting paid and using someone's else gear might risk gear.

 

 

Now back to earlier in this thread. Most good lenses are the best between f/4 & f/5.6 cheap lenses maybe @ f/8. I use A mode almost 99% of the time. I set the aperture and control the ISO to give me a shutter speed I can live with. If I need to get the shutter speed slower, to show motion, than I can with base ISO I'll put on a ND filter or variable ND filter. To increase the DOF I'd move away from the subject if possible. A static subject I might focus stack the item and no my camera does not do that automatically. Only last would I go above f/5.6.

 

 

One last comment, I prefer fast glass f/2.8 or faster. The reason is not to use the lens wide open but to allow the AF to work the best & fastest. Most camera body's AF systems are optimized for f2.8 glass.

 

 

I know there are many ways to do the same thing but the above is the way I think and do.

 

 

framer

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Only last would I go above f/5.6.

framer

 

Of course I am a bit older than you are, but back in the late 40's, early 50's, 1/125 and f8 was the "rule"!

 

But nowdays, for me, in most cases where I am not worried about depth of field, I go for the highest speed.

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Of course I am a bit older than you are, but back in the late 40's, early 50's, 1/125 and f8 was the "rule"!

 

But nowdays, for me, in most cases where I am not worried about depth of field, I go for the highest speed.

 

 

Back in the 60's & 70's it was 8 feet @ f/8 which was autofocus on Rollie's and Blads doing wedding receptions. The biggest images normally made were 8x10's from medium format . How far we've come.

 

 

framer

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That shooter has little clue, IMHO.

 

The issue I have using a f/4 lens with a 2x converter is you're are f/8 which limits the autofocus in many bodies. Even the best bodies that can AF & f/8 do it slower and then only with center AF sensors. Now a 1200mm @ f/8 needs the best support, tripod and head along with mirror lockup and delayed shutter release. You can use it on static subjects but BIF's would be close to impossible.

 

If you are too far away tough. You must figure a way, pay the price, to get closer is you want to get the shot. What I mean by pay the price is, getting dirty, risk you camera gear, risk a broken bone, risk your life. My limit is dirty, most pros getting paid and using someone's else gear might risk gear.

 

Totally agree. The longer it is, it actually gets difficult in terms of gear. You have to start using tripods or other ways to keep things steady in order to get the shot. It starts getting complicated, but the more you practice, the more intuitive it becomes. But lighting or the general conditions typically make it so that you want to keep that giant zoom really steady in order to get the shot you want. And yes, that includes keeping things super sharp so you can crop later.

 

Dirty is my limit too. I'll have to look, but I've got a shot I took of the crowds hanging back on dry land at a waterfall. I waded in waist deep water an extra 30 yards or so to get a beautiful unobstructed photo of the waterfall. No one else wanted to get a little wet. Moving around isn't just for zoom though. You get different angles and views most people normally don't get. Sometimes, it's as simple as 5 feet to the side or just crouching down.

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My limit is also dirty - but also keeping all my limbs. In my territory, wading into the water to get closer comes with a few extra dangers...with fangs and teeth. Still, I'll get close - just with some caution. I was able to snap this with a 55-210mm zoom at 119mm, from about 8 feet away:

 

original.jpg

 

Mostly because he was busy trying to eat something else rather than me! ;) Then again, walking on land doesn't necessarily mean you won't encounter one either:

original.jpg

 

Why did the alligator cross the levee? To get to the other side. And the person waited patiently for the alligator to cross the levee, as he has right-of-way due to the rows of sharp teeth!

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Getting closer is not an option in Ridgefield. It is a drive around park in the winter and your car is your blind.

 

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This is taken across the lake and you can see the vehicle in the back. It's a pretty good system for the most part and MOST people follow the rules. During the summer there are some walking trails, but a lot fewer birds. It also makes it really difficult to use a tripod. :)

 

Vic

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There are several manufacturers of beanbag supports that fit on the open window of your car door and allow you to rest a long lens on.

 

Good to know.

Yesterday I went to Oregon Dunes Nat'l Recreation Area. I learned I should always carry something to wipe the raindrops off the lens.

 

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I practiced with my wide angle lens, which I've been wanting to do since someone posted a blog post about them.

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Vic

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  • 4 months later...

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Yesterday I was out practicing with my 24-240 lens, preparing for my 3 hour Puffin cruise at the end of July. I went down to a park along the Willamette River - but there were very few birds flying around in the middle of the day. I did find these two goldens splashing around in the water. I learned that I really need to get set and steady the long lens to get a stable shot. It may seem obvious, but I like to shoot while I am moving around - and that's not a good idea. Now I know.

 

I also learned I need to practice a lot with the eye focus and lock on auto focus before I use them for something important.

 

I was having a problem with my auto ISO. It wouldn't go below 51200 and I was worried there was something really wrong. It was a bright, sunny day, so I set the ISO to 200. Once I got home and really looked at the camera, I saw that the auto ISO had somehow got set to both min and max being 51200. I have no idea how that happened or when - BUT - now I know it can happen and it's easy to fix.

 

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It was a beautiful day, I found this wonderful spot on the river and had a great walk.

 

Vic

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I learned that my TG-5's flash puts out far too much light to be used as an indoor fill flash (at portrait distances), even when I push flash compensation down to the minimum.

 

However, I also learned that I can create a makeshift flash diffuser using white tissue and a rubber band. And I can increase the opacity of the "diffuser" by doubling over the tissue as needed. And I can use that to overcome the overpowered flash.

 

This weekend I need to test the fill flash outdoors in bright light.

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Yesterday I was out practicing with my 24-240 lens, preparing for my 3 hour Puffin cruise at the end of July. I went down to a park along the Willamette River - but there were very few birds flying around in the middle of the day. I did find these two goldens splashing around in the water. I learned that I really need to get set and steady the long lens to get a stable shot. It may seem obvious, but I like to shoot while I am moving around - and that's not a good idea. Now I know.

 

I also learned I need to practice a lot with the eye focus and lock on auto focus before I use them for something important.

 

I have been playing with Eye-AF and have found it to be just flat out amazing. If God is good to me, I'll never have to do another wedding but I probably will since He didn't see fit to give me Eye-AF for the earlier ones.

 

...I saw that the auto ISO had somehow got set to both min and max being 51200. I have no idea how that happened ...

 

In IT, we call that a PEBKAC incident.

 

Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair.

 

BTW, Right - Right - Inadvertent twirl on the control dial screws up your presets quite nicely when set to Auto ISO. Been there, done that. Learned to grab the camera out of the bag by the lens, not by fumbling to get a grip on the body.

 

:)

 

 

Dave

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There are several manufacturers of beanbag supports that fit on the open window of your car door and allow you to rest a long lens on.

If you are going to try this make sure you shut off the engine because you can get vibrations when it is running. Same rule applies to aerial photos, do not use the edge of windows or doors for support because they are vibrating....and don't shut the engine off in mid-air either.

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