View Full Version : Tip for Eagles in flight against cloudy sky
17th of January 2009 (Sat), 13:46
I photographed a number of Bald & Golden Eagles in flight this morning and would like some suggestions on how to improve my shooting.
I shot with a 40D & 70-200 F4 IS w/ Canon 1.4x TC.
Most shots were @ 280mm, F/5.6-8.0, AI Focus, Av Mode, Evaluative Metering, EC -0.3 to 0. RAW.
All of my shots ended up being extremely dark. In post, I had to bump up the Exposure to +1.0 and bring up the Shadows, Brightness, and Fill Light.
Looking back, I probably didn't have the 40D setup optimally. AI Servo probably would have been better for tracking the Eagles and Partial Metering probably would have metered off of more of the birds (but maybe not, they were rather small in the viewfinder at times).
Any suggestions as to how I can get better exposures of the birds so that they're lighter and more detail is showing without having to ramp up everything in post?
Here's one I took this morning: A Bald & Golden were playing around in a stiff 30+ mph wind (and yes, it was darn cold)!
17th of January 2009 (Sat), 13:53
Watch out for white wash in the eyes:D;) Maybe googles....
17th of January 2009 (Sat), 20:14
I think your golden is an immature baldie.
18th of January 2009 (Sun), 23:23
You would need to go plus on the EC, probably a stop or more to pull up the shadowed areas.
AI servo would certainly be a lot better than the AI Focus which rarely seems to work well for a static or moving subject.
Also unless you have other shots of a Golden Eagle both of the birds in the above are Bald Eagles, a mature and maybe a 3rd or 4th year immature based on the plumage.
25th of January 2009 (Sun), 08:37
You might want to use Manuel mode and try using your flash.
25th of January 2009 (Sun), 11:16
Av Mode, Evaluative, +4/3 Ev, AI Servo, ISO 400, High Speed 6 fps, center point AF. Shoot til the buffer fills. :)
I live under cloudy skies 364.5 days a year. Well, almost. I got lot's of practice. :(
29th of January 2009 (Thu), 16:25
You might try spot metering to meter off the bird, rather than the sky. Less EC to worry about.
7th of February 2009 (Sat), 09:33
It's underexposed. When you are photographing against a cloudy sky like that, you just have to live with the fact that it's going to be blown out. After all, the eagle is your subject, not the sky, so that's what you want to expose properly. No matter what you do, it's not going to be ideal because BIF against a cloudy sky just isn't a pleasing look. BTW, as has been mentioned, that's a juvenile eagle rather than a golden. Maybe a 2nd year bird, judging by the amount of white on its tail. Bald eagles don't get their full adult plumage until 4-5 years of age.
Here's an eagle I took against a cloudy sky recently. Plenty of detail in the eagle, but there's no getting around the fact that the sky is bad.
7th of February 2009 (Sat), 10:59
Save all those RAW files with eagles against grey or blown out skies. Another year or two and someone will invent some decent extract software that won't leave a thin one pixel line around the subject. ;)
20th of February 2009 (Fri), 09:15
What Liz said. I also suggest shooting in manual exposure mode.
20th of February 2009 (Fri), 13:04
I'm still a novice of this, but will share what's worked for me. Spot metering, meter off the ground in a shaded area, and manual exposure. The real issue, though is the circumstances. You need to get out early and shoot when the sun is lower and shoot at a lower angle, not over your head. Indeed, I find that I'm able to shoot not with the sky behind them, but mountains or some other background. All for what it's worth.
4th of March 2009 (Wed), 00:28
As long as the level of sunlight isn't changing a lot (partly cloudy), use manual exposure. Start with the Sunny 16 rule (SS = 1/ISO for f16) and adjust the exposure for backlight and use your LCD and histogram to tweak. Even then you will have a tendency to underexpose it, so keep this in mind.
The best tip is to shoot in good light with it to your back. Find a location where you can shoot the bird with the Sun to your back and use manual exposure. Good light is what makes a photo.
That is a Juvenile and not a golden btw.
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