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Bird photography - flash. Is it worthwhile?

FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Bird Talk
Thread started 17 Oct 2011 (Monday) 06:59   
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zamami
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Hi all

Was out the other day experimenting with my flash as it was pretty overcast. I was taking photos of birds about 20 feet away and experimenting with the power of my manual flash ( from low right up until max )The flash didn't seem to make any difference at all. Is that usually the case or will I only notice it if I add a flash extender? I don't know if using the flash is a benefit or not? Any thoughts please!

Post #1, Oct 17, 2011 06:59:53


Richard Cook
7D / 300 F4L / Canon 1.4 Extender
http://www.flickr.com/​photos/49985242@N08/external link

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Stevie ­ 202
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Flash light drops off quickly so it's pretty much useless at those distances.

I will use a better beamer flash extender on those accasions when the birds are under the foliage in the shadows and it definately does help.

The only downsides are the bulk of the thing and that you will get a 'steel eye' effect.
It's a trade-off between that and not getting the shot.

Cheers

Post #2, Oct 17, 2011 07:27:15


Canon 50d, Canon 350d, Sigma 18-50 F2.8 Macro EX DC, Canon 300mm F4L IS, Canon 70-200mm F4L IS, Canon 1.4X Teleconverter, 2 Canon 430 EX Speedlites. Buncha other junk.

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CDMOOSE
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I just finished culling my bird photos from the last two years and I can say that I had way more keepers since I started using a flash and Better Beamer when required. And I find that steel eye is not as big a problem as I thought. It does happen occasionally, though not always, but is easily dealt with when it does.
Al

Post #3, Oct 17, 2011 12:19:55


Al
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Muteki
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Flash definitely helps to fill in the shadowy areas.

Here are some photos of flash + BB:

IMAGE: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6105/6239272815_44ec8bf72f_b.jpg
IMAGE: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6055/6236491709_d3a94cd903_b.jpg


Then there's some problems with using flash such as red-eyes as seen in the show below:
IMAGE: http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6178/6196917259_28efd6ffc2_b.jpg

I've put an order of a fairly inexpensive flash bracket for my side-mount Gimbal to try out in the next little while. Also light is getting less and less in my area, and it will be a great opportunity to test out some bird photography with flash.

Post #4, Oct 17, 2011 13:37:27


Raymond

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Evan
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I personally have never liked the look of a flash on birds. There have been a few cases where a flash was used on a bird and it looked natural (I really liked it), but most the time to me the catch-light and the birds feathers just doesn't look the same as natural lighting.

The only time I use flash on birds is when photographing owls at dusk; and I still cringe when I have too.

Post #5, Nov 04, 2011 20:48:00


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Kevin ­ Hall
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Just about all flash for bird photography is done where the flash is coming from the same direction as the camera. This can produce some nice results, such as the image in this thread demonstrate, but it doesn't reach it's lighting potential.

Using the flash from a different position than the camera can give the bird more definition, produce sharper results, add drama, and can even have the effect of being softer light if you position the flash closer to the bird. Remember that with smaller light sources like a speedlight, the farther away from the subject you are - the harder the effect will be.

Some examples:

IMAGE NOT FOUND IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
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IMAGE NOT FOUND IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
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IMAGE NOT FOUND IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
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On the woodpecker I even bounced the flash off an umbrella from a short distance to the Downy.

Post #6, Nov 05, 2011 07:12:39


Beware: Starving photographer, birders will be eaten!
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piXelatedEmpire
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I pretty much always use Flash these days when shooting birds, it really helps bring the colours out and eliminate most shadows. You may need to look at a Better Beamer as well, depending on how far away your subject is.

Canon 7D, 100-400L, 580 EX II

IMAGE NOT FOUND IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
http://farm7.static.fl​ickr.com ...242021_3464cd3e8f_b​_d.jpgexternal link
HTTP response: NOT FOUND | MIME changed to 'image/gif' | Redirected to error image by FLICKR

Post #7, Nov 10, 2011 21:11:45


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noodle_snacks
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piXelatedEmpire wrote in post #13383848external link
I pretty much always use Flash these days when shooting birds, it really helps bring the colours out and eliminate most shadows. You may need to look at a Better Beamer as well, depending on how far away your subject is.

I'm going to go ahead and say that there is too much flash your Orange-bellied Parrot photo. The complete lack of shadow makes it look flat and the weird iridescence effect present, is misrepresenting the plumage colour of this bird. I'd suggest dialling down the flash exposure compensation and using a bit more natural light.

Post #8, Nov 19, 2011 05:17:18




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piXelatedEmpire
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noodle_snacks wrote in post #13421457external link
there is too much flash your Orange-bellied Parrot photo. The complete lack of shadow makes it look flat and the weird iridescence effect present, is misrepresenting the plumage colour of this bird. I'd suggest dialling down the flash exposure compensation and using a bit more natural light.

Oh I agree with you, but unfortunately there really wasn't much natural light to begin with. This was shot at 1/40th, so I had to crank the flash, which caused the side effects you mentioned.

Post #9, Nov 21, 2011 19:47:45


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Bananapie
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I know I'm late to the party, but Kevin, awesome shots man...

Post #10, Dec 09, 2011 01:44:27




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Kevin ­ Hall
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Thank you, glad you liked them.

In my view, as long as you are setting up for a shot you have everything to gain by using studio lighting techniques with off camera flashes. Why not?

Here's another example using a 43" umbrella close to the finch and from my left......

IMAGE NOT FOUND IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
Byte size: ZERO | Content warning: NOT AN IMAGE

Post #11, Dec 09, 2011 05:44:16


Beware: Starving photographer, birders will be eaten!
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macroshooter1970
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Flash can help at times, I personally tried it once but wasn't for me.

Post #12, Dec 09, 2011 05:54:21




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macroshooter1970
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Kevin Hall wrote in post #13517524external link
Thank you, glad you liked them.

In my view, as long as you are setting up for a shot you have everything to gain by using studio lighting techniques with off camera flashes. Why not?

Here's another example using a 43" umbrella close to the finch and from my left......

NOT FOUND IMAGE IS A REDIRECT OR MISSING!
| Byte size: ZERO | Content warning: NOT AN IMAGE

Nice shot.

Post #13, Dec 09, 2011 05:54:58




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Garry ­ Gibson
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The Better Beamer is at times indispensable. When shadows kill what could
be a great photo the BB is perfect. Though it is somewhat difficult to perfect,
I have seen folks use them for birds in flight to lighten the underside of the bird.
For less than $40 it's well worth the expense.

Post #14, Dec 18, 2011 10:30:54


5D Mark III - 7D
Some assorted glass
Learning everyday... well.. maybe every other day.

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N.V.M.
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hey guys, does anybody here not get critisized for using flash on birds?

do you have rules, for instance, not on nocturnals(owls, etc)?

i'm getting grief from the purists yet i do not seem to be able to find the facts about it.

Post #15, Dec 30, 2011 11:59:43 as a reply to Garry Gibson's post 12 days earlier.




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