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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Bird Talk
Thread started 04 Jan 2017 (Wednesday) 19:20
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Show off your 'Yard Studio'

 
GeoffSFAs10
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St.Louis, MO
Jan 04, 2017 19:20 |  #1

I brought this up in the Best Bird portrait thread about seeing what everyone's 'yard studio' or feeder or habitat situation is like where you photograph your birds. This is kind of like Martin's mobile feeder stand project, but for everyone to show off how they set a blind, where there are plants, etc etc. i will upload a photo in the next day or so when I have a chance to take a picture of the yard in sunlight.

My new house includes a multi-level retainign wall area next to a walk-out basement, i have feeders just outside that door. I will sit in the comfort of my basement with the door cracked in the mornings when the light is good enough, other then that, i set up a stool, dawn some camo and sit between some shrubs to shoot away. There is also a bird bubbler i installed in the retained section, as well as I am working on replanting my yard with a large variety of native, bird and butterfly friendly plants.


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MalVeauX
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Florida
Post has been edited 8 months ago by MalVeauX.
Jan 04, 2017 20:09 |  #2

Hrm,

I'm still pumping away with my old feeder project. It has evolved over time, and is no longer an outhouse style pop-up tent blind near a feeder. The feeder itself hasn't changed. I have changed it's location a bit, to get it more out of the sun, and I've done some brush clearing work to get some branches and weeds and foliage in general from right behind the station to give me a little more subject isolation. I've replaced my outhouse tent with a standing blind, because it got really hot in the tent. I used some re-bar that I hammered into the ground to act as stabilizing posts and dropped small bore PVC on there and made a frame big enough to sit behind. I zip-tied some weather resistant camo blind material across the frame. I just stick the lens hood through and I'm set. Things I've added is that sometimes I will use lighting. Straight studio lighting, big octas on stands. Silly maybe, but I've enjoyed the results and the birds don't mind it as much as I thought they would. I like lighting when possible because it helps bring out micro-contrast on feather detail. And if the light is really awful but the feeder is super active, I can always get enough light (just not as attractive ambient blends maybe...).

IMAGE: https://c5.staticflickr.com/9/8439/29366310700_d6ef6dbc21_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/LK12​4J] (external link)IMG_0063 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

IMAGE: https://c4.staticflickr.com/9/8308/29656964115_1e14861eed_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/MbFG​cv] (external link)IMG_0066 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

I started adding speedlights. I like the Yongnuo 560 III manual lights because I can control their output remotely so once I button them up in a modifier, I can still adjust them, and they're inexpensive (I buy them used around $50 when I see them go up). Realistically I could use a basic strobe, of which I have many, and I have wireless strobes too on the order of 600ws, but I like how light and simple speedlites are and I don't have to fiddle with it, I can get behind the blind and do everything remotely. Granted, now that I have an ETTL & HSS capable speedlite with the Yongnuo 685, I would probably consider having two of those instead (though they're $100 a pop), since HSS & ETTL make for a very handy lighting session, and I can also command those remotely too all the same, but HSS & ETTL gives options for controlling ambient and subject lighting a lot more than a pure manual light does. Only reason I haven't done it yet is because I rarely need to. When I set up, I control flash output remotely with my controller (560-TX) and if I want ambient exposure to increase, I adjust ISO. Simple. I do an initial metering with a light meter with an incident light reading at the feeder station to get an idea of where my flash output should be. After that I don't have to meter anymore, as I can adjust around that value with my camera settings to get my desired exposures.

IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8478/29570809592_78e5213cd4_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/M458​sG] (external link)IMG_4124 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

To do lighting, I use the camera in manual and meter with it first with my sync settings. In this case, I set my camera to manual, 1/200s sync speed, F5.6 (depth of field and sharpness) and metered, then adjusted my ISO until it was about -1 stop, so a gentle under-exposure of the foliage with ambient light. Then I plug these values into my light meter to get flash exposure correct, so I plug 1/200s and ISO 320 (which is what I ended up metering on the camera for ambient) and adjust flash power until it reads F5.6 on the output where my subject will be located (I metered center and slightly in front of the perches).

IMAGE: https://c2.staticflickr.com/9/8166/29600591721_c6f5147ab1_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/M6GL​DF] (external link)IMG_4141 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

Here's the 560-TX on my camear setup. I've really been using the 7D & 300 F4L IS combination a lot more than my 600mm. I can get really close. The F4 is nice. The IS is nice. And it's light and simple. It rides a humble Opteka Gimbal on a Benro tripod.

IMAGE: https://c6.staticflickr.com/9/8095/29057295413_e4373ef564_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/LgGe​zX] (external link)IMG_4128 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

And here we are with a 47" Brolly Octa (cheap, $30!) with those speedlites inside doing the lighting. I went big with the modifier for the same reason you do in a studio, softer light.

IMAGE: https://c8.staticflickr.com/9/8389/29057228943_1710e58b63_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/LgFT​PV] (external link)img_a1326_stitch (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

And here's one of my visitors:

IMAGE: https://c7.staticflickr.com/9/8498/29571287222_8853ba779d_z.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/M47z​rG] (external link)IMG_3537 (external link) by Martin Wise (external link), on Flickr

Very best,

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Naturalist
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Jan 04, 2017 20:14 as a reply to MalVeauX's post |  #3

Very nice set-up MalVeauX. I like seeing people's set-ups to get some ideas. Thanks.


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Grizz1
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Jan 04, 2017 22:41 |  #4

Wow Martin, very detailed and organized on your setup. I have to learn much more on lighting setups for not only birds but other photos so enjoy seeing some of these ideas.
As for myself I'm scattered all over the place and have very few photos of my yard props. Plan to set up some new ones soon and try shooting with my new 120-300, it has not seen any bird action at all.
I have a large yard, about 3 acres and live on 93 acres with another 90 acres 4 miles away. I have 50 acres set aside for wildlife so am still in the process of building some permanent blinds that can be used in any weather. Rain, snow and cold wind being a problem much of the year I can shoot. During the nice, warm part of the year is when I work the long hours to pay for all my outdoor habits. I will take more pics of my projects soon.

IMAGE: https://c4.staticflickr.com/9/8113/8708394395_96691ee240_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/egwN​fX] (external link)220 (external link) by steve findling (external link), on Flickr
Since I have an abundant supply of wood/trees I often see an old weathered log that can be placed in my yard or cut Cedar trees and place them for roosting branches above or below feeders. The pic above shows an old log simply propped on a large rock in Spring time when I can best capture my native birds as well as migrants heading back North, my favorite time to shoot birds.
IMAGE: https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7436/16544523185_c7c14c7209_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/rcZ1​kK] (external link)IMG_5812 (external link) by steve findling (external link), on Flickr
The shot above shows a Willow tree that was cut and just thrown in the yard as a perch, an old log to the right, in the background I have a hollow log standing against a Red Bud tree, a large knot that is hollow lying on the ground that usually is hanging as a feeder. Also have an old garden tiller, horse drawn cultivator and horse drawn walking plow in my front yard that I think makes interesting photos especially in snow.
Cardinals are so thick at my place and seems to like perches above feed on the ground, at least that is how I seem to get the large numbers to come in and get along with each other. I believe my record number in one shot has been 38.
Wood Peckers seem to like the dead logs, trees with hanging suet and any wood they can stash food in. I have killed some large Honey Locust trees at the edge of my yard and allowing them to decay and attract Woodpeckers. After eating awhile the Woodpeckers will spend a good deal of time taking feed to those dead trees and driving it into the cracks for later.
I have not started feeding this year but will soon and take some new photos.
Since there is a large grain field in front of my house, little amount of snow so far and the natural weeds I have set aside for wildlife they have not needed any extra help. When I do start feeding I will not quit until Summer time arrives, just feel that once they get used to the easy free stuff it's not humane to shut them off. Also once I start they will eat over 50 lbs a week and of course they like the good stuff.:-)

Steve
2 Canon 60D's, 70D 18-135,-55-250, Sigma 150-500 OS,Sigma 50mm 1.4 ,Sigma 120-300 Sport,Sigma 10-20. 580EXII

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GeoffSFAs10
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Jan 05, 2017 08:26 |  #5

Oh thats super cool!! You're first photo is awesome! I'd love for my yard to end up like that.

I did have some bluebirds at my feeders this morning in the snow. Pretty happy to see that, bright blue against the snow and dark skies.


5Dc | 7D | 17-40 | 85 F1.8 | 40 STM | 28-135 | 100-400 | 550EX
"When you do things right, people wont be sure you've done anything at all"
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Michael ­ Rumsey
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Richardson, TX
Post has been last edited 8 months ago by Michael Rumsey. 2 edits done in total.
Jan 07, 2017 12:13 |  #6

Thanks for setting up this thread, Geoff!
I've had aspirations of putting something like your set-up together for a long while now.
I hurriedly zip tied a fallen branch to my feeder support 2 years ago and have been too lazy to even change it out. This all sits about 15ft away from my bathroom window, so I even have a built in hide.
(edit: attributed to Martin by mistake on first try...sorry Geoff!)
I DO have problems with light as it is very shaded/backlit most of the time.

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Tom ­ Reichner
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Post has been last edited 8 months ago by Tom Reichner. 5 edits done in total.
Jan 07, 2017 13:59 |  #7

Michael Rumsey wrote in post #18236588 (external link)
Thanks for setting up this thread, Martin!

I thought that Geoff Anderson set up this thread.........now I'm confused!

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Here's a feeder setup I did back in Pennsylvania a few years ago. One can work such setups better in the East, I think, as songbirds don't seem to respond to feed as readily here in the inland northwest. This particular setup was created for woodpeckers and, to a lesser degree, other suet-eating birds such as nuthatches and titmice. Photo taken from within the blind.
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Michael ­ Rumsey
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Jan 07, 2017 19:49 as a reply to Tom Reichner's post |  #8

Derp!

editing my post....:oops:


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Grizz1
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Jan 07, 2017 20:41 |  #9

I need to set up a background similar to the one Tom has shown. I've much to learn about lighting and exposures tending to put much time into my land and habitat then getting lazy when actually using the camera.

Geoff, we should have the same birds coming into feed so you may have a yard full of them soon.


Steve
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GeoffSFAs10
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Jan 08, 2017 08:56 |  #10

I get all of the birds in your photo down into my area, but Ive never had a Dickcessel come to the yard. id be thrilled for that. As soon as I can muster up going outside in the 12* weather, i'll get a shot of my yard haha


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Grizz1
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Jan 08, 2017 22:07 |  #11

This has very little to do with a "yard studio" other than it is a small part of bringing birds in. Just thought I'd share a pic and story.
This feeder is as economical as can be, total cost about 20 cents and perhaps the ugliest thing on our farm.
My 86 year old mother made this one 3 years ago and it probably works better for Black Sunflower seed than any other I've used, it just does not waste any seed and performs well. I've offered to remove the label and paint it but she will not have anything to do with the idea, waste of money. One might call her frugal.
It is made from a 2 gallon frosting bucket discarded from a bakery and the lid from a 5 gallon bucket. The larger lid is simply bolted to the smaller one with a 3/4 inch stove bolt. By using a pair of vice grips and a #6 finish nail she heated the nail and melted holes the size and shape of a Black Sunflower seed every 3/4's of an inch around the bottom of the smaller bucket. The larger lid makes a perch and catches most seeds that fall out which are very few.
It holds several lbs of seed, completely water proof, squirrels seem to hate it, withstands all kinds of weather and often many birds can use it at the same time. I've seen as many as 6 Cardinals on it at the same time. Even Red Bellied Woodpeckers use it by hanging on the edge of the lower lid, grab a seed, then fly to a nearby perch.

IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/751/31355776984_d29a6cee7a_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/PLNy​5y] (external link)IMG_4059 (external link) by steve findling (external link), on Flickr
Took this shot straight into the setting Sun so please excuse the quality. The Cardinals are the first birds to come in the mornings and last ones in the evening with few of them feeding during midday. They normally like feeding on the ground but seem to enjoy using this feeder at our East farm that is hanging 6 feet above ground.

Steve
2 Canon 60D's, 70D 18-135,-55-250, Sigma 150-500 OS,Sigma 50mm 1.4 ,Sigma 120-300 Sport,Sigma 10-20. 580EXII

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ardeekay
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Peoria, Il. and Port Aransas, Tx
Jan 09, 2017 05:50 as a reply to Grizz1's post |  #12

Hey Steve, the words "squirrels seem to hate it" caught my attention. That would be awesome in my yard. Constantly battling these critters. No chewing at the seed ports?? May think about something like this. Thanks

Rog.


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Grizz1
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Jan 09, 2017 18:14 |  #13

Rog, nothing has chewed on the seed ports in 3 years. I've seen squirrels on top of it maybe a couple times and they give up. I think it works so well because the seed ports are small enough seeds don't trickle out, the birds have to pull them out one at a time. There is not enough room for a squirrel to stay on the ledge for long, it is slick and by hanging the feeder it tends to swing and kind of throws them off balance.
Red Bellied woodpeckers can not actually use it by landing upright, they are too large and long billed. Blue Jays won't stay long either, they grab a seed and leave. Cardinal sized birds and anything smaller can stay on the ledge as long as they choose to.
We've had Raccoons try to get in it without success as long as it is hanging. I've seen them remove lids from these buckets if fastened solid or on the ground.
We only use the Black Sunflower seed in it, smaller seed would probably be a mess.


Steve
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MedicineMan4040
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Jan 09, 2017 23:22 |  #14

Grizz1 wrote in post #18233671 (external link)
Wow Martin, very detailed and organized on your setup. I have to learn much more on lighting setups for not only birds but other photos so enjoy seeing some of these ideas.
As for myself I'm scattered all over the place and have very few photos of my yard props. Plan to set up some new ones soon and try shooting with my new 120-300, it has not seen any bird action at all.
I have a large yard, about 3 acres and live on 93 acres with another 90 acres 4 miles away. I have 50 acres set aside for wildlife so am still in the process of building some permanent blinds that can be used in any weather. Rain, snow and cold wind being a problem much of the year I can shoot. During the nice, warm part of the year is when I work the long hours to pay for all my outdoor habits. I will take more pics of my projects soon.
QUOTED IMAGE
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/egwN​fX] (external link)220 (external link) by steve findling (external link), on Flickr
Since I have an abundant supply of wood/trees I often see an old weathered log that can be placed in my yard or cut Cedar trees and place them for roosting branches above or below feeders. The pic above shows an old log simply propped on a large rock in Spring time when I can best capture my native birds as well as migrants heading back North, my favorite time to shoot birds.
QUOTED IMAGE
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/rcZ1​kK] (external link)IMG_5812 (external link) by steve findling (external link), on Flickr
The shot above shows a Willow tree that was cut and just thrown in the yard as a perch, an old log to the right, in the background I have a hollow log standing against a Red Bud tree, a large knot that is hollow lying on the ground that usually is hanging as a feeder. Also have an old garden tiller, horse drawn cultivator and horse drawn walking plow in my front yard that I think makes interesting photos especially in snow.
Cardinals are so thick at my place and seems to like perches above feed on the ground, at least that is how I seem to get the large numbers to come in and get along with each other. I believe my record number in one shot has been 38.
Wood Peckers seem to like the dead logs, trees with hanging suet and any wood they can stash food in. I have killed some large Honey Locust trees at the edge of my yard and allowing them to decay and attract Woodpeckers. After eating awhile the Woodpeckers will spend a good deal of time taking feed to those dead trees and driving it into the cracks for later.
I have not started feeding this year but will soon and take some new photos.
Since there is a large grain field in front of my house, little amount of snow so far and the natural weeds I have set aside for wildlife they have not needed any extra help. When I do start feeding I will not quit until Summer time arrives, just feel that once they get used to the easy free stuff it's not humane to shut them off. Also once I start they will eat over 50 lbs a week and of course they like the good stuff.:-)

Amazing! and I thought I had a lot of Cardinals. I have none compared to you !!


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MedicineMan4040
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Jan 09, 2017 23:23 as a reply to Tom Reichner's post |  #15

Love the blue sheet!


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