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FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Birds 
Thread started 27 Jun 2011 (Monday) 14:44
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Laughing Wood Storks

 
chrisr09
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Jun 27, 2011 14:44 |  #1

First of all, the obvious--(slapping myself on the head)--why did I cut off the bird's head? I thought the shot was funny anyway. But I am just learning and am getting frustrated that I cannot seem to get a sharp photo. Any suggestions on how to get skilled at focusing? Maybe I didn't use proper settings, either. I'm guessing I should have used a smaller aperture. Like I said, just learning and don't want to give up because of constant poor results.

Rebel xTi
400mm f/5.6 w/ 1.4x extender (560mm) -- rental, had to return it today
@ f/8, 1/400

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jhayesvw
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Jun 27, 2011 14:58 |  #2

actually,
if you hand held that shot in that low light at 560mm (which is actually 900mm on a crop body like the rebels have) that is pretty damn good even if you used a tripod its pretty good.

youre right about not cutting the beaks/bills off. I do it too though. Live and learn.
Keep shooting youre doing great!



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chrisr09
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Jun 27, 2011 15:04 as a reply to  @ jhayesvw's post |  #3

Thanks. I never thought about it being almost 900mm because of it being a crop body. Yes, I did use a tripod and it was overcast. There are just too many things to think about when taking a photo! I know it will come to me with practice. I appreciate the encouragement!


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RogerC11
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Jun 27, 2011 15:22 |  #4

The shot looks a bit underexposed. When you have a lot of white occupying the space of the frame, you want to overexpose because the camera wants to meter a gray and will underexpose the whites. Try bumping the ISO next time.




  
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Maureen ­ Souza
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Jun 27, 2011 15:29 |  #5

You could probably improve that shot a lot in Photoshop/Lightroom. If you turn your image editing OK sign on, someone might be able to show you how :)


Life is hard...but I just take it one photograph at a time.

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chrisr09
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Jun 27, 2011 15:44 as a reply to  @ Maureen Souza's post |  #6

Just turned on" Imaging editing OK". Thanks.


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SacMac
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Jun 27, 2011 15:53 |  #7

There you go, Chris. Some nice detail in their faces hidden in there!

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Snydremark
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Jun 27, 2011 16:20 |  #8

With the adjustment made by Sheryl, this is pretty good for a first outing with a good, long lens :)

Especially when shooting long focal lengths, it's important to keep your shutter speed up when hand-holding. Try aiming for keeping 1/640 or higher when shooting 400mm+. Don't give up, it takes a little while to really get comfortable shooting that puppy, but it will shine for you once you get it down. :)

Your exposure was definitely a stop or two too low for that shot; most likely from zeroing the needle on subjects with that much white. Grab a copy of Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson to get some of the basics for metering; you'll want to understand WHAT the meter is actually telling you before setting your exposure.

Some "quick and dirty" tips, though:

Exposure: When determining a "correct" exposure, the camera attempts to render the metered subject at a "middle gray" luminance. This means that if you zero the needle on a pure white subject, you'll severely under-expose the overall shot; if you zero the needle on a pure black subject, you'll severely over-expose the overall shot. Two options for your shot that would have, probably, gotten you good and close would have been:

a) Spot meter off the bird, itself, and set your exposure to indicate around +2 on the scale
b) Spot meter off the water and set your exposure to, around -2/3 to -1

ISO: Do not be afraid to raise your ISO. In the conditions this appears to be shot under, ISO 400 would have been more appropriate.

For focusing: Remember the aforementioned "keep your shutter speed up", when shooting hand-held; also, get a good, solid stance. Feet slightly spread (about shoulder-width apart); support the lens with your left hand around the lens mount; tuck your left elbow in, tight, against your body; breathe; squeeze the shutter button. Additionally, you may want to crouch and use one knee as a place to rest your elbow; or go completely prone and shoot from the ground.


Keep at it and keep posting! There's lots of learnin' to be had around here :)


- Eric S.: My Birds/Wildlife (external link) (7D MkII/5D IV, Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, Canon 24-105L f/4 IS, Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS MkII, Canon 100-400L f/4.5-5.6 IS I/II)
"The easiest way to improve your photos is to adjust the loose nut between the shutter release and the ground."

  
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Flo
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Jun 27, 2011 16:25 as a reply to  @ Snydremark's post |  #9

^ Wonderfully written Eric!


you're a great friend, but if Zombies chase us, I am tripping you.

  
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chrisr09
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Jun 27, 2011 16:47 as a reply to  @ Flo's post |  #10

Thank you sheryl for the edit. Beautifully done. Now, can you clone in the rest of the beak that I cut off? LOL. And thank you eric for taking the time to provide me with your suggestions. I had to chuckle at your suggestion to get down on the ground. I had to replace my flip flops with shoes and socks because I was getting bitten by those wonderful Florida ants!

I returned the lens today so I will have to practice more with my Sigma 70-300. A big step down but still good for gaining experience. I'm thinking that I may opt for the 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 rather than the prime lens. I think I would prefer the zoom.

Christine


Christine ~ My Flickr (external link) ~ My Fine Art America (external link)
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Snydremark
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Jun 27, 2011 17:11 |  #11

Heh...yeah...you *do* sort of have to watch WHERE you're laying down when you get that low :D

The Sigma should give you plenty to practice with at the long end. I can highly recommend the 100-400; it's my most used lens by FAR and I prefer to have IS available (even if it's the older version).


- Eric S.: My Birds/Wildlife (external link) (7D MkII/5D IV, Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, Canon 24-105L f/4 IS, Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS MkII, Canon 100-400L f/4.5-5.6 IS I/II)
"The easiest way to improve your photos is to adjust the loose nut between the shutter release and the ground."

  
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jhayesvw
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Jun 27, 2011 22:17 as a reply to  @ Snydremark's post |  #12

Sheryl did a great job on the edit.
I have a few pictures she could fix up!



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