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FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Birds 
Thread started 25 Mar 2012 (Sunday) 19:58
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Snowy Owls at Damon Point

 
mndoci
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Mar 25, 2012 19:58 |  #1

After seeing Snydremark's great pictures, we decided to celebrate a relatively clear day by driving down to Ocean Shores to see if we could get a glimpse, and hopefully some pictures of the Snowy Owls. We went armed with a 7D with a 70-200 F4L IS + 1.4x Kenko extender, and a XSi with a 17-55 for some of the more landscap-y pictures. We got lucky and ended up seeing at least 2 owls. I learned a few things from this trip. (1) I need a longer lens. Really missed having one, (2) I need a backpack. The Lowepro sidebag doesn't have great ergonomics, so this time we left the bag in the car, and carried the cameras (the 7D was on an RS-7 sling), and a tripod slung across my back, (3) I have so much to learn about Aperture and Shutter Speed, (4) my BIF capabilities suck, (5) those two lenses and the 7D rock. Without further ado

1. The first sight

IMAGE: http://mndoci.smugmug.com/Animals/Birds/Snowy-Owls-March-24-2012/i-F8pf7mC/0/M/The-first-sight-of-Snowy-Owls-M.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://mndoci.smugmug.​com …299773&k=F8pf7m​C&lb=1&s=A  (external link)

2. Getting closer

IMAGE: http://mndoci.smugmug.com/Animals/Birds/Snowy-Owls-March-24-2012/i-4RSCd3W/0/M/The-first-closeup-M.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://mndoci.smugmug.​com …300148&k=4RSCd3​W&lb=1&s=A  (external link)

3. Such a gorgeous bird

IMAGE: http://mndoci.smugmug.com/Animals/Birds/Snowy-Owls-March-24-2012/i-RHHpsjn/0/M/Snowy-Owl-M.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://mndoci.smugmug.​com …301040&k=RHHpsj​n&lb=1&s=A  (external link)

4. OK, so I suck at BIF

IMAGE: http://mndoci.smugmug.com/Animals/Birds/Snowy-Owls-March-24-2012/i-SXTpQfs/0/M/Snowy-Owl-in-flight-M.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://mndoci.smugmug.​com …302702&k=SXTpQf​s&lb=1&s=A  (external link)


5. On the ground, closer to the water

IMAGE: http://mndoci.smugmug.com/Animals/Birds/Snowy-Owls-March-24-2012/i-x4NDdsZ/0/M/Snowy-Owl-M.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://mndoci.smugmug.​com …309533&k=x4NDds​Z&lb=1&s=A  (external link)

6. A different bird. By this time, we might have started using a tripod

IMAGE: http://mndoci.smugmug.com/Animals/Birds/Snowy-Owls-March-24-2012/i-93WQk3t/0/M/Snowy-Owl-M.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://mndoci.smugmug.​com …311401&k=93WQk3​t&lb=1&s=A  (external link)

7.
IMAGE: http://mndoci.smugmug.com/Animals/Birds/Snowy-Owls-March-24-2012/i-HqGB5Kz/0/M/Snowy-Owl-M.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://mndoci.smugmug.​com …312067&k=HqGB5K​z&lb=1&s=A  (external link)

8. The big crop

IMAGE: http://mndoci.smugmug.com/Animals/Birds/Snowy-Owls-March-24-2012/i-ZpxG47G/0/M/Snowy-Owl-M.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://mndoci.smugmug.​com …313177&k=ZpxG47​G&lb=1&s=A  (external link)


The Full Gallery (external link)


Disclaimer: My wife and I shared shooting duties. All the BIF's are mine. I really need to remember to get shutter speed up, but they flew suddenly.

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mndoci
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Mar 25, 2012 22:00 |  #2

It goes without saying. Your advice would be much appreciated.


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rick_reno
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Mar 25, 2012 22:20 |  #3

nice, like 5 to 8. better than i can do, you did good.




  
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Snydremark
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Mar 26, 2012 01:17 |  #4

Some good results there...getting those guys in flight is a REAL trick, for sure. :)

Your exposures on the birds are good; which isn't easy with them in straight sun like that. Getting a longer lens would certainly help things with those shots, but you did well with the gear you've got. If you're going for a specific shoot, like that, you might want to try microadjusting your setup with the TC on it, to get the most out of the 7D there. It will store that setting separate from any MFA that you've done for the 70-200 on its own.

For a backpack, I'd strongly recommend looking into one of the F-Stop bags, like a Loka or Tilopa BC [what I've got]. The different sized camera units (ICUs) make the bags really flexible for hiking, wandering out to semi-remote locations like Damon Pt, and/or travel. Plus, they're a much easier way of carrying the tripod.

Some specific thoughts on the series:

In general, you really do want to try to keep your shutter speed up more on the 7D. 1/<focal length> x 1.6 will help get crisper images than the normal, 1/<focal length> suggestion on it. So, 1/320 with the bare lens or 1/500 with the TC attached. And don't be too afraid of raising your ISO to be able to do so; it's easy enough to deal with any noise from that in post.

Apertures above about f/11 are something I'd avoid, too, unless you're trying for some really deep DoF...which isn't generally needed for birds or at those distances. f/4 to f/11 should give you plenty of DoF for scenes like the above.

In 6, 7 and 8, the EXIF shows a focal length of 246mm...how was that done?

When shooting the birds, try to keep an eye on where your light/sun is coming from. 5 and 6 are a great example here, just for the visual. While they're both good images, 6 is a bit nicer because the bird is evenly illuminated and exposed from shooting with the sun lighting them from the front. Contrast that with 5, where most of the bird is shadowed (from being back lit), which then causes the hot spots on the side of the head, when you've exposed for the shadowed areas.

The above is not always possible, and almost never easy, but if you keep it in mind, you'll likely come out with more keepers when it IS possible.

As for shutter speed and aperture (and ISO), all you really need to remember is that they all have a direct relationsip when it comes to exposure. Once you have an exposure set that you like/want, just count the number of clicks of the wheel you dial when you change any one of those settings, and then change one of the other two that many in the opposite direction. And remember that 2 clicks or 3 clicks (depending on your custom settings) equal 1 full stop difference, and that light is halved/doubled for each full stop, depending on whether you are stopping down or opening up; regardless of your starting point.

Most of all, keep getting out there and practicing. Switch up your settings while you're out there and just try different combinations of shutter/aperture/ISO; you'll find settings that YOU like and work for YOU that way, which is the really important part. :) And keep sharing, it's great to see the work progress!


- 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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mndoci
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Mar 26, 2012 08:48 |  #5

Snydremark wrote in post #14153966 (external link)
Some good results there...getting those guys in flight is a REAL trick, for sure. :)

... snip ...

Thank you for the detailed response and advice. Looking forward to more shooting and getting really comfortable with knowing what f-stop to use, and balancing against shutter speed, ISO (which I kept at a 100 the other day), etc.

The longer lens would have helped in not having to crop so heavily after the fact, which would be nice. I still haven't gotten round to micro-adjusting the 7D for all the lenses. Probably a good idea to do so at this time given the heavy use it seems to be getting.

All in all, this was a great experience. Had a great day, got to do some interesting shooting, and reasonable end results.

Snydremark wrote in post #14153966 (external link)
In 6, 7 and 8, the EXIF shows a focal length of 246mm...how was that done?

That's the EXIF reporting the 1.4x IMO. When fully extended it reports the focal length as 280.


Snydremark wrote in post #14153966 (external link)
For a backpack, I'd strongly recommend looking into one of the F-Stop bags, like a Loka or Tilopa BC [what I've got]. The different sized camera units (ICUs) make the bags really flexible for hiking, wandering out to semi-remote locations like Damon Pt, and/or travel. Plus, they're a much easier way of carrying the tripod.

The f-stops do look nice as a hiking backpack, and not very "camera bagg-y". Do the shallow ICU's work with larger lenses?


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photocopy
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Mar 26, 2012 09:17 |  #6

Nice set..!
i wish i could get up there to see them... i thought they had left?




  
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mndoci
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Mar 26, 2012 09:20 |  #7

photocopy wrote in post #14155221 (external link)
Nice set..!
i wish i could get up there to see them... i thought they had left?

There were at least 2 still there on Saturday. Perhaps 3.


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Snydremark
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Mar 26, 2012 09:33 |  #8

mndoci wrote in post #14155036 (external link)
...

That's the EXIF reporting the 1.4x IMO. When fully extended it reports the focal length as 280.

<facepalm>...right. Apparently jet lag is still catching up to me :p

mndoci wrote in post #14155036 (external link)
The f-stops do look nice as a hiking backpack, and not very "camera bagg-y". Do the shallow ICU's work with larger lenses?

I'm not sure, I only have the regular depth, small and medium ICUs. However, you could look up Fstop Ian, here on the boards and ping him. He's great about getting that kind of info.


- 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)
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Celestron
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Mar 26, 2012 10:40 |  #9

Beautiful bird ! Your so lucky they are in your area .




  
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Mar 26, 2012 10:55 |  #10

Its amazing they are still so far south...scary and the same here nice job!


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mndoci
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Mar 26, 2012 11:10 |  #11

vmaidens@gmail.com wrote in post #14155756 (external link)
Its amazing they are still so far south...scary and the same here nice job!

The possible reasons for them being here are definitely troubling. Much as I enjoyed shooting them, if they can stay up north as I am sure they would prefer to, it's a good thing


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Peter2516
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Mar 26, 2012 13:45 |  #12

Nice shots mndoci you beat me to it for going there, thanks Eric for the tips this benefits me too since I am very new to photography. I am glad I found this thread. Thanks mndoci. Well done.


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Levina ­ de ­ Ruijter
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Mar 26, 2012 17:06 |  #13

I think you did real well there, mndoci. And I bet you both had a great time with these beautiful birds. That's important too. But this is a really nice set. Well done.


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tuftsr
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Sep 10, 2012 18:33 |  #14

Great job Interesting they are still that far south


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Snowy Owls at Damon Point
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