Another new guy, introduction

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by NE Oregonian, Jul 5, 2007.

  1. NE Oregonian

    NE Oregonian TPF Noob!

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    I'm almost embarrassed to do this but my style has always been to jump in head first, take the knocks and learn.

    I found this forum on a google search, it looked like a fairly friendly place for an absolute beginner to get some help.

    After lurking for a few days it became quite obvious I may be in waaay over my head, but a guy has to start somewhere.

    I live in a small town(11,000) nestled in the Blue Mountains in North Eastern Oregon. The nearest "mall" is two hours away, although Starbucks has finally found us up here in red neck land. I've even seen a cowboy or two slinking out the door with a four dollar latte from time to time. :lmao:

    I am a fisherman and a hunter, but hunting seasons are short. During the off season I hike and take pictures, sometimes snowshoeing into the back country in mid-Winter.

    My avatar is a Blue Grouse. Don't think many of you know what that critter is so I'll tell ya'. A Blue Grouse is a game bird that lives on high ridges with timber and open grasslands/steep hills close by. They are slightly larger than a pheasant(I've seen some that were 3-4lbs) and have somewhat of a reputation for being extremely stupid, but not all the time.

    The "stupid" ones are the young birds that stand in the forest back roads and get shot by beer guzzling yocals.

    I don't do that.

    I park my truck at the bottom of the hill and hike for miles to hunt them. These birds are not wanderers, they find a spot and stay there unless harrassed to no end.

    I monitor the bird families in the off season and decide whether or not to hunt them in a specific area(due to numbers) when the season finally opens up in the Fall.

    Where am I going with this? Stay with me please.

    During the off season I hike to a long ridge that is a very special place from my youth. I only take pictures there and try to get action(flying) shots of the birds.

    In the 80's there were hundreds and hundreds of blue grouse along this lengthy ridge.

    After I left NEO to PDX(Portland) in 1987 a few locals who knew about the spot went in over a 3-4 year period and cleaned them out. I only found this out years after the fact otherwise I would have gladly turned them in even though one guy HAD been a close friend. They bragged about taking double, even triple limits out of there on a daily basis.

    The very worst year I could only find FIVE birds over a 2-3 mile stretch. I haven't killed one on that particular ridge since the early 90's. I hunt some neighboring areas but not very intensely.

    The good news is I estimate there's about 10-15 in the "old spot" and another larger group of 20-30 a mile or so away. Also a few very small groups have moved into tiny spots in between all that. I don't know if there'll ever be the old "glory days" up there in my lifetime. It's just a place to hike and take piks for now. My new "MO" is to learn new spots every trip, take some birds and then go somewhere else.

    The damage those idiots did to the birds saddened me deeply and still does today. Folks that behave like that are a festering sore on dedicated, ethical hunters.

    That ridgeline is my sanctuary, the birds there are my pets. As I get older I get softer. I think, even if the birds do come back to the numbers of days past I won't be able to kill any of them since I have been watching them slowly return and thrive, but still, very slowly.

    Darn it, I've even named a few of them!

    But what does this have to do with photography?

    That specific area is my "no-kill" zone. Photos only, I personally could have wiped out the rest of them as it is legal, but also so wrong.

    I have NO experience with 35MM film cameras, never took a class. The "action" shots of birds in flight I have taken were done with either a disposable camera or a cheap Radio Shack 1.3MP Flatfoto.

    Like this:
    [​IMG]

    Now that I have confessed, feel free to lynch or banish me from the forum. :guilty:

    I'm just sooo tired of missing opportunites to shoot a high quality image because I have the worst camera on the planet. I should be able to afford a high end SLR in a few months. A professional photographer friend of mine who contracts with Nike says I ought to check out the Canon EOS Xti

    Thoughts?

    For the time being I'll probably just lurk and learn here. I have a few shots of birds in flight that are quite special to me, not because of their quality but the effort undertaken to actually GET the picture with my highly inadequate arsenal.

    I'll post them if requested, just keep in mind, with respect to this hobby I am a little kid with a snoopy fishing pole, lost in a crowd of Scotsmen brandishing $2000 spey rods.

    I need a camera that can take piks as fast as possible with an easy to use zoom.

    I appreciate ALL input, and any criticism.

    Thank you!

    Mike
     
  2. dostagamom

    dostagamom TPF Noob!

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    Welcome to the forum!

    First off, what is your budget. There are a lot of cameras out there, but we need to know where to start.
    Interesting story by the way!
     
  3. bdh1974

    bdh1974 TPF Noob!

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    Welcome NE Oregonian,

    Jumping head first is great fun:banghead:, sometimes, other times you get a headache.

    Looking for a camera is the headache part. I used film for many years & only decided to change to digital this year. After consulting with a mate of mine that is a fulltime pro photog, he also said go the Canon 400D (XTi). Lens are compatible with the rest of the range, well atleast with his.

    The benefit to me is I can use his 1D mII anytime. The other good thing is he is upgrading to a MIII in a few months. I might have to do a side deal & grab the MII. :thumbup:

    But I think you will find this camera a great starting camera, you can check my site out to see the images link below, nearly all are action shots given that cycling is my chosen sport.

    I would look at getting a better lens straight up, the kit lens are ok. But if I had thought about it a bit more I would of purchased a 70-200L 2.8 to start off with, now I need to save. :(

    Hope this helps a little.

    Cheers
    Brad
     
  4. Sweetsomedays

    Sweetsomedays TPF Noob!

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    Welcome to the forum! I'm totally new to :) You are so lucky to live in such an awesome. I love tree's, mountains and fresh water and miss my beloved WA so much (we are stationed in San Diego, CA with the Marine Corps). Hope you find a great cam to catch all your special moments! Have fun learning, I know I am.
     
  5. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hello and welcome! It's a shame pencil necked geeks never seem to be in season!

    It's the quail for us down here in the delta. You said film so I will go with that. I don't know much about other brands but I do know that Nikons are very rugged when you get into the F cameras. The exception is the N90s which is the least expensive of the cameras I'd suggest. The N90s (not the N90- the one with the 's') has a magnesium body and the auto focus and metering are good. Body with a grip will run you around $135-$150 in very good shape. Next up is the Nikon F100 fairly rugged - a little better than the N90s- and a great camera for around $300-$350. Now, here is a camera you shouldn't need to worry taking into the woods at all, The Nikon F5. Terrific auto focus, metering, too many frames per second (fps), built like a tank and uses -so far as I know- every lens Nikon makes except the pre AI lenses. You can even use it to fight off a Black Bear! ;) For $400-$600.

    I would get a Nikon f2.8 24mm auto focus for landscapes- around $150, an AIs 180mm f2.8 Nikon (it's a manual focus but oh what a lens) Around $250. A mid range zoom for city, people photos and a manual focus in 300mm or up as you can afford (the lower the f number the better!) The f2.8's will allow you to shoot in the extremes of the golden hours and be fast enough to get birds on the ground or trees, and in flight a lot sooner than a slower lens!

    Looking forward to seeing some grouse!

    Mike

    P.S. If you are going Digital, then look into the Nikon D200 (with a Nikon you can use older lenses and they are still tough as nails!) and the same selection of lenses plus a 135mm f2.8 m e
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    The Canon EOS XTi, would be a good camera to start with...I would also consider a Nikon (D40 or D80 or D200) or maybe a Pentax (K100D or K10D) or maybe even the Sony Alpha (compatible with Minolta lenses). Canon also has a range of DSLR cameras...the XTi is the entry model, followed by the 30D, the 5D and then the pro 1 series models.

    Either way...you should understand that it's the lens that really matters...especially for a specific task like shooting birds etc. Unfortunately, the best lenses for the job are rather expensive...more expensive than the XTi body itself. But the good part is that with an SLR camera, you can change the lens.

    Again, what's your budget?

    A great birding lens (for Canon cameras) would be the EF 100-400 L IS. Or maybe something like a 300mm F2.8 L etc.
    A cheaper option would be the 70-300 F4-5.6 IS or a really cheap option would be the 70-300 F4-5.6 (without IS).
     
  7. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Something along the lines of the Canon XTi or Nikon D80 sounds about right, IMHO. You could get started with that and something along the lines of a 70-300 zoom. I am a Nikon guy when it comes to DLSR's (I shoot Canons for video and for my Point-N-Shoots), so I can only talk about the Nikon lenses... they make an excellent inexpensive option if your budget it low, the 70-300G lens will be long enough to get you some really good bird shots if you go with a D80, and it is only $180. There are better options if you have more money to spend, especially the fixed aperture 70-200 2.8 lens... but it is a LOT more money and you will always be shooting at the long end of it. I am sure there are good options for the Canon cameras, I just am not familiar with them.
     
  8. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Welcome to the forum :) cannot give much advice though!
     
  9. NE Oregonian

    NE Oregonian TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the warm welcome y'all. I frequent a few hunting/fishing BB's simlilar to this one but this time I'm not the one giving help. Feeling a bit out of my element! :D

    So,

    Good question. As a single guy with no kids I'm a bit unfamiliar with this term. Usually the peak of my monthly income is when I take my beer/pop cans back for refunds..... ;)

    But seriously, I'd say up to $1500 for a starter camera. I've checked out the Nikon D80, that looks like a good one too. What I haven't been able to figure out is the frames per second(fps) available for either camera?

    For now, I'd think anything 3-5 fps would suit my needs just fine. After talking to my pro photo buddy today it's become quite apparent there is a substantial learning curve dealing with shooting RAW or JPEG etc. I'll probably have to hit the books.

    I'll try to keep this simple:

    Camera MUST have:

    3-5+(in my price range) fps, very important.

    A fairly quick zoom.

    Portability.

    I'm not planning on using this camera for studio shots of cute kids etc., although I would be interested in the macro capabilities of my camera(ie. close ups of insects/flora etc.)

    My camera would be much like my rifle or shotgun with the exception that my targets don't get dusted. It would be a non-lethal weapon that I can draw quickly, get on my moving target and get a bunch of quality pics in a heartbeat.

    So, thanks for your input, I look forward to more of it. As a shooting enthusiast I admit I will have a hard time getting used to the term "fps" meaning anything else than "feet per second".

    My rifles pitch lead at rates varying between 1200fps and 4000fps.

    Anyone have a camera that can do THAT? :lmao:

    Thanks again guys(and gals)

    Mike
     
  10. NE Oregonian

    NE Oregonian TPF Noob!

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    Just for giggles...

    Here's a pik I got of a baby Blue Grouse fleeing to the upper branches of a tree with a disposable camera. The light was bad, directly overhead so all you get is a sillohuette.

    This pic I'm very proud of, I had to get very very close, anticipate the bird's take-off and get it in one try.

    While the picture quality is lacking, the moment is captured nonetheless.

    [​IMG]

    Now you understand why I want a better camera. If I can capture the "moment" with a disposable, just imagine what I could do with a quality set-up.

    Enjoy!

    Mike
     
  11. tedgtfan

    tedgtfan TPF Noob!

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    Welcome to the forum. I am new here too. Ishoot with Nikon D40x. I am pleased with it. But as said earlier "its all in the lens" Good luck and happy hunting Ted

    www.flickr.com/photos/tedgtfan
     
  12. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi again Mike, Whatever you get, you are going to need a fast lens and a spot meter. It may be a little out of your range but you should look Hard at a D200. It's tough, has all the metering you'll need, it has dedicated buttons to switch back and fourth between scene types ( white balance for shade and sun, metering, ISO) and you can use all those lenses I mentioned to stay within a budget while you are starting.

    $.02

    mike
     

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