Ducks decoying.

Discussion in 'Nature & Wildlife' started by krimmie, Jan 19, 2009.

  1. krimmie

    krimmie TPF Noob!

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    I've been trying to shots of decoying ducks and finally got one where you can tell they are ducks! I know the focus isn't great...exposure wasn't right either...but I was standing in 3 feet of water and mud, and felt lucky to get the shot off. I do hunt ducks, but I am more and more shooting them with the camera. I'm new to this, so any tips on settings would be appreciated. I used the Sports programed mode on my Olympus E-410 with the packaged 40-150mm lens.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2009
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    you'd be amazed at the number of people that end up making that same transition :)

    As for the shot some comments:

    1) your certainly going about things the right way - getting low down with the birds. With wildilfe its often best to try and shoot as close to or lower than their persepective - a low down shot is a sight that most people don't see (since we tend to watch whilst standing) and so makes for a more interesting shot

    2) I tend to find that shooting in the daytime with a clear sky and bright sun that its best to use exposure compensation to underexpose the shot (set it to a negative value up to -1 should be fine) and thus preserve the highlights from blowing out -whites are always a pain though.

    2) mode and settings wise I would recomend looking at aperture priority and shutter priority. Each of those modes will let you set the setting for the priority in that mode as well as the ISO, whilst the other setting is auto set by the camera to fit the meter (which will also respond to exposure compensation). The advantage is that these modes will respond to lighting changes faster than you can which makes them very popular with action and wildlife.
    Normally I recomend starting in aperture priority since aperture defines the depth of field of a shot (area of a shot in focus) however more and more I am starting to shift to shutter priority (especially when the lighting is poorer) since whilst one can save a darker shot, one cannot edit out motion blur from an animal. Fast speeds are always needed - I think 1/1000 or faster is a birding speed (very very rough guess that).

    3) 150mm is definatly pushing your skills at getting close to the subject, if wildlife and birds are your thing look to investing in a longer lens. I would recomend a prime (single focal length lens) since they tend to have bigger max apertures (that means more light gets into the lens when set at a larger aperture (smaller f number) which improves performance in low light conditions; and they also tend to have better image quality than zooms.
    A 300mm lens is often the wildlife minimum focal length with 400mm and 500mm being recomended as birding lengths (Because birds tend to be very very small and flightly subjects).
     
  3. krimmie

    krimmie TPF Noob!

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    Thank you Overread for that info. I actually tried shutter priority a few weeks ago, but it was earlier in the morning so the lighting was poor...the shots came out too dark. Perhaps I could have over exposed a bit in that lower light situation? It's the last week of the season so I'll have 8 months to prepare for next year. Thanks again.
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    In lower lighting its very tricky - overexposing will do one of 2 basic things with the camera (depending what mode you are in)

    a) Open up the aperture more (make the f number smaller) that will let more light into the lens - of course you lose depth of field as well this way and also many lenses are not at their sharpest when fully open.

    b) reduce shutter speed- this is the killer for wildlife shooting, if the speed gets too slow you can't freeze the action and motion blur is something you don't want in shots (unless you specifically choose to have it for a certain look - such as leg motion blur in animals whilst the main body is sharp).

    Overexposing is also risky since you telling the camera to overexpose the shot based on its meter reading. Overexposed points and underexposed ones in a shot cannot have any detail recovered in them from a digital shot (there data is simply not there to be restored) although (in very general terms) one can get away with underexposure better than with overexposure depending on the shot of course.

    As for the season - unless all the birds migrate away there is always a bird somewhere to shoot with a camera - if you can find it
     
  5. krimmie

    krimmie TPF Noob!

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    Thanks...looking over the details of the picture, I did have the exposure at +1 step. I will try this weekend without overexposing. The exposure time was 1/500 with the sports mode. I will try shutter priority between 1/600-1000.
     

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