Coyote. I have a lot to learn with wildlife. pic heavy

Discussion in 'Nature & Wildlife' started by zulu42, Jan 4, 2018.

  1. zulu42

    zulu42 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    So, this subject is just a coyote, but I would like to be able to shoot wildlife a little better.
    My long lens (70-300 G) is a handful for me at 300mm. Hard to keep it sharp. I often wish for more reach, but if I can't even handle 300mm...

    These shots are either handheld with VR on, or on a fence post with VR off. VR is set to normal, not active.

    I need to shadow a good wildlife shooter some time.

    No critique is too brutal, let's hear it.

    Is this image sharp? Am I cropping way too much?
    1. ISO 125 280mm f/5.6 1/400 heavily cropped. SOOC image below
    coyote-1.jpg

    2. sooc
    coyote sooc-1.jpg



    3. ISO 125 220mm f/5.6 1/400 Cropped a similar amount
    coyote-1-2.jpg



    4. Here's one with no crop, still not pleasantly sharp. 220mm f/5.6 1/400
    coyote no crop-1.jpg


    What's that they say about taking your head out of the viewfinder to notice things around you?
    I noticed something in post, so I wrote myself a little note to remind me not to target fixate
    coyote-1-3.jpg


    Thank you for looking


     
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  2. Destin

    Destin Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Nice images! As far as the shots not being sharp at 300mm, you should increase your shutter speed. Assuming you're shooting a crop body you need to account for the crop factor when choosing a shutter speed. 300mm x 1.5 = 450mm equivalent. So you'll wanna be over 1/500th to get sharp images at 300mm. I always aimed to be over 1/1000th when shooting wildlife though, just to make sure I was plenty fast. If you up your iso to 400, you could get a shutter speed around 1/1250 or 1/1600th of a second on these images, which would help you ALOT with ensuring that they're sharp.
     
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  3. zulu42

    zulu42 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Excellent point, that I had not considered! Some of the basics escape me as I learn more.
    Thank you.

    I also need to loosen my desire for low ISO. The d5100 is an ISO dog, but 400 would have been fine.
     
  4. fishing4sanity

    fishing4sanity No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Good looking coyote and better photos than I ever can get of them, they tend to be very wary of people. Obviously with a wild coyote you photograph when & where you see one. However, if you had been on the other side of him, with the sun at your back, then the fur colors are much more vibrant. Looking at the background, looks like you're in a very nice area.
     
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  5. zulu42

    zulu42 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I don't think I will concentrate on wildlife, or really gear up for it. Because of where I live, I need to be able to get the most out of my longest lens. There's a congregation of eagles every spring I want to shoot.
    I think just getting that shuter speed up will help, as I don't have very steady hands.

    Thanks fishing
     
  6. birdbonkers84

    birdbonkers84 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Try using auto ISO, it allows you to set your maximum ISO and minimum shutter speed. I use it all the time and manage to get good images.

    I personally found this video helpful, especially for photographing moving subjects.
    Just keep practicing, practicing and more practicing.
    If you don't have steady hands then maybe get a bean bag to rest your camera on or even a mono pod to help steady your setup.
    1 and 4 are lovely shots.
     
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  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    A few thoughts:

    1) No lens is its sharpest wide open (widest possible aperture). However zoom lenses often show a more marked performance increase even if you stop down just one stop in aperture. In addition more entry level lenses (provided the 70-300mm G is the same one I quickly googled up) are going to show this sharpness impact far more so at the longer end of the zoom range (again this is normal for any zoom, but more noticeable on the lower tiers).
    Thus I'd say try to shoot for f7.1 or f8 or so instead of f5.6. Yes that takes away some light, but it should get you some more sharpness that you are losing out on from the use of the lens at its long end.

    2) ISO - one of the worst bits of advice people get when starting is to "keep the ISO low". This is sane advice, but to a new person it tends to be the wrong focus and they end up, like you are, afraid of anything higher than ISO 100. Yes higher ISO's mean more noise; but sometimes you've got to accept that and honestly a well exposed shot (read up on "expose to the right" theory) will give you lower noise at a higher ISO than if you'd used a lower ISO and had to brighten the photo in editing (some newer sony/nikon sensors are trumping that pattern and allowing very good recovery without noise).
    For wildlife you will often need those faster shutter speeds, and at f8 you'll need more from the sensor. So raise the ISO. ISO 400 or 800 might well be your starting ISOs as a general place to begin.

    3) Handshake is a tricky thing to control because at times knowing what is handshake or a miss focus or a bit of subject motion can be hard to work out when the blur is noticeable but subtle. In general everyone has their own limits and the 1/focal length is only a very rough guideline. I would say also that it works best in the (very roughly) 50-200mm range.
    In shorter focal lengths you can often handhold and get a steady shot at much slower speeds; whilst conversely longer focal lengths often quickly require faster and faster shutter speeds. This is partly also a result of lens construction; even heavier short focal length lenses are very short in length and thus most of the weight is closer to your bodies centre of mass; whilst longer focal length lenses get longer and longer and thus there's more weight acting on your arm further away from your centre of mass.
    Personal fitness and body stance also comes into play with handholding. So you can see it improve if you shoot a lot, similarly if you go periods without exercise you might find your performance drops.

    So play it safe, but also keep in mind that the rule of thumb (1/focal length) is only an estimation.

    4) Subject motion; this can often be a harder one to pin down on what shutterspeeds to use. Indeed I never really had a good grasp until I did some equine photography in challenging light which forced me to learn what the limits were. I would say 1/500sec will freeze general walking motion, will show some blur on legs/tails/moving parts when at a fast trot or run. 1/640sec will generally freeze most steady runs and faster than that for anything faster.
    So in general you want to go into wildlife aiming for around 1/640 at the very least; this is regardless of your focal length. Sure if the animal is at rest you can tone down the settings from there so there's room to play around as the situation dictates.
     
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  8. john.margetts

    john.margetts No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The cure for unsteady hands is a tripod. I use one for perhaps half of my wildlife shots - those were I am going to be fairly static and know in advance where the subjects are likely to be.
     
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  9. goooner

    goooner Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Plenty good advice already. I would have gone, 1/800th (or higher), F6.3 or 7.1 Auto ISO (would probably have been around 500). If you use higher shutter speeds ie 1000+, turn OFF your VR.
     
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  10. zulu42

    zulu42 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks very much for the replies and help!



    This is a fantastic post full of helpful information. I really appreciate your time in helping me!!!
     
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  11. zulu42

    zulu42 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Regarding "keep the ISO low"

    That has been my mantra. I don't know exactly how I picked it up, but I have been way too reluctant to raise ISO, until recently.
    I thought it would reduce noise to underexpose with low ISO and bring it back in post.

    It's just something I was wrong about, and it has influenced my shooting since I learned what ISO is. I actually have to fight my way out of that mindset.

    A month or two ago I stumbled on a post from @Derrel , He posted a photo and mentioned something like "shot at high ISO in daylight", and my head exploded.

    I wonder what else I'm so confidently incorrect about!

    :)
     
  12. birdbonkers84

    birdbonkers84 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This is a link to a photo of mine (it's safe) Northern Gannet portrait of a gannet I shot in good light, with auto ISO enabled and a 1/1600 shutter speed, the camera only used 320 ISO to take the shot.

    Best thing is to get out and give it a try, remember you can always remove/lesson noise in programs like LR or PS afterwards.
     
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