Good for a Laugh, anyway

Discussion in 'Nature & Wildlife' started by sm4him, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. sm4him

    sm4him In memoriam Supporting Member

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    Almost embarrassing to post my feeble attempts at bird photography in here, but this is where we've been told to put them so that's what I'll do.
    Definitely a beginner in bird photography; been trying out my new 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 lens, and one of the things I wanted it for was to start doing some bird photography.

    Side note: Every time I talk about woodpeckers, in my head, THIS is what I hear:


    So anyway. I haven't had time to go to the nature center close to me, or up to the mountains, so I've had to settle, so far, for my backyard. I sneak out in the morning before work and try to find something besides a mockingbird or a starling.

    Yesterday, there was a cardinal, but the closest I got to was still probably over 200 feet away, so this is the best I got:
    [​IMG]
    Shutter: 1/400, f/5.6, 300mm, 3200 ISO (not sure why I had it that high, might have just forgotten to change it)

    This morning, I tried to go out and stalk the bird feeder; as usual, the bird that was there flew off before I could get to a good angle. As it flew off, I saw a flash of red and wondered if it was the woodpecker I'd been hearing for weeks. It flew into the nearest tree, but was on the reverse side from me, so I couldn't see. I decided to just stand and wait, to see if it would ever come around to the near side. I was finally rewarded, although it was still probably a good 200 ft. or so away from me.

    Downy Woodpecker:
    [​IMG]
    Shutter: 1/400, f/5.6, 300mm, 400 ISO

    Closer crop of same photo:
    [​IMG]


    I can never seem to get the sharp details, and I'm not sure if it's because I'm shooting from too far away (which I can't really help, since it's the closest I've been able to get to them so far), or if it's because I'm shooting at the farthest range of my lens, 300mm, or something else, or a combination of things. Would I be better off to shoot at 200mm and crop the image? I need to try that when I get some time, but my sense is I'd lose just as much sharpness by cropping as I would be shooting at the far end of the lens' range.

    This morning, I was able to get MUCH closer to a robin--probably about 15-20 feet, but the details are still not sharp. This makes me think I DO need to just try shooting at 200mm or so instead of the full 300mm capability of the lens. Or, maybe I'm just missing focus?? I will say, these were taken while walking down a hill carrying my camera bag, my work backpack and my purse, so I wasn't able to keep the camera as steady as I might have been able to otherwise (though, with my hand tremor, that is always a challenge anyway).

    Robin:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Both robin photos have the same exif data as the Woodpecker, because my hands were too full to change any settings.

    C&C if you like...or just keep listening to the Woody the Woodpecker laugh... :lol:


     
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  2. cgipson1

    cgipson1 TPF Noob!

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    Which lens are you using? If it is an F4-F5.6 minimum, you really need to stop down at least two stops to get sharp... most lenses are not at their best at wide open aperture. I know that is going to slow down the shutter some... Kick your ISO up a bit, you should still get some good shots. If you have a filter on.. remove it!

    Tripod.. or brace that lens against whatever you can....... do you have VR? Is it turned on?
     
  3. HughGuessWho

    HughGuessWho TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I will refrain from giving C&C, but I must say, I wish I lived where the cardinals and robins were out and the grass was green. The mountains of Tennesse is my favorite place to photograph. Cant wait to get back to Gatlinburg.
     
  4. JessicaLynn

    JessicaLynn TPF Noob!

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    i thoroughly enjoy your photo of the cardinal
     
  5. sm4him

    sm4him In memoriam Supporting Member

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    Charlie, you're right, durnit, I'm shooting wide open! DUH. I know better...but my excuse is that I got it and my 50mm f/1.8 at the same time, and so somehow, when I shoot with the 75-300, my head thinks 5.6 couldn't *possibly* be wide-open.
    I'll stop it down a couple of stops and try some more.
    VR was on and there was no filter on the lens in any of these.
     
  6. sm4him

    sm4him In memoriam Supporting Member

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    I do love it here...home grown Tennessean, with a 12-year stint in Atlanta, GA during the 70s and early 80s. I've been to some beautiful places, but never seen anywhere else I'd want to call home.
     
  7. sm4him

    sm4him In memoriam Supporting Member

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    Thanks; I appreciate that!!
     
  8. jriepe

    jriepe TPF Noob!

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    It seems strange reading all this because just last night I was looking at my bird shots and realized they were a bit soft. I have the Tamron 70-300 lens. I've taken shots with that lens that are very sharp so I started thinking along the same lines as I'm reading here. I was thinking are my shots a bit soft because I'm zoomed all the way out or is it because I am using an aperture of f/5.6 or is it a combination of both. My Tamron lens has VC which works very well. But naturally that's not going to help with subject movement. When I shoot birds I will use auto ISO. For instance I may decide that at 300mm I will need a minimum shutter speed of 1/200 to freeze the subject movement. I'll set the camera up to shoot at ISO200 with a minimum shutter speed of 1/200sec. If proper exposure can not be reached at that setting the camera will move up to the minimum ISO that will produce proper exposure. I also will set the max ISO to usually around 1600. Then I'll shoot in aperture priority knowing my shutter speed will never go below 1/200sec. Next time I shoot birds I'm going to set the aperture down a couple steps from max to see if that helps with the softness.

    Jerry
     
  9. jriepe

    jriepe TPF Noob!

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    My plans at the moment are to move to Tennessee around the Chattanooga - Cleveland area in two and one half years when my daughter graduates from high school. I love nature, wildlife, mountains and waterfalls. That will be heaven after living thirty five years next to O'hare Field. Wish I could go sooner but am divorced and my little girl needs her dad close by.;) I'm coming down there next month to look around.

    Jerry
     
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  10. HughGuessWho

    HughGuessWho TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I would call Easten Tennesse my home in a minute if I could get my New England wife to move with me. Eastern Tennesse is God's Country. And if you cant find something beautiful there to photgraph, you ain't trying very hard.
     
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  11. jriepe

    jriepe TPF Noob!

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    If your wife refuses to go that's even better.:lol: Just joking.

    Jerry
     
  12. HughGuessWho

    HughGuessWho TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Dont think it hasnt been considered. Or shall I say, threatened.;) But she just calls by bluff.
     

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