my first bird photos

paigew

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okay be nice :sexywink: (j/k you don't have to be nice :p). I took these with 250mm lens zoomed all the way out and am dissapointed by the lack of sharpness.

1) f 5.6; 1/640; iso 100

bird by paige_w, on Flickr


2) f 5.6; 1/640; iso 100

red bird by paige_w, on Flickr

3) f 5.6; 1/800; iso 100
this seems to be my sharpest photo, though not my favorite capture; I guess because I upped the ss, though I would think 1/640 would be plenty high....

birdie by paige_w, on Flickr


4) f 5.6; 1/640; iso 100
pretty sure I missed focus on this one but it is my fave because of the way he is looking right at me. Just threw this one in for fun :er:

why hello! by paige_w, on Flickr


any advice on how to improve greatly appreciated :D
 
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Assuming that your 250mm lens is at minimum aperture at f/5.6 (and I could well be wrong about that) you won't achieve the best sharpness there. Stop it down to about f/8 and it will be sharper. Lenses are never at their sharpest at either minimum or maximum aperture.

BTW, in #4 the bird probably isn't looking at you. Birds have monocular vision and can use each eye independently, however their vision is primarily to the sides. I don't think most of them can look straight ahead.
 
Hey Paige :) Nice start!
To expand on what SCraig said, don't be scared to bring your shutter speed down to compensate for the light you will lose when you stop down.

The way I look at it there are two different bird shots, roosting and moving. Moving you need 500+ shutter speed, roosting I start at about 1/200 and play from there.
 
I just posted some of my first bird photos as well, with pretty much the same thoughts as you had, and got the same answers. Somehow, I completely missed the fact that I was shooting wide-open, and now I can't wait to get back out and try again.

Do you know what the red-colored bird is? I'm trying to learn my birds, as well as bird photography!
 
Hey Paige :) Nice start!
To expand on what SCraig said, don't be scared to bring your shutter speed down to compensate for the light you will lose when you stop down.

The way I look at it there are two different bird shots, roosting and moving. Moving you need 500+ shutter speed, roosting I start at about 1/200 and play from there.

Good thought, but a question: when I go out to shoot birds, I tend to want to keep my shutter speed at 400-500+, because while I am shooting roosting birds, I want to be PREPARED to try to get them moving if possible. So far, I've not managed any moving shots--they're either just a complete blur of motion and color, or I miss the durn bird entirely!

Is it BETTER, in terms of sharpness, to bring your shutter speed down to compensate for stopping down, or would just increasing the ISO and keeping the shutter speed higher work just as well?

And while we're at it:
What's the trick to getting them when they're moving, besides high shutter speed? I can't focus in on them and snap the shutter fast enough!
 
Good thought, but a question: when I go out to shoot birds, I tend to want to keep my shutter speed at 400-500+, because while I am shooting roosting birds, I want to be PREPARED to try to get them moving if possible. So far, I've not managed any moving shots--they're either just a complete blur of motion and color, or I miss the durn bird entirely!

Is it BETTER, in terms of sharpness, to bring your shutter speed down to compensate for stopping down, or would just increasing the ISO and keeping the shutter speed higher work just as well?

And while we're at it:
What's the trick to getting them when they're moving, besides high shutter speed? I can't focus in on them and snap the shutter fast enough!

Heya :)
I was actually on my way to your thread to post when I got distracted (saw the crows coming in and grabbed the camera and ran lol)
That is exactly how I approached it but wasn't getting the detail. I was going by the premise it's a bird and that equals high shutter speed, I'm now treating them as two different shots and I'm getting the results I was looking for. Think about it this way, you are compromising on your ideal settings for a roosting bird "just in case he flies away".

1/500 is about the absolute low end to capture a BIF. At that speed you will get bigger birds moving slower, and maybe freeze faster birds when you catch them right at the peak of a motion but otherwise you will likely have a lot of wing/motion blur. That peak is a fraction of a second of the entire time you are shooting that particular bird. Not worth the tradeoff of having less than ideal settings for him roosting.

Yes it is better to lower your shutter speed than up your ISO to get a roosting bird, I keep it as low as possible. You are talking about feathers with really fine details, the minute you start getting noise you start losing them.

As for ideal settings for BIF's.... I'm going to stay away from that for now since I'm still working on it :)

Hope this helps!
 
Birds in flight are tough because they are unpredictable. They don't fly in a straight line very long and their turns are quick and violent.

I normally shoot them at 1/1000 second and overexpose 1 to 2 stops to compensate for the meter measuring the sky behind them. Also, shoot a LOT! Wasting 20 or 30 shots to get one good one is not that uncommon, at least for me.

2012-02-05-03.jpg


2012-02-05-04.jpg


I shot these a couple of weeks ago. The first was at 1/800 second and the second at 1/2000 second (but I didn't overexpose for the sky since they were against a relatively neutral background). Gulls are quick when they want to be!
 
/\/\ Yes! That is what they are :) Thanks I always wondered. The grey/brown ones are the same thing, only females. They are so hoppy (is that a word?)

Thanks everyone for your advice, yes I did have it 'wide open' I didn't even think of that! I usually shoot with my 50mm so when I saw f4-5 I was thinking it would be okay. Thanks for the shutter speed info as well :D

Hopefully I'll have some better ones to share soon! And scraig, great shots!! Did you use al servo focus mode? And great tip for over exposing so the bird comes out exposed properly.
 
Birds in flight are tough because they are unpredictable. They don't fly in a straight line very long and their turns are quick and violent.

I normally shoot them at 1/1000 second and overexpose 1 to 2 stops to compensate for the meter measuring the sky behind them. Also, shoot a LOT! Wasting 20 or 30 shots to get one good one is not that uncommon, at least for me.

2012-02-05-03.jpg


2012-02-05-04.jpg


I shot these a couple of weeks ago. The first was at 1/800 second and the second at 1/2000 second (but I didn't overexpose for the sky since they were against a relatively neutral background). Gulls are quick when they want to be!

Nice shots Scott.
 
Hopefully I'll have some better ones to share soon! And scraig, great shots!! Did you use al servo focus mode? And great tip for over exposing so the bird comes out exposed properly.
I don't know what Canon's terminology is but I used continuous autofocus. They were flying all over the lake, from about 20' away to a couple of hundred, so I had to let the autofocus deal with it.

The lake where they were flying is my nemesis. There is an island in the middle of the lake and on that island lives a Black Capped Night Heron. He never gets off that island, I can't get to that island, and my longest lens is barely enough. I went by there last weekend armed with my 150-500 lens AND my 1.4x TC AND my tripod to shoot that little twit but, naturally, he was nowhere to be seen. So, I amused myself shooting the gulls with my 70-300 lens. Yesterday morning I went back by there to shoot the gulls and left my 150-500 at home since it was way too big for gulls in flight. Needless to say, no gulls but there sits the Night Heron laughing at me.
 
I have the same problem with Kingfishers ... I can hear them laugh as they fly away from me.
It's depressing, isn't it? It's also reliable as clockwork. If I have my long lens he is nowhere to be seen. If I leave it at home he sits there and laughs at me. He never makes a sound, just looks at me, and I KNOW the little prick is laughing.
 

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