some of

baturn

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What the hell! This uploaded while I was typing the title.
Anyhoo- The purpose of posting was to find out what others thought, specifically about using flash for this type of photo when the weather is dull and drizzly.
 
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dxqcanada

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I was just going to comment on the flash ... if you are going to use one, dial it down (if you can). It does look "un-natural" when lit that way.
 

JacaRanda

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Nice set Batman. I think it's absolutely fine as I have read there is no harm to the animals and you are using accessories to get the shot. No different than using flash for a studio portrait.

Imiss those black squirrels in BC.

Can you name the birds species?
 
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baturn

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In order; Varied Thrush, Song Sparrow, Varied Thrush, Dark-eyed Junco, squirrel.
As far as the flash is concerned, it's the bird version of red eye I'm concerned with. I use the fix in Lightroom, but it makes their eyes look funny.
 
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baturn

baturn

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I was just going to comment on the flash ... if you are going to use one, dial it down (if you can). It does look "un-natural" when lit that way.
Yeah. I'm using an sb-800 in TTL at distances out to 40 - 50 feet. Not sure I know how to "dial it down" as manually adjusting the flash would mean missing a lot of shots. Cammera was in manual ISO400, f6.3, 1/250.
 

Jim Walczak

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This is just my own opinion as always, so please take it as such...

Personally I try to use a great deal of discretion when using flash on critters. I don't believe it physically harms them (at least no more so than it does people), however I have seen situations where it CAN startle them. Even with my own domestics here at home, it's pretty clear that yes, the flash does bother them. I have used flash in some situations where I'm 100% sure it won't bother the animal(s) - zoo photography for example (a lot of zoo critters seem fairly impervious to anything we humans may do to try and get their attention), but more often that not, I usually prefer to do without. In this case I am a VERY firm believer in that "it's just a picture" and anything that may disturb the critter(s)...just not worth it.

That said, as far as the pictures go - if you're going to use flash like this, my advice would be to get it off the camera. The head-on flash, as dxqcanada already said, looks unnatural. You can pick up those import wireless flash triggers for pretty cheap...at the moment I see one set on fleaBay that includes the trigger and 2 remotes for $18.99...and for novice work, they actually do a pretty decent job. I have the set with 4 receivers and I've gone so far as to use them with some el' cheapo flash heads for some portrait work...not exactly AlienBee's, but I don't do a lot of portrait work, so it does the job. You can certainly go the Speedlight route, but if you're on a budget and/or just screwing around, the cheapy triggers are a great way to get your feet wet.

Again, just my own opinions.
 
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I fully agree with using discretion when using flash on critters. But I have found that more birds are startled by sound (mirror slap) than flash.
As for getting the flash off camera, I have not figured out a way to predict where birds will land or hop to next. Any suggestion gratefully accepted.
 

Designer

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As for getting the flash off camera, I have not figured out a way to predict where birds will land or hop to next. Any suggestion gratefully accepted.
Get a bracket. That gets your flash a few inches off the axis of the lens and just goes where you go.
 

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I don't know what equipment you were using, so that would be nice to know - camera lens, flash, etc. It is hard to be very definitive with my comments without knowing what you are using and the settings, etc.

I have often used flash to photograph big birds on my trips to Florida. I mount it off camera, and dial it down quite a bit, as has been suggested here. I also use a Better Beamer as I find that tends to spread the flash out, because, I am really only trying to use it as a subtle fill flash. In fact, for me, if you cannot tell that flash has been used then its use has been successful. I also find that dialing it down and using the Beamer, minimizes any shadows that flash can create.

How much you dial it down will depend on the flash you are using and the distance to the subject, so you may have to experiment a bit. A Better Beamer may not be necessary, but I would certainly recommend some type of a diffuser to make the flash effect as subtle as possible.

WesternGuy
 
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baturn

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As for getting the flash off camera, I have not figured out a way to predict where birds will land or hop to next. Any suggestion gratefully accepted.
Get a bracket. That gets your flash a few inches off the axis of the lens and just goes where you go.
Thank you for this - it was literally my next question and will now be my next purchase.
 
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I don't know what equipment you were using, so that would be nice to know - camera lens, flash, etc. It is hard to be very definitive with my comments without knowing what you are using and the settings, etc.

I have often used flash to photograph big birds on my trips to Florida. I mount it off camera, and dial it down quite a bit, as has been suggested here. I also use a Better Beamer as I find that tends to spread the flash out, because, I am really only trying to use it as a subtle fill flash. In fact, for me, if you cannot tell that flash has been used then its use has been successful. I also find that dialing it down and using the Beamer, minimizes any shadows that flash can create.

How much you dial it down will depend on the flash you are using and the distance to the subject, so you may have to experiment a bit. A Better Beamer may not be necessary, but I would certainly recommend some type of a diffuser to make the flash effect as subtle as possible.

WesternGuy
D7100, Sigma150- 500, sb-800. at distances of 10 - 50 ft. I have a better beamer but wasn't using it because I actually thought it intensified the light. I was sing the flash in TTL mode.
Any how this is kind of all about experimenting and learning, so thanks for the tips.
 

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I like natural light my self but they are nice shots,Really love the black squirrel.
 
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I like natural light my self but they are nice shots,Really love the black squirrel.
Yep. I usually prefer natural light also. But sometimes in winter it's just too dark to maintain a high shutter speed.
 

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