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Thread: A How-to question

  1. #1

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    A How-to question

    A faint orange tint in the afternoon sky said to me - a really great sunset is on the way. So packed my bag, an extra jacket and off I went to this newish location. I knew it had lots of ducks and gulls near the shore and thought that getting them and the sunset would be nice.

    Did my usual bird shots and as the sun started going down the whole scene turned into a bright glorious orange. I wanted shots of the mass of birds on the foreground beach, hopefully some in the water and some in the air, against the reflecting lake, with the far treeline and sky and some trees on my right.

    Problems started immediately.

    What shutter speed - moving birds in the air and foreground = no slow shutter speeds
    What ISO - losing light rapidly
    What aperture - my widest on the 70-300 is f4
    Sharpness - needed sharp front to back and not blurry birds as the foreground or blurred out treeline at the top.
    Bracketing - not possible due to moving objects, some in flight.

    Best I was getting was 1/200, f5.6, ISO1600 without blowing the sky. ISO 3200 blew it. Increasing the ss killed the foreground. Forgot I still had 1 stop leeway on the aperture but suspect that would not have made much of a difference.

    Did consider using a flash for the foreground but that would have killed the very subtle orange hue on the sand.

    Ultimately decided to grab a shot and put a question to all my mentors here.

    How would you have approached this scene and why?

    Thanks in advance for all input.

    The processed grab shot.

    A How-to question

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: A How-to question

    I will be interested to see thoughts and suggestions on this as, if me, I think I would have decided it was a 'no options' situation, put the gear away and just sat and enjoyed the scene. And if I hadn't given up smoking 3 years ago, I'd have really, really, really slowly enjoyed the cigarette.

  3. #3

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    Re: A How-to question

    OMG, if this is what Donald thinks then ....

    Btw that is exactly what I did, grabbed the still warm coffee from the car and watched the sunset disappear.

    Even this quiet moment was not without frustration - a heron landed at the base of that tree on the right.
    Last edited by Bobobird; 28th September 2012 at 07:40 AM.

  4. #4
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: A How-to question

    I haven't got a clue Bobo; suppose I could do two shots one at the limit of darkness above, then when the sun went down got the under and over out giving both barrels then take the sunset. merging in photoshop later.

    Donald, do you still crave for a smoke; I gave up ten years and still craved for a fag later taking it up again. I've given up 3 years again and still think about it. The medics don't know a thing about craving.

  5. #5
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    Re: A How-to question

    Ok, I will have a go as I can not think of anything more humourous than the above.

    Main Problems (uncontrolable) : 1, limited time. 2, eratic unknown movement of birds.

    Wants (controlable) : 1, sharpness from front to back.

    As it appears you main requirement was to achieve a large DOF I would have set up in Aperture Priority probaly around f8. I'm basing this on the assumption that a too shallow DOF would have not given an end result you would have wanted.

    I would have then taken a number of shots at varying ISO and Speeds and kept my fingers crossed that no blury birds ruined them.

    Due to the time available I would also have used Auto ISO so that all I had to do was adjust my speed.

    If I had been lucky with this method I may have ended up with similar to what you have posted.

    PS. Humours in the last line !
    Last edited by Stagecoach; 29th September 2012 at 01:28 AM.

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    Re: A How-to question

    Quote Originally Posted by Stagecoach View Post
    Ok, I will have a go as I can not think of anything more humourous than the above.

    Main Problems (uncontrolable) : 1, limited time. 2, eratic unknown movement of birds.

    Wants (controlable) : 1, sharpness from front to back.

    As it appears you main requirement was to achieve a large DOF I would have set up in Aperture Priority probaly around f8. I'm basing this on the assumption that a too shallow DOF would have not given an end result you would have wanted.

    I would have then taken a number of shots at varying ISO and Speeds and kept my fingers crossed that no blury birds ruined them.

    Due to the time available I would also have used Auto ISO so that all I had to do was adjusyt my speed.

    If I had been lucky with this method I may have ended up with similar to what you have posted.

    PS. Humours in the last line !

  7. #7

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    Re: A How-to question

    My reply is not meant to be humorous even if it cracks you up. Here's how this rookie would have done it: 1. Shoot raw; 2. Don't worry about capturing scene in camera, save real work for software; 3. Set histogram for lighting I wanted; 4. Set camera to f8 (my camera's highest f-stop setting; 5. Set camera to burst mode; 6. Set ISO to lowest value possible given my f8 setting and the histogram I want to achieve; 7. Have one of my three daughters throw a rock at birds to get them into the air; and 8. Press shutter and take multiple shots. Review pictures, make adjustments, and repeat.

    Have a nice weekend.

    Karm

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: A How-to question

    I'm with Donald; I would have just packed up the gear and would have fled the area as gulls seem to think I'm part of their toilet facilities.

    A flash would not have worked, as there is no way that it could have illuiminated the whole scene and introduced a mixed lighting issue. The light from the setting sun would be unsuccessfully competing with the daylight colour from the flash. As well, the flash drop-off would have introduced another unwelcome compositional element,

    I think you did very well, considering the conditions you shot under, and at most, I would go back at it with some PP work to open up the shadow detail a bit better.

  9. #9

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    Re: A How-to question

    Quote Originally Posted by Karm Redland View Post
    My reply is not meant to be humorous even if it cracks you up. Here's how this rookie would have done it: 1. Shoot raw; 2. Don't worry about capturing scene in camera, save real work for software; 3. Set histogram for lighting I wanted; 4. Set camera to f8 (my camera's highest f-stop setting; 5. Set camera to burst mode; 6. Set ISO to lowest value possible given my f8 setting and the histogram I want to achieve; 7. Have one of my three daughters throw a rock at birds to get them into the air; and 8. Press shutter and take multiple shots. Review pictures, make adjustments, and repeat.

    Have a nice weekend.

    Karm
    Funny!! I can relate to this post!!

    Kathy

  10. #10

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    Re: A How-to question

    Bobo, my work around would be to shoot exactly as you did, using Raw. Then create two conversions with different exposure settings and combine with layers and masks. Something which I often do to expand the tone range when subject movement means only one shot is available.

  11. #11
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    Re: A How-to question

    Hi Bobo, I don't have anywhere near your skill in shooting birds so I would have likely taken a very simplistic approach.

    First I would decide what was more important, the wildlife complemented by the sunset, or the sunset complemented by the wildlife. Whichever I chose, I would setup for that configuration first and get my best shots for that priority. Then if there was time, I'd switch the alternative and get my best shots there as well. If there was still time, then I'd try for the compromise.

    In the quiet time during post processing I would careful evaluate each image result and plan out the changes to try on the next outing where these conditions exist.

    Going back and reading this over I'm thinking to myself "Is that ever boring or what!"

  12. #12

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    Re: A How-to question

    This scene doesn't seem at all problematic to me, so I'll happily provide the tutorial explaining what I would have done.

    1) Consider all the options.
    2) Try all of them.
    3) Pick the best image captured by my wife, who would not have taken the time to consider either of the above two steps but who surely would have nailed the image.

  13. #13
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: A How-to question

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    This scene doesn't seem at all problematic to me, so I'll happily provide the tutorial explaining what I would have done.

    1) Consider all the options.
    2) Try all of them.
    3) Pick the best image captured by my wife, who would not have taken the time to consider either of the above two steps but who surely would have nailed the image.
    LOL! I can't wait for her to join CiC and increase the competition!

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    Re: A How-to question

    Seriously, I hope I would have done the following:

    1) Auto ISO (I always use it unless the camera is on a tripod) set to maximum ISO that generates no more noise than can be rectified and set to minimum shutter of 1/500. (Your camera, like one of my cameras, may not allow such a fast, minimum shutter speed at Auto ISO.)

    2) Set camera to aperture priority. Use an aperture that provides desired depth of field.

    3) Take test shot and review histogram. Change camera's exposure compensation as needed.

    4) Deal with everything else in post-processing. Decide then whether you've got a keeper. Maybe so, maybe not.

  15. #15
    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Re: A How-to question

    I agree with Mike's post above, it is pretty much how I shoot everything except birds in flight. The only difference is I use a minimum shutter speed of 1/400.

  16. #16

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    Re: A How-to question

    Apologies to everyone, have been busy prepping for a long trip away so did not have time to respond earlier.

    All great suggestions and will try them all out in a systematic manner at the next opportunity.

    Maybe this sort of shot should be tried at sunrise as it will be so much easier adjusting for too much light instead of too little. Personally I am not particular about whether it is a sunrise or sunset - both can be gorgeous.

  17. #17

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    Re: A How-to question

    Regarding general settings. I am a manual guy mostly but shutter speed remains a priority except on a tripod. 1/400-1/500 would be roughly my usual settings adjusting ISO or aperture as needed. Works fine most of the time but I get flustered in low uneven light. Need to practice more in those situations. Alternative get a 1Dx and leave all that behind.

  18. #18

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    Re: A How-to question

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobobird View Post
    I am not particular about whether it is a sunrise or sunset
    I am. One requires waking up early and the other one doesn't.

  19. #19

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    Re: A How-to question

    That's very true. But there are always exception days, just a question of getting up earlier instead of early.

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