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Thread: My 2nd Bird Photo- Steller's Jay w/ new 7D

  1. #1
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    My 2nd Bird Photo- Steller's Jay w/ new 7D

    Took the new 7D for a spin (if you consider shooting out my bedroom window into the backyard 'a spin'). This guy was out there making all kinds of ruckus and getting excited about things. Unfortunately, there were a few other shots I'd have liked to keep but they were too out of focus. Such is the life of a wildlife photographer, I suppose

    C&C greatly appreciated. I feel like the photo is not as sharp as it should be...I can't tell if it's a noise issue, or if it's just plain out of focus. What are your thoughts? Thanks!

    Male Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)
    Canon 7D, Sigma 150mm Macro with IS turned on, ISO 400, 1/45s @ f/3.5
    My 2nd Bird Photo- Steller's Jay w/ new 7D

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    jeeperman's Avatar
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    Re: My 2nd Bird Photo- Steller's Jay w/ new 7D

    It's a worthy go for your second bird image. I don't think it is a noise issue. I think there are two slight issues combined. These birds twitch quickly and your shutter speed was a bit low. There for a bit of motion blur likely contributed in his crown feathers. Also the DOF at F3.5 is quite shallow. I like to try and get F8 but you can fudge that a little the further out they are.

    Looks like you are going to have some fun with the new box.

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    Re: My 2nd Bird Photo- Steller's Jay w/ new 7D

    Hey Matt. I think you've analyzed your photo pretty well. It was a good capture, but it is out of focus. With the EXIF data you've provided, I would suspect that it's just out of focus. You've got a really shallow aperture, and slow shutter speed. Was it hand held? I know I can't hand hold a camera at 1/45 even if I'm resting on something.

    Good capture though!

    ** Darnit!! Paul's a faster typist than I!!

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    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: My 2nd Bird Photo- Steller's Jay w/ new 7D

    Was this handheld? If so, that might have contributed. It would be difficult to get a sharp image at 1/45 shutter speed. Also, the window glass is probably going to soften the image somewhat. But it's actually a pretty good shot. I love Stellar's Jays but only have a few good photos of them.

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    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    Re: My 2nd Bird Photo- Steller's Jay w/ new 7D

    Paul, Andrew, Terri,
    Thank you for your comments and encouragement. I'm glad you are all helping me out, as I have a lot to learn, especially for wildlife photography which I'm now venturing into...

    This was handheld using the IS on my lens, with burst shots. I didn't even think about how slow of a shutter speed it was until you guys pointed it out. I guess I was thinking the IS would allow me to pull that kind of handheld shot off. (Now that I think about Paul's comment, it occurs to me that even if I was able to use IS to get a steady shot in terms of me holding the camera, any quick motions of the subject would negate my efforts anyhow, hence even more reason to use a faster shutter speed.)

    Let me give you some insight into my (erroneous) thought process regarding the camera settings I used. Basically, I always want to use as low an ISO as possible to reduce noise. Even at low ISO's I personally find noise very objectionable (for me, using ISO 400 was really high IMO). Then I guess I opened the aperture so wide for 2 reasons...to let more light in to offset the lower ISO, and also to keep a nice blurred background. I find distracting backgrounds really annoying. IMO even at reasonably wide f stops like 8 the background begins to get somewhat distracting. Quite obviously I have a lot to learn...in particular it looks like I will have to adjust my attitude regarding ISO noise and backgrounds that are not as smooth as I'd like.

    I'm getting the feeling that my idea of acceptable camera image quality may be highly unrealistic. One thing that is causing a problem for me, is that I see fantastic wildlife shots (on here and all over the web) and the images look super smooth, noise free, and have sexy background smoothness...but what I DON'T see is what the RAW files look like for those shots. I think if I could somehow compare the RAW files with their PP counterparts, it would give me a reference point to decide what is reasonable or not to expect. I'll just stop on this point now as I can tell I'm digging myself into a hole (and probably sounding like a lunatic perfectionist)

    I have some links to some websites about bird photography, so I just need to get reading on those to learn the best settings, and also to just see more imagery to learn by example.

    Thanks again

  6. #6
    jeeperman's Avatar
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    Re: My 2nd Bird Photo- Steller's Jay w/ new 7D

    No, you don't sound like a lunatic.....I get it. Your camera is quite capable of handling the higher ISO, much higher than you are likely used to. The key is to get the correct exposure and get close enough to minimize the cropping.

    Today was miserable out so the low shutter does not surprise me. It was obviously fairly drizzly out at your place being you were wide open and at ISO 400 and still such a slow shutter. Oh the perrels of wildlife photography. I am very familar with the perrels of chasing birds....if you have not seen my link below. With practice you will be able to hand hold some of those low shutter speed shots but be warned the hit rate is on the low side.

    While shooting birds I usually use ISO400 sunny or not and adjust up from there. My lens is a 4-5.6 400mm and I have handheld as low as 1/15sec....although 2 shots later at 1/80 was a mess. This takes some doing with a 400mm being I should be up betwee 1/400-1/650 and that is if the bird is still. A cormorant eating a fish requires about 1/1600 to be assured of a sharp image.

    With your image above, you wanted a nice creamy background thus the use of 3.5..... but the background is a long ways of. Likely f11 would still have been fairly blurred. Remember the bokeh is not only effected by your Fstop but by the distance between you and your subject and your subject and the background. Although in this case my suggested F8 would have forced you to raise the ISO and would have still left you short on shutter speed.

    Dark days in Seattle is a birders nightmare. lol

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    Dennis Dakin

    Re: My 2nd Bird Photo- Steller's Jay w/ new 7D

    all things considered this is a very good capture. What camera mode do you use, manual AP? I alsp have a 7D and I find shooting in AP to be a bit easier than manual. Using exposure compensation (EV) will help get correct exposure. Good huntiing to you.

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    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    Re: My 2nd Bird Photo- Steller's Jay w/ new 7D

    Thanks for the added advice, Paul. I'm going to save up and get the canon 400mm 5.6 prime lens. I'm sure that will be a dream to use. It will help me get in there tight so I don't have to crop as much, too.

    Your estimate of the weather over here was quite accurate. Not to mention my backyard is kinda shaded.

    I'm going to do some reading up on wildlife shooting techniques, and practice. I have some nice, close locations that will be easy and fun to regularly visit. Thanks again.

    Dennis, thanks for the comments. Yeah, I use Av mode for almost all of my shooting, regardless of the subject matter. I do use exposure comp. as needed. Plus I shoot raw so I have a tiny bit of flex, post shoot.

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