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Thread: Brown Pelican in flight...

  1. #1
    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Brown Pelican in flight...

    I shot these from the boardwalk that provides access to Playa Linda Beach at Cape Canaveral National Seashore. As my wife and I walked along the boardwalk we saw a flight of pelicans approaching from the right. The flight path took them about 30 feet above and a short distance in front. Shutter speed 1/2500, aperture f8, auto ISO shot at 1000, matrix metering. C&C welcomed and appreciated. Thank you for viewing,

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    Brown Pelican in flight...

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    Brown Pelican in flight...

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    jeeperman's Avatar
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    Re: Brown Pelican in flight...

    Nicely done, Joe. I always wonder why the feather structure on the pelicans can look almost plastic. When I have shot them I always struggle in PP with the feathers. You have done well here.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Brown Pelican in flight...

    Right place, right time plus great technique through lots of practice

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    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Re: Brown Pelican in flight...

    Quote Originally Posted by jeeperman View Post
    Nicely done, Joe. I always wonder why the feather structure on the pelicans can look almost plastic. When I have shot them I always struggle in PP with the feathers. You have done well here.
    Thanks Paul, the feathers are different, they always look like pin feathers on the underside... maybe for buoyancy.

  5. #5
    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Re: Brown Pelican in flight...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Right place, right time plus great technique through lots of practice
    Thanks Dave, right you are. Regarding practice and technique I think 40,000 images shot last year helps. I have found a system that is simple and works, rarely do I vary from that.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Brown Pelican in flight...

    Quote Originally Posted by jprzybyla View Post
    I have found a system that is simple and works, ...
    And, boy, does it work!

    I think there's a hugely important lesson the the posts above in terms of Dave's comment (Post #3) and Joe's reply immediately above this post. That's about practicing, practicing, practicing, finding out what works for you and making it work.

    I don't know how many folk might have walked down that boardwalk that Joe refers to and seen this scene before them. But how many would have had the skill to get a picture like this?

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    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Re: Brown Pelican in flight...

    After reading Donald's and Dave's comments I decided to describe the technique that I find works for me. I shoot Nikon so Cannon shooters will have to adapt it to their cameras. In Nikon's menu there is an item titled ISO Sensitivity. In that menu item a minimum and maximum ISO along with a minimum shutter speed can be set. I set my minimum ISO to 100 (some cameras only allow 200 as a minimum) the maximum ISO I use is 3200. I set the minimum shutter speed to 500, that is because I almost exclusively use my 70-300mm lens (FFE of 105-450mm). The 1/500 shutter speed is a little faster than the 450mm would require for a minimum for hand-holding. I use the center focusing point for the active auto focus point. Almost exclusively I use Nikon's Matrix Metering where the camera evaluates the whole scene and sets the exposure. I shoot RAW so the in camera exposure is not as important because the post processing software allows some leeway and with the Point Curve the exposure can also be manipulated. Birds that are stationary I shoot with Aperture Priority, mostly f8. changing the aperture depending on the depth of field needed (single bird vs. a group of birds, large bird vs. small bird). The minimum shutter speed for the Aperture Priority will be 500 with the camera selecting a faster shutter speed if the ISO would drop below 100. For birds in flight I use Shutter Priority with a shutter speed of 1/2500 (I find this gives the best sharpness) letting the camera select the necessary ISO for exposure. I set this shutter speed in Shutter Priority but I do not use Shutter Priority for flying birds, I use M (manual), the reason for that is that in Manual the camera uses the aperture from Aperture Priority (f8) and the shutter speed from Shutter Priority (1/2500)... the best of both worlds so to say. Become so familiar with you camera that if you see a bird flying you instinctively move the mode dial from aperture to manual, but remember to put it back on aperture after you have captured the flying birds. My photography has improved greatly by paying attention to the light, how it is lighting the subject. Put the sun to your back (feel it's warmth on the back of your shirt) and shoot what is in front of you. The subject is well lighted and the autofocus will work better. Try to shoot what is close and will need minimal cropping. Learn your post processing software, I use Adobe Lightroom 4. The training videos that have helped me the most are found on http://en.elephorm.com/photography/lightroom.html by Hal Schmitt. He doesn't just show one what it will do he shows one how to use it and why. Works for me, hoping it helps others.

    Thank you for viewing and commenting Donald, very much appreciated.
    Last edited by jprzybyla; 1st April 2013 at 03:41 PM.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Brown Pelican in flight...

    Joe

    I hope you'll save that last message as text soemwhere so that you can copy and paste it in the future into other threads.

    I think it will be highly informative and educational for many people and, of course, this thread will pass into the history of the forum and not be so readily accessible to current and future members. It would be great if you had this so that you could post it up whenever people in the future ask how you keep producing these high quality images, as they surely will.

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    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Re: Brown Pelican in flight...

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Joe

    I hope you'll save that last message as text soemwhere so that you can copy and paste it in the future into other threads.

    I think it will be highly informative and educational for many people and, of course, this thread will pass into the history of the forum and not be so readily accessible to current and future members. It would be great if you had this so that you could post it up whenever people in the future ask how you keep producing these high quality images, as they surely will.
    Will do Donald, thank you for the suggestion.

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    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Brown Pelican in flight...

    Gorgeous pelican shot.. Thank you so much for sharing your technique...

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    Re: Brown Pelican in flight...

    Joe, very nice shot and tips! Certainly a very good technique that really works.

    One question, if you dont mind: Do you ever use the 3D-tracking (11 points) as AF-area mode? I am asking because I never use it, as I found it to be not as accurate as I would like it to be.

    Cheers...
    Last edited by Otavio; 1st April 2013 at 10:11 PM.

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