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Thread: My 1st wildlife outing

  1. #1
    ClaudioG's Avatar
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    My 1st wildlife outing

    Hi all...so..i went to the pilanesberg reserve this weekend..and put my girly 55-200 kit lens to the test. this is my first outing and would just like to get some views from anyone about anything..if ive cropped right, if compostion is ok..if my exposure is ok. One thing i struggled with is to get the birds into really sharp focus..i set my camera to aperture priority,focus mode to single servo AF and Area mode to Single point AF..now..i was shooting mostly on 200mm end and hand held with VR. So i set my ISO to Auto..but kept it lower than 800. Can anyone recommend better settings for wildlife and birdlife? All shots were with my Nikon D5100 and 55-200mm kit lens. So ..basically all C+C is welcome and greatly appreciated. Ive put some of my bird images here and will put some of my buck pics in a new post. I hope i've done a little justice to some of South Africas birdlife.

    First is an Orange-breasted bush shrike.
    My 1st wildlife outing



    Next is a Lilac breasted Roller...never seen them puffed up like this ..seems a lot chubbier i dont know..something about image seems wrong...to dark me thinks.
    My 1st wildlife outing

    Pied Kingfisher...wish i got him when he caught it!!!!! i put a 2nd one as well and wanted to know wat you think of the compostion..not often you get to see a bird from above.

    My 1st wildlife outing
    My 1st wildlife outing

    Dark capped bulbul..im also putting a sort of play aroun abstract image of his chest after it. Let me know what you think

    My 1st wildlife outing
    My 1st wildlife outing

    I'd like to say thanks to all with the advice i hope to be getting.
    BIG thank you and i hope u njoy some of the images.

  2. #2
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: My 1st wildlife outing

    Hi Claudio,

    Beautiful bird. Thank you for sharing. I think you captured the beauty of the bird best in the 3rd, 4th and 5th photos.

    I too am learning about bird photography. Look for Joe's posts on this forum for gorgeous perfect birds... In the link below he describes his technique very well.

    Brown Pelican in flight...

    For birds that are relatively stationary I have found aperture and shutter priority to be good learning tools to see what settings work and which ones don't.

    I'm still learning and practicing birds but I've learned from this forum that positive exposure compensation is usually needed for birds (.7-1.3 for me), not to be afraid of using higher isos, to search for good light and nice backgrounds, to use continuous auto focus in burst mode and to use as fast a shutter speed as you can... I've also learned a lot just from viewing all the bird photos posted by others on this forum.
    Last edited by Brownbear; 17th April 2013 at 01:53 PM.

  3. #3
    ClaudioG's Avatar
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    Re: My 1st wildlife outing

    Thanks Christina, just checked out The Brown pelican post..very helpful.

  4. #4
    davidedric's Avatar
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    Re: My 1st wildlife outing

    Hi Claudio,

    First off, congratulations getting out there, taking some images and posting.

    I think your image of the pied kingfisher with its lunch is excellent. It is in good focus, and I'm a particular fan of wildlife pictures that show behaviour. The dark capped bulbul is also impressively sharp, even when viewed at full size. Not sure the abstract of the breast works for me - it looks as if there are some quite badly blown highlights (though I haven't downloaded to check).

    You have chosen difficult subjects for your first posting. Small birds at 200mm, even with a cropped camera, are a challenge, and I think the bush shrike is beyond the limits of your kit. It also seems out of focus, but it may be that it's a fairly heavy crop?

    Don't know what's happened with the roller. (I have seen them puffed up like that, but only on a very cold morning!). It may seem a bit dark, but with the light coming in from the left I think you'd have to do some more post processing to get an overall even illumination. It also looks out of focus to me - I don't think it can be camera shake because the vegetation looks sharper, I wonder if it was windy and the feathers were moving. I can't see any exif data, but it would make sense to check the shutter speed. I would rather chance a higher ISO to avoid any motion blur, which you really can't do much about when you've got it.

    Keep shooting!

    Hope this is helpful,

    Dave

  5. #5
    ClaudioG's Avatar
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    Re: My 1st wildlife outing

    Thanks Dave....if i have good light and the birds are relatively still ..or even moving..should my shutter speeds be above 1/1000 or so to get better focus?(no blur) im really struggling to get good focus on birds ..is my focus setting right?Focus mode to single servo and area mode single point AF. Could it also be that i need a better lens..well.. we always need a better lens hey . My shutter speed was at 1/400 with the lilac breasted roller and i just checked the ISO was at 220...maybe i should just get used to shooting in manual mode? Im still new to all this so tried working in aperture priority so i set auto ISO so wouldnt go over 800 and ss minimum 1/400. Its all so CONFUSING!! AAArrrgghh

  6. #6

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    Re: My 1st wildlife outing

    Quote Originally Posted by ClaudioG View Post
    Hi all...so..i went to the pilanesberg reserve this weekend..and put my girly 55-200 kit lens to the test. this is my first outing and would just like to get some views from anyone about anything..if ive cropped right, if compostion is ok..if my exposure is ok. One thing i struggled with is to get the birds into really sharp focus..i set my camera to aperture priority,focus mode to single servo AF and Area mode to Single point AF..now..i was shooting mostly on 200mm end and hand held with VR. So i set my ISO to Auto..but kept it lower than 800. Can anyone recommend better settings for wildlife and birdlife? All shots were with my Nikon D5100 and 55-200mm kit lens. So ..basically all C+C is welcome and greatly appreciated. Ive put some of my bird images here and will put some of my buck pics in a new post. I hope i've done a little justice to some of South Africas birdlife.

    First is an Orange-breasted bush shrike.
    My 1st wildlife outing



    Next is a Lilac breasted Roller...never seen them puffed up like this ..seems a lot chubbier i dont know..something about image seems wrong...to dark me thinks.
    My 1st wildlife outing

    Pied Kingfisher...wish i got him when he caught it!!!!! i put a 2nd one as well and wanted to know wat you think of the compostion..not often you get to see a bird from above.

    My 1st wildlife outing
    My 1st wildlife outing

    Dark capped bulbul..im also putting a sort of play aroun abstract image of his chest after it. Let me know what you think

    My 1st wildlife outing
    My 1st wildlife outing

    I'd like to say thanks to all with the advice i hope to be getting.
    BIG thank you and i hope u njoy some of the images.
    If these are the results you get with a 'girlie' lens, then I'm spraying all of my lenses pink!! The Bulbul image is a delight, the first Kingfisher image ditto and the Roller quite stunning. The Bush Shrike could perhaps have been cropped tighter...and definitely snapped in an attitude less affected by the sun in order to see its natural chest colouring, but then in fairness to you I am God's gift to wildlife photography of course, and as such I can command any critter to do what I want, where I want and when I want!! ...
    ...Now, where did I put that can of pink spray?

  7. #7
    ClaudioG's Avatar
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    Re: My 1st wildlife outing

    Thank you for the compliments and advice Bob!! Yeh..i was really in two minds aboiut the bush shrike..i have some good images of a yellow billed hornbill and a go away bird..will post them soon. I wanted to see what range(distance) is acceptable to a viewer when looking at bird images. unfortunately im still struggling with my focusing and the best settings for it..so i tried cropping and zooming in to bush strike..just doesnt look good. Again Thank you for viewing and commenting!!

  8. #8

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    Re: My 1st wildlife outing

    Quote Originally Posted by davidedric View Post
    Hi Claudio,

    First off, congratulations getting out there, taking some images and posting.

    I think your image of the pied kingfisher with its lunch is excellent. It is in good focus, and I'm a particular fan of wildlife pictures that show behaviour. The dark capped bulbul is also impressively sharp, even when viewed at full size. Not sure the abstract of the breast works for me - it looks as if there are some quite badly blown highlights (though I haven't downloaded to check).

    You have chosen difficult subjects for your first posting. Small birds at 200mm, even with a cropped camera, are a challenge, and I think the bush shrike is beyond the limits of your kit. It also seems out of focus, but it may be that it's a fairly heavy crop?

    Don't know what's happened with the roller. (I have seen them puffed up like that, but only on a very cold morning!). It may seem a bit dark, but with the light coming in from the left I think you'd have to do some more post processing to get an overall even illumination. It also looks out of focus to me - I don't think it can be camera shake because the vegetation looks sharper, I wonder if it was windy and the feathers were moving. I can't see any exif data, but it would make sense to check the shutter speed. I would rather chance a higher ISO to avoid any motion blur, which you really can't do much about when you've got it.

    Keep shooting!

    Hope this is helpful,

    Dave
    Are you being just a tad harsh on the Roller image Dave? I thought the crisp detail right at the end of its beak suggested that the image was sharply focused m'self. The minuscule hint of movement in its feathers along with the subtle light playing in its eyes gave me a sense of both the moment and the environment to be honest. The only thing I'd want to loose -if pressed-is the out of focus foreground branch slightly obscuring its tail.

  9. #9

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    Re: My 1st wildlife outing

    Photographing birds with a mere 200 mm lens is always going to be a challenge, Claudio, so these have worked well.

    And when shooting towards a bright sky it is doubly difficult.

    I think the only things I would consider changing are cropping fractionally tighter where you have rather delicate birds alongside large pieces of strong dark branch which are 'overpowering' the birds.

    #5 is possibly a fraction 'noisy' on the background sky. I sometimes run a light blur brush over any problem areas. But it isn't an excessive problem in this case.

  10. #10
    davidedric's Avatar
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    Re: My 1st wildlife outing

    Are you being just a tad harsh on the Roller image Dave?
    Gosh, I hope not. Certainly not the intention, but the feather detail just isn't there (compare Claudio's Black Capped Bulbul), and I was trying to work out why.

    Shutter speed of 1/400 should have compensated for any feather movement, though I think I would have gone higher and upped the ISO to compensate.

    Having had a better chance to look at the bird, I'm pretty sure it is a juvenile / sub-adult, which would give it downier feathers.

    My shutter speed was at 1/400 with the lilac breasted roller and i just checked the ISO was at 220...maybe i should just get used to shooting in manual mode? Im still new to all this so tried working in aperture priority so i set auto ISO so wouldnt go over 800 and ss minimum 1/400. Its all so CONFUSING!! AAArrrgghh
    Claudio - you are doing fine!!!!!! You have said that you have selected AV mode. Did you try varying the aperture to see what effect it has? Some of the members here will say go to manual, I prefer to change one thing at a time. No right answer, really.

    Incidentally, your duiker pictures, especially the second one, in your other post, are absolute crackers! MUCH harder to get than a lion

    Dave

  11. #11

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    Re: My 1st wildlife outing

    Quote Originally Posted by davidedric View Post
    Gosh, I hope not. Certainly not the intention, but the feather detail just isn't there (compare Claudio's Black Capped Bulbul), and I was trying to work out why.

    Shutter speed of 1/400 should have compensated for any feather movement, though I think I would have gone higher and upped the ISO to compensate.

    Having had a better chance to look at the bird, I'm pretty sure it is a juvenile / sub-adult, which would give it downier feathers.



    Claudio - you are doing fine!!!!!! You have said that you have selected AV mode. Did you try varying the aperture to see what effect it has? Some of the members here will say go to manual, I prefer to change one thing at a time. No right answer, really.

    Incidentally, your duiker pictures, especially the second one, in your other post, are absolute crackers! MUCH harder to get than a lion

    Dave
    Yo Dave,
    Sorry dude, that wasn't meant to come over as a challenge to your opinion so much as a question really.

    Bob.

  12. #12

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    Re: My 1st wildlife outing

    Quote Originally Posted by davidedric View Post
    Gosh, I hope not. Certainly not the intention, but the feather detail just isn't there (compare Claudio's Black Capped Bulbul), and I was trying to work out why.

    Shutter speed of 1/400 should have compensated for any feather movement, though I think I would have gone higher and upped the ISO to compensate.

    Having had a better chance to look at the bird, I'm pretty sure it is a juvenile / sub-adult, which would give it downier feathers.



    Claudio - you are doing fine!!!!!! You have said that you have selected AV mode. Did you try varying the aperture to see what effect it has? Some of the members here will say go to manual, I prefer to change one thing at a time. No right answer, really.

    Incidentally, your duiker pictures, especially the second one, in your other post, are absolute crackers! MUCH harder to get than a lion

    Dave
    Yo Dave,
    Sorry dude, that wasn't meant to come over as a challenge to your opinion so much as a question really.

    Bob.

  13. #13

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    Re: My 1st wildlife outing

    Why my 'Sorry dude' posted twice is beyond me, so can we count the repeat as a 'residual echo' effect

  14. #14
    Downrigger's Avatar
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    Re: My 1st wildlife outing

    No C&C of substance from me - just want to say: these are spectacular results for a first outing!

  15. #15
    ClaudioG's Avatar
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    Re: My 1st wildlife outing

    Quote Originally Posted by Downrigger View Post
    No C&C of substance from me - just want to say: these are spectacular results for a first outing!
    Thanks Mark..thats a great compliment..i'm really enjoying my new hobby and have been doing alot of reading on the subject..but applying it is another story completely... but i love the challenge..i really like how other images from other people inspire me..and hope some day to inspire someone else.

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