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Thread: Help.....

  1. #1
    Benjy's Avatar
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    Help.....

    Hi,I just can,t seem to get clear,sharp shots of wildlife,any tips would be greatly appreciated,hear are a couple from yesterday taken in a hurry handheld....sony a65,F5.6..1/60..ISO 200,focal 300mm..centre weighted.....would love to get shots even half as good as ones seen on C@C......Help.........Help.....

  2. #2
    GiacomoD's Avatar
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    Re: Help.....

    Hi Bernard,
    for the two shots shown, what I can say is that with a focal length of 300mm, the shutter speed of 1/60 for a handheld shot is probably too slow to get a sharp image.
    I've read somewhere (but I don't remember where...) that -as a raw guide - the minimum shutter speed for a sharp image should be at least the reverse of the focal length, in this case it would have been about 1/300. meaning that most likely you would have to raise the ISO too.

    Giacomo

  3. #3

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    Re: Help.....

    Hi Bernard

    About the first image. I see on the EXIF data the shutter speed was 1/160, probably not fast enough to capture a hare on the run. It seems to me that the camera focused on the background and not on the hare.

    On the second image a shutter speed of 1/20 with a hand held camera will give you always soft images.

    The main problem I see is the light. You attempted to shoot at late afternoon with very little light available. To solve this you have to crank up the ISO in your camera, so the gain on the sensor is increased and this becomes more sensitive.

    A higher ISO will allow you to set the camera with a smaller aperture, let's say F8 or F10, which will increase the Depth of Field, increasing the chances of getting a the subject sharp.

    Trying to capture quick small animals is not easy, but it will definitely help if you can manage to get better lighting, try to get to the site a little earlier so you have more natural light available.

    Toņo

  4. #4

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    Re: Help.....

    Bernard,

    I generally don't shoot animals but I do know that more information would be helpful in diagnosing your situation.

    Does your camera or lens have image stabilization built in? If so, was it enabled at the time that you captured the images? If so, you should probably be able to get away with slower shutter speeds than explained by Giacomo. If not, his information about that is on target if your camera is a full-frame camera. If it's not, you need to consider the crop factor. As an example, if it has a 1.5 crop factor, the effect on your focal length (without getting into the boring details) makes it 450mm for the purposes of this discussion. Without image stabilization, you should not use a shutter speed slower than 1/450. If you're like me, you wouldn't shoot at less than 1/600 just to be on the safe side.

    You also didn't mention how close you were to the subject. That, along with the focal length and the aperture, affects the depth of field. Notice that the depth of field is beyond the rabbit. The photo of the bird is too blurred for me to determine the depth of field. If you're not used to knowing the depth of field of your lens at 300mm when used with various apertures and distances from the subject, it will help you to study any of the depth of field charts readily available on the Internet. It will also help to take shots of stationary objects in a methodical fashion that documents for you the effect of various apertures at a particular distance, then doing the same for another distance, then another distance, etc.

    You also didn't mention how much these photos are cropped. Just a little? 25%? 50%? More?

    Last, you mentioned that you would like your photos to be just half as good as the better ones that you see here, yet you also explained that you took these photos hurriedly. Not to be unkind, but I'm sure you're aware that very few great photos are taken hurriedly. If you're not used to shooting handheld with this reasonably long focal length, you can't do it hurriedly and expect good outcomes short of getting the occasional lucky shot. I recently began using a 300mm focal length for the first time and had to practice, practice, practice on stationary objects. This includes using an ideal body position such as resting the lens firmly in the palm of the hand with the palm facing up, with that elbow tucked as much as possible underneath the camera and as close to the torso as possible, not breathing while shooting, etc. The long focal length exacerbates everything that could go wrong, especially if you are shooting at a shutter speed that even borders on being slower than ideal.

    Hope this helps!

  5. #5

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    Re: Help.....

    In addition to the previous comments.The hare is actually moving away from you so unless you used AI Servo, or similar setting, you would quickly lose any focus that you did achieve.

    Auto focus often prefers to lock on to a sharp edged hard object in the background instead of a soft edged animal or bird. I find that just using the centre focus point (or points) helps to reduce problems.

    Or use manual focus; but a hare certainly moves faster than I can manually focus!

    I would consider at least 1/500 to be on the slow side for that amount of movement; and would ideally prefer double that amount.

    But real life animal photography is always difficult, so expect plenty of rejects.

  6. #6
    Benjy's Avatar
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    Re: Help.....

    Hi,Geoff,Mike,Tono,Giacomo,a big THANKS for your comments,I have taken note of them and will use the settings on my next outing,will probably need lots of patience and practice

  7. #7

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    Re: Help.....

    Bernard, one of the tricks of photographing wildlife, is always have your camera set up for the shot. You usually only get a split second for the shot. No time to think about adjusting the camera settings.

    Start out with something easy, like some ducks or swans at the park. Something that will allow you to get close, and tollerate your presence.

    You will need to set up your camera...........AIServo (auto focus that will track a moving subject).........ISO's that will give enough shutter speed, for a moving subject. (don't be afraid to use your ISO. Any noise can easily be removed in editing. I regularly use iso's from 800 to 1250, without any problems.) When using high iso's, don't underexpose your image or you will get alot more noise. Since you are using AIServo focus drive, learn to use your focus dots to get a good composition. (Your active focus dot must stay on the subject at all times, when using AIServo.) If shutter speeds are slow due to lighting conditions, use a tripod and take lots of shots, in hopes of getting a good one. I often use a tripod, with the controls unlocked , so i can pan any direction i want.

    It is really much easier than it sounds. If you are prepaired for the shot, you are much more likely to get the shot., when presented.

    Hope this helps.

  8. #8
    davidedric's Avatar
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    Re: Help.....

    Lot's of good advice. Here's a couple more thoughts.

    These are what I would call "grab" shots, where speed of reaction is everything. If you were sat in a hide, then a tripod, thinking about composition, choosing focus points and so on would be vital. Here you don't have that luxury, so

    I wouldn't use a tripod, you"ll miss far more shots than you'll gain. (Incidentally, have a look at Joe ( jprzsbyla) bird shots -hand held!)

    I would think about
    - use only the centre focus spot so your camera doesn't spend time searching for focus
    - don't try and crop too close in camera, you've got lots of megapixels so use them
    - I don't know your lens and whether it has "two position" stabilisation, but panning can throw the IS off track. As suggested, try this out at a duck pond or somewhere.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by davidedric; 22nd April 2013 at 02:33 PM.

  9. #9
    Benjy's Avatar
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    Re: Help.....

    Hi,Thanks for all the tips/help here is one shot this evening still not great,I was well chuffed with it....Help.........F/10,EXPOSURE1/25,ISO1600,exposure-0.3step,focal length345,hand held...

  10. #10
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Help.....

    Hi Bernard,

    This is definitely better - certainly some of the image is now sharp, but this was a VERY hard shot to get focus right on with all that foliage and grass in front and behind the skittish subject. It looks like the focus locked onto the background.

    It looks like you have taken the advice and you just need more practice now.

    If you haven't already, it is worth putting the camera in one of the continuous shooting modes, so that if you hold down the shutter button, you get more than one shot because that should increase your chances of getting a very good one.

    Cheers,

  11. #11
    Benjy's Avatar
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    Re: Help.....

    Thanks Dave,I actually had camera in continuous shooting mode...

  12. #12
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    Re: Help.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjy View Post
    Thanks Dave,I actually had camera in continuous shooting mode...
    Bernard,

    In each of your shots the subject and background had very little contrast or tonal difference. Was your camera searching for a focused subject?

  13. #13
    Benjy's Avatar
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    Re: Help.....

    Hi John,Yes camera was searching,thought he was going to run but he stood for a few moments,same hurried shot....

  14. #14
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    Re: Help.....

    Hi Bernard, first well done on getting the shot.
    There is very good advice from all the above posts. Before I go out for a day's photography I go through a checklist. I have a small notebook in my camera bag and do my "pre-flight" check. Everything from battery to lenshood to camera settings. I may have been shooting late the previous day and haven't changed settings back for the morning. As a personal default I put my D90 into aperture mode and set at f5.6, ISO 400, this works for me, but you will find your own personal ones. Light in Africa will be far different to light in Scotland.
    As suggested practice is the key, even a House Sparrow at a feeding table will help to get it right.
    Good luck.

  15. #15
    Benjy's Avatar
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    Re: Help.....

    Clive,thanks for the advice,will take notes on all advice given,house sparrows seem to be on the decline here I think the magpies have something to do with it asthey seem to be everywhere in the last 15 years or so.....

  16. #16
    Benjy's Avatar
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    Re: Help.....

    Hi,Buzzard caught this evening......Help.....

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