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Thread: Aperture Priority for Wildlife Photography

  1. #21

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    Re: Aperture Priority for Wildlife Photography

    Catherine, if you look at page 45 in the user manual for your P900 it shows how to program the Fn button on top of the camera. You can program that button for ISO adjustment. That is a quick way to access ISO settings without having to go into the menu. Another feature is the programmable "U" mode (user mode) on the mode setting dial. You can program the settings of that function to quickly allow you to change things.

  2. #22
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    Re: Aperture Priority for Wildlife Photography

    Hi Catherine,

    Some more thoughts and comments on your post that are 'specific' to your camera....................

    Quote Originally Posted by CatherineA View Post
    I have seen that a number of photographers shoot beautiful wildlife shots in Aperture Priority. I havenít had much success with that approach because what tends to happen is that I pick an ISO that seems suitable but the shutter speed chosen by the camera is too slow and the image is blurry. I usually have to fine tune the ISO to the point that I am forcing the camera to select a shooting speed that I am after.
    When your camera is in A (Aperture Priority) mode and you have set the Aperture and the ISO the camera can only adjust the Speed to automatically control the exposure. If it thinks it needs to increase exposure the only option it has is to decrease the Shutter speed and it has not got a clue what you are shooting.

    There is a way that you can use Aperture Priority in conjunction with Auto ISO and set the Minimum Shutter Speed. This is described on page 71 of your manual and works for both Auto ISO and the two Fixed Auto ranges, 100-400 and 100-800 ISO

    Quote Originally Posted by CatherineA View Post
    It is easier for me to just use Manual Mode.
    Whilst this is an option it gives you three settings to think about especially with speed of access to adjust them quickly. Unfortunately there does not appear to be an option for either Auto ISO or the two Fixed Auto ISO ranges in Manual mode.

    Quote Originally Posted by CatherineA View Post
    My camera is a Nikon P900 and either I donít have the options that other cameras have or I am doing something wrong - or both.
    So we try and work around the options that are on it

  3. #23

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    Re: Aperture Priority for Wildlife Photography

    Thank you Dan. It is very kind of you to have passed on this much information and to have looked at the manual. Todayís projects include programming the Fn button for the ISO and deciding what would be useful to program in the U Mode. Thank you so much. I am also going to start shooting at a faster speed and not worry so much about noise.

    Perhaps I would need to try out a different camera to experience the potential of changes in DOF, but in the meantime I can have fun with the P900. I will keep in mind though, before I do my neck a permanent injury, that I havenít come across any really clear shots of BIF taken with this camera... But then gulls or geese will fly slowly towards me, almost hovering just above, enticing me to crick that neck one more time. All I ask is one clear BIF shot.

  4. #24

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    Re: Aperture Priority for Wildlife Photography

    Thank you Grahame, I appreciate your reply very much. I do see now that I was being illogical when using Aperture Priority. I wanted a low ISO and a fast shutter speed and everything in focus too

    And it was really kind of you to look up that info in the manual. Thatís an exciting feature that I didnít know that I had. Now that I understand a bit more the manual should be less daunting. I do appreciate what you - and Dan - have explained to me about my camera that I perhaps should have already known. And you were both so tactful too.

  5. #25
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    Re: Aperture Priority for Wildlife Photography

    Catherine


    A bit of a late entry to this thread and I don't know anything about the P900, but FWIW my experience has been as follows.

    After trying about every imaginable combination for BIF, I now use only Aperture priority, with a recent change being to settle on f7.1 or at the narrowest, f10. I then set the ISO to give me a shutter speed of 1/1000 or less and use exposure compensation set as appropriate to the background, +2 for bright blue down to zero or even -0.3 if they are flying past a dark background.

    There are bound to be other ways that will give at least as good results or even better, and there are other factors such as how the sensor deals with high ISO levels, but this works reliably for me.

  6. #26

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    Re: Aperture Priority for Wildlife Photography

    Thank you Bill for sharing your approach. Thatís generous of you - sharing something that you worked at for a long time. Iím going to try this too - I can only get as narrow as f8 but itís still well worth trying. What I learned from this thread is that different photographers take different routes to getting their great photos but everyone knows their craft. No short cuts there.

    Itís not obvious to me why Shutter Priority wouldnít work on par with Aperture Priority but then, I havenít experimented long enough with them. I was taking photos this morning and my fingers were so cold that I donít think Iíll be doing much experimenting with BIF much for a few months. I keep saying that though... Donít want to check my photos until my camera has warmed up but I now think I wasnít exposing well for the sky. Thanks for telling me the exposure compensation settings that work well for you.
    Last edited by CatherineA; 26th November 2017 at 07:23 PM.

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    Re: Aperture Priority for Wildlife Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by CatherineA View Post
    Itís not obvious to me why Shutter Priority wouldnít work on par with Aperture Priority but then, I havenít experimented long enough with them.
    Hi Catherine,

    When using Shutter priority you set the Speed and the camera will automatically adjust the Aperture to achieve what it thinks is the correct exposure. When the camera wants to increase the exposure it will 'Open' the Aperture more and the result will be a reduced DOF (reduced depth of subject sharpness) that you have no control over.

    This reduced DOF may, or may not be, important to your image.

    As an example, the lens opening to it's widest Aperture automatically in this situation is far more significant to someone using a f/2.8 max aperture lens than someone using a f/6.3 max aperture lens.

    You may very well find through experimentation that the maximum aperture of your lens in combination with the sensor size gives you adequate DOF for your bird subjects and you can quite happily use Shutter Priority without having to worry about what aperture the camera chooses.

    You could also use Shutter Priority mode in combination with any of the three Auto ISO options you have.

    Edit : Perhaps the above may explain why you need to be wary at times of advice given such as "I always" or "you should" or "I never" do this because choices and methods are often based on what specific equipment is being used and may not be relevant to what you are using.
    Last edited by Stagecoach; 26th November 2017 at 07:06 PM.

  8. #28
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    Re: Aperture Priority for Wildlife Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by CatherineA View Post
    Itís not obvious to me why Shutter Priority wouldnít work on par with Aperture Priority.
    Mostly there is no difference to the end point. In aperture priority you manipulate ISO to get the shutter speed you want and in shutter priority you manipulate to get the aperture (mainly for depth of field) you want.

    What matters are: your taste, your preferred subject matter, and your equipment. The golfer Gary Player is alleged to have replied to a fan who was impressed with one of his bunker shots and remarked "That was lucky" with "the more I practice the luckier I get".

    The best advice I could give you is to use one or the other for a bit and see how you get and practice, practice, practice.
    Last edited by billtils; 26th November 2017 at 07:36 PM.

  9. #29

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    Re: Aperture Priority for Wildlife Photography

    Hi Grahame,
    In Aperture Priority, when I choose one of the two Auto-ISO settings there is an option to choose a min ss but the fastest is 1/125s. Perhaps other cameras have much faster min setting. I think AP is a great avenue to explore but it looks like I will have to decide on the ISO needed to get a fast enough ss.

  10. #30
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    Re: Aperture Priority for Wildlife Photography

    Hi Catherine:

    I have JUST visited this thread, and having looked at the postings I have a couple of questions to ask, if you will humour me?

    1. Do you shoot in RAW or JPG? Why I ask this is because you can have much more capability in Post Processing to bring up under or over exposure, and to clean up noise generated by a higher ISO.

    2. How long have you been taking photographs and what experience or education do you have? I took the effort to look at your profile but could find no information of your experience with photography. It would help if you posted that so we know at what level to direct our observations - as a matter of respect we neither want to under or overestimate your level of knowledge .

    So... I will say I have not used Nikon gear for a couple of decades - they make great cameras, and so do most other makers, but it means I cannot comment specifically on your camera model.

    That said, I will simply say frankly I don't think it matters whether you use any mode: Program, Aperture, Shutter or full Manual as long as you know what you are doing and why you are doing it. The technology in cameras these days offers the same information if you learn to read it right; so you can get the right exposure with any of the modes - the difference is what element or elements you wish to manipulate to get the desired result. However what can make a difference is how long you have to make adjustments if time is of the essence - as is often the case when working with moving targets.

    What I do is assess when planning is what speed I will need to capture the subject - a tortoise is a lot easier to catch than a bird for example. I also assess what I need to do to relate the subject to its environment. In this respect I may want to include some of the surrounding sharp - either to give context, to capture more of the animal, or to allow for movement within the frame - for example if the target is moving towards or away from me. Alternatively, I may consciously want a shallow DoF to separate the subject from its background, especially where the background may be cluttered or compete with giving the subject prominence.

    Personally I keep my ISO a low as possible and I have it set rather than variable - I freely admit that is my bias!

    In the example below I was shooting gannets in flight and on nests at a local colony, capturing both RAW and JPG. The day was sunny so I had plenty of light, which is always a big benefit . I used aperture priority, ISO of 200 and let the shutter speed vary. The reason I used AP was because I wanted to separate the bird from other birds I might capture as I tracked the target - as in the second example where the bird behind is not cluttering the attention to the target bird. As in most wildlife shots my aim was to get the eyes reasonably sharp above all. These images are reduced in resolution to post.

    Aperture Priority for Wildlife Photography

    Aperture Priority for Wildlife Photography

    Aperture Priority for Wildlife Photography
    Deep DoF for a sharp overview of the colony

    Aperture Priority for Wildlife Photography
    Moderate DoF to keep critical elements sharp, especially when the target was bobbing about but close at hand
    Last edited by Tronhard; 26th November 2017 at 09:16 PM.

  11. #31
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    Re: Aperture Priority for Wildlife Photography

    Catherine,

    I think Trev made a very important point:

    I don't think it matters whether you use any mode: program, Aperture, Shutter or full manual as long as you know what you are doing and why you are doing it.
    I made a similar comment when you posted an earlier question that seemed focused on camera modes--in that case, shutter priority and auto ISO. What I wrote then was this:

    Re the camera settings you mentioned, such as shutter priority and auto ISO: these are simply tools to get to the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO setting that the photographer wants.
    Pretty much the same message as Trev's, I think. What you need to focus on at first is the settings you need, not the mode you choose to get there. In particular, you need to understand the aperture and shutter speed you will want. ISO will follow from that: if you have too little light to obtain the shutter speed and aperture you need or want in a given photo with the base ISO, then you will have to raise ISO in order to obtain them. Which mode you choose to reach those settings is simply a matter of convenience and will have no effect on the image, assuming the mode you choose lets you get to the settings you want quickly enough.

    So I would start by asking: for this particular sort of photograph, what are the constraints I have to deal with in terms of settings? Is it a situation in which a minimum shutter speed is essential? Then I might use manual or shutter priority. On the other hand, if there is lots of light, so I don't have to worry about too slow a shutter, and if I were concerned about depth of field, I might choose manual or aperture priority. There is no sensible rule saying one should use one particular mode for a given type of photograph.

    Dan

  12. #32
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    Re: Aperture Priority for Wildlife Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by CatherineA View Post
    Hi Grahame,
    In Aperture Priority, when I choose one of the two Auto-ISO settings there is an option to choose a min ss but the fastest is 1/125s. Perhaps other cameras have much faster min setting.
    That's unfortunate and I'm not sure why they would limit it at that.

    There are three Auto ISO modes in addition to manual ISO selection on your camera available in modes P & A (aperture priority);

    1. AUTO - Controls ISO automatically between 100-1600 ISO note, this is the default setting.

    2. FIXED RANGE AUTO (1) - Controls ISO automatically between 100-400 ISO

    3. FIXED RANGE AUTO (2) - Controls ISO automatically between 100-800 ISO

    4. MANUAL ISO - User selects ISO manually between 100-6400 ISO


    Is the selectable 'minimum shutter speed' range the same in each of the three Auto ISO modes?

    I suspect that a greater speed range where you can set the 'minimum shutter speed' may be available in option 1. AUTO (ISO)

    And to answer your question re other cameras, in Aperture Priority, Auto ISO on my camera I can adjust minimum shutter speed up to 1/4000th.


    Quote Originally Posted by CatherineA View Post
    I think AP is a great avenue to explore but it looks like I will have to decide on the ISO needed to get a fast enough ss.
    As mentioned in Trevor's and Dan's posts the important thing is to use a method/mode that works for the specific situation you are tackling at the time.

    Here's a typical theoretical situation you may come across

    You are sat on a bench shooting a seagull sat on a wall, you know that at some time it will fly off and wouldn't it be great to also get a picture as it bursts into flight. How will you tackle this situation

    Edited : Corrected/removed incorrect info written re minimum shutter speed.
    Last edited by Stagecoach; 27th November 2017 at 12:34 AM.

  13. #33

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    Re: Aperture Priority for Wildlife Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by CatherineA View Post
    I can only get as narrow as f8 but itís still well worth trying.
    If you use a DSLR with a large sensor, then the reason to stop the lens down is to maximise the depth of field. There is a little loss in sharpness at smaller apertures like f/11 due to the onset of diffraction effects.

    The reason your camera does not go above f/8 is that it is already diffraction-limited from about f/3.2 and by the time you get to f/8.0 diffraction effects have eaten up all fine details already.

    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...hotography.htm

    That is another reason not to shoot at 2000 mm ff eq but come closer so the aperture can be opened a little.

    In a way with your camera the choice of aperture is simple - for bird photography always shoot wide open.

  14. #34

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    Re: Aperture Priority for Wildlife Photography

    Thank you Bill, Trev, Dan, Grahame and Dem. I kept in mind what I learned from everyone in this thread today when I shot BIF. I got better results than before and I can see where I can do better next time.

    Trev - I put more in my profile. What it adds up to is that I have about three months experience with photography. I shoot in JPEG. Maybe one day I will have a new camera and be able to shoot in RAW.

    Grahame - Oddly, there are the same min ss choices in the three Auto-ISO settings. With the fastest being 1/125s of course that route won't work for wildlife. I have used Dan's (NorthernFocus) suggestion though and now access my ISO through the Fn button. That sure speeds things up for me. I like the seagull scenario ... it reminds that I bought the camera as a treat to make happy times even happier.

    Dem - Thanks for the link to that excellent tutorial. That's an important factor to know about and take into consideration.

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    Re: Aperture Priority for Wildlife Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by CatherineA View Post
    Grahame - Oddly, there are the same min ss choices in the three Auto-ISO settings. With the fastest being 1/125s of course that route won't work for wildlife.
    That's a pity Catherine but at least it's good to know the limitations when considering available options for tackling different situations.

  16. #36

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    Re: Aperture Priority for Wildlife Photography

    Catherine, if you are attempting to shoot birds in flight(BIF) at full zoom on your camera that is a tall order. For both you and your camera. For point of reference, as previously mentioned at full zoom you are shooting equivalent to 2000mm on a full frame DSLR. I've been shooting BIF for years and it is a challenge for me to shoot at 1125mm (equivalent) with the added stability of a tripod w/gimbal mount. You might consider limiting yourself to lower zoom values when shooting BIF. A reasonable focal length may prove to be both more enjoyable and educational. Not sure if your camera has any sort of zoom indicator but shooting at around 135mm on your camera would be equivalent to 750mm full frame. Even at that value it's tough shooting hand held. But if you do limit yourself to that focal length then you could shoot aperture wide open, as low as 1/1000s, and stay at reasonable ISO settings.

    If you live someplace where seagulls frequent they provide excellent BIF practice. They're not typically too fast and tend to be a bit less herky jerky than many other species. They are also easier to expose well against most sky conditions. Not so much with evergreen trees as BG. Avoid practicing on pigeons for a while. Very quick birds.

    Also the autofocus features of you camera are somewhat limited for shooting objects traveling toward you. If you can find birds flying across in front of/over you there's a higher likelihood of getting decent focus. Being able to figure out technical versus technique issues is very helpful.

  17. #37

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    Re: Aperture Priority for Wildlife Photography

    Hi Dan, Thanks for the tips and suggestions. They are great, as always. Yes, there is a zoom indicator somewhere - I saw that info flash on the screen once but I must have hit something because Iíve never seen it again. But, until I can locate it again, I can still develop a sense for what settings work. And, I certainly have had more success with birds flying across my view. Makes sense that the autofocus would struggle more with birds flying towards me but I hadnít thought in those terms. Just more photos that didnít work....Good thing that Iím enjoying the journey.

  18. #38
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    YouTube

    Here is a selection of YouTube videos on capturing birds in flight...
    https://www.google.com/search?q=bird...hrome&ie=UTF-8

    You might also peruse these articles on bird photography with a bridge camera...
    https://www.google.com/search?q=bird...hrome&ie=UTF-8
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 27th November 2017 at 04:13 PM.

  19. #39

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    Re: YouTube

    Thank you Richard, these are great links.

  20. #40
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    Re: YouTube

    Hi Catherine:

    I believe that your local library has a free subscription to a site called Lynda.com. This site if full of really excellent video training on a whole host of topics, among which is photography. There are literally hundreds of hours of great videos, very well produced, on almost every aspect of photography, ranging from introductory to advanced techniques in the field and post production.

    To access the site, log onto your local library site.
    Do a site search for lynda.com
    Click on the link, it will direct you to the site but require your library credentials.
    Then you're in.

    I hope you will find them instructive.

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