Helpful Posts Helpful Posts:  0
Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Suggestions for shooting flying ducks?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    304
    Real Name
    Tim

    Suggestions for shooting flying ducks?

    Suggestions for shooting flying ducks?

    I was thinking that in about a month a couple dozen species of migratory waterfowl will be passing through here. So I was practicing shooting tame ducks, since I can fill a card on them in a half an hour. But I don't want to have a shot of a wild duck ruined by something that a little practice and forethought could prevent.

    I can already see that 1/640 was too slow. I was using a polarizing filter to bring down the glare of the snow.

    F/9 - ISO 400 - 250mm

    Shot with a CANON Rebel XS, which is equivalent to the 1000D with some corners cut, I think.

    Aside from speeding it up any suggestions for a better capture? There was no PP done on this image as I judged it hopeless to reach the results I now want, since my innocence was ruined by you guys.

  2. #2
    Jim B.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    1,218
    Real Name
    Jim

    Re: Suggestions for shooting flying ducks?

    Hi Tim,
    Use center AF point,spot metered and you might have to dial in some +EC.Try opening your F/stop up to 7.1.Are you using a 55-250?

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Panama City, FL
    Posts
    3,542
    Real Name
    Chris

    Re: Suggestions for shooting flying ducks?

    Oh.......I was thinking of supper and a 12 gauge...goes to show you that reading the whole post is best before responding....

    It was suggested to me by Martyn to use aperture priority and let the camera adjust for the speed of the bird. Since I need a better lens, I have not given this a try but did shoot some bicyclists this weekend and combined with a good pan, I'd have to say aperture priority gave me the best results of all the methods I tried.

    If that fails, there is always the 12 gauge.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    304
    Real Name
    Tim

    Re: Suggestions for shooting flying ducks?

    Chris,
    My understanding from the locals is that wild duck is an "acquired taste." Acquired by being fed it as a little child, like Ozzies and Vegemite.

    "If that fails, there is always the 12 gauge."

    Hey, that's how Audubon did it. Shot 'em and nailed them to a board.

    Jim,
    Yes I am using a 55 - 250. What is EC+? I was hoping that the F Stop being higher would increase my DOF. But I was just shotgunning that, I guess. 8)

    P.S.
    I looked up the DOF on my camera for 250mm at 50 ft, and I can see that your suggested setting should give me just enough DOF to hold a duck with a little to spare....

    http://www.dofmaster.com/doftable.html
    Last edited by tameigh; 22nd February 2011 at 07:06 PM.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    South Devon, UK
    Posts
    11,357

    Re: Suggestions for shooting flying ducks?

    Using the Av setting is normally recommended for general photography but for flying birds you also have to keep an eye out for the shutter speed. There isn't really any hard and fast rules here.

    But in this case, I normally find that I can better cope with variations in the aperture so I usually select Tv and at least 1/1000.

    You may have to increase the ISO to 800. A polarising filter may help with sitting ducks but can cost you a bit of light, so that is really one of those questions which you will have to consider on the day.

    Some bird photographers prefer to use multiple focus points which gives auto focus a better chance of 'locking on' to something instead of attempting to 'find' a flying target with just the centre point.

    But I often find that the multiple point option can select a bird which is partly out of the frame so I prefer to use Jim's suggestion of centre point focus only. But I do miss a few shots while searching for a bird through the viewfinder.

    In some ways, to use Chris's analogy, it's the difference between a shotgun and a rifle; and there are times when it is necessary to switch between them.

    Using the AI Servo focus option may increase the chances of obtaining and holding on to a moving bird while panning to follow it's flight path.

    So keep experimenting with the tame subjects until the 'real thing' comes along.

    ps. EC means Exposure Compensation. Your exposure meter may try to expose for the background sky which will leave the bird a bit dark. Increasing exposure slightly will improve exposure on the bird but risks over exposing the sky. It's another of those 'experiment on the day' problems.

    Using spot metering can sometimes help, providing you can maintain focus exactly on the bird. But if unsure of focusing it will probably be better to use Evaluative Metering and adjust the EC as required.
    Last edited by Geoff F; 22nd February 2011 at 07:25 PM. Reason: extra paragraph

  6. #6
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Windsor, Berks, UK
    Posts
    16,065
    Real Name
    Dave Humphries :)

    Re: Suggestions for shooting flying ducks?

    Quote Originally Posted by tameigh View Post
    What is EC+?
    Hi Tim,

    EC = Exposure Compensation, meaning that while retaining the advantages of semi-automatic exposure (A/Av, S/Tv and P) by metering, you decide to 'give it a nudge' in a certain direction, by saying "camera, what ever you think it should be, add one* stop extra" (+EC), or take say, half a stop off (-EC).

    * you decide whether to do it on a scale of plus or minus stops, usually divided in to 1/3 or 1/2 stop intervals; e.g.
    -3, -2.5, -2, -1.5, -1, -0.5, 0, +0.5, +1, +1.5, +2, +2.5, +3 for half stop intervals and with the divisions at 0.3, 0.7 and 1 for third stop intervals.

    Have a read of the tutorial on metering, there's a bit towards the end that probably explains it better than me.

    For what it is worth, I shoot A (or Av in Canon speak) so I set the lenses best aperture f/8, then set an iso that gives me shutter speeds in the range I want; typically 1/1000 - 1/4000s for flying birds, but in English weather, it can slip below 1/1000s.

    I don't use a polariser as I don't often have a high enough vantage point to shoot from to make it worthwhile for reflection killing and doing so would require an even higher iso, giving more noise and since, due to lack of focal length, I might well be cropping significantly anyway, the last thing I want to do is throw away light with a polariser.

    I always use continuous servo mode and single point AF, normally a centre one, but occasionally one to the left or right if say, panning with a nearby swan and I want to put the focus point on it's eye as it flies past**

    ** great thing about swans are; you hear them coming, they fly slow, they can't change direction quickly (being so huge)

    A case in point:
    Suggestions for shooting flying ducks?
    1/4000s f/8 at 95mm (on 70-300mm) iso500 (click to see bigger)

    I guess multipoint AF might help if shooting against the sky, but not water or river bank.

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 22nd February 2011 at 07:40 PM.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Poland
    Posts
    81
    Real Name
    Matt

    Re: Suggestions for shooting flying ducks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    But I do miss a few shots while searching for a bird through the viewfinder.
    Normally, when composing a picture, I close one eye, I suppose most people do. When shooting birds, I keep both eyes open. It doesn't take very long to learn to watch both "normally" and through the viewfinder simultaneously. This means you can see stacks of sky (and the birds) which allows you to centre on your target at the same time as seeing him close-up. Dave showed a swan and my example isn't a duck either:

    Suggestions for shooting flying ducks?

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    2,342
    Real Name
    Steve

    Re: Suggestions for shooting flying ducks?

    Hi tim, flying birds are a challenge. Ducks are even thougher because they are fast flyers. Shutter speeds of around 1/1200 to 1/1600 should work well.

    I like to set the focus search to the off position. (go into the camera menu and find it and turn it off) This will limit the focus range of the lens to a small zone. You will have to adjust the focus manually to get the subject somewhat in focus and then the camera will lock on and focus normally. But if you happen to move off the subject, the lens won't go through the whole focus range searching for a focus lock. What i do is focus with the center dot and keep tapping the shutter button half way a couple times untill it locks on.

    I set the focus mode to Alservo mode.

    Use aperture priority (f/5.6 usually)

    If the lighting and background is changing, i will use spot metering. If it is consistant, i will switch to center weighted metering.

    Spot metering can be a little tricky. Reading up on spot metering and the zone system will help out alot.

    When spot metering, i usually meter off the side of the subject, or something i can consistantly meter off of. I track it, hit the meter lock button on the back of the camera, and then focus on the head and track and shoot. ( when spot metering, you will have to take into account what you are metering off of , and what zone it will fall into(zone system) and then set your exposure comp accordingly. I will usually over expose about 1/3 stop extra as long as i'm not blowing anything out. (expose to the right).

    Here is what i mean about spot metering being a bit tricky...................if you spot meter off a female mallard (dark brown, tan, white)..............she will fall about -1/3EV on the zone system.............when you meter off her the camera will make her 18% gray. In doing so, it will up the exposure +1/3 . So if you leave the exposure comp at 0EV, you will have over exposed the duck by +1/3 EV. And +1/3 to + 2/3 is about what you want.

    Now do the same thing with a male mallard. The side is light grey, brownish red, white.............zone system about +2/3................the camera will make it 18% grey and under expose by -2/3EV. So if you spot meter off the side of a male, it will be underexposed by -2/3EV if you leave the exposure comp at 0EV. To correct, set the exposure comp to +2/3 or even +1 to overexpose a little. (always review your histograms to see what works best for the lighting)

    Hope this helps

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    2,342
    Real Name
    Steve

    Re: Suggestions for shooting flying ducks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Szczur View Post
    Normally, when composing a picture, I close one eye, I suppose most people do. When shooting birds, I keep both eyes open. It doesn't take very long to learn to watch both "normally" and through the viewfinder simultaneously. This means you can see stacks of sky (and the birds) which allows you to centre on your target at the same time as seeing him close-up. Dave showed a swan and my example isn't a duck either:

    Suggestions for shooting flying ducks?
    Very good point about leaving both eyes open matt. I've always done it naturally and don't even think about it, but it gives you alot of peripheral vision to help track the subject.

  10. #10
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Windsor, Berks, UK
    Posts
    16,065
    Real Name
    Dave Humphries :)

    Re: Suggestions for shooting flying ducks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve S View Post
    Very good point about leaving both eyes open matt. I've always done it naturally and don't even think about it, but it gives you alot of peripheral vision to help track the subject.
    Yes, that goes for me too

    Re spot vs centre weighted (or matrix, etc.), personally I have found I have better exposure consistency using spot and as soon as I see a likely subject hove into view I dial in + or - EC to compensate for its reflectance; usually +EC for swans (or the white under exposes) and -EC for a Cormorant (a dark bird). I do agree 'spot' can get tricky for a bird that has say, two quite different colour patches though, then I would go with Steve's idea, all I can say is adapt to what you're presented with (fast )

    I used to use centre weighting (and apply the opposite sense of EC), but I found that depending how much of the image they'll be filling and the background tone, it was just too unpredictable (for where I shoot anyway).

    YMMV,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 23rd February 2011 at 08:27 AM. Reason: added more info

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    304
    Real Name
    Tim

    Re: Suggestions for shooting flying ducks?

    Thank you everyone. Here is a bonus duck doing the can can
    Suggestions for shooting flying ducks?

  12. #12
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Windsor, Berks, UK
    Posts
    16,065
    Real Name
    Dave Humphries :)

    Re: Suggestions for shooting flying ducks?

    Quote Originally Posted by tameigh View Post
    Here is a bonus duck doing the can can
    Ha ha, here are some Widgeon attempting the Conga

    Suggestions for shooting flying ducks?
    Nikon D5000 + Nikon 70-300mm VR: 1/1000s, f/8, iso400 (33433)
    click image to see at 1,114px 522px

    ... but they're pretty rubbish at it

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •