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Thread: There’s A Bird in There Somewhere.......

  1. #1
    Peter Ryan's Avatar
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    There’s A Bird in There Somewhere.......

    A student last night showed me an image she had taken. She said she had taken a shot of a seagull flying with the comment ‘there’s a bird in there somewhere’. She was shooting a broad beach scene and the field of view suggests the shot was taken with a normal focal length range - around 50 – 75mm.

    I have been trying to look on the web to find some method of explaining the scaling of an subject to its output i.e. trying to demonstrate how small a bird will appear on print verses real life.

    I understand the concept but I am struggling to find a simple explanation to show how much a subject is reduce by from capture to output.

    Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.

  2. #2

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    Re: There’s A Bird in There Somewhere.......

    I hope you find it as I have been searching that out for years...I took a series of shots of an object on a large field and then using a measuring tape (200 foot), I pulled it out to different lengths as to where a photographer would stand in that relationship and made lots and lots of images, all with a 50mm 1.8 Nikkor lens on a 35mm Nikon FM2 camera...it works, but I still have students who just want to believe in the magic lens fairy and have the subject suddenly get bigger because they "need" that shot to work...c'est la vie.

    I've not done the same thing with a digital camera yet and as to shooting a bird in mid-air, not having a elative mark, I'm not sure how you would calculate this other than with a meter/foot scale on the lens barrel..can't say I've seen that on recent digital cameras...maybe not at all.

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    Re: There’s A Bird in There Somewhere.......

    "I'm not sure how you would calculate this other than with a meter/foot scale on the lens barrel..can't say I've seen that on recent digital cameras...maybe not at all."

    That is a piece of golf equipment that might be nice to have... Hmmm. OK, add it to the list, somewhere after fast telephoto, professional grade tripod, macro lens.... New Camera.... New computer software... Still, it would be nice. The camera can calculate the distance to the subject now. It really would just be a special app. You could do something like set it to be DOF driven, rather than Aperture or Speed, for example...

    Get Nikon on the phone!

  4. #4
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: There’s A Bird in There Somewhere.......

    Hi Peter,

    Yes, the naked eye+brain makes a wonderful telephoto lens
    One's attention is grabbed by the wheeling bird and the brain concentrates upon it and that's all we see, we lose track of how tiny it is against the surroundings from where we are.

    The issue isn't subject distance, it is the subject's area within the image - and if you get them to assess that instead, it automatically takes account of the effects of focal length, crop factor, etc.

    Assuming we'd like them to assess the futility before pressing the button, I would imagine they will be looking through a viewfinder, or at an LCD screen. I think the suggestion should be made that they assess its size (the bird, whatever) as a percentage of the viewfinder width. If the answer is less than say, 5%, it probably isn't a significant enough size to be a part of the composition.

    That was assuming they can actually see it of course, if they can't, then make the point not to even bother

    How to assess perscentage; get them to work out how many they could fit nose to tail across the viewfinder/screen - if 20, that's 5%, if more, don't bother!

    Cheers,

  5. #5
    Peter Ryan's Avatar
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    Re: There’s A Bird in There Somewhere.......

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Hi Peter,

    Yes, the naked eye+brain makes a wonderful telephoto lens
    One's attention is grabbed by the wheeling bird and the brain concentrates upon it and that's all we see, we lose track of how tiny it is against the surroundings from where we are.

    The issue isn't subject distance, it is the subject's area within the image - and if you get them to assess that instead, it automatically takes account of the effects of focal length, crop factor, etc.

    Cheers,
    Thanks guys and Dave I think your repsonse gives me a thought process I can work with and that is what I was struggling with. Many thanks.

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