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Old Mar 9, 2006, 11:23 AM   #1
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As a side note, on the drive home from my great Bald Eagle foray into the mountains I posted about earlier (http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=23), I realized that I overlooked a few key items that would have really helped – In order to share my misfortunes and oversights with other Newbies so they might benefit from my 'incurred experiences' (AKA Mistakes)...

1. I didn't use the histogram feature to determine the optimum exposure settings. I did try quite a few auto-bracketed shots but failed to realize that I could then use both the sequential auto bracketed photos and the histogram to dial in the best exposure settings.

2. I have a bad habit of leaving the camera in the Burst-H mode for quick sequential shots in case of a quick launch. This had the effect of burning quite a number of shots and quickly filling up my 1-GB 80X Transcend card. It did help on the one take off of the BE but I'm learning that one needs to a bit more judicious in when to employ it.

3. Putting a mostly depleted battery in one's pocket to warm it up does help it recover somewhat in a pinch.

4. Remember to put your spare memory cards and batteries in your pocket before trekking down the hills and through the woods! Its always 2-3 times the effort and time to trek back to your car!

5. I found it a pain but worth the effort to carry the camera on my Monopod and have my tripod in the other hand. They both make the hike easier to negotiate the hillsides and, when the circumstance permits, quickly setting up the camera on the tripod for some timer delay shots.

6. I forgot to try setting the OIS Mode-2to OFF for the Tripod shots to see if that would help. Then, again, there were a few light swirling winds that the OIS Mode 2 may have helped with, as my Tripod is not a true heavyweight. Also, I found that shortening my Monopod's extensions to its fully collapsed state (~2' long) allowed for getting somewhat better, more stable handheld panning shots when shooting the camera with the RDS for BIF. I also found that my tripod, with its legs fully extended but collapsed together can also assist with stabilizing RDS panning shots, as well., but be careful when standing on a steep hillside and when there's brush around!

7. My remembering to try various settingsfor ISO, Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority, Auto-Bracketing for exposure, different optical & digital zoom settings all added to my memory card burn rate but went a long way to a better understanding of just how each of the settings affected the photo quality. I also experimented with different AF settings – mostly spot-H and 3-spot-H for handheld/Monopod shots. For those times when I was on the tripod, I did a lot of spot AF mode w/the 2-second timer.

I also tried using spot AF mode w/ the focus lock dialed onto both the BE's body/head and some were tried w/locking spot AF on a tree limb just in front, to the side and behind him to see if that would increase the degree of sharp focus. Of course, over the possible couple of hundred attempts, I really can't remember which were done with these attempts on using different spot AF lock on other than the subject! (My thought was, with being at the max optical zoom and TCON-17 being used, the DOF may be enhanced to the plus ‘crisp' side if I zeroed in on a spot just ahead of/behind the intended target. Anyone care to offer an opinion?)

One thing I also forgot on these attempts for a better focus on the subject at distance was to remeber that a lower Aperture setting (f/2.8 end) will give a more shallow depth of field. If I had tried this in my attempts to focus on the subject, on branches just in back/in front, etc, I may have had a bit more luck in a more crisp focus on some of the more distant zoom shots (But, then again, maybe not...)

8. As one would expect, going through 600+ photos from the one outing is taking some time to cull out those that are beyond PP improvements. I'm learning that one can get a fast idea about whether to invest the time and effort on Post Processing an image by how it shapes up with minimal tweaking. The satisfaction of PP is directly related and in proportion to how good the image is out of the camera.

I'm beginning to use my free Picasa2 software as a sort of a filter to determine whether a photo is to have a copy stored in my 'Priority PSE4 processing folder'; saved to a 'Future PSE4 Processing folder' or is to be relegated to the Trash Can... If the minimal tweaking available in Picasa2 seems to add some 'Zing' quality, I figure it will be worthy of some PSE4 efforts.

9. Patience, practice and more practice is the key to one being able to get some really nice photo quality. For BIF and distant subjects, there is no better cure than - GET CLOSER!' Also, one's satisfaction and 'talent-level' with a digi is directly proportional to one's investment in time and number of photos taken... Posting on the forum early on for guidance, insights and assistance will keep the frustration level down and dramatically increase one's pace on the steep learning curve!--
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