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Old Jan 10, 2007, 9:16 PM   #1
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I have been going out at lunch (2:30) and trying to get a handle on this camera's settings. I cannot find a default contrast, sharpness, and natural/bright combo that satisfies me. However with a little PPP XI these two cropped images seemed to come out OK today. Any suggestions would be helpful. I have not made it to 1000 pics on the new K10 yet. Both were taken with the Pentax 50-200. Both were taken with the lens nearly fully extended.

Not the end I would have preferred but still interesting. I tookthe followingwith no forethought when I got a little closer than he liked.

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Old Jan 10, 2007, 9:18 PM   #2
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Sorry about the size of the first one. I am still getting used to posting pics.
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Old Jan 10, 2007, 10:56 PM   #3
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Nice captures! You really get the feeling of motion from the one showing you his tail feathers.

Some questions since I'm new to the whole dSLR thing and still trying to get a handle on what works.

Are they both 100% crops?

What type of processing did you do?

The XMP info says you used manual white balance on both - Is that correct? It surprised me because I thought the K10D's AWB was supposed to be excellent in natural light.
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Old Jan 11, 2007, 12:41 PM   #4
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For picture size, try resizing to 700 pixels across and something like 500 down (whatever it works out to) - that way all monitors can see the picture without having to scroll across or down. What program are you using for processing your pictures?

The lighting for the first one is very difficult - it looks like it was very bright out and your bird was lit from the side - making it hard to capture the shadowed part without blowing out where the sun was full on it. Like the second one.
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Old Jan 11, 2007, 2:56 PM   #5
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Hi sgarthee,

Congrats on a couple of very nice captures. It's hard to get close enough to get good shots of the GBH. They are very sensitive to movement around them. Luckily, they don't seem to be bothered too much by the sound of the shutter, so if you can get close and then don't move much or suddenly, you can get a lot of shots before you alarm (or annoy) them to the point that they take off.

I like shooting GBHs and all other herons and egrets, and fortunately have had a lot of opportunities to do so during the spring and summer months. GBHs are difficult to expose correctly because their feathers pretty much run the gamut of luminance from white to very dark. This is especially true when they are standing in direct sunlight (as in your first pic). Blown highlights are common in pics of this species, and the hardest thing to get right. -- I try to expose for the white sections of the bird using spot or center weighted metering (one of the reasons I chose the K10 over the K100 is the ease with which you can do this). I then rely on PP to bring up the shadows.

Of course hindsight is always better, so I'll take advantage of that in some suggestions concerning your first shot -- your exif shows ISO 100 and 1/350 @ f5.6. I usually shoot at higher ISO -- 200-400 to get higher shutter speeds and the option of using a smaller aperture for better sharpness. A higher shutter speed would have eliminated, or at least minimalized the camera shake that makes your background and foreground look a little strange (look at the blades of grass in the foreground especially). In a tradeoff between a little noise (or even a lot of noise) and apparent camera shake in the shot, I'll take noise anytime. As mentioned before, exposing for the white areas would have prevented them from getting blown out -- thus losing any detail in the white areas.

I like shooting jpeg, so the settings are important. I haven't made any final decisions on this, but am currently favoring Bright, -2 saturation, 0 (or +1)sharpness, and -1 contrast for the K10. This is significantly different than my DS where I like Natural, 0 saturation, 0 contrast, and +1 sharpness. Although I've shot quite a few frames with the K10, none of them have really been in the same conditions as the spring and summer offer around here, so there is a considerable amount of experimentation yet to be made. Don't make the mistake of taking someone else's preference as the last word though -- no matter how good their pics might look -- do as you have been doing and experiment for yourself and make your own decisions. What you like is more important than anything -- it determines and develops your own personal style.

PP is important also, so choose editing software that offers a lot of control -- you just spent over a grand on a camera -- don't make the mistake of settling for whatever software you can get either cheap or free -- it's your darkroom for digital. I'm not saying that you have to get PS CS2, but at least get something that will take advantage of the thousands of plugins that have been developed for PS, and then take the time to learn how to use it. My choice is PSP IX, X, or XI (all three are loaded on my computer), but I've been using PSP since it was shareware a long, long time ago, and still only use about 10% of the features, if even that.

BTW, your second shot is very good -- when they take off, it's usually so startling that all I have to show for it is the same frame as the previous shot, except with no bird . . . or maybe with a couple of blurry feet to one side.:-)


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Old Jan 11, 2007, 5:27 PM   #6
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WAY to big!!! for here i'd say 900dpi wide is max. most use 700-800. also at 1.1meg dial upers won't wait. i usually use 800wide and try to keep file size at around 100K.
for better results close down your lens a stop or two.. birds like macros are a lot harder than most think
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Old Jan 11, 2007, 10:17 PM   #7
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Thanks for the input from all. I did run them through PSP XI to get them to this point.

I am pretty sure the WB on the K10 was set on sunlight but I was switching around. I will review the data tomorrow when I am back on my home PC. If it was in manual, it was absolutely set incorrectly and I lucked-out.

The are both 100% crops. I will use PSP to shrink them down to a more manageable size this weekend.

I have been a bird hunter for over 25 years so I guess that helps me get the camera on them pretty quickly when they fly.

I agree that shooting birds and macros with a camera can be more difficult than one would think before they first try it.

Again, thanks for the input. I will attempt to apply some suggestions next week.

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