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Old May 22, 2004, 9:02 PM   #1
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Caught a new species in the marsh area, shame it was not sunny, the sun was barely making through the clouds, had to use ISO 800 and it shows a little bit. Not that underexposed the shots, was very carefull about this.
So here's a new friend, its a Common Yellowthroat, same family as Warblers, they eat insects and spiders, this lille one was looking for a spider, he found a spider web and was looking for a meal. Didn't see him catching something though :



I took many shots of him close by :





All these shots were slightly USM, very slightly since noise have nasty effects, so the setting was 400, 0.3 , 0 and darken at 20% opacity, lighten at 10% opacity.

The next shot really shows the nasty side of higher ISO :



no USM here, the bird seems like "plastic" , the only reason I can think of is due to higher ISO.

These were taken at close proximity, 15-17 feet about.

Getting better with Oriole, still I'm not fully pleased yet :




Another shot of a Yellow Warbler taken days ago :





And one photo I overlooked to post-processed, was taken about a month ago, my little friend Tree Swallow :



I think it's worth looking at them at higher rez, and EXIF

here :http://www.bytephoto.com/photopost/s...mp;ppuser=1867

Cheers everyone and commentsare welcomed.
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Old May 22, 2004, 11:07 PM   #2
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another great set of shots! as usual the exposure and composition is very nice!

the only problem i could see....is in the oriole shot, the OOF branches in the front....but other than that...brilliant set of shots!

also....on the last one..i like how the bg...and almost the entire picture is dull colored....except for the great color on the swallow....good job again eric!

you definetely "CAN"....lol
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Old May 23, 2004, 10:31 AM   #3
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That Yellow Warbler against the deep blue sky with that teeny smattering of light coming in from the lower right is superb, not to mention the tingle of yellow tones in the leaves and flowers that blend everything together artfully. Your ability to get those birds posing is unique.

As for ISO 800,without it you may not have even gottenthe bird and that's the main thing. Nice job.
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Old May 23, 2004, 11:19 PM   #4
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It is interesting. I spent the weekend on an island 6 miles out into the ocean. Its a stopover for warblers and other birds that are flying up towards you (maybe some I saw you'll get to shoot in a few days?) The big difference is that where I am most are just eating and moving on. They aren't singing, they aren't attracting mates. Just jumping around and eating.

So I look at some of your shots and I think... they never sat out in the open for me like that. But its probably because of what they are doing. They want to be noticed (but not by you) up where you are.

What lens are you using for these shots. They are very crisp and good focus. I'm starting to get annoyed with my 100-400L. It just doesn't focus very fast and unless the subject is fairly close (< 10' for something the size of these birds) the loss of detail means an image that isn't as sharp as I'd like. I'm probably going to get the Canon 600mm IS, but I wondered how far away you were (15-17 for all the yellowthroads, or all shots?) and what lens you used to get these great shots. I've seen sharper, but these are a bit better than I usually get for the fast moving warblers.

Common Yellowthroats (saw loads this weekend) also eat worms.
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Old May 24, 2004, 9:02 AM   #5
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eric s wrote:
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It is interesting. I spent the weekend on an island 6 miles out into the ocean. Its a stopover for warblers and other birds that are flying up towards you (maybe some I saw you'll get to shoot in a few days?) The big difference is that where I am most are just eating and moving on. They aren't singing, they aren't attracting mates. Just jumping around and eating.

So I look at some of your shots and I think... they never sat out in the open for me like that. But its probably because of what they are doing. They want to be noticed (but not by you) up where you are.

What lens are you using for these shots. They are very crisp and good focus. I'm starting to get annoyed with my 100-400L. It just doesn't focus very fast and unless the subject is fairly close (< 10' for something the size of these birds) the loss of detail means an image that isn't as sharp as I'd like. I'm probably going to get the Canon 600mm IS, but I wondered how far away you were (15-17 for all the yellowthroads, or all shots?) and what lens you used to get these great shots. I've seen sharper, but these are a bit better than I usually get for the fast moving warblers.

Common Yellowthroats (saw loads this weekend) also eat worms.

Hi Eric, here comes a detailed reply.

These birds, all of the Warblers I've seen so far does the same here in the National Capital Region, I mean they don't sit very long. It's actually very difficult to get them. I have a lot of none keeper because of this.

Sometimes they are perched on a branch, it's generally dark, but lets say there's sun light partially shinning on them at the tail (an example).The difference of lights is so great that the camera can't possibly get all the details within acceptable limits. So we'll have blown highlights and most of the time without recoverable limits.

What we need in the future is not more MP camera, we need camera manufacturer to work CMOS (Canon) or CCD (Sony) to provide higher dynamic range. Right now it falls to about 6-7 F/stop (real world value), not the theorical limit. I think right now the 1D Mark II or 1DS have about 8 F/stop. The eye is about 12 to 14 F/stop.

Now back to shooting these, they don't stay there, they hop around constantly, if you've tried Black Cap Chikedee before, they are even more difficult. This behavior is happening when they are looking for insects (primary behavior, all day long). Also, I was not in the open to get them. What I do normally when walking in that Marsh area, I walk into the woods a little and try to find trees where I think I'll find them.

I listen a lot to try to figure out how many individuals there's around and what species are present. Then I position myself that most of my shooting will aim at the least 3 trees, with the sun in my back. Then I set the tripod (the lens is a Sigma EX 50-500 HSM - more on this later), level the tripod in all direction and wait. And wait, then I look at their patterns, normally I don't go crazy trying to get them behind tree branch at 30 feet. I just look how they hop from one branch to the next.

These birds are territorial - I'm really learning this whole bird thing while observing. And most of the time, I'll see 2 males, maybe 3 and one female, males tends to repulse intruders especially when the female is near by. I've seen established couple already and even found nest in the making, which depending on the species can be seen even at 1 meter higher in bushes like tree.

The first 3 shots were taken at about 19 feet, I don't crop bird shots, I see often people cropping bird shots to 'fake' them looking closer than they really are. But then they loose all the details. The next shot of the Yellowthroat was much closer, about 15 feet - shame there was a little leaf that hides part of his face. The next shot (Oriole) was about 27 feet (I tend to look at the focus distance on the lens after I take shots). The next one (Yellow Warbler) was about 19-20 feet. Note that both Warbler and Yellowthroat are 12-14 cm (4.5 - 5in)in lenght. And the last one was about about 13 feet (Tree Swallow are slightly bigger).

Now the lens, its not a miracle lens, it's sharp only at close distance (as your 100-400 L), but I use a tripod - positive side is when used correctly, I can have very sharp shots - negative side is the pain to carry this in the wild. My dream lens would be a Canon L zoom, new generation of IS in the 150-500mm range. 600mm would be ideal, but I don't have near that ammount of money to spend, not now though.

Another note, If I can shoot again the Yellowthroat in daylight, with lower ISO, I'm certain I'll get more finer details, even with a tripod @ 500mm range I noticed that 1/640 sec or faster leads to better results in general. I'm quite concious when I press the shutter to not induce a slight wave of vibration which amplifies at the end of the lens, but this vibration is still present and 1/640 or better normally leads to good results.

To conclude, I shoot in RAW ; 2 things I really like about is that I can layer corrected EC 'frames' ; TIFF 16 bit in PS to expand the dynamic range, which is limited by our cameras, and correct also WB, which is done fairly easily with Capture 1 (software). A last technical note, the lower the ISO, the more dynamic range you'll get. At ISO 800, you're down by few F/stop and its easy to blow highlights.

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Old May 24, 2004, 9:07 AM   #6
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Normcar wrote:
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That Yellow Warbler against the deep blue sky with that teeny smattering of light coming in from the lower right is superb, not to mention the tingle of yellow tones in the leaves and flowers that blend everything together artfully. Your ability to get those birds posing is unique.

As for ISO 800,without it you may not have even gottenthe bird and that's the main thing. Nice job.

Thanks Norm, appreciate it. Just note that the Yellow Warbler was taken at ISO 400, same for the Tree Swallow. Rest was ISO 800. As for getting them to pose in certain way, it takes a great deal of patience to wait for the elusive moment. What I do normally is I take them before they pose nicely, take a quick peak at the histogram of the camera (the camera is set to show me the histogram instantly, not the full image on the viewer) - make quick shutter speed adjustments and then wait until they pose the way I like , lol.

Cheers
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Old May 24, 2004, 9:10 AM   #7
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photosbyvito wrote:
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another great set of shots! as usual the exposure and composition is very nice!

the only problem i could see....is in the oriole shot, the OOF branches in the front....but other than that...brilliant set of shots!

also....on the last one..i like how the bg...and almost the entire picture is dull colored....except for the great color on the swallow....good job again eric!

you definetely "CAN"....lol
Thanks Vito

You're right about the OOF leaves in front of the Oriole face, it destroyed some fine details of the Oriole face. I have other shots where I see super fine feather details on its cheek, but it was against a grey sky with blown highlights of the sky and underexposed black part of the Oriole face - can't process image like that...

Hey, CAN is just the country, lol
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Old May 24, 2004, 10:19 AM   #8
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well...thanks for the explanation! by your pictures, your system seems to work quite well....

i think i might go to the park tomorrow or wednesday and shoot some Great Blue Heron.....it would be better for me to go at around 9:00 then 11:00 right? because the sun is lower?

also....my camera only goes to the "1/1000" shutter if it's on f8.0 (don't ask me why..lol)....would i be better off rising the iso so i could use that? or going down to 1/800(i think...i'm not sure wat the next step down is) and using a f4.5 arperture....and a ISO 50....i would think the second choice to keep down on the noise, but will that do ok with camera shake and stuff? i'll try to use the tripod, but i'll have to figure out a better way to get close to it that way

nice pictures eric....and CAN is definetely more than your country!
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Old May 24, 2004, 10:25 AM   #9
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Vito, I'm not sure how noisy your camera gets above 200. I know that the Canon CMOS is really nice in that area. I think you still should be there when the sun is higher, so you'll be able to bump to shutter speed to the max. There's no M mode with your camera ?

Thanks again
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Old May 24, 2004, 10:34 AM   #10
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oh....no, there is....just for some reason it doesn't let me go below f8.0 when using the 1/1000 shutter speed.....it stinks...cuz i really would like to use a larger arperture when using it....do you think this is problem? like mechanical problem? or just some weird thing canon put in it?

oh yea....my camera is an older (2 years i think!) Canon Powershot G2.....4mp...but you can see it's noise by checking out the shot i entitled "Nightshot at my church" in the landscape section...that's ISO 400....

thanks
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