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Old Mar 28, 2005, 10:06 PM   #1
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I shot this hawk a few days ago when the sky was extremely grey and light was a horror story. However, with a bit of clean-up I thought I'd post since the colors and shapes on this bird are quite pretty to me. As well, I love them raptors:






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Old Mar 28, 2005, 10:29 PM   #2
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Beautiful series normcar. I have recently started perusing the other forums and have missed you being on when you had the fz10. These are spectacular.
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Old Mar 28, 2005, 10:53 PM   #3
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What a beautiful bird! Great shots!
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Old Mar 28, 2005, 11:56 PM   #4
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Once again it's a pleasure to view your work Norm. Just Outstanding. I wonder how this subject would look with a dark background. I know it's not natural but with the light overall color of the hawk it might be interesting. Just a thought.
great shots,
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Old Mar 29, 2005, 12:24 AM   #5
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Thanks for all of your great comments and suggestions. Smac, I agree with you fully that this bird would look nicer on a darker background, anything but what it's now surrounded by, that dismal greyish mass of nothingness :-) I've got a ton of other photos to process and I may just try that excellent suggestion of yours later on. Feel free to experiment and post your version here. I think it would be neat to see another background on this one.


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Old Mar 29, 2005, 3:26 AM   #6
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Lovely - just plain lovely - you'v made my day with these Norm! A joy to view them!
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Old Mar 29, 2005, 10:07 AM   #7
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Thanks for the refreshing words, suze. I'd like to get a second chance at these when the weather is a bit more accomodating. I'd love a chance to get some light on the feathers of this one.

Cheers
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Old Mar 29, 2005, 11:40 AM   #8
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Normcar it seems to me that you have made not one but three oustanding captures of this beautiful hawk on one flyover. That is just amazing to me. And that brings up something I wanted to ask you. On Sat, Apr 9 there is a Bird festival down south of here that I would just love to go to but I may have to work that day. If not I will be there. The Peregrine Falcon is there along with Georgia's rarest bird, the Red-cockaded Woodpecker. Could you spare a few tips again especially on flyovers. I keep my camera set with just the center focus dot working. is that best. And if I get the dot on the bird and hold the button halfway down it is supposed to keep the subject in focus, right. I really would like to bring back a few good ones. I think I will probably keep the ISO at 400 and use Aperture priority but anything you can tell me will be greatly appreciated.
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Old Mar 30, 2005, 10:23 AM   #9
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I just wanted to say that these are really great shots. I've seen many flight shots of raptors and these rank right up there with the best of them. Wonderful detail. How much of the frame is this?

These hawks are rarely down where I live, so it's great to see some shots of them. I've seen exactly 2 in 2 years. And I remember them both clearly.

Houston,
Do realize that Norm is using one of the best action cameras in existence (The 1D Mk II.) So tracking in flight will be "easier" for him than you.

I put easier in quote because it is still hard, had he has clearly developed a great talent for it! The camera helps you do it, but without talent you'll still miss the shot even with that camera.

ISO400 is probably required to get the best shutter speed. Realize that if they want to, the Peregrine can be the fastest bird on the planet. I would aim for around 1/2000 or higher. But I wouldn't go over ISO400. The noise will cause you to lose feather detail. To me, this means you'll only be able to get two types of shots.

1 - Landing or taking off. The bird will be moving slowly. Many angles there can produce some good stuff. Front and back are obvious, but a good side shot with the head visible and some back plumage (or breast pattern) could be very nice too. Pulling up while flying directly at you could be great. Ya, you'll see the stand or the arm in the shot... but who cares? The wings spread out to slow their decent, the talons/legs extended to catch the perch. I'm already salivating for the picture!

2 - side flight shots. Straight on flight shots will be too fast, that is the worse case scenario for any camera. So go for side shots. Start tracking the bird in flight way ahead of time. Don't stop tracking even after you stop shooting. "follow through" on the shot for a second or two. If you stop tracking when you stop shooting you'll probably blow the last shot. If you have an IS lens, you might try switching to mode 2, which is designed for tracking shots. Personally, I've never done this but the manual says it helps.

Definitely use center point focus, but not ‘cause it's better. Unless you have an f2.8 lens, it's the same as all the other points. Do it ‘cause then you know which AF point is in use so you can keep the camera on the bird easier. You don't want it picking the wrong one and you'll miss the shots!

Since the background will be sky and other things, I would use the metering mode that is the equivalent to the Nikon Spot meter (I think its called Partial Metering, but I forget.) That should give you a slightly better exposure than the others. Be willing to dial down the exposure with exposure comp a little bit. The odds are that it will underexpose (if the day is really bright) and this will correct for that (‘cause most of the shot will be sky.) It will also increase your shutter speed a bit. And whites are much less forgiving than darks for improper exposure. Fixing under exposure in PS is better than trying to get rid of blown highlights on a white bird.

Also, practice, practice and more practice. The usual way people suggest is go to the beach and get your kids (or a friend) to throw cheerios up to the gulls. Then take pictures of them. Lots of them. Learn how to follow through with the shot. Learn to detect when a bird is banking… learn to read the wing and tail movements. Be ready to take that shot when they suddenly turn their head just right. Its not easy, but it is very rewarding.

And since I spent this much time writing this, now you have to go and then post the shots!

:blah:

Eric
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Old Mar 30, 2005, 10:26 AM   #10
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Houston wrote:
Quote:
Normcar it seems to me that you have made not one but three oustanding captures of this beautiful hawk on one flyover. That is just amazing to me. And that brings up something I wanted to ask you. On Sat, Apr 9 there is a Bird festival down south of here that I would just love to go to but I may have to work that day. If not I will be there. The Peregrine Falcon is there along with Georgia's rarest bird, the Red-cockaded Woodpecker. Could you spare a few tips again especially on flyovers. I keep my camera set with just the center focus dot working. is that best. And if I get the dot on the bird and hold the button halfway down it is supposed to keep the subject in focus, right. I really would like to bring back a few good ones. I think I will probably keep the ISO at 400 and use Aperture priority but anything you can tell me will be greatly appreciated.
I'll offer what I can and then if eric reads this I'm sure he'd be able to offer some input as well. With flight shots these are some of the things that I would consider personally:

Have the fastest shutter that you can with an aperture that gives you some semblance of hope to get a decent shot that isn't blurred. If possible and light permits you should try to get at least an F5.6 and a shutter of 800 plus, depending on what sort of bird you're shooting.

With raptors the wing movement is slower so your shutter need not be so high. In fact, if you wait for it to glide you will get away with a much slower shutter speed. As for focus mode, you can try single spot focus and if that doesn't work and the sky is clear use all 9 points of focus on the Rebel, since nothing around is going to steal away the show from you. Personally, I use single point but the 400/5.6 has an extremely good sensibility and you would need to see how things go with your lens.If you feel like you need more room for error then use more points.

I also find that using a tripod restricts me personally and at higher shutters I don't really think it's necessary to attempt to follow the bird with a tripod hung from the camera, restricting movement. HOWEVER, I had the tripod mounted when shooting that chickadee the other day but all of the geese were without tripod since it's much easier to follow slow moving birds like geese and raptors. With the small birds one needs to pre-plan and pre-set the scenario.

Hope that helps, and use the GOOD LUCK tool because that is the most important thing. I always want that mounted on my rig. One more thing, don't freak out and get all nerved up if things don't work because that in and of itself will kill any future chances of getting the shot. No need to increase shake factors. :G

I just read eric's post and he offers some really good advice. He points out a number of important things that I missed. And the PRACTICE one is the most important. Practice on anything that moves. Exposure is another problem that needs to be dealt with and along with what eric says I would suggest that you shoot a number of birds or tree tops or other in the same location at the same time in order to figure out what exposure works best. Then set that exposure with MANUAL. In other words, use aperture or shutter priority, find the setting that works best, then set that exposure on your MANUAL so that it won't be altered at all by missing the target subject. I've lost alot because of that problem.

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