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Old Feb 9, 2006, 5:41 AM   #1
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First of all let me tell you what I am trying to do and how I am doing it. My objective is to capture the wings of a bird frozen in time. The lighting conditions I have are terrible at best so I am using an external flash along with a shutter speed of 1/1000 which is a fast as the DX6490 will go. The aperture is as big as I can make it also. I also get as close as I can to the birds to take full advantage of the flash which is about 20 feet or so. I don't use my Tcon because I don't want the image distorted in any way. Using the example below do you have any suggestions on how my techniques can improve? I am not sattisified with this photo at all.

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Old Feb 9, 2006, 7:14 AM   #2
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There is a company that makes a sound tripperas well as a infra red beam tripper to make your flash equped camer fire when the beam is broken (in the case of a landing bird) .

Sorry but I do not remember the company (I think it may have been Dale and the product may have been called a beam box, not sure).

Lot of nature photographers use them and those hung up on freezing a bullet or bursting balloon or a drop splating.

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Old Feb 9, 2006, 8:42 AM   #3
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Background is too busy. The feeder is too tall. A short squat box type would give you a better opportunity as they would be flying in over it and not have the feeder between you and the bird!Just a thought!

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Old Feb 9, 2006, 11:09 AM   #4
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Jim-

The beam tripper that Bill mentioned might be useful. Also, re-positioning the feeder as Big Dwag has suggested would clear up your background problem. I have also seen feeders hung high so the sky can then become the background. Positioning the feeder lower might not give you the detail that you want to show, such aswe see in the posted photo.

The photo perhaps shows that you need a bit more light. Have you considered adding a inexpensive slave flash to get a bit more light into the photos. The Sunpak DS-20 sells for less than $25.00.

I really like the concept a lot. You are on the right track. Now just a few details have to be sorted out, and you will have the photos that you desire. Those photos will look great, very National Geographic.


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Old Feb 9, 2006, 12:02 PM   #5
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A flash at a close range and a high shutter speed will give you black or near black background. Avoid any light or shinny things in the background that may be overly reflective and throw back your flash as a hot glare.

Some years ago Yashica tried to impress the slr world with a slr that had "TrapMode". This was a set of brackets in the view finder that when anything came into that area the camera would fire. Great idea but wrong camera and wrong time!

Good luck!

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As Karl Malden says in the American Express ads,"Don't leave home without it", this could be a expensive road your about to travel.
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Old Feb 9, 2006, 12:10 PM   #6
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Bill-

Balancing the flash output with the natural skylight should not result in a black background, I would think.

MT
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Old Feb 9, 2006, 2:23 PM   #7
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I assume the camera has a compur type shutter that will synch at all speed and a high shutter speed should under expose the background. The small flash does not have that great a guide number.



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Old Feb 9, 2006, 5:22 PM   #8
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Bill-

Perhaps an actual photo sample will better demonstrate what I have been attempting to say in words. In this photo, I have used a daffodill in place of the actual birds, that Old Jim is working with in his photos. yes, I did use flash. But you can see that the sky can effectively be used for a background.

This photo is posted with the courtesy of my next door neighbor, Cindy Gallagher, who loaned me her V-530 to use for this photo.

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Old Feb 9, 2006, 9:16 PM   #9
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Thanks all for your responses. Like I said I am trying to learn a technique but not a critique here. I knew the photo and its properties need improvement. I have a very powerful external flash attached to my camera but it is not a slave flash. How would that make a difference?

Dawg, I chose that type of feeder because the hopper feeder attracted to many birds. 300+daily to be exact. The tube feeder is cleaner, attracts less birds and is more species specific. Thanks for your suggestion.
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Old Feb 9, 2006, 9:32 PM   #10
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I understand 100% Jim. Have you used the burstmode to try the capture? I'm only asking because that is what I was planning on trying myself and if you've already tried it and it didn't work it would save me some steps! It looks like the speed if sufficient would make the lighting insufficient and vise versa! Is this at dusk or is it possible to get the sun more involved? I'm just asking so my mind will have enough data to come up with an answer since I've not tried it yet and do not really know the set parameters we are dealing with since I'm not there in person. Please don't get upset with me for I'm asking in all sincerity! I know sometimes my questions can be bothersome but that is the way I try to troubleshoot a problem. I've a very linear processor up there! An auxilliary flash is good as it is triggered by the camera and is mounted in close proximity. The slave flash is triggered by your flash going off and doesn't require it be in close proximity to the camera.It just needs to see the flash on your camera go off to trigger it. This allows you to set it up away from the camera and when you shoot, the slave flashand the flashes on your camera will go off together giving you a lot of extra light but only on demand!



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