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Old Dec 12, 2010, 12:48 PM   #1
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Default Even songbirds get the blues

Woke up this morning to a drab and dreary day. But days like these are often times good days to photograph birds in my backyard as I don't have to deal with a backlighting issue - if the Sun is not shining.

Things started out well as I got a few decent picks. Then the rains came and with it came the winds. The series of pics that follows is self explanatory.

Equipment used E-30, 50-200mm lens MKI. Tripod with Manfrotto 393 gimbal bracket. CS5 and ACR6.3 did the rest.

Zig
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 12:54 PM   #2
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Great set. Poor little guys. At least they were getting food.

John
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 1:18 PM   #3
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....I really like #2 and the 'shimmy' (last) for the photos, sorry for the birds.

Looks really cold up there by now, in the upper 20's here last night.... no birds but lots of leaves blowing around.
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 2:44 PM   #4
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Hey Zig

THose are very nice...first thoughts were wow thats sharp!

Cheers

Harj
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 2:53 PM   #5
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Nice series, Zig. They look miserable. I can't say as I blame them as I'm miserable in the cold & wet myself.
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 3:53 PM   #6
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Good set Ziggy and a good idea. Love that last one, I know how he feels...!

Oh, and your Osprey is a bit smarter, he followed me down here.
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 5:35 PM   #7
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Hi Zig,

Great shots, I really like the feather details of them. How do you like the Manfrotto 393? Must be fun to shoot with the gimbal head.

- Jacob
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 8:03 PM   #8
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great shots Zig, They are real sharp. I to would like to know what you think of the manfrotto gimbal bracket as it is way easier on the wallet than a wimberly would be.
Charles
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 8:45 PM   #9
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Hi all,

Thanks everybody for taking the time to look and comment. much appreciated.
And a special thanks to you Ken for taking time to comment after your long journey.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobt View Post
Hi Zig,

Great shots, I really like the feather details of them. How do you like the Manfrotto 393? Must be fun to shoot with the gimbal head.

- Jacob
Quote:
Originally Posted by cshanaberger View Post
great shots Zig, They are real sharp. I to would like to know what you think of the manfrotto gimbal bracket as it is way easier on the wallet than a wimberly would be.
Charles
Hi Jacob/ Charles,

I really enjoy using the 393 gimbal head. It is built like a brick you know what. It weighs 3 1/2lbs so, it's not light. But, it's very sturdy and keeps the lens/camera very steady. To be fair, I haven't mounted anything larger than a sigma 135-400mm or Tokina SD400mm lens on it. But, I don't think I'd have any problems with it if I used anything larger.

I've got it mounted on top of a Bogen #3001 tripod leg assy.-a very inexpensive and light set of legs. To this point, I haven't had any issues with this setup out in the field or around the backyard. My next upgrade will involve getting a set of carbon fibre legs as they will make the whole setup lighter and easier to lug around. I've signed up for a couple of wildlife photography field trips while in Florida in March. I'll need the better tripod system when I go.

By the way, the cost for this head from B&H (where I got mine was 180.00 USD). Greg (fieldspringer) recommended a while back the use of a Jobu Jr. gimbal head. I looked into that unit as well. In the end, after looking at videos of each on U-Tube, I decided that the 393 would meet my needs.

And it has. Very smooth, easy to adjust, has great range of motion. the main brackets are made from 5/16" thick steel plate.


Zig
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 9:12 PM   #10
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Just a follow up on the photos and the settings I used to get them.

I generally have a backlight issue when trying to shoot birds from my office (through a window). The feeder is located on the South side of the house and the Sun is always on the other side of the house. This casts a heavy shadow on the songbirds while the background is lit up pretty well.

I decided to try a few settings changes today and thought I'd pass them along to those that are interested.

I shoot primarily in manual mode. I find I have the most control using this mode.
My ISO is typically high, even on a sunny day because of the backlighting and shadows problems previously mentioned. Today's photos were taken with ISO set @800 and I tried a bunch at ISO1000. The 50-200mm 2.8 ED ZD lens was set to a focal length of 147mm. Most of my shots are between 112 and 147mm. I typically set my AF system to S-AF, 4point center, with the top center being the main AF point. I also set the size of the focus point to small. All my shots are taken using the Large Superfine Jpeg setting. Oh, and I usually set shutter to 1/200 to 1/500 sec. depending on the amount of light I have.

My WB setting is was set to cloudy, the contrast and sharpness are always left at 0, gradation is normal, I use Hi speed burst rate.

What I did differently today, was to set my metering to: center point Hi.
The center point hi uses less areas to measure in determining the best metering combination. It also tends to overexpose the image a little more than single point center metering.

The results are interesting, in that, all the jpegs came out of the camera well exposed. I had almost no back lighting issues. And, the noise was very minor. Almost negligible.

I say the the results are interesting because, when I looked at thru the viewfinder, the reading going across the bottom of the screen kept warning me that I was under exposing the shot by a value ranging from -02.00 to -03.00. Yet, when I called up the 1st image in CS5, it was remarkably clear, free of noise, and not under exposed. In fact, other than resizing them for the web, I did almost no post processing.
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