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Old Jan 9, 2007, 6:41 PM   #1
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There was a wedge of swans in froont of our place the other day, so I went out to tryout the K100D with the 50-200mm lens. Unfortunately, it was an overcast day,and I forgot to set the exposure down from +2, so I only got one worthwhile shot.

While I was out though, I noticed that the local squirrels were having some sort of gang war. Large groups ofblack squirrels were chasing a few greys around. I'm not enough of a squirrel expert to know what wwas really going on. Theydidn't actually seem to be fighting, just chasing. Anyway,it was very interesting, and very challenging to try to capture (They are very quick little critters). I did manage toget a few shots I thought were worth sharing.

These are all with the 50-200mm lens, pretty much all at 200mm. The swan is fairly heavily processed. Noprocessing exceptconverting to jpeg and cropping on the others. The first two squirrel shots are 100% crops. The others are resized.

Comments appreciated on both the shots and what sort of post processing you would recommend.



http://farm1.static.flickr.com/162/3...86ac255a5b.jpg



http://farm1.static.flickr.com/129/3...8f3ba1bd_o.jpg



http://farm1.static.flickr.com/131/3...38d5287c_b.jpg



http://farm1.static.flickr.com/133/3...52f2f3f8f8.jpg



http://farm1.static.flickr.com/131/3...15f6eb8ff7.jpg
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Old Jan 9, 2007, 7:12 PM   #2
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They look great. Nice shots!
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Old Jan 9, 2007, 7:42 PM   #3
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Too bad about the swan pictures - that one would have been really outstanding if you hadn't blown out the white. Isn't it horrible when you have such a fabulous opportunity and discover afterwards that the camera wasn't set right?

For your squirrels, what ISO did you use? For fast moving objects (like squirrels) using a higher ISO would let you use both a faster shutter speed and a smaller aperture. These are quite good, but the first one looks like its soft - maybe not quite fast enough shutter speed? Love the next to last one - shows how much the squirrels blend with bark, and the last one is neat.
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Old Jan 9, 2007, 9:39 PM   #4
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Thanks gadgetnut!

Mtngal - You're right about the swan. Just afterit was nice enough to and for me I noticed the exposure. I probably needed it at least at -1 if not -2.So far, remembering to check the settings when I turn the camera on has been my biggest problem. I really wish you could store default settings and be able to reset to them easily.

The squirrel shot was at 1/4000 f7.1 ISO800, so it's not a shutter speed problem. (I know that's a bit of overkill on the shutter speed, but I wasn't sure how fast I needed it, so I started on Tv with 1/4000. It may be that the focus was a little in front of the squirrels. I was using spot focus to try to avoid any effect from the tree branches, but I may have missed. The branch a little above and in front of the squirrels looks pretty sharp. Here's another one that looks a bit sharper to me.

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/152/3...0ee17b0a_o.jpg

If you liked the way the squirrels blended with the bark, you might enjoy this one too. I spooked him and he hid in our hedge.



http://farm1.static.flickr.com/165/3...c80d50d3_b.jpg


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Old Jan 9, 2007, 11:03 PM   #5
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Hi Dave. These are pretty good for first time out with a new lens. The 50-200 belies it's price. It is a very good piece of glass for the price it is. For the swan shot, you could try to spot meter to get a better exposure for a all that white. That's one way of getting detail out of a white bird...cheers....Don.
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Old Jan 10, 2007, 12:04 AM   #6
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Don - Good point. I THINK I did use spot metering.I was using spotfocus and multisegment metering with the "Link AF Point and AE" set to YES. If I understand the manual correctly, this should use the focus pointto determine exposure. Right?

Now that you raised the issue though, I' probably focused on the wrong spot. I'm pretty sure the focus point was near where the front of the swan is splashing into the water. That was fine for focus, but the back and upper wing surface are much brighter, so it was a probably a bad spot for metering. Is the metering precise enough that choosing a spot on the wing would have improved the shot?
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Old Jan 10, 2007, 12:48 AM   #7
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I like the pose that you were able to capture on the swan. Very gracefull as it is touching down upon the lake. When you post process, keep an eye on any picture that has a horizon. Always try to level them or the photo will look crooked.

The 2nd photo with the black and grey squirrel makes me laugh actually. Don't they look like they are discussing some secret matter? Like they are conspiring? Keep up the good work and am looking forward to seeing more of your pics.
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Old Jan 10, 2007, 12:57 AM   #8
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Black squirrels are just a color variation of grey squirrels, we have both around here. Nice shots.

Tom
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Old Jan 10, 2007, 12:16 PM   #9
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Thanks for thte pointer Royce - a level horizon does indeed help the picture. I'm really disappointed that I didn't get a bettercapture. We see a lot of swan activity, but catching another one landing at a good angle will take some luck.

I also thought theblack and greysquirrels "talking" was an entertaining shot. It seems to beg for a caption. They sat together on the branch for quite a while, and the whole sequence of pictures adds to the impression. You can see them here if interested -

http://www.flickr.com/photos/5729425...7594471558948/
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Old Jan 10, 2007, 12:25 PM   #10
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You're right Tom.The black seems to be a genetic adaptation found in the northern parts of the squirrels' range.We also see some variations on the theme.We had a black squirrel with a grey tail running around in the trees fora while.
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