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Old Jul 6, 2004, 6:56 PM   #11
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Depth of Field now, on a 35mm body @ 600mm

F/4 , 30 feet focal distance : DOF = 2 inch

F/5.6 , 30 feet focal distance : DOF =2.8 inch

F/8 , 30 feet focal distance : DOF = 4.1 inch

F/11, 30 feet focal distance : DOF =5.6 inch

Now at 40 feet, same setup :

F/4 , DOF = 3.7 inch

F/5.6, DOF =5.2 inch

F/8 , DOF =7.4 inch

F/11, DOF = 10.2 inch

Depth of Field now, on a 35mm body @ 500mm

F/4 , 30 feet focal distance : DOF =3 inch

F/5.6 , 30 feet focal distance : DOF =4.2 inch

F/8 , 30 feet focal distance : DOF =6 inch

F/11, 30 feet focal distance : DOF =8.3 inch

Now at 40 feet, same setup :

F/4 , DOF = 5.4 inch

F/5.6 , 30 feet focal distance : DOF =7.5 inch

F/8 , 30 feet focal distance : DOF =10.7 inch

F/11, 30 feet focal distance : DOF =14.8 inch

This was with a 35mm body, since we use a Canon CMOS with the 1.6x crop factor, its not going in our favor, so all these numbers will go down by 1.6. So as an example @ 30 feet and F/4 we have only 1 1/4 inch of DOF, Eric :sad:

Just went through the web and every chart says the same number, so I guess they must be right. At 40 feet you are now at 2.31 inch, that's almost twice DOF with only 10 feet further. At F/5.6 at 40 feet : 3.25 inch, and at F/8 : 4.63 inch which is twice DOF compared to F/4 btw.

So we need 1.3x crop factor sensor ! LOL Since @ F/8, 40 feet we would get 5.7 inch DOF, which is pretty good even for larger birds.

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Old Jul 6, 2004, 7:48 PM   #12
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Eric , your image with my personal touch of post-processing :



Cheers !
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Old Jul 6, 2004, 9:09 PM   #13
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Eric CAN, I like the touches you've added to the post-processing. Eric S's original posted image was already superb but I do indeed like the way in which your processing has brought out the subtle details in the heron's back and neck feathers. The greater contrast between the edges of the wing feathers and the inner parts of those same feathers shows the bird up very nicely too.

And... I guess you saw my comment asking what that round white spot was on the back of the bird because it no longer exists in your version! :-)

Your posts in this thread have been very informative. Thanks!
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Old Jul 6, 2004, 10:00 PM   #14
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Hi Geoff, about the 2 white spots, I've made them dissapear like by magic :crazy:

Don't want to offend Eric S. here but I wish the head was in focus, we can see from my picture that I can't do anything about it, it fell offoutside DOF mentioned above. With one of the Canon software, I checked where the focus was , on the neck just on top of the water. With 1.25 inch of DOF it's impossible to get most of the bird in focus. Thats the negative side of using F/4. Only solution would have been to be like 50 feet, then we would have a totally different image. Although having so much DOF brings one positive note, the water has a really nice bokeh.

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Old Jul 6, 2004, 10:05 PM   #15
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Great photograph eric. That heron is probably ducking in fear that your big white lens might hit him/her.


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Old Jul 7, 2004, 12:01 AM   #16
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So many things to say... lets see, where to start?

I have to say that I'm not really sure I like what you did with the picture. I'm not saying you did a bad job or it's a bad result, but it's mostly about what we want out of a picture. I have not seen a heron where the white on the wing feathers stands out like that. This is, of course, from memory (and a lot of picture, which we all know can lie) but I never even considered bringing them out because that is (to me) not how they look. They have darker sides and more subtle details on the wings (it looks like you lightened the entire picture.) You also lost some of the red on the neck.

A little web research to some professional photographer's web sites (i.e. looking at what I hope are higher quality more accurate Great Blue pictures than most) show that Great Blue Herons seem to have lighter and darker plumages (Phases? Ages?) so maybe you're used to seeing lighter ones? This wasn't one, though.

Maybe it's all my engineering training, but I still aim towards photo-realism. I know, I'll grow out of that eventually.

And that white dot... I have no idea what was going on. Personally, I only see one the back/shoulder... where is the other one? I saw that one, but didn't remove it (I'm not really sure why... cloning it away would have been easy.) It isn't in my other pictures (ruling out a sensor hotspot or dust some how) and I wasn't using a flash, so it isn't dust in the air.... I'm all for suggestions about what caused it. (Wait, is the other white spot on the middle back neck?)

Cycling between the two pictures, it seems like your whites have a touch of green to them. First I thought it was in the background, but it's in the bird's white too. I do like how you saved the detail on the forehead. I put time into preserving that when I did it. I've blown foreheads like that too often, so I was happy I got detail there.

You did a great job bringing out more detail on the back to our left of the white spot. I'd have to look back at the original to see how much was there, but on mine it's gone. Nicely done.

I've actually read about exposing to the right (that article, actually) and while I find it handy I find that I blow too many highlights and therefor miss too many shots because of that strategy. When it works, it's great, but my keeper rate drops to a level I find unacceptable and frustrating. Maybe its my skill (could very well be) or the difficult situations I shoot in ('course your situations seem just as difficult) but I don't find that system as valuable as it seems in theory. Some day, I should try it again and see. My strategy right now is to try to place the subject properly in the histogram so that I only have to adjust for contrast (which with this lens it's harsh, as I'm sure you saw in that RAW.)

Could I get better results by slightly over exposing (shooting to the right) and then adjust in PS (thereby getting the better dynamic range)? Probably. But the last time I tried that, with the varying subjects plumages and changing lighting I found that I was basically throwing away the first shot (each time the light changed) to make sure I had shifted the exposure to the right enough (but not too much.) And that meant loosing too many shots (to me.) I bet when you get good at it, you can eyeball it (just as you can eyeball shutter/aperture after awhile) but I'm not there yet and it was rather frustrating getting there.

I was using f4 because... well, it was my first time out using the lens and I hadn't learned how little DOF I'd have. My fault. I learned that lesson quickly (you'll notice with that lens I now shoot f5.6 or a bit more when I can.) My DOF calculations match yours, but this seems to have more than 1.2" in focus. I can't really explain it, except maybe for the point that DOF is calculated as what is in "acceptable" focus... maybe I'm accepting more than is officially considered "acceptable"?

I wish the head were more in focus too. The reason the head isn't in focus is because I had focused on the head and recomposed. But he moved. That means that the first shot had the head in focus, but didn't look nearly as good (bad head angle, as I recall) and then the rest of the burst followed with the moved recomposed bird. I don't believe I had focus tracking on... probably should have, but that seems to be hit-or-miss with larger birds. What does it track? Rarely the head. I've used off-center AF points before, but I find them inconsistent because they aren't full-cross sensors. I probably should have tried it any ways (or buy a 1D- Mark II. Unless I can hypnotize Normcar to sell me his because he hates it... really, he does. You hate it Normcar! repeat after me....)

That is a reason the 1D (& mark II) has an advantage I hadn't though of. Larger DOF. That might actually be worth it (but worth the less zoom? Tough call. In this case, yes. And I might have been able to focus track the head with the more and better AF points. Eventually, I'll probably buy one, but not this year. Or at least, not soon.)

Chako, I'm not sure a gunstock would work. They do sell them, but this is a really heavy lens/camera combo (and I wasn't even adding a flash and bracket.) I don't have weak arms (but not exactly muscular ones either) but I wouldn't want to use it that way.

djb, the camera was on a tripod the Gitso 1348 & a full wimberley head. It's a wonderful combination, and almost the best you can get. I found the legs used and they are great.

Wow, that was a long post. I appreciate any one who reads this far, thanks.

Eric
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Old Jul 7, 2004, 12:12 AM   #17
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That was a long post, Eric, but a very interesting one to read all the way through. When all of you guys that have so much more photographic knowledge than I discuss things back and forth like this, the ignorant guys like me get the chance to learn, so please don't stop these types of interactions!

I didn't see the second white spot either but I think you've pinpointed which spot Eric was referring to as the second spot. I have no ideas to help you with determining the origins of those spots.

As has been true for ages, the dividing line between realism and art is easy to blur, even more so today with digital darkroom techniques. Being a techie myself, I think I lean towards realism. I like the impact of Eric CAN's post-processing but only you, having been on the scene, can be the authority making the decisions on what is appropriate for the look and feel of your own photo. The truth is that if I saw either at a showroom I'd probably like both and probably also be moved to buy one of them.
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Old Jul 7, 2004, 1:30 AM   #18
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eric wrote:

Maybe it's all my engineering training, but I still aim towards photo-realism.

My personal tastes also sit in the area of the natural and if I were to choose between the two, my personal choice would bethe original at top on this particular photograph, because eric's personality and technique stand out in the wayhe focuses andproduces his own special and wonderful works.

Similarly, I love the way Eric CAN dynamically brings about wonders with his own works and his dynamic Photoshop techniques where his personality and art shine in that area.

I've been an art teacher and artist for many long years and one thing that I refuse to do in any area of art or subjective experience is say that one person is wrong in doing it this way or even right in doing it that way (not that anyone here is actually saying that sort of thing), primarily because in "true art" there is no right way or wrong way. That is the first thing that I try to impress upon my art students.

We have two wonderful subjective views of this heron now, different in their own special ways, and, as geoff has stated, both are worthy of being purchased. It would be the purchaser who determined which one he or she would choose, again, because "art" is that way.

I'd saytobothErics, excellent stuff, as usual! And the fact that Eric CAN added his own subjective experience to this wonderful photograph is a PLUS because now we have two versions to enjoy.

Cool stuff guys!

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Old Jul 7, 2004, 6:52 AM   #19
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Yes, two great photos

It is a wonderfulaccomplishment to capture this photo as herons are particularly skittish.

I sense (though, of course, I do not know for sure) that herons tilt their heads to "remove" the blind spot created by their beak just as horses tilt their heads.


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Old Jul 7, 2004, 12:52 PM   #20
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geoffs, thanks for reading all of it and I'm glad you found it interesting (and maybe even helpful.) It took some time to write (and proof read) so I'm glad someone got something out of it.

digcamfan, that is an interesting guess on the head tilt... hadn't though of that one. I always find it fun to speculate on these types of things.

Normcar.... I'm always in awe of Eric CAN's shots. The bird position & pose along with the background are always top knotch. I always struggle with getting good backgrounds (unless I'm in a blind, which isn't that often) so it continually amazes me how good he can get them. He seems to go for a touch more saturated look than I prefer, but that is personal preference (and to be clear, he didn't with his reedit of this heron shot.) I often wonder about the before/after of his shots to see how much he was able to bring out of the shot in PS. (That isn't a slam on his photographic skill, which is obviously high, but a statement about how high his PS skills are... and a lesson for what can be done to bring out the full potential of a shot.)

Eric CAN. What did you think of the amount of contrast in the RAW image? I found it was rather flat and needed a lot more contrast adjustments than I was used to with the 100-400. How did it fit with your 50-500 experiences? Part of me keeps saying "that is too flat an image, something is wrong!" but the rest of me says that they will have lest contrast, its ok. Either way, I can recover it in PS, but it just seems odd to me.

Eric
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