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Subject: "Wildlife Photos (What am I doing wrong)" Previous topic | Next topic
wheelin_rob Registered since 02nd Jun 2009Tue 11-Aug-09 04:05 PM
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"Wildlife Photos (What am I doing wrong)"


US
          

I decided to go down to our local wildlife sanctuary and take some bird shots. It was an overcast day but the birds were active so I had a blast. After returning home I was disappointed by how the photos turned out. They looked very muddy and lacked brightness and crisp color. I was shooting with my D40 and a 70-300mm VR lens w/UV filter. I was shooting in aperture priority f/5.6. Attached are a couple of shots to give an example.

First Photo Settings:
Shutter - 1/320 sec
Aperture - f/5.6
ISO - 200
EB - +1.0ev
Focal length - 300mm
White Bal - Auto
Metering - Pattern




Second Photo Settings:
Shutter - 1/2500 sec
Aperture - f/5.6
ISO - 400
EB - 0.0ev
Focal length - 300mm
White Bal - Auto
Metering - Pattern


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Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, (jpg file)

  

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Wildlife Photos (What am I doing wrong)
sylvesterii
11th Aug 2009
1
Reply message RE: Wildlife Photos (What am I doing wrong)
blw Moderator
11th Aug 2009
2
Reply message RE: Wildlife Photos (What am I doing wrong)
MotoMannequin Moderator
11th Aug 2009
3
Reply message RE: Wildlife Photos (What am I doing wrong)
wheelin_rob
13th Aug 2009
6
     Reply message RE: Wildlife Photos (What am I doing wrong)
MotoMannequin Moderator
13th Aug 2009
7
Reply message RE: Wildlife Photos (What am I doing wrong)
Floridian Silver Member
12th Aug 2009
4
Reply message RE: Wildlife Photos (What am I doing wrong)
jrp Administrator
13th Aug 2009
5
Reply message RE: Wildlife Photos (What am I doing wrong)
nrothschild Silver Member
14th Aug 2009
8
Reply message RE: Wildlife Photos (What am I doing wrong)
dclarhorn Moderator
15th Aug 2009
9
Reply message RE: Wildlife Photos (What am I doing wrong)
wheelin_rob
15th Aug 2009
10

sylvesterii Registered since 02nd Sep 2008Tue 11-Aug-09 05:55 PM
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#1. "RE: Wildlife Photos (What am I doing wrong)"
In response to Reply # 0


St. Paul, US
          

They look underexposed to me. I'm thinking the +1 EV wasn't enough. With that much bright-ish sky that the camera is trying to meter with, you are going to need to really adjust that EV compensation I think.Possible that the UV filter affected the image contrast I would think as well.

----
jan.
paigejulia.blogspot.com

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Tue 11-Aug-09 06:10 PM
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#2. "RE: Wildlife Photos (What am I doing wrong)"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond, US
          

I'm not sure what you were expecting for color - in those conditions, I'd say that you got pretty accurate color. To a first order, the light you get is the light you have to work with, and this light doesn't lend itself to the punchy color that people like.

I agree with the underexposure of the birds - with bright backgrounds like that, the matrix meter will definitely be trying to average everything out.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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MotoMannequin Moderator Awarded for his extraordinary skills in landscape and wildlife photography Nikonian since 11th Jan 2006Tue 11-Aug-09 06:22 PM
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#3. "RE: Wildlife Photos (What am I doing wrong)"
In response to Reply # 0
Tue 11-Aug-09 06:26 PM by MotoMannequin

Livermore, CA, US
          

You can't use the matrix meter to shoot birds. The majority of your composition will be bright sky and the meter will pick that up. It will not even notice the bird.

For birds in flight, I'd recommend you go straight manual exposure. Keep the shutter 1/800" or faster, maybe drop to 1/640" in really poor light, but ideally you'd like 1/1250" or 1/1000".

The basis for your exposure settings will be the "sunny 16" rule, which states shutter = 1/ISO at f/16 in sunny weather. So, start with 1/200" ISO 200 f/16. Open up aperture 3 stops f/16->f/11->f/8->f/5.6 means 3 stops more light, to take away 3 stops of light by speeding the shutter 1/200->1/400->1/800->1/1600" So, sunny 16 says: f/5.6 ISO 200 1/1600". Since it's not sunny, you're probably a couple stops too dark now, so let's add a couple stops more light: f/5.6 ISO 400 1/800" This puts your shutter about as low as you want it. Now do a test exposure on something about the same color as the birds, and tweak before you find the action. Judging by your exposure values, you probably needed something more like f/5.6 ISO800 1/800". Discover the right settings, and you're good to shoot birds until the light changes.

Ideally, you'd prefer to shoot that lens at f/6.3 or f/7.1 or even f/8, but you'll be compromising based on how much light you have, how high you're comfortable raising ISO, and how fast a shutter you can get. On a very sunny day, I'd like to shoot f/7.1 ISO400 1/1250". I don't hesitate to open up the 70-300VR to f/5.6 in really poor light, but I like to stop it down a little whenever possible.

That should work great, unless you're in rapidly changing light (sun moving in and out of clouds) in which case you may try shooting spot meter, aperture priority or manual with auto-ISO on. Problem with this is, you'll throw away a lot of shots when the spot meter misses its target and picks up sky instead.

Larry - a Bay Area Nikonian
My Nikonians gallery

www.tempered-light.com

  

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wheelin_rob Registered since 02nd Jun 2009Thu 13-Aug-09 04:55 PM
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#6. "RE: Wildlife Photos (What am I doing wrong)"
In response to Reply # 3


US
          

Thank you all for your input. I never knew that buying a DSLR would be such a challenge to learn. I like a good challenge and am having a blast learning how to use it. It is easy to just put it on AUTO but if that was the case I would just put the Fugi point and shoot in the camera bag. LOL

Moto: This is a great tip (Sunny 16 Rule). I really like the way you have explained that rule. I have put it the camera bag as a reference. I am going to go back out tomorrow when it is suppose to be sunny and try it again.

JRP: I did something similar in PS using Auto Levels and applying a filter adjusting to my liking. Photoshop is a great tool and I use it all the time.

Thanks again,
Robert

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MotoMannequin Moderator Awarded for his extraordinary skills in landscape and wildlife photography Nikonian since 11th Jan 2006Thu 13-Aug-09 09:12 PM
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#7. "RE: Wildlife Photos (What am I doing wrong)"
In response to Reply # 6
Thu 13-Aug-09 09:13 PM by MotoMannequin

Livermore, CA, US
          

>Moto: This is a great tip (Sunny 16 Rule). I really like the
>way you have explained that rule. I have put it the camera bag
>as a reference. I am going to go back out tomorrow when it is
>suppose to be sunny and try it again.

Just remember to test your exposure before shooting. Sunny 16 is for an subject in sun, but if you're shooting up at a bird, the side you're recording will be in shade, so I often end up a stop or 2 brighter exposure than sunny 16 recommends. For brown birds like the hawks I get around here, I'll test expose on a brown tree trunk in shadow first.

Larry - a Bay Area Nikonian
My Nikonians gallery

www.tempered-light.com

  

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Floridian Silver Member Nikonian since 11th Feb 2007Wed 12-Aug-09 09:16 PM
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#4. "RE: Wildlife Photos (What am I doing wrong)"
In response to Reply # 0


Tallahassee, Florida, US
          

Another hint: Shoot with the sun behind you. In the morning, shoot toward the west; in the evening shoot toward the east. Of course, this isn't always feasible, but if you can do it you will get more color and definition in the birds.

Randy

  

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jrp Administrator JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources Charter MemberThu 13-Aug-09 05:35 AM
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#5. "RE: Wildlife Photos (What am I doing wrong)"
In response to Reply # 0


San Pedro Garza García, MX
          

I just applied a one click Auto Contrast in Photoshop and here are the results:




Have a great time
JRP (Founder & Administrator. Nikonian at the north-eastern Mexican desert) Gallery, Brief Love Story, The Team
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Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, (jpg file)

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Fri 14-Aug-09 03:54 AM
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#8. "RE: Wildlife Photos (What am I doing wrong)"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

The key to wildlife (especially birds in flight) is blue sky, sun low on the horizon. Just about every high end image you will ever see was shot that way. Clouds are usually insurmountable because in order to get enough exposure on the bird, the clouds will usually be blown out white, and you still won;t get the same pop. There are exceptions, but you need a rather dark cloud base but with enough light (sun peeking through and behind you) to get the job done, which is tough.
_________________________________
Neil

Nikonians Team
My Gallery

  

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dclarhorn Moderator In depth knowledge and high level skills in a variety of areas including landscape Nikonian since 31st Mar 2002Sat 15-Aug-09 12:03 PM
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#9. "RE: Wildlife Photos (What am I doing wrong)"
In response to Reply # 0


Berwyn Heights, US
          

Pretty good efforts, actually. Overcast conditions with this subject and shooting situation aren't going to give you eye popping exposures or color.

You've already received good advice here. In summary:

- Know what to expect with various lighting conditions. This is a must because, despite all this great technology we have, your camera's meter does not balance light the way your brain/eyes can.

- Make good decisions to adjust your settings and compensate for the light.

- Use post-processing to tweak and "finish" your image.

Dan L.
http://www.danlarussophotography.com/

  

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wheelin_rob Registered since 02nd Jun 2009Sat 15-Aug-09 02:50 PM
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#10. "RE: Wildlife Photos (What am I doing wrong)"
In response to Reply # 9


US
          

Thank you all again for your input. You have all been extremely helpful. Just waiting for another sunny day up here in the Pacific NW to get out.

>Pretty good efforts, actually. Overcast conditions with this
>subject and shooting situation aren't going to give you eye
>popping exposures or color.
>
>You've already received good advice here. In summary:
>
>- Know what to expect with various lighting conditions. This
>is a must because, despite all this great technology we have,
>your camera's meter does not balance light the way your
>brain/eyes can.
>
>- Make good decisions to adjust your settings and compensate
>for the light.
>
>- Use post-processing to tweak and "finish" your
>image.
>

dclarhorn: I took a look at your gallery on your web site and your wild life photos are absolutely amazing. I have to say my favorite is the shots of the Red Cardinal. My favorite bird.

Thanks again,
Robert

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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