I am an experienced wildlife photographer but mainly mammals.I have never relied on autofocus,always shot in manual and payed close attention to the eyes.I have been lucky enough to be able to have access to a state owned waterfowl restoration area.I need to know how to set it up.Ill be using my 200-400 vr and a full Wimberly mount.Any help would be greatly appreciated,I know ducks and geese never hold still.
- center-weighted metering – if the light is consistent you can set manual exposure
- focus mode AF-C
- Dynamic Area AF either 9 or 21 points. You can try 51 point but say away from 51 point 3d. Use the center focus point as you Active Focus point.
- waterfowl are fast movers – if you have a hard time keeping the bird near the focus point and focus wants to shift to the background – try setting Custom setting A4 to Long.
- Try to keep the shutter over 1/1000s.
- If the light is good stop down a bit for DoF - The eyes are usually too small to use as focus targets so aim for the head or neck – even wide open the birds are usually far enough away to give you decent DoF.
Dave, just a slight remark to your settings suggestion. The OP is using a Nikon D7000, according to the title of his original post. It does not have a 51-point AF-Area Mode. Maximum points are 39 on the D7000. I agree, however, that the 39-point 3D tracking for the Niko D7000 doesn't really work especially well
Sun 14-Apr-13 07:26 AM | edited Sun 14-Apr-13 07:31 AM by gfinlayson
A couple of extra tweaks to include:
Set the AE-L/AF-L button to AF-ON (f5)
Set AF-C priority selection to RELEASE (a1) (This may sound counter-intuitive, but if you set to FOCUS you'll be missing in-focus shots while the AF system tries to catch up with itself)
Set Focus tracking with lock-on to Short (a3) (As Dave says above, you may need to start with Long until you get the hang of keeping your subject within the selected focus point group. As technique improves, you can work towards the Short setting)
I assume you'll probably be shooting in RAW, so exact exposure is probably not something you'll not be too worried about, but I find -0.3 EV compensation gets the exposure nailed in centre-weighted and spot metering modes.
I was kindly supplied these settings by a pro friend whose bird-in-flight shots are superb. Since adopting them, my keeper rates have vastly improved
I would recommend re-reading the wildlife tips and tricks postin the Wildlife forum: Wildlife Photography Tricks and Travel Reports. There is a lot of good material there just to be reviewed even on an annual basis. I happen to like the Ameristep Dog House for a portable blind, a good roomy space for one shooter, and if you have two veterans of blind work, you can doubleup. $0.02 Turbo