My late posting on SBG shootout on 12 June


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ccplim

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#1
Finally!!! After struggling with my problematic hard disk for the past few days, I finally get the chance to finish up on my pictures.

This is my very first try on taking birdies and any comments for future improvements are greatly welcome :sweat:

All my other shots can be found here


Crimson Sunbird


Now..... where's my nectar?


Waterhen


Waterhen
 

ccplim

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#2
During the shoot, I actually came across a few questions on my mind. Maybe those more experience shooters can help to clear my doubts?

1) How do you actually locate the subject so fast through the viewfinder while using a zoom range of 400mm and above? I discovered that most of the time, I actually have to hunt for the sujbect and by the time I found it, it might have flew away to another location.

2) Do we go for auto or manual focusing? I noticed quite a few times that my lens was actually hunting for focus even though I had the subject in the center.

Thanks!
 

chngpe01

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#3
ccplim said:
1) How do you actually locate the subject so fast through the viewfinder while using a zoom range of 400mm and above? I discovered that most of the time, I actually have to hunt for the sujbect and by the time I found it, it might have flew away to another location.

2) Do we go for auto or manual focusing? I noticed quite a few times that my lens was actually hunting for focus even though I had the subject in the center.

Thanks!
I like the 1st pic especially composition, to make it a great shot I would try to place the entire bird on the green leaf so that it stands out. The pic is a bit soft, ie the feather details does not really stands out. I guess it is abit of camera shake or slow shutter speed. Make use of tripod and when using long lense hold and releasing of trigger technique is important generally same principle as shooting a M16.

To answer your question.

1) When the subject is flying and to get the initial lock on I use open both eyes to see the flying bird and also try to get it into the viewfinder. Alot of practise is also the key word

2) Depends on the subject if it is moving very fast without flight pattern, white and small ie. little contrast with the background where AF is difficult. Then us MF, if not mostly AF. For sunbird in SBG, I use AF mostly, cannot remember using MF there.

1st shoot is good despite my comments.

Keep shooting :thumbsup:
 

LiOnElLiN

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Apr 18, 2004
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#4
haha... i like "Now..... where's my nectar?" for 2 reasons...

1. pictures of birds become alot more interesting when they're actually doing something rather than just perching there idly.

2. heliconias dont have nectar :bsmilie:
 

flaemer

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#5
LiOnElLiN said:
haha... i like "Now..... where's my nectar?" for 2 reasons...

1. pictures of birds become alot more interesting when they're actually doing something rather than just perching there idly.

2. heliconias dont have nectar :bsmilie:
interesting..... did not noe that heliconias dont have any nectar..... :embrass:.... den wad do the sunbirds actually get out of the heliconias??? :dunno:
 

ccplim

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#6
chngpe01 said:
I like the 1st pic especially composition, to make it a great shot I would try to place the entire bird on the green leaf so that it stands out. The pic is a bit soft, ie the feather details does not really stands out. I guess it is abit of camera shake or slow shutter speed. Make use of tripod and when using long lense hold and releasing of trigger technique is important generally same principle as shooting a M16.

To answer your question.

1) When the subject is flying and to get the initial lock on I use open both eyes to see the flying bird and also try to get it into the viewfinder. Alot of practise is also the key word

2) Depends on the subject if it is moving very fast without flight pattern, white and small ie. little contrast with the background where AF is difficult. Then us MF, if not mostly AF. For sunbird in SBG, I use AF mostly, cannot remember using MF there.

1st shoot is good despite my comments.

Keep shooting :thumbsup:
Hi PE (is that how they address you?), thanks for the valuable pointers and I really appreciate it. Really hope to learn more from you guys.

For that very first picture, it was actually shot using the tripod but I guessed it might be the triggering of the shuttle part that causes the problem. Furthermore, I think the action starts getting real fast when the birds start to appear (everything just happen in such a short time). Now I finally know how "easy" birds shooting are :sweat:

I will definately keep shooting and polish up my skills. Oh mine......... I never knew bird shooting can be so........ fun :thumbsup:
 

NiVleK

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May 15, 2003
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#7
Wow. I love the first shot..but somehow it appears a tad under on my office's monitor.

That shoot looks macham like a painting... I feel that the leave behind looks very fake! hehehe

Pardon my newbie comments!
 

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#8
ccplim said:
During the shoot, I actually came across a few questions on my mind. Maybe those more experience shooters can help to clear my doubts?

1) How do you actually locate the subject so fast through the viewfinder while using a zoom range of 400mm and above? I discovered that most of the time, I actually have to hunt for the sujbect and by the time I found it, it might have flew away to another location.

Thanks!
What I'll usually do is face the subject and look with both eyes first, then point the camera in the direction that I'm looking. Then I'll look into the viewfinder to find the subject. This is the technique used for birding (bird-watching), except with binocs.
 

Garion

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#9
ccplim said:
During the shoot, I actually came across a few questions on my mind. Maybe those more experience shooters can help to clear my doubts?

1) How do you actually locate the subject so fast through the viewfinder while using a zoom range of 400mm and above? I discovered that most of the time, I actually have to hunt for the sujbect and by the time I found it, it might have flew away to another location.
Usually, what I would do is to take my eye off the viewfinder and try to locate the bird first, then point the lens in the general direction of the bird, put my eye back to the viewfinder, and shift it around a bit to locate it. Quite tricky (especially when you have thick vegetation where the bird is hiding) and requires quite a bit of practice, over time you will take a shorter time to locate the bird, focus/compose and grab the shot before it flies away or changes position. And with quick moving subjects like the sunbirds you shot last Saturday, its really quite tricky. The key is....to practice more! :p


2) Do we go for auto or manual focusing? I noticed quite a few times that my lens was actually hunting for focus even though I had the subject in the center.

Thanks!
For birds, AF is the way to go. It is rather difficult to track a moving subject in your viewfinder and MF at the same time. Try to aim for a contrasty spot on the bird which would help the AF module of ur cam to gain a lock much faster, then recompose and take the shot. An example of a situation where MF is preferred over AF is when shooting with lots of twigs or branches around the bird (a common gripe of many bird photogs). Depending on the area of coverage of your AF point, the usual case is that the AF will tends to lock on to something other than the bird, especially if its close to the bird's body. To avoid this frustration, switch to MF mode and focus manually, then take the shot. Again, use this to your own discretion, try AF first, if it hunts like mad, then switch to MF.

Another point to note: The bird's eyes should always be in sharp focus when you take the shot.

Just my 2cts, no expert here but speaking purely from my own experience...
 

#11
ccplim, the first pic is well composed and well taken, good work! :)

As per regard to your question, I am not exactly a very expeerienced shooter so these are just my humble opinions :

Q: 1) How do you actually locate the subject so fast through the viewfinder while using a zoom range of 400mm and above? I discovered that most of the time, I actually have to hunt for the sujbect and by the time I found it, it might have flew away to another location.

In reality, you are right. It isn't easy to locate your target with such a limited angle of view. A few fellow photogs had provided you with their solutions. As for myself, I employ a combination of "both eyes open" and that of a finger pointing along the axis of my lens to "guide" my vision. I find it much easier to track small flying objects this way. That said, there is no shortcut to more practices, so I will highly recommend that you practice whenever you can, I am sure you can get the hang of it soon.

Q: 2) Do we go for auto or manual focusing? I noticed quite a few times that my lens was actually hunting for focus even though I had the subject in the center.

This is quite a subjective question, the decision for me to go manual focusing will largely depend on the target itself. For one, I will not resort to manual focusing if it is hard for me to assess my target's details. The part on your lens hunting is largely dependent on the sensitivity and accuracy of your Auto Focus system but a general guideline would be to lock your target when it has a good contrast because this is the basic theory AF works on. If you have a lens that has FTM (full time manual, or ie. allow you to manual focus without flipping a switch), I strongly advise you to keep you hands ready on your focus ring so that you can achieve focus in situation where Auto Focus fails.

Hope this is helpful to ya and keep shooting! :)
 

ccplim

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#12
NiVleK said:
Wow. I love the first shot..but somehow it appears a tad under on my office's monitor.

That shoot looks macham like a painting... I feel that the leave behind looks very fake! hehehe

Pardon my newbie comments!
Hmm..... I wonder why also? It looks ok on my home LCD screen but kind of appears dark too when I view it using the office monitor :dunno:
 

ccplim

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#13
cheesypoofs said:
What I'll usually do is face the subject and look with both eyes first, then point the camera in the direction that I'm looking. Then I'll look into the viewfinder to find the subject. This is the technique used for birding (bird-watching), except with binocs.
Thanks bro! Will try that out next time. :)
 

ccplim

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#14
Garion said:
Usually, what I would do is to take my eye off the viewfinder and try to locate the bird first, then point the lens in the general direction of the bird, put my eye back to the viewfinder, and shift it around a bit to locate it. Quite tricky (especially when you have thick vegetation where the bird is hiding) and requires quite a bit of practice, over time you will take a shorter time to locate the bird, focus/compose and grab the shot before it flies away or changes position. And with quick moving subjects like the sunbirds you shot last Saturday, its really quite tricky. The key is....to practice more! :p


For birds, AF is the way to go. It is rather difficult to track a moving subject in your viewfinder and MF at the same time. Try to aim for a contrasty spot on the bird which would help the AF module of ur cam to gain a lock much faster, then recompose and take the shot. An example of a situation where MF is preferred over AF is when shooting with lots of twigs or branches around the bird (a common gripe of many bird photogs). Depending on the area of coverage of your AF point, the usual case is that the AF will tends to lock on to something other than the bird, especially if its close to the bird's body. To avoid this frustration, switch to MF mode and focus manually, then take the shot. Again, use this to your own discretion, try AF first, if it hunts like mad, then switch to MF.

Another point to note: The bird's eyes should always be in sharp focus when you take the shot.

Just my 2cts, no expert here but speaking purely from my own experience...
Thanks for those tips bro Garion! In that case, I might be using the wrong method last week. What I actually did was to zoom out, and when I find the the bird, I zoom in and focus, plus take the shot :embrass:
 

ccplim

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#15
Madcat II said:
those are nice pics ccplim, I like the composition for the 1st, the 2nd is kind of humorous and the waterhen "marching" is cute.

Technique?? I second what PE & Garion said... great work, keep shooting ;)
Thank you bro! Thanks to you for organisaing that outing. If not because of your outing (which happened to suit my timing), I might not have taken the first step into bird shooting.

I really had a great morning of shooting and learning from you guys. :cheers:
 

ccplim

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#16
Avatar said:
ccplim, the first pic is well composed and well taken, good work! :)

As per regard to your question, I am not exactly a very expeerienced shooter so these are just my humble opinions :

Q: 1) How do you actually locate the subject so fast through the viewfinder while using a zoom range of 400mm and above? I discovered that most of the time, I actually have to hunt for the sujbect and by the time I found it, it might have flew away to another location.

In reality, you are right. It isn't easy to locate your target with such a limited angle of view. A few fellow photogs had provided you with their solutions. As for myself, I employ a combination of "both eyes open" and that of a finger pointing along the axis of my lens to "guide" my vision. I find it much easier to track small flying objects this way. That said, there is no shortcut to more practices, so I will highly recommend that you practice whenever you can, I am sure you can get the hang of it soon.

Q: 2) Do we go for auto or manual focusing? I noticed quite a few times that my lens was actually hunting for focus even though I had the subject in the center.

This is quite a subjective question, the decision for me to go manual focusing will largely depend on the target itself. For one, I will not resort to manual focusing if it is hard for me to assess my target's details. The part on your lens hunting is largely dependent on the sensitivity and accuracy of your Auto Focus system but a general guideline would be to lock your target when it has a good contrast because this is the basic theory AF works on. If you have a lens that has FTM (full time manual, or ie. allow you to manual focus without flipping a switch), I strongly advise you to keep you hands ready on your focus ring so that you can achieve focus in situation where Auto Focus fails.

Hope this is helpful to ya and keep shooting! :)
Haha...... bro Avatar, thanks for all those great pointers! With that big cannon that you have, you are really too humble to say that you are not exactly a very experienced shooter :D :blah: Really did learnt something from you last week not only about bird shooting, but on equipment too (remember you telling us about the tripod collar on the 300mm and the 600mm?)!

One more question. In term of AF, do you guys go for single AF or continous AF?
 

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