Photographing Birds

Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
85
Location
Worcester, UK
Hello All,

I wonder if any of you can help.
I like to photograph birds, however in the UK most are of the small, fast moving and easily scared variety.
To get a picture with any sort of resolution I need to shoot at 300mm.

However on most days, especially the bright days, the ambient light illuminates the bird fine, but the detail and face is often dark or under exposed.

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The above shows what I mean, there was lots of light that day, but the exposure on the detail is poor.

I guess some people use a fill flash wirelessly, but sometimes this isn't possible!

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This looks like a flash has been used?

Any tips, tricks or ideas?
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
85
Location
Worcester, UK
I've been checking this out.
The Better Beamer is not available in the UK and they don't ship either.

Does anyone know of an alternative?

Any Brits here know of a UK stockist!?

Cheers, Jim
 
Joined
Jan 24, 2006
Messages
1,259
Location
Greater Manchester, England
I can recommend Speed Graphic. They carry a very interesting range of kit and give good service.
But I think part of the answer is better exposure. The sky is very grey on this shot, probably because the meter assumes that it's mid-grey. If you had dialled in some overexposure (perhaps +0.7 or +1) the sky would look lighter and you would have more detail in your goldfinch.

Alan
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
Messages
978
Location
Viera Fl
I think you need to let your subject be closer. Little birds are a tough shoot. Need good light also
Long fast glass
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
85
Location
Worcester, UK
Brian, thanks just what I needed.

Alan, Thanks! I usually try not to shoot against the sky, as it doesn't always make for fantastic images, but this Finch was teasing on a wire out my window, so I had to!:biggrin:

Gale, Have PM'd you my address, If you can send over you 70-200 as soon as, I'll have it back in no time :wink: :wink: :wink:

f5.6 minimum on the 70-300 is fairly limiting, but on most days the camera will set around 1/500 which if I fire off a barage I can usually get a fairly well frozen birdie, but yeah I could do with at least 1/1000 for most of these birds!
 
Joined
Apr 21, 2006
Messages
15,069
Location
Nashua, NH
Well, you have less control then in the studio. :rolleyes: However, light behind you does make a big difference.

I know what you mean about the sky, but if you get close a background can be distracting. Also, if the bird is flying a sky background makes it easier to keep the bird in focus.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
Messages
4,507
Location
Haverhill, MA
Jim

The image is grossly underexposed, both for subject and the sky.

Add the proper amount of EV compensation and the details will be much better...they are simply buried in shadow presently.

I don't think that the other image you posted was sahot with flash......the catchlight in the eye is too round for flash.

It apears as though it was front lit in nice, warm lighting conditions.

I do use the Better Beamer very sparingly....only when it makes the difference between getting a shot and not getting it. Personally, I can't stand flash illumination on my avian images.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
Messages
978
Location
Viera Fl
heehee
I don't have good fast longggggg lenses

I use a 80-400 vr with 1.4 tc...
When I lose light, i quit shooting.
I have to follow the light.
I do not have a sb800 and Better Beamer.

I very rarely see a small bird close enough to shoot. I have maybe 6 and thats about it.

I have set up a feeder but , tough conditions around where it is. Fun to feed and see the birds though
Apt living is not fun for little birds.
 
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
85
Location
Worcester, UK
Jim, thanks for the tips, I will have to whack on the EV next time

thanks for the links debult.

Im back home this weekend, so I'll get out in the garden and see what we can see!
 

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