Friday, August 30, 2013

Hide and seek

I’ve been sitting in a hide and seeking good photos of birds (how do I think ‘em up?).  My recently acquired telephoto lens has inspired me to have a crack at bird photography, which is something there is a lot of opportunity for along the canal.  However this time, I opted for one of our local nature reserves.

I read somewhere that fancy equipment is not necessary if you want to take good photos and that most equipment is better that most photographers.  How true that is!  Looking at the results of today’s efforts, and recalling some of the brill pictures presented by a number of other bloggers, I have a lot still to learn.  Mind, you it’s not all my fault, I blame the birds as well. The little buggers won’t sit still when I’m taking their picture, and the one’s that do stay tantalisingly out of range as if to mock me. Well, I’m going to persevere and learn from my mistakes.

Here’s one of the better pictures

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The composition is fine, but the paler area at the bottom spoils it and the focus isn’t sharp enough.  That could be from camera shake or more likely from not being careful enough to get it spot on. One of the problems I’m finding with the long lens is that depth of field is very small indeed when you are taking from a few feet away as I did here. I should have used a tripod and set up the focus more carefully.

Here is a young greenfinch, again not sharp enough.

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Out on the lake I had a go at this grebe from about 25 yards

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I suppose that’s where the shallow depth of field paid off, in that it blurred the intervening reeds.

When you take pictures of distant birds, even with a long lens, you may well need to blow them up to show the bird properly and that’s where imperfections show up. In particular because I want to use a high shutter speed to freeze the bird’s action, and the lens being long and not costing a thousand pounds, doesn’t let that much light in at the long end (F5.6 at 300mm), I get tempted to up the ISO which then can make the images ‘noisy’.

You might say that perhaps the lens is not as good as it ought to be, but I’m sure it’s better than me, which is to say it can take better pictures than I am getting. It’s just that I’m photographing hard stuff and you need to be good at it.  I’m enjoying it though and can’t wait to go back and have another crack at it.

For the equipment anoraks out there, the camera is a Canon 40D and the lens is a Tamron 70-300 with  ‘Vibration Control’ i.e. image stabilization.  The vibration control is amazing and really does lock the image steady, better I think than the Canon lenses do.

1 comment:

Val Poore said...

Aha, I was wondering what your new stuff was. I'm not really an anorak about photgraphic things, but I live with one, so it sort of rubs off. I have the same problems you have, Neil, but without moving objects, so it shows you're better than I am. I really like these photos though, and most people don't notice imperfections unless the photos are seriously out of focus. I find skew horizons far more disturbing myself.