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Messages - bjd

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Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: April 07, 2013, 04:22:45 AM »
Not a particularly well lit (against the sun) or sharp shot. And he's a long way off. Saw this guy in our garden about a week ago looking very bloody, today he does look somewhat better. Obviously something got him. But I think he's going to survive.


Canon General / Re: Physical Ailments From Heavy Gear
« on: April 06, 2013, 10:21:36 AM »
I'm not sure if heavy is the cause of my "injury" but i'm sure it played some part since i started photography.
Recently, i've been having severe back pains and finally went to a doctor for an MRU and founf out that i have some disc and nerve damage and i now have to lay off heavy lifting of surgery to fix the problem…
I go out weekly for shoots and i carry everything in a backpack.
Basically my 5D3, couple of lenses, flash, accessories etc..the bag does get pretty heavy and i bring the same gears out every weekend for a couple of hours for shoots. So MAYBE that isn't such a good idea..i've since bought a trolley and put every on it since i can no longer lift the bag without pain…My next worry now is…how am i going to travel and not carry a bag..hmmm..
I'm not a doctor, but I have had 4 slipped discs, 2 have been operated on. Only one thing helps, and obviously there are caveats as to how bad you damage is already, but get a good phsical fitness trainer, learn and do the correct exercises 2-3 times a week. And go swimming regularly if you can. And learn how to lift correctly.
It is amazing how the correct stretching and tension exercises can provide relief very quickly.

I've been hit by stupid movements, I guess when I had to lift heavy things I was prepared. Its, for example, bending to wash my feet in the shower etc that is dangerous.
My 2 cents.
I wish you luck.


Animal Kingdom / Re: Early bird dinner
« on: April 05, 2013, 10:46:12 AM »
if the original RAW file was available, with a bit more time spent on PP, I think a lot more detail/sharpness could be achieved.
Hi, so please tell me what else you woul do apart from sharpening to bring out more detail?
I can only think of maybe adding some contrast, oh and maybe some Clarity in LR.

I'm also astounded that the bird hasn't flown away yet. Good shot though.
In some ways he appears to be pretty confident, he's probably thinking "just try to take this off me boy..."!

Cheers Brian

Abstract / Re: Transit of Mercury - Hydrogen Alpha
« on: March 29, 2013, 08:04:13 AM »
Whoa...sorry about that...but this NOT my photo.  I would have given attribution but I have found at least four sites/photographers claiming the photo as theirs.  Near as I can tell the real photographer is Alan Friedman.
Yep, a Fine Art print of it costs 950$. I'm hoping its possible to get a poster of it maybe?
I emailed Alan, lets see how he answers.

Cheers Brian

Abstract / Re: Transit of Mercury - Hydrogen Alpha
« on: March 28, 2013, 12:45:07 PM »
Doesn't look real to me.  Here is one of venus transiting the sun in the summer.  FWIW...none of us will see this happen again.  Its not do to occur again in our lifetimes.

Hi Woollybear, that is a fabulous shot. Any chance of getting hold of a high quality version of it?

Cheers Brian

Landscape / Re: Post Your Best Landscapes
« on: March 22, 2013, 01:40:59 PM »

When I was a lad in the Lakes I spent virtually all my waking hours on the lake, ( Windermere ) and very rarely went to Keswick or Derwent Water, which in hind sight was a shame as Borrowdale and the lakes and hills around it are really stunning. So no, I've never seen that view from the Keswick end.

Here's a shot that I took recently from the other side of the lake looking towards where tomscott must have taken his picture from.
Pity, but I know that I probably wouldn't appreciate the Lakes at all if I had grown up there. We mainly hang around the Chapel Stile, Coniston, Langdale area as we dont need the car as much then. But last year we did the Newlands Valley horseshoe, I'm now 57, I wish I'd tried these things when I was younger.........
Here's one from Maiden Moor also looking back towards Keswick, slight HDR but I still like it

Landscape / Re: Post Your Best Landscapes
« on: March 22, 2013, 08:03:04 AM »
Thanks for the comments

Bowness Bay, Belle Isle, Windermere, Cumbria by TomScottPhotographyCumbria, on Flickr

I'm absolutely baffled by this picture of Belle Isle. I've spent a great deal of time at Windermere, my Grandparents lived there and I was a member of the Royal Windermere Yacht Club, yet I have no recollection of the hills behind the isle looking like that ! Also I'm puzzled by the orientation of the sun !

Could you say where you shot it from ?

IMHO its Derwentwater taken from somewhere near the Jetty at Keswick and looking towards Catbells (the spikey bit) Maiden Moor and Dale End. I guess its the wrong caption somehow.
But if you come from Windermere I am very surprised that you dont know it as it is a classic view.  ;)
Cheers Brian

I have much more of a grip on how thinks should work and in many cases I do get them to work that way.
Tracking small Birds and getting them in focus is still not what I had hoped for so I am systematically trying to work through that now. That in itself is difficult, how should one do anything systematically with the little critters?
So, much of this has been said before, but I would like to discuss the points according to my experience at this time. Please bear with me :-\

So, I tried a setup where the birds can only fly across the FOV left to right to land on a feeding spot. And back out the same way. Using a Zoom is almost impossible here as the birds spend too little time in the field of view, plus DOF is in most cases just too shallow. So I'm currently trying with my 16-35.

I'm also planning a setup where the birds will fly more into the Camera instead of across it at 90°.

In the above case its impossible to put a focus point on the bird manually, I'm too slow for it. So I guessed that using 61-Point auto-selection is the way to go. I cant use AI Focus as I cant focus beforehand on a still subject, AI Servo requires a manually selected AF point beforehand too. So So IMHO it looks like one way is to use AI Servo and  a single point pushed over to the left and hope that that achieves focus straight away.

Now to the background,  I have trouble that the camera likes to focus on the background. I tried various sheets, but they provided a perfect target and the camera took them everytime. Apart from a proper backdrop, any tips here to provide something the camera wont focus on?


Cheers Brian


Shooting small birds in flight is very difficult at best, most photographers have learned that its a losing battle. 
Notice that most of the beautiful bird in flight photos are of large birds.  Your first image was taken of a bird that was not flying, my comments did not totally apply to a small bird in flight. 

I think you did pretty well with a small bird flying, I'd have to take a lot of shots to capture one in flight. 
Here is one that I was lucky to capture with my 100-400L of a female Redwing blackbird as she dropped out of our crab apple tree.

Fabulous colours. The bird is beautiful.

I understand about your comments, but the critters are so fast I have no time to set a focus point on them,
at least in most cases. And you are correct, larger birds are more predictable as the follow more of a flight path.

And I have a question. Shooting yesterday in very dim light. I wanted 1/1500Sec but instead of using TV I used Manual and set Aperture at something smaller than F5.6 to get more DOF. Auto ISO. So how can I get exposure compensation in such a setup? Or am I going about this in the wrong fashion?


Took this today, overcast and in the hedges. 5dmk iii canon ef 400mm f5.6. 430 ex ii flash with beamer. f8.0 iso 125, 1/200
Looks great, guess I'll be getting a beamer too now.

I have some fabulously sharp shots already with the lens, but I also have a fair few like the following where the correct AF points are lit, but the subject under them is not in focus. I am using focus priority so I would have though this wouldn't happen, or at least not so often. I think the bird provides far more contrast for the AF system than the snow does.
Too little light maybe? At least I am getting the correct AF points lit.

5D MKIII EF 100-400 IS USM 400mm 1/1500sec F8 ISO 400.

In snow, the camera will think its gray, so you need to correct for color.  Easy to do in post production  Its also underexposed by over a stop.  Snow fools the exposure system too, use the histogram to add exposure compensation or use manual exposure.

If images are not sharp, make sure you use a fast shutter speed.  This is one of the fallacies of using IS.  The birds move, and there is blur.  Your photo is a 100% crop, get closer!

Focus on the eye, or at least the head.  Use the center point, or a small center group.  Don't let the camera decide the point of focus.  The problem here is that you are too far from the bird and had to crop the image to 100%.  That means everything must be perfect to get sharp detail, while there is room for error if you fill the frame.
Easier said than done. In this case they move so fast, and I was so close,  I was using the 61pt AF selection.
Speed was 1/1500 sec, there wasn't enough light for faster IMHO.
I was pretty close, probably around 2 meters away, making the time the birds are in frame very small.
PP cleans them up OK.

Took this later on with my 16-35 at 35mm.

Cheers Brian

I have some fabulously sharp shots already with the lens, but I also have a fair few like the following where the correct AF points are lit, but the subject under them is not in focus. I am using focus priority so I would have though this wouldn't happen, or at least not so often. I think the bird provides far more contrast for the AF system than the snow does.
Too little light maybe? At least I am getting the correct AF points lit.

5D MKIII EF 100-400 IS USM 400mm 1/1500sec F8 ISO 400.


This is irrefutable.


Cos I finally gave in and bought a new 100-400 today.


Your topic is misleading but ... I understand (hopefully) what you meant: Just the moment you gave up waiting on a new 100-400 and bought a version I Canon will release the Mark II.

I was in the same situation one year ago and bought a 5.6 400 waiting for the release of a Mark II version of that lens with IS but ... it is still not available and will cost (my estimate) roughly 3000 EUR / $ and the same will happen with the 100-400.

I try to learn to be happy with what I have. If I remember the days I made slides I had to wait 2 weeks for development (Kodachrome) and 36 exposures where enough for 2 weeks - digital has simplified the TECHNICAL PROCESS of photographing dramatically! Quality of APS-C is near FF with slide films if not better ...

Enjoy what you have - nearly all the lenses are good enough for great photographs ...
Its the only way to go. Cheers

congrats, but you need to reconsider the subject of your post, It's misleading a lot of hoping souls!  ;)
plus 1!
I know, and I am sorry, and I apologise to everyone who I mislead.   :-[

But I also hope you all appreciate the personal sacrifice on my part so that you guys all at last get the updated 100-400 from Canon that we really want!

Everyone except me that is.

Actually I just sold my 70-200 EF IS F4 lens via ebay, after canon rebate and ebay charges I only lost about
120$ so should Canon bring out a new 100-400 that is so much better than this one, the financial loss will probably not be huge.

But I now have the Lens for spring and I hope it will serve me well.

Thanks for the infos about the flash, I guess that can offset the fact that this is not a straight F4 or F2.8 to a certain extent.
Cheers Brian

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