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Messages - vargyropoulos

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This is quite an interesting problem which I am also facing... I am far from being a great wildlife photographer and although I have used "big whites" a couple of times, may main rig is the 7D/400(5.6). Unfortunately as you point out, wildlife photography has become a measuring contest of one's financial power (having the latest gear) as well as their availability to be out in the field almost everyday.

My idea of being "different" is to catch wildlife doing something interesting (eating, mating, fighting, etc) and yes, this has been done before by countless others. the fact that I was "there" makes the image interesting to me... perhaps one day I may come across something that will be interesting to others but that is not my priority at the moment. I have a couple of wildlife shots where I was there at the right spot with others and even though I had to crop more than the people with the big whites, I felt like "I" caught the moment... perhaps I am delusional!

My way around this "problem": I shoot different things and move on to another genre either when I get bored or if the season changes. Lately I've been shooting some portraiture and I am trying to do some more landscape images.

Portrait / Re: Post photos of other photographers in action
« on: September 21, 2014, 08:37:28 PM »
technically it's me in the image but the other model on that shoot took this "behind the scenes" photo

Canon General / Re: Who's on Instagram?
« on: August 08, 2014, 01:46:12 PM »
I've recently created an account on instagram after speaking with some of my models who use it more than they do facebook and other social media. I will acknowledge that it has very good marketing potential but at the end of the day it turns into yet another popularity contest.

the other minimal value for me is that I know which people have used images that I took as part of a TFP arrangement and for which I had not been given photo credits.

Lenses / Re: optimal distance for accurate focusing
« on: June 16, 2014, 09:07:34 AM »
hi Logan,

thanks for your initial response. I did get a chance to play with the 600 setup over the past weekend, using a 6D & 7D.

I think the focusing issues may be more camera related. I did notice quite an improvement in focus accuracy when I had good light on my subject. the egret in question on my original post was sort of back lit... I had a 3pm sun, shooting towards that direction... white egrets in general gave me a lot of problems.

it could be a FF vs crop sensor too, but the images off the 6D with the same lens, on the same subject/distance/light were much sharper.

I will agree with you that it requires good lines of contrast to lock on focus. I think this is where I was headed in my initial question... if the subject is too far to accurately resolve the details, focus is off... not to mention that the actual focus point in the image had a lot of variation with the focus point that was selected... in some images, the focus was in an area 2-3 points away from the point that supposedly had the "AF lock"

Lenses / optimal distance for accurate focusing
« on: June 13, 2014, 10:06:17 PM »
I've been doing some testing lately with my 7D and different lenses including my 50mm f/1.4, 100mmf2.8L, 400mmf/5.6L and the 600mmf/4 +1.4 extender. I seem to notice a steep drop in image quality if the focus point is farther away.

the 50 for example is tack sharp when I have a standing model filling the frame in portrait orientation but I found the images softer when I shot further back to have the standing model with room in frame while on landscape orientation.

today I borrowed a 600 + extender and I went out to one of my regular birding areas where I take my 400 normally. I framed a white egret in a similar manner but I found the images from the 600 softer, especially with the extender on. even though the camera beeped to signal focus lock, the whole image was blurry. close-ups were no issue, I got some very sharp images when the bird was 20 yards or closer.

is this normal behavior? is there a guide anywhere that would describe what distances are more optimal for different focal lengths? do I need to simply stop down my aperture for subjects that are further out?

Portrait / Re: Bikini on the beach
« on: June 04, 2014, 09:02:43 AM »
Really nice photo Menace, I like the various elements in the photo.

I would like to contribute an image from one of my shoots earlier this summer which was taken at my favorite summer birding spot. a few of the regular bird photographers at the beach were wondering why I did not come with my 400mm lens that day!

Indeed a really nice one! Lovely light and a truly beautiful model.
I shoot all kinds of "birds", and this one could be problematic with a 400mm, but that doesn't mean that one shouldn't try.

Thank you for your comments DominoDude. I've shot portraits of my kids with the 400... you get some really nice shallow DOF. This image was taken with the 100f2.8L macro lens on my 7D. The sun was playing hide & seek with the clouds that day but it did give us a couple of moments where it was hazy enough to create a soft golden light

Lenses / Re: Canon 400mm f/5.6 L
« on: December 11, 2013, 10:26:15 AM »
I've had this lens for about a year and as others have mentioned if you have decent light, it will get you great images probably on par with the other big whites. personally I found it to be better than the 100-400 even though it lacks IS.

I use it hand held on a regular basis for BIF, ideally you want 1/640 or faster shutter for such images. for perched birds you will probably want to use a tripod.

Portrait / Re: Bikini on the beach
« on: December 11, 2013, 09:29:48 AM »
Really nice photo Menace, I like the various elements in the photo.

I would like to contribute an image from one of my shoots earlier this summer which was taken at my favorite summer birding spot. a few of the regular bird photographers at the beach were wondering why I did not come with my 400mm lens that day!

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: November 12, 2013, 04:48:40 PM »
Thank you for your comments, Click and Skatol. Indeed this is at Conowingo, I was there with my wife on Sunday morning. It was our first time there and it was also our first time photographing eagles. I heard the action was better on Saturday. I had taken the 800mm f/5.6L on evaluation loan from CPS... amazing lens for perched birds.. a bit hard to maneuver it when the birds were close. I will try to return there with my "regular" gear in a couple of weeks.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: November 12, 2013, 03:19:53 PM »
thank you! it's not what I told him... he was doing all the talking and parading his catch in front of us! I think the sound of all those camera shutters going off in high speed mode made him extra proud

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: November 12, 2013, 03:01:52 PM »
I got a chance to play with one of the big white super-tele's this past weekend

Portrait / Re: The Undead Thread: Ghouls, Vampires, Zombies, Ghosts!
« on: October 30, 2013, 12:39:11 PM »
This is one of my shots from Comic Con NYC 2013... not sure what the character is supposed to be, several people dressed in similar costume

Technical Support / Re: Brick Wall.
« on: October 21, 2013, 09:23:50 AM »
I went through a very similar phase in the middle of the summer. I did take a small break from photography during my vacation back to my home country where I took very few pictures and this did help clear my mind.

One aspect of this hobby that keeps me interested is that there are so many different styles to shoot where you feel that you have several hobbies not just one. I primarily shoot wildlife so the past couple of months I did some street photography, now I am almost ready to go back at dawn and wait for that bird/critter to show up.

Try a field of photography that takes you completely out of your comfort zone.

At the end of the day it really depends on what you want out of each photo sharing site: views from strangers, showing a group of images to friends? photo of the day among a group? below are my observations for the sites that I use:

500px: currently this site will give you the most views on your images but quite  a lot of these views will be from people seeking exchange votes. the voting system is in the process of being changed and the site is a bit off its peak of "quality" users

Flickr: I have very little experience with the groups, but currently this is the site if you want to put up a lot of photos, group them and share them with friends. I agree with others about TOS and you original High res files can be exposed to the world. I'm currently considering cleaning up my presence there

facebook groups.... not mentioned previously but lately I have noticed a trend where photographers build up a following on the major photosharing sites then draw you to their FB page and then to their own domain

your own personal domain... you have complete freedom of what to post and why... however it is also up to you to handle all the marketing and promotion behind it... having something under your own domain though is possibly one of the best "business cards" if you will

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Auto ISO
« on: May 29, 2013, 09:27:58 AM »
Shooting wildlife on my 7D, I've been using manual shutter and aperture settings with auto ISO (limited to max 1600). this works fine for cloudy days but on sunny days I find that it over exposes the image (colors are washed out, too bright for my taste). I've taken what I learned from the "camera's mentality" and lately I've been trying to shoot in Av mode and adjusting exposure compensation as I see fit

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