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Messages - Mr Bean

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Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: November 26, 2013, 07:02:33 AM »
So, best tools? Lightroom, without question, to start. Photoshop, once you gain enough skill to understand why you need it. ;)
And a +1 again. I have PS, but since buying LR earlier in the year, I've used PS maybe twice. LR does everything I need in subtle changes to an image, plus, the cataloging/tagging and searching ability is by far, one of the best features.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: November 25, 2013, 05:59:44 PM »
Apologies for the picture quality.. these are VERY heavily cropped images taken in poor light, handheld, from a long distance away. I did not have a decent lens with me when this happened....

For the last week or so there has been a huge flock of geese behind my house. The bay froze completely over last night (-18C) and in the morning the geese were standing on the ice. As I was looking at them a Bald Eagle swooped down and landed on one of the geese. They all took to the air, this one tried, but with an eagle on it's back it did not get far.

I did not know that eagles hunted geese, and would not have believed it without seeing it.... has anyone else seen this behaviour or heard of it before?
Wow, nice capture Don!  Our Wedge Tail Eagles down here tend to feast on carrion, so, I've not see this behavior down under.

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: November 25, 2013, 05:57:36 PM »
Fascinating insight into how different people approach birding. I prefer to just wander and see what I find, I think working with a shorter lens you learn to get closer where possible. I have considered setting up a feeder but the local miners and parrots are so close anyway it hasn't seemed worthwhile.
Can't remember if I posted this but I was at a stream waiting for fairy wrens to calm down and this lorikeet landed about 2m from me. I think it highlights what I enjoy about birding, that you don't know what you will see.
Nice pic Synkka. The "wandering" approach is similar to my experiences. These days, I tend to put the 300mm on the camera, with monopod, and wander through 20+ acres of bush behind my place. In some of the thicket areas, near a stream, if I wait for 10-15min, the smaller birds, like the wrens and spine bills start to come closer. It can be a most relaxing time, that 15min wait :)

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: November 24, 2013, 08:20:25 PM »
....like how to be positioned so stuff isn't in the road and the lighting is favorable.  I then sit and wait and observe what's going on with anticipation.
When I first started bird photography, at the beginning of the year, I got rather frustrated with the number of "in focus twigs" and "out of focus birds" pic's ;)  Plus, the number of pic's where I had blurry twigs / branches / leaves across the subject. But, like any apprenticeship, if you persist, and take lots of mental notes, you do improve. I'm far better these days of anticipating the setup of the shot and how the subject will move. It is digital after all, so, crank away, it won't cost you :)

With my camera setup (a 5D3), one of the best things I did was to setup a couple of custom settings. They are both similar in settings (AI servo, spot metering, Av, ISO 400, etc), with the only big difference being the focus points. One is setup for a single, center point, the other, a 9 point focus group. The single point is for birds in a bushy / treed environment, the other for more open spaces, where I can use a larger focus area. Plus, I've tweaked the sensitivity of the focus points, to react a little quicker. I think I've set these 2 to C3 and C2 on the dial. The reason being, is that, without looking at the dial, I can turn it all the way and know that the setting is for single point. If I need the group focus setting, I turn it all the way, then come back one notch, if that makes sense :)

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: November 24, 2013, 07:59:43 PM »
I live in a rural area, surrounded by very good farmland and there is a LOT of corn growing here. The farmers let it dry as much as possible in the fields, and then harvest it just before winter. Spillage occurs, and the migrating flocks of geese are now making the area a huge stopover during migration... they have lots of food to eat during the day and a sheltered bay to spend the nights on. We humans have most certainly altered the migration pattern and it seems like every year more and more geese stop here..
Hi Don, I must admit, the birds tend to feed on anything that's available around here, which is fair enough. I noticed the other day, that the Eastern Rosellas were feeding in my front paddock, on a weed species of grass (called Quaker Grass) that I had been gradually pulling out. It's a fairly invasive species of grass that can overwhelm some of the native plants, such as orchids. These birds have been busy feeding a baby, and, after seeing what they were feeding on, I've left a section of this grass for their benefit. I guess, in some respects, it's my version of leaving seed out for the birds :)

P.S.  Re: my earlier post, I'm not saying putting seed out is a bad thing. But if I did that here, I'd end up with 100's pic's of Cockies only  ;)

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: November 24, 2013, 05:20:54 PM »
So, my question is, what is the concensus or accepted standard relative to nature photography.  What's generally considered acceptable and in what context.  Obviously, shooting specimens in zoos is fun and yields, in many cases, very wonderful photos and I personally wouldn't put it down. 
Interesting question, and some good responses. Personally, I don't put feed out for wildlife as it changes the dynamics and their behavior. For example, where I live in Australia, we have King Parrots. Beautiful, colourful birds that will take seed from your hand. However, they are easily scared off by other birds, even pigeons will hassle them away :)

If I put seed out, the King Parrots will feed, if I stand there. Then, if I move away, the Bronze Wing pigeons will come in, followed by the Crimson Rosellas, which are then chased off by the Galahs, who are then pushed to one side by the Corellas, the Lorikeets and then they are all moved off by the Sulphur Crested Cockatoos :)

All in the space of 10min, I can go from 2-4 King Parrots to 20+ Cockies :)

Plus, the smaller birds, such as the Pardalotes, Fairy Wrens, Eastern Spine bills won't come to a feeder, as it's too open, and they prefer the dense shrubs.

As it is, I have 20+ acres of bush behind my place, and if I time it well, morning or late afternoon, I can find an area where the birds are feeding in the bushes/trees and wait, until something pops past. In this case, its about learning the behaviors of the birds in question, which is all part of the fun for me.

On a nice day, sitting for an hour in the bush isn't a bad option ;)

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: November 23, 2013, 08:30:02 PM »
White Faced Heron. Happened to capture this one as it was being chased off by a number of Noisy Miner birds. At first, it headed away, then looped back over me. You can plan as much as you with these things, but, luck does help ;)
5D3 with 300mm f4

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: November 23, 2013, 04:59:06 PM »
Some more Mejiro photos from my yard this afternoon. 5D3, 100-400L, handheld while balancing on the top of a ladder.

C69A2924-dpp-c by EricJ777, on Flickr

Beautiful pic's serendipidy. Love the sharpness and the colours.
The bird reminds me of one we have down here in Australia. The Silver Eye, which is quite common. Not my best pic of one, unlike your pic :)

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: November 23, 2013, 04:10:25 PM »
Mr Bean,

That must have been a thrill to watch, and then on top of that photograph.  I guess it's always "the grass is greener on the other side of the fence" but I wish I could be there.  And other places too! :)  So, where is this?

Thanks for posting, very nice.

Thanks Jack. I live on the outskirts of Melbourne, Australia. The nest is in next doors property and the picture was taken from my veranda with the camera setup on a tripod. Rosellas tend to find a nesting hollow and return the following year. Which all means, I can justify that 600mm f4 lens next year ;)

....I guess it's always "the grass is greener on the other side of the fence" but I wish I could be there.
Yeah, I see wonderful pic's of hummingbirds, birds of prey in this thread that I simply don't see around here, or, I don't have the landscape to photograph (I'm in a fairly treed environment, which makes it tricky to track/photograph).

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: November 23, 2013, 02:38:11 AM »
Eastern Rosella and baby (on the left, in the nesting hollow). No matter what both parents did, bub wasn't that keen to leave the nest.
5D3 with 300mm f4 + 1.4x TC

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Review: Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 Distagon
« on: November 20, 2013, 09:12:58 PM »
I have no interest in this Zeiss lens however. TDP even mentions the Zeiss some has coma, not ideal for stars. I heard the Samyang has one up in this regard.
Actually, the Zeiss has very little coma, except in the extreme corners. Even then, it's not much. That's the main reason I bought the Zeiss (for star pics), after hiring and testing a couple of other lenses (a Canon 24mm f1.4 and a Zeiss 21mm). Plus the hard infinity stop makes distance shooting easy, day or night.

Lenses / Re: Lens dilemma for night sky
« on: November 20, 2013, 05:50:58 AM »
The other benefit of the Zeiss 21mm, other than being tack sharp wide open at f2.8 is that it has a hard infinity stop. Sooooo much easier to set in the dark than fiddling with Live View to get focus on an AF lens.

Lenses / Re: Lens dilemma for night sky
« on: November 19, 2013, 07:36:58 PM »
Canon 16-35 f2.8 II L
Canon 16-35 f2.8 II L + Rokinon 24 F1.4
Canon 17-40 f4 L + Rokinon 24 F1.4
Canon 17-40 f4 L + Canon 24 F1.4 L
I'd look at a zoom + Zeiss 21mm. The problem with night sky shooting is that you need speed and the lenses mentioned (the f1.4's) suffer badly from a bunch of optical aberrations, with coma being the worst (the Canon is a shocker). At f2.8 on a 5D3, the ISO capabilities are sufficient to cope with a stop or two loss. The Zeiss 21mm is crazily sharp wide open, but I went for the Zeiss 15mm because I wanted a wider lens.

You could go for the Canon 17-40 for landscape and Zeiss 21mm for night shooting, but it does a great job for landscapes at f8  :)

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: Zeiss Otus Initial Impressions
« on: November 19, 2013, 05:59:20 AM »
Honest question.  I don't get why a well made lens with half dozen machine ground lenses of a particular shape and in one configuration can cost 10-20x what another well made lens with a half dozen machine ground lenses of a similar shape and configuration?  How can the shape of a lens element or the coating cost so much more to produce?  What is special about this lens that Canon, Nikon or Sigma could not reverse engineer (i.e. lens shape) and produce for $400?

An interesting read from Lloyd Chambers here.
Yep, a good read. Making a lens with very tight tolerances, with aspherics in the mix is very difficult (centering issues with aspheric lenses can be tricky). While Canon/Nikon do make fast optics in the 50mm range with aspherics / special glass, etc, they are soft wide open. This one isn't :)

Animal Kingdom / Re: Show your Bird Portraits
« on: November 17, 2013, 08:25:42 PM »
Fall chickadee. 5DMKIII, 600 II + 1.4 III, 1/640, f8, ISO 2500, Better Beamer -2 & 1/3 fill flash
Very nice Vern. Well balanced with the fill flash.
I've started to use fill flash for some of my bird pic's. Works well if I underexpose the flash by 1/3 to half a stop. When done well, you can't tell that flash has been used.

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