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Author Topic: Advice for shooting pictures of eagles  (Read 5656 times)

Quasimodo

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Advice for shooting pictures of eagles
« on: January 24, 2013, 07:14:56 AM »
As a gift from some of my friends for my 40th birthday last year, I have gotten a stay at Dalen Vilmarkssenter in Norway (http://www.dalenvillmarkssenter.no/) where I am staying a night in February (we leave early in the morning with a snow mobile before daylight, settle in the hut with precut holes for lenses) hopefully get to take pictures of eagles, and then return after daylight.

I have gotten word that I will be able to borrow two bodies (1Dx and 1D iv, and a 400 F2.8L II) and I am thinking to bring my own 70-200 2.8L II, and a 2xIII TC.

Thus a question arises...

Are there other lenses you would bring to be safe? In addition, what aperture would you choose as a rule of thumb? I am thinking F 5.6 or 8 (to include the environment), and maybe 2.8 for portraits (where the background is not important)?

G.
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Canon: 8-15L, 16-35L II,  24-105L , 70-200L IS II, 17L TS, 135L, 100L, 2x III TC, 40 F2.8 STM, 50 F1.4. Sigma 35 F1.4 Art, Sigma 85 F1.4, Sigma 150-500.
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Advice for shooting pictures of eagles
« on: January 24, 2013, 07:14:56 AM »

East Wind Photography

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Re: Advice for shooting pictures of eagles
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2013, 07:48:42 AM »
The 2xiii may compromise sharpness too much.  I would definately take a 1.4 iii with you as we'll.  use that on the 400.  If you can get your hands on a 500 f4 that might be better especially in weight.  You can hand hold the 500 for a short time but the 400 will just wear you out.  Tripods are great but sometimes better to track handheld which is often more accurate than panning a tripod even with a gimbal mount.

Since you will be in a blind it seems you may get closer to them than most.  Sounds like a decent set up other than the weight of the 400.

I typically use a 600 and a 300 on a separate body.  I'll use the 1.4 if I need to but try to avoid it.  The 2x may be good for only shots where you can get the subject in full frame.  If you have to crop the image will break downtoo much and will be mush.

Good luck!

East Wind Photography

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Re: Advice for shooting pictures of eagles
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2013, 07:55:00 AM »
Also forgot the aperture advice.  Avoid shooting wide open when possible.  The 400 II may work ok at 2.8 but usually a click or two down helps the sharpness quite a bit.  I would avoid f8 or higher due to diffraction.  Also try to keep your shutter speed at 1/1000 or faster for flight shots.  I actually try for 1/2000 or faster.  ISO noise is generally not a problem on the 1dx up to iso 3200 so would definately use that for flight shots and the 1d IV for statics where you can keep the ISO down to under 800.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Advice for shooting pictures of eagles
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2013, 08:14:25 AM »
Eagles are big, and if you're close in the blind you may find that the DoF at 400mm f/2.8 or 560mm f/4 is actually too shallow.  There's no issue with diffraction on the 1D X up to f/11, I'd try the f/5.6 - f/8 range.
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Quasimodo

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Re: Advice for shooting pictures of eagles
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2013, 09:06:59 AM »
Also forgot the aperture advice.  Avoid shooting wide open when possible.  The 400 II may work ok at 2.8 but usually a click or two down helps the sharpness quite a bit.  I would avoid f8 or higher due to diffraction.  Also try to keep your shutter speed at 1/1000 or faster for flight shots.  I actually try for 1/2000 or faster.  ISO noise is generally not a problem on the 1dx up to iso 3200 so would definately use that for flight shots and the 1d IV for statics where you can keep the ISO down to under 800.

Thank you for good tips, on both aperture/shutter/iso, and also for the considerations on teleconverters and lenses. I have to see what I can borrow, but when it comes to these really expensive lenses like the 400 I have to ask a good while in advance :) I do not have the 1.4 TC, but a friend of mine have it and I can certainly borrow it from him.

I am very thrilled about this and have been waiting for the season since I got the gift in May last year :)

I have actually not seen the interior of the hut, so I am not sure about the use of tri or monopod options, with or without a Gimbal... I better send them a mail.
1Dx, 5DII w/grip, 3x600 EX RT, ST-E3
Canon: 8-15L, 16-35L II,  24-105L , 70-200L IS II, 17L TS, 135L, 100L, 2x III TC, 40 F2.8 STM, 50 F1.4. Sigma 35 F1.4 Art, Sigma 85 F1.4, Sigma 150-500.
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Quasimodo

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Re: Advice for shooting pictures of eagles
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2013, 09:08:48 AM »
Eagles are big, and if you're close in the blind you may find that the DoF at 400mm f/2.8 or 560mm f/4 is actually too shallow.  There's no issue with diffraction on the 1D X up to f/11, I'd try the f/5.6 - f/8 range.

Thank you Neuro for your continious help and advice. I will stick to your advice. However if I feel that I have secured some good and sharp shots I will try to test different things out :)
1Dx, 5DII w/grip, 3x600 EX RT, ST-E3
Canon: 8-15L, 16-35L II,  24-105L , 70-200L IS II, 17L TS, 135L, 100L, 2x III TC, 40 F2.8 STM, 50 F1.4. Sigma 35 F1.4 Art, Sigma 85 F1.4, Sigma 150-500.
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Quasimodo

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Re: Advice for shooting pictures of eagles
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2013, 03:25:48 AM »
Upon reading FredMiramda on AF settings for the 1Dx it seems to me that case 4 is the best, coupled with a pre-set dedicated button to switch to case six? Also, is there a good place where I can read about the practical differences of tracking sensitivity!

In addition I have never tried the 1D iv, and wondered about a good introduction/explanation of its AF system?

Thanks,

G
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Canon: 8-15L, 16-35L II,  24-105L , 70-200L IS II, 17L TS, 135L, 100L, 2x III TC, 40 F2.8 STM, 50 F1.4. Sigma 35 F1.4 Art, Sigma 85 F1.4, Sigma 150-500.
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Re: Advice for shooting pictures of eagles
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2013, 03:25:48 AM »

sanj

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Re: Advice for shooting pictures of eagles
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2013, 04:42:53 AM »
You have a good camera so high iso is not an issue. But if I were you I would keep and eagle on on the shutter more than the f stop. 1/1200 at minimum to freeze the flight.
Since the subject will not be so close f4 is fine. Really...

Northstar

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Re: Advice for shooting pictures of eagles
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2013, 07:42:08 AM »
I would try the 400 with the 2x tele and 1dx....old saying, "go big or go home"....fill the frame, take more risk.  IMO, the 800mm gives you the best chance of capturing something special.

And pray for sun so that you can shoot with the 2x at f7.1 or f8....1/2000.
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Quasimodo

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Re: Advice for shooting pictures of eagles
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2013, 07:54:50 AM »
Thank you :) The 1Dx is not mine,.... yet.. (only tried it with the 24-70 II and 70-200 II) back in june last year, so my experience with it is limited, and the 1D IV I have never tried, so i guess that the whole weekend will go to getting it in my hands and programming the short cuts. According to the digital picture, the 400 2.8L IS II is not bad with the 2xIII TC as far as IQ and AF is concerned.

I am thrilled about this, and I hope the eagles are there. The guy who runs this places food there for the wild animals, and he has seen them there every day he has been there this winter.

I am thinking that if the time is there, and I have secured some shots that I like, I would like to try the multiple exposure shot feature on the 1Dx, ... Could be cool :)
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Jackson_Bill

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Re: Advice for shooting pictures of eagles
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2013, 10:25:34 AM »
I think the 400, 70-200, and two bodies is a good combination and even in a small canvas blind I had room for my tripod and wimberly head. 
"Longer is better" is the general rule but on occasion I have found that your lens can be too long (although I'm using an APS-C). From a blind with a 1D, I suspect the 600 might work, if you can rent one.
At 10m, the 400 may only have a dof of 10 cm. Good if you're trying to emphasize the head but easier to miss the critical focus point. I try something a bit faster.

FWIW I've included a couple of shots from a blind last Spring. Not my best shots or the best conditions but these should give you a feel for what you might get from a blind. Realizing, of course, that sage grouse are dumber than rocks and will walk right up to the blind. These were taken with my 7D and 70-200mm f2.8 IS USM.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2013, 10:39:09 AM by Jackson_Bill »

Jackson_Bill

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Re: Advice for shooting pictures of eagles
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2013, 10:44:08 AM »
This one was taken with the 500 f4 IS USM

Quasimodo

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Re: Advice for shooting pictures of eagles
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2013, 04:11:39 PM »
This one was taken with the 500 f4 IS USM

Very nice :)

As of today (I am picking up the gear on Thursday) the gear I am looking at borrowing is a 1D IV and a 500 F4L II. We are still hoping that the 1Dx is ready for that day, but still uncertain..

I hope after this weekend that I will be able to post some pictures of eagles :)
1Dx, 5DII w/grip, 3x600 EX RT, ST-E3
Canon: 8-15L, 16-35L II,  24-105L , 70-200L IS II, 17L TS, 135L, 100L, 2x III TC, 40 F2.8 STM, 50 F1.4. Sigma 35 F1.4 Art, Sigma 85 F1.4, Sigma 150-500.
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Re: Advice for shooting pictures of eagles
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2013, 04:11:39 PM »

Quasimodo

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Re: Advice for shooting pictures of eagles
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2013, 04:30:56 PM »
A quick question..

If the 1Dx is unavaiable (the 1D IV is certain), which backup camera would you suggest? I have my 5D II, and also a 1Ds III, and I can borrow a 7D. the lens i thought about bringing in addition is my 70-200 II plus a 2x III TC. Although the 7D is a very good camera, I am reluctant to go to this setting without a full frame camera, and as the 1Ds does not have auto-iso I am thinking that my second camera should be my 5D II? Or is it okay in this setting to have two crop cameras?....
1Dx, 5DII w/grip, 3x600 EX RT, ST-E3
Canon: 8-15L, 16-35L II,  24-105L , 70-200L IS II, 17L TS, 135L, 100L, 2x III TC, 40 F2.8 STM, 50 F1.4. Sigma 35 F1.4 Art, Sigma 85 F1.4, Sigma 150-500.
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East Wind Photography

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Re: Advice for shooting pictures of eagles
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2013, 04:56:04 PM »
Depends on whether you get the 1DX or not.  The 1DX is full frame.  I would take the 7D with the 1DX.

If you take the 1DIV then I would probably take the 5D2.

A quick question..

If the 1Dx is unavaiable (the 1D IV is certain), which backup camera would you suggest? I have my 5D II, and also a 1Ds III, and I can borrow a 7D. the lens i thought about bringing in addition is my 70-200 II plus a 2x III TC. Although the 7D is a very good camera, I am reluctant to go to this setting without a full frame camera, and as the 1Ds does not have auto-iso I am thinking that my second camera should be my 5D II? Or is it okay in this setting to have two crop cameras?....

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Re: Advice for shooting pictures of eagles
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2013, 04:56:04 PM »