My 6D MkII Photos - Wildlife! [UPDATE: ISO 12800 Songbird BIFs added]

Talys

Canon R5
CR Pro
Feb 16, 2017
2,099
385
Vancouver, BC
I thought I'd share my first batch of 6D Mark II photos here :)

Most of these wildlife shots are taken with the 6D Mark II and a Canon 100-400L II, handheld. In some cases, there may be an extender, but mostly it's just the bare lens.

I must say, changing primarily from the 80D+Sigma 150-600C to the 6DII+100-400II for my wildlife photography has really changed the hobby aspect of photography for me. On the body side, the 6DII takes beautiful photos, with ISO that cleans up very well. As a result, I'm not afraid to crank that shutter speed and let the ISO creep up.

In addition, my keeper rate has gone way, way up. By keeper, I don't just mean clear, in-focus photos -- I never really had an issue with that before. But now, there are proportionately more interesting photos that are different in some way, capture some emotion, or tell a story. The ratio of boring photos that I sift through is much lower.

Incidentally, I apologize if this comes up as a double post of some sort. I don't think it will, but the site took my first new thread post, but I couldn't for the life of me find it.

First, some bird portraits :) Generally, the high res versions are unreduced; however, some are, because I was initially trying to keep them under 5MB for attachments (this didn't seem to work, but I kept the smaller files).

I managed to capture these two quite close to me, requiring not much crop.

crHeron-Portrait-03_FW_F_S.jpg

Full Image: http://talys.icxi.com/cr/20170917/crHeron-Portrait-03_FW.jpg

crHeron-Portrait-05_FW_S.jpg

Full Image: http://talys.icxi.com/cr/20170917/crHeron-Portrait-05_FW.jpg

For those who are interested in "pixel level sharpness", here is the head of the above picture, zoomed to about 100% (I had to shrink it very slightly to fit the forum width). You can get the real 100% by clicking the above link. By the way, this photo was taken handheld at 1/400, f/6.3, ISO 100 using Mode 3 IS. The clarity of the eye is something I could never have gotten before as a handheld shot at 400mm.

crHeron-Portrait-05C_SW.jpg


This photograph was taken on a very cloudy day:

crHeron-Portrait-06_FW_S.jpg

Full Image: http://talys.icxi.com/cr/20170917/crHeron-Portrait-06_FW_F.jpg


Here are some herons in flight. All were captured handheld, I think at 1/4000. The 6DII has been very kind to me in high ISO cleanup.

crHeron-BIF-08_FW_S.jpg

Full Image: http://talys.icxi.com/cr/20170917/crHeron-BIF-08_FW.jpg

crHeron-BIF-04_W_S.jpg

Full Image: http://talys.icxi.com/cr/20170917/crHeron-BIF-04_W.jpg

crHeron-BIF-12_FW_S.jpg

Full Image: http://talys.icxi.com/cr/20170917/crHeron-BIF-12_FW.jpg

But it's not all about heron, right? Here's a lovely juvenile female hawk. It was actually taken through a window!

crHawk-00_W_S.jpg

Full Image: http://talys.icxi.com/cr/20170917/crHawk-00_W.jpg

A baby Mallard:

crDuck-Portrait-Baby_W_S.jpg

Full Image: http://talys.icxi.com/cr/20170917/crDuck-Portrait-Baby_W.jpg

And again, just to show sharpness:
crDuck-Portrait-01_FW_S.jpg



More to come, in next post...
 

Talys

Canon R5
CR Pro
Feb 16, 2017
2,099
385
Vancouver, BC
Re: My 6D MkII Photos - Wildlife!

Just breaking it up so that the post isn't ginormous. Here are some of those Mallards in flight:

crBIF-Mallard-01_FW_S.jpg

Full Image: http://talys.icxi.com/cr/20170917/crBIF-Mallard-01_FW.jpg

crBIF-Ducks-Tandem_FW_S.jpg

Full Image: http://talys.icxi.com/cr/20170917/crBIF-Ducks-Tandem_FW.jpg


In the world of bugs, I also took these with the 100-400II on the 6DMkII.

crMothra_FW_S.jpg

Full Image: http://talys.icxi.com/cr/20170917/crMothra_FW.jpg

crDragonfly-02-ISO-200_FW_S.jpg

Full Image: http://talys.icxi.com/cr/20170917/crDragonfly-02-ISO-200_FW.jpg

And a rare one for me, a dragonfly in flight:

crDragonfly-05_FW_S.jpg

Full Image: http://talys.icxi.com/cr/20170917/crDragonfly-05_FW.jpg


And of course, we need something warm and fuzzy to finish up a collectin of wildlife shots:

crRaccoons-Baby1_W_S.jpg

Full Image: http://talys.icxi.com/cr/20170917/crRaccoons-Baby1_W.jpg

crRaccoons-A-Mothers-Love_FW_S.jpg

Full Image: http://talys.icxi.com/cr/20170917/crRaccoons-A-Mothers-Love_FW.jpg


To wrap it up, here is a non-wildlife 100% crop, again to show the pixel-level sharpness of the 6D2. There is no NR are sharpening perfomed here; these are actual pixels of embroidery (you're looking at thread on fabric). The photo is taken with a 100L 2.8 at ISO 100, from a tripod. The entire piece is a few inches wide and has the company's logo.

crEmbroidery-Sample_S.jpg
 

Talys

Canon R5
CR Pro
Feb 16, 2017
2,099
385
Vancouver, BC
Re: My 6D MkII Photos - Wildlife!

Some closing thoughts:

What I appreciate the most about the 6DII from a hobby perspective is the noise cleanup from higher ISO photos. It's just wonderful. I know that some folks have posted that you can also get better results of 80D high ISO shots by using RAW converters other than DPP or LightRoom.

This may well be so, but I've played with some other RAW converters, and the workflow is miserable, especially when it's just hobby stuff, and I don't want to spend a zillion years on each photo. DPP using default settings looks great. LightRoom is just a matter of setting up a few presets for the environment. The same photos out of an 80D at relatively low ISOs correct like poo in LR/DPP.

In the studio, where we get paid a couple of bucks for doing some corporate stuff, it's all ISO 100, so NR doesn't matter. Here, there are two standouts:

First, having FF AND APS-C is wonderful. Because I'm often on-site, where space is constrained (boardroom turned studio), it's really nice being able to use prime lenses at two different distances to the subject, and for macro or close-up photography, you can get a LOT more subject at MFD (well, 1.6x more, right? :p )

Second, the Bluetooth trigger is a godsend. No cables, nothing to do. Just set the drive mode and click.

Finally, I think RAW files transfer faster on USB (tethered). I could be wrong, though; it's not scientific, just a casual observation that it seems my live view shooting is happening faster. They're usually not paired to the same gear though, so it might just be my imagination :)

Anyways... thanks for looking at my photos; I hope you enjoyed them! One thing I will say for sure -- the 6DMkII is a very fun camera to use, and has given me a whole new appreciation of FF cameras. Also, I'd like thank to all the members of CR who've helped with their bits of advice here and there!
 

Mikehit

EOS R6
Jul 28, 2015
3,342
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Re: My 6D MkII Photos - Wildlife!

Thank you Talys. It is good to see what the camera can achieve and it is a great shame it is tainted by so much negativity regards aspects that really are at the extremes of how people will use it.
 

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
8,265
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Re: My 6D MkII Photos - Wildlife!

It works on loons too! It is very hard (at least for me) to get the exposure right so that the dark green neck band does not look black, but the 6D2 managed to get it right.
 

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Talys

Canon R5
CR Pro
Feb 16, 2017
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Vancouver, BC
Re: My 6D MkII Photos - Wildlife!

@Don Haines -- I meant to comment on that photo in the Bird Portraits thread. That is an awesome photo of the loons! I love it :)

Mikehit said:
Thank you Talys. It is good to see what the camera can achieve and it is a great shame it is tainted by so much negativity regards aspects that really are at the extremes of how people will use it.

I agree. All the complaining about the DR -- every picture that I've taken where the shadows need to be lifted so much that the DR would matter is poorly lit anyways, and even with two more steps of DR, it would still be obviously a poorly illuminated photo. There's nothing a sensor can do to create contrast, highlights, and shadows in the right places.

Also, I am just very happy at the compromise between price and feature set -- at $2,000, it's a price point that is comfortable for me to spend as a hobbyist.
 

dak723

EOS R
Oct 26, 2013
1,141
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Re: My 6D MkII Photos - Wildlife!

Very lovely photos! And, obviously, the camera does a very fine job! As for me, I am not convinced that more DR is something desirable at this point. I already need to apply more contrast in PP with shots taken with my M5 compared to shots taken years ago with my lower DR rebels. In another thread someone was hoping for more than 15 stops of DR in a future camera. Yeah, if you want flat, washed out photos! My original 6D was already able to lift shadows when necessary in almost every shot I took (and those that couldn't would need far more DR than any sensor made). The ease of noise clean-up that everyone reports is obviously a big plus that is far more important than more DR in my opinion. I hope if Canon does go FF mirrorless, that they produce a camera that does as good a job as the 6D II for a similar price.
 

alben

EOS M50
Jun 8, 2012
35
0
Re: My 6D MkII Photos - Wildlife!

Nice Talys. how do you manage to get so close to the wildlife, I have been trying to get herons for some time, as soon as I get close they are off, I mean 300m away, maybe I have to be more stealthy. It is very nice that the 100-400 can focus at just over 3ft for close ups.
Alan
 

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
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Re: My 6D MkII Photos - Wildlife!

alben said:
Nice Talys. how do you manage to get so close to the wildlife, I have been trying to get herons for some time, as soon as I get close they are off, I mean 300m away, maybe I have to be more stealthy. It is very nice that the 100-400 can focus at just over 3ft for close ups.
Alan
I do it from a canoe..... you get upstream and drift downstream towards your subject. You sit still in the canoe, not moving much, and not waving paddles around... if you do have to paddle, make it an indian stroke on the side of the canoe away from the bird. Never head towards the bird, make it look like you are going to pass by out in the river..... if you head towards the bird, GOODBYE! I also find that talking softly helps, as it seems to convince the bird that you are not sneaking up on it......
 

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alben

EOS M50
Jun 8, 2012
35
0
Don, great advise, love your pics, but

Live in the UK, do not have a canoe, wish I did, there is thriving canoe club here in Chelmsford, Essex, but fear I am not up to it :) There are rivers and ponds nearby where I often have seen herons and egrets when walking my dog, as I said they are off before I can get close, I am thinking of a pop up hide.
Alan.
 

Click

I post too Much on Here!!
Jul 29, 2012
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Re: My 6D MkII Photos - Wildlife!

Talys said:
I thought I'd share my first batch of 6D Mark II photos here :)

Beautiful pictures, Talys. Nicely done. Keep posting. :)
 

Ryananthony

EOS RP
Nov 7, 2015
498
2
Re: Don, great advise, love your pics, but

alben said:
Live in the UK, do not have a canoe, wish I did, there is thriving canoe club here in Chelmsford, Essex, but fear I am not up to it :) There are rivers and ponds nearby where I often have seen herons and egrets when walking my dog, as I said they are off before I can get close, I am thinking of a pop up hide.
Alan.

Here in Vancouver, BC. I can get within 20ft of a heron with out much effort (walking up to the Heron) and sometimes with in 10ft if there is a ditch, or stream between the Heron and I. Just depends where in the world you are I suppose!
 

Talys

Canon R5
CR Pro
Feb 16, 2017
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385
Vancouver, BC
Re: My 6D MkII Photos - Wildlife!

alben said:
Nice Talys. how do you manage to get so close to the wildlife, I have been trying to get herons for some time, as soon as I get close they are off, I mean 300m away, maybe I have to be more stealthy. It is very nice that the 100-400 can focus at just over 3ft for close ups.
Alan

I've found it isn't just distance; it helps a lot if there is something separating you and the heron, so that they feel safe. A bit of water seems to always do the trick. I've found that sounds make them move more than motion unless you're super close. It's actually one reason I don't use a snap-lock tripod near them; the "click" of the legs sliding in or of Manfrotto snaps sometimes make my birds go away.

In the first shot, I was actually elevated relative to the heron, which was perched on some rusty metal thing that was thin and narrow. I got pretty low to get the shot. On the other one, you can't see from the picture, but the heron was pretty high up in a tree, and there was a small creek between us.

As Ryan pointed out, where you are matters too. If you're in an area where they are used to humans (who don't hurt them), they are pretty chill. For example, in Vancouver's Stanley Park, you can walk right up to the tree they're in. But they don't make for great photos, most of the time, either, because it's a very busy park, and the trees make it hard to get a good in-flight picture. But go into a lake in the suburbs, and they're much more timid. My favorite spots for heron are small rivers with little islands and lakes.

If you like photographing them, get used to their birdcall too, and whip your lens around to whatever direction you hear it -- they don't always make a call before they take flight, most times they squawk, they'll be moving shortly after. Sometimes, it's just a short distance, but it still makes for some neat photos :)


@Don - I love your heron photo, too!! I wouldn't trust myself in a canoe with my camera gear. Two things would happen -- Either I would go in circles forever until I was rescued... or I'd capsize the canoe :D I have terrible memories of canoeing when I was a child, LOL! If you can even call it that, since I didn't really move the canoe very far hahaha.
 

AlanF

Stay at home
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Aug 16, 2012
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Re: Don, great advise, love your pics, but

alben said:
Live in the UK, do not have a canoe, wish I did, there is thriving canoe club here in Chelmsford, Essex, but fear I am not up to it :) There are rivers and ponds nearby where I often have seen herons and egrets when walking my dog, as I said they are off before I can get close, I am thinking of a pop up hide.
Alan.

Leave the dog at home.
 

sanj

EOS R5
Jan 22, 2012
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Re: My 6D MkII Photos - Wildlife!

"But now, there are proportionately more interesting photos that are different in some way, capture some emotion, or tell a story. The ratio of boring photos that I sift through is much lower."

This has absolutely nothing to do with the gear. It has everything to do with you improving at your craft.

Sanjay
 

Talys

Canon R5
CR Pro
Feb 16, 2017
2,099
385
Vancouver, BC
Re: My 6D MkII Photos - Wildlife!

sanj said:
"But now, there are proportionately more interesting photos that are different in some way, capture some emotion, or tell a story. The ratio of boring photos that I sift through is much lower."

This has absolutely nothing to do with the gear. It has everything to do with you improving at your craft.

Sanjay

I disagree. Before I purchased the 6DMkII, most of my bird photography was on a tripod, because on an 80D, high ISO does not resolve well. Likewise, before I purchased a Canon 100-400 II, I didn't capture a lot of great moments handheld, because even though I have the patience/skills to do so, I physically can't hold that setup for minutes at a time. I'd use an assistive device like a monopod or tripod, but doing so means moving that around, and that tremendously reduces the opportunities to capture something special.

Without the high ISO capabilities of the 6DMkII, I would have just skipped a lot of the images, or gotten a blurry mess trying to snap them at ISO 400-800; there's just no point in shooting a ISO 3200 or higher photo on an 80D, and even most ISO 1000+ images are pretty cruddy without resorting to extraordinary noise reduction measures.
 

Talys

Canon R5
CR Pro
Feb 16, 2017
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385
Vancouver, BC
Re: My 6D MkII Photos - Wildlife!

Here are some High ISO shots. All of these were manual focus handheld shots. I think with these tiny fast moving birds, trying to catch them in flight with AF is a lost cause. If you use many AF points, the camera will probably pick the wrong point; if you use a single AF point, good luck actually getting the point on the bird before it's gone.

I shot all the two ISO 12,800 photos today, during a period that was very cloudy on my patio (they were just before I refilled the peanut feeder, which has been emptying out at a dizzying rate).

This Northern Flicker is taken at 188mm, 1/4000 f/5.6 ISO 12,800:

flicker-BIF-02_SW.jpg

Full image: http://talys.icxi.com/cr/20170919/flicker-BIF-02_FW.jpg

This Chickadee (right) and Downy Woodpecker (left) was taken, at 100mm, 1/4000 f/4.5, ISO 12,800:

Chickadee-BIF-03_SW.jpg

Full image: http://talys.icxi.com/cr/20170919/Chickadee-BIF-03_FW.jpg

As a point of reference, this mid-ISO Chickadee was taken at 100mm, 1/4000, f/5, ISO 1,000 at the same location:

Chickadee-BIF-02_SW.jpg

Full image: http://talys.icxi.com/cr/20170919/Chickadee-BIF-02_FW.jpg

And, just because we can't be doing all birds all the time... here's a squirrel for happy thoughts. He was certainly having happy thoughts while he munched that peanut, at ISO 3,200. :)
Squirrel-01_SW.jpg
 

Talys

Canon R5
CR Pro
Feb 16, 2017
2,099
385
Vancouver, BC
sanj said:
The tripod thing is a different topic altogether.

All I'm saying is that the 6DII and the lighter lens has opened up more a lot more opportunities for me, because I'm not worried about shooting at higher ISOs -- as you can see above, even some 12,800 photos are eminently usable.

If I have to shoot at 1/250 to get a non-grainy picture, I just won't shoot BIF that day; I'll wait for more sunlight. That's a lost opportunity. A tripod lets me shoot the bird portrait before just fine; but now I don't need one, which, again, allows me to capture many more interesting moments, and shifts the ratio of photos from a lot of portraits to a lot more BIFs.

I really don't think it's that controversial that a combination of a camera that produces much better images given a lot less light, plus a lens that weighs less, is easier to manual focus and has better IS opens up more possibilities :D