Monday in Nature, 11 January 2021

Discussion in 'Nature' started by DavidTriplett, Jan 10, 2021.

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  1. Basic Guidelines: In the strictest sense, nature photography should not include "hand of man elements". Please refrain from images with buildings or human made structures like roads, fences, walls. Pets are not permitted. Captive subjects in zoos, arboretums, or aquariums are permitted, but must be declared, and must focus on the subject, not the captivity. Images with obvious human made elements will likely be deleted from the thread, with an explanation to the photographer. Guidelines are based on PSA rules governing Nature photography which also cover the Nature Forum. Keep your image at/under 1000 pixels on the long axis for in-line viewing. Note that this includes photos hosted off-site at Flicker, Photobucket, your own site, etc.

    Each member please post no more than just one image to this weekly thread per week. If the information is available, many members appreciate information on your approach to making the image and the names, both common and scientific, of the subject(s). However, while encouraged, these are not required as a component of your contributions.

    For some years now we consistently encounter nesting osprey (Pandion haliaetus) at Lookout Point, located on the north side of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone near Canyon Village in Yellowstone NP. The nest is located on a stone pinnacle just east of the overlook. This day we waited patiently for some time before an adult took flight from the nest. Since the nest is slightly lower than the overlook it is possible to get shots level with or looking down on birds in flight. However, keeping focus is complicated by all of the background details, including cliffs, trees, river, etc. In this case I was fortunate in that the bird was flying in direct sunlight with a deeply shadowed background, substantially contributing to making the subject stand out in what would otherwise be a "busy" composition, and further assisting my continuous BBF to stay on-target.
    D7100+Nikkor 200-500mm/5.6 @ 300mm, f/7.1, ISO 800, 1/1600 sec. Processed in LR5.
    For those curious about Back Button Focus (BBF), this is an example of where the technique makes a huge difference. The D7100 has a tiny buffer, so I must ration my high-speed sequences. By using back button continuous focus I de-couple focus from the shutter release, allowing me to track the subject continuously in focus, and only triggering the shutter when conditions are most optimal. Using traditional focus coupled to the shutter release the shot would be long-past by the time the camera decided it was in focus (not necessarily on the subject) and released the shutter. I've become a convert and advocate for BBF in almost every shooting situation, for anyone who wants more than a point-and-shoot level of engagement. Where feasible, and to further streamline the image capture process, I pre-select my exposure settings and shoot in manual mode. This generally does not work so well in highly variable lighting conditions, obviously, where I then shoot in either point exposure or heavily center-weighted mode. (Point exposure for slower-moving subjects, 9-point center-weighted for faster targets.)
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2021
  2. Peregrine Falcon, D500, 500PF, f/5.6, 1/2000s, ISO 500
    Was observing a White-Tailed Kite when it vanished in the distance - and then "it' returned in form of a Peregrine Falcon. Glad for the unlimited buffer of the D500 - I just kept the shutter button depressed and rattled off some 40+ shots.
  3. (Gonna have to get me one of those...):rolleyes:
  4. The D7100 is the worst option in that regard - even the D200 had a deeper buffer but took its sweet time to clear it once it was full. Naturally, the D500 doesn't have an unlimited buffer - with a fast XQD card, the buffer simply never fills and the only thing that stops the camera is the programmed limit of 200 shots in one burst (which I haven't gotten even remotely close to).
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  5. Mountain goats at the Canadian Rockies in the summer, after losing their lush beautiful winter coat.
  6. Taken in Jack E Hill Park, Elk Grove, CA 29 December 2020 @ 1:54 PM
    Nikon D750 1/1600 sec, f/8, ISO 1400 (Auto), Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD A022N @ 500mm, Range: 26.61 meters

    Please view full-size


  7. Thank you for the tips, David. I will try BBF. I do have two questions.

    1) When you write "point exposure" I assume you mean setting the meter (not the AF) to "Spot" metering. Do you also set the Auto Focus to AF-C and S, single point?

    2) When you write "9-point center-weighted" do you mean set the exposure meter to "Center-weighted". Do you also set the AF to AF-C and d 9 or AF-C and GrP?
  8. American White Pelican at White Rock Lake in Dallas. Nikon D850 with Tamron 150-600mm lens. These guys have a 9-foot wingspan DSC_0530.jpg
  9. _DSC1271-Edit-2.jpg
    A Forster's Tern shaking off water after an unsuccessful dive into the lake.
    D750. 200-500mm f/5.6 at 500mm 1/4000 sec @ f/5.6 ISO 2000
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  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator


    Nikon D500 with 600mm lens

  11. The bird's the word
    Pelecanus occidentalis
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  12. [​IMG]Hunting Northern Harrier Flies In Front of Park Office by David Stephens, on Flickr

    BTW, I totally disagree with DT about BBF. We usually agree, so maybe his camera has some problem. With Canon and now Sony, I easily control the AF on/off with the shutter button. At 20-fps, I do have to worry about my a9's buffer, but it's incredibly easy for me to stop shooting and maintain AF. I took over 100-shots of this harrier and never released AF but stopped shooting at least a couple of times midstream.

    BTW-2, this is shot with 840mm handheld. Over the years, I've taken hundreds of thousands of BIF shots, if not over 1-million.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2021 at 12:32 PM
  13. To quote Boris the Animal, "Let's agree to disagree.":p ;) With my Nikon bodies and increasingly arthritic hands I find it difficult to maintain the level of control needed with a half-pressed shutter release for continuous focus on moving subjects. On the other hand, it's far simpler, for me, to press and release (or hold) the "focus-on" button on the back of the camera. I have no doubt Dave's technique works for him, as his results so frequently demonstrate. I've adopted the BBF technique and thought I would share it for information and reference should any others be interested or even curious. Being the control freak that I am I like having the shutter and focus control decoupled, so I can manage each separately.

    My apologies, I mixed up some AF and metering options. I try to shoot spot metering whenever I can. I use center weighted when the light is highly variable or the subject unusually swift. And yes, I set AF to AF-C and either single point or 9 point dynamic, depending on the subject and it's ability to fly out of the frame. One advantage of BBF + AF-C is it gives you instantaneous access to both AF-S and AF-C functionality, simply by either focus and release (for AF-S type function), or focus and hold, for AF-C, without changing any settings. On static subjects I often like to focus and recompose, and this approach is simpler than finding and pressing the AE/AF-L button on the few occasions I might use it. (On bodies, like the D5100 and D7100 without dedicated AF-ON buttons, the AE/AF-L button is programmed to AF-ON.) I use half-press on the shutter release solely to lock exposure. This way I can easily and immediately, without changing any settings, lock focus on one location in the frame, lock exposure on another, and re-frame and shoot quickly and easily. Again, my choice, and I'm always willing to learn new and better techniques that make better use of my resources.

    As above, I confused some of the terminology. Meter to spot or center weighted if not shooting in Manual mode. (I mostly only use matrix metering for landscapes and the like.) AF to the fewest number of points that allow me to keep the subject covered. I've had less success using Nikon's 3D and Group AF functions, but that's almost certainly due to a failure on my part to experiment and learn as I moved into higher-end and more capable bodies. Perhaps this old dog can learn some new tricks?
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2021 at 1:50 PM
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  14. Limpkin, from my archive.

  15. Shooting in Manual, I use my thumb to adjust shutter speed and ISO during flight. I'm mirrorless, so the EVF let's me see what's happening to the exposure as I spin dials. Generally, I try to preset my settings, but I often find myself set up for a brown bird and then a white bird flies by and I usually adjust, on the fly, by raising or lowering SS.
    DavidTriplett likes this.
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