Monday in Nature, 20 April 2020

Discussion in 'Nature' started by DavidTriplett, Apr 19, 2020.

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  1. juvenile-ribbon-eel.jpg

    Juvenile ribbon eel.
  2. That's one I haven't seen before. Very cool!
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  3. What a great picture! Wonderful color, and even though taken under water, it is crystal clear.
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  4. From what my friends who hunt say, there are always huge flocks/herds until a half-hour before sunrise on opening day, then nothing until a half-hour after sunset on closing day. ;)

    Me, the only thing I hunt is the wily Bullseye (I am a "paper puncher"), and it is ALWAYS elusive :)
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  5. Just like those "pigeons" we're not supposed to leave where hogs feed...;)
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  6. Ribbon eels are a species of moray eel. When they are young they are black, as they become adult they turn blue. All adults are originally blue and all are male. At some point some of the blue males change sex to become female. At that point they turn from blue to yellow. After reproducing the yellow females die. Next monday I'll try to remember and post a blue adult.
  7. Hi David, Shooting Manual mode with Auto-ISO is NOT manual mode. Your example shows perfectly why not to use it. The white egret is over exposed because the camera metered on the average of the scene, or something like that. Conversely, if a brown bird were flying against white clouds in the sky, the camera would expose the clouds correctly, but grossly under-expose the bird. I used Av mode for years and was constantly guessing and either taking out -2EV or adding +2EV, trying to get the exposure approximately right. It actually works, when the sun is behind you and your subject and background have roughly the same EV.

    So, I'd suggest, base on my experience, that you go full Manual. For well lit shots, start with a default of ISO 400 or ISO 800, f/8 and 1/1000-sec. and adjust from there. Your egret probably needed to be at ISO 400, f/8 and 1/2000-sec., or more. Those of us shooting mirrorless see the exposure in our EVF. You DSLR users need to chimp. Don't be ashamed. Also turn on your "Blinkies" to see the camera's estimation of over-exposed areas, but keep in mind that it's showing you the over-exposed jpg, not RAW. On my Sony, I've got them set at 107%, which gives you some idea of the difference in DR of jpg vs. RAW. If that had been a great blue heron in that swamp, your auto-ISO would have worked. Also, even though your Nikon has a great Sony sensor, it still pays to expose to the right, raising Exposure as high as possible without blowing out important highlights. (Notice that I said "important". Many get so carried away with not blowing highlights that their egrets all turn out grey. To me, that's worse than a blown highlight.)

    Because of needed shutter speed and DOF, I hardly ever shoot wildlife below ISO 400.

    You know me. I'm happy to PM about particular issues.
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  8. This was shot in raw and processed in LR5. I watched the histogram carefully to make sure I wasn't clipping any highlights. The bird is VERY white, I know. I may play with it some more, but there may be some variable in brightness between our monitors that makes this over-bright for you, while OK, if bright, for me? I always appreciate your input.
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  9. I don't see the white overexposed on my monitor. Anyhow, put the blinkies warning on and you would be all set. For BIF, however, it's better to shoot all manual. A reminder to all of us: Watch the shadow though - who doesn't know - lol - but it's hard to control the direction of the bird. Naturally, it's always best to shoot within 30 minutes of sunrise/sunset when the light is gentle.

    By the way your bison shot is great. I am thinking an alternate shot of cropping it such that the emotional hook is even more pronounced and the distracting background is reduced a bit? - For example, showing the cow's head and the baby. It's a wonderful shot.
  10. David (Dcstep), I must disagree with you on this image - a white bird that is half in shadow. No camera will get that exposure correct, it has to be handled in post. The old saw is "Expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights". The "blinkies" will show you the over exposed highlights or at least the over exposed highlights after the camera has produced a JPEG, as you noted. If you dial the exposure back to correct the highlights, you will lose detail in the shadows.

    Wildlife is dynamic. They tend not to hang around giving you chances to take an image, analyze it, adjust, and repeat. (Unless you use the Audubon method - shoot them, stuff them, then draw them at your leisure. But Park Rangers and Game Wardens tend to take a dim view of that. <HUGE GRIN> )

    This image needs to be exposed as David Triplett did, and the highlights corrected in the Lightroom Develop module.

    I agree with Mary on two points. I do not see blown highlights in David Triplett's image. And your picture of the bison and calf is outstanding (and much sharper when viewed on Flickr). .
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  11. Auto ISO is my point. It doesn't work with scenes with high dynamic range and will tend to either over or under-expose the subject. Maybe DT applied -EV, which is one solution. I did that for years, shooting when Av Mode, but then using + or - EV on almost every shot. I finally realized that I should expose for my subject and not guess at what the camera might do about surroundings and adjust for that. Shooting with an EVF is a HUGE advantage over DSLR, since I see my exposure in my EVF, but I went to Manual while still using Canon DSLRs. With a DSLR, set for the subject and "chimp". Then, if a dark bird takes off against a bright sky, you'll still get the exposure right and won't need to spin the EV dial as the subject is flying.

    I know that wildlife is "dynamic", since I shoot thousands of wildlife shots every month. That's why I chimed in to warn DT off of auto-ISO. Auto ISO only works when the sun is behind you and the subject and background have similar EV, OR you can adjust for the changing EV with + or - to the EV wheel. IME, it's much more reliable to go with full Manual mode and set exposure for the subject.

    With the Sony sensor in DT's Nikon, setting for highlights and raising shadows is the preferred MO, IME, until you get to the really high ISOs, then you need to Expose To The Right. Canon sensors need ETTR all the time, but Nikon and Sony have much better ISO invariance.

    I'm curious, Dave, did you use any exposure compensation?
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  12. No, but I shoot in raw, so less than 1 stop adjustment is not out of line in PP. Perhaps I'm not as skilled as I ought to be, but I find the thought of trying to dial in an appropriate +/- EV on the run (sometimes literally with wildlife) to be daunting. (This is why I asked Mary about her preferred settings.) Supposedly the matrix metering in my D810 is very good, with excellent dynamic range. I also set center-weighted exposure area (12 pt), and high Active-D lighting. Like I said, I'm still experimenting and learning, particularly in regards the capabilities of the D810. I grew up as an aperture-priority shooter on film, so I'm experimenting with alternatives that only pertain to digital. I don't plan to switch to mirror-less anytime soon.
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  13. Just for reference, my blinkies don't show any clipping at all in the white, and a tiny bit in the dark spots under the plants on the far bank. As far as I can tell the white bird is bright but exposed correctly, or at least within a reasonable range. My post last night in the Nature Unlimited thread I worked a bit more in PP in response to DS's comments, looking to see if I could do better. The truth is that the feathers are very smooth and there's very little detail to be seen in the bird's shoulder, regardless the lighting. Turning down the exposure and/or turning up the clarity make no discernible difference at the brightly lit shoulder, but neither is it clipping, so I'm left to the conclusion that it is very smooth, very white, and very well lit, and is naturally at the very upper limit of this photo's dynamic range. It would be easy for it to appear clipped on a brighter monitor, even if the source image is not. I initially thought it was until I dug into the details on the histogram, checked blinkies, and experimented with various settings.
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  14. Here's what my LR5 panel looks like with the image at 1:1, with processing as posted. This is cropped from a full screen shot on my good monitor.
    Egret screen-200424-0311.jpg
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  15. I do see more detail in the Nature Unlimited post. I use DxO PhotoLab, which allows Contrast, Fine Contrast and Fine Contrast to be added in varying degrees to Highlights, Mids and Shadows. For feathers and fur, I'll add Fine detail and it'll often require bringing down highlights to get the detail to show in the highlights. (In the types of shots your shown, I tend to worry about shadows in the BG very little. I do worry about under-wing shadows quite a bit). Any, I'm not sure how flexible LR is with adding contrast and detail.

    If you crop this one tighter, can you see details in the whitest areas?
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  16. Here's what I can pull out of the bird's shoulder with an extreme adjustment, but note what it does to the histogram. This is at 3:1 magnification. Not much there, and not worth it's impact on the overall image, in my opinion. Doing it using an adjustment brush or similar makes it look out of sync with the rest of the image. I'd love to know how you would do this one. I've attached the original, uncropped image below for reference, with the adjustments to the raw file as in the original posting.
    Egret-alt screen.jpg
    This was from a tripod at 360mm. I was having trouble tracking the bird at 500mm and backed off a bit, since he was moving fairly fast.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2020
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  17. I'm going to call foul on myself for posting more than one image in this thread. Shun, please delete those in excess of the first one. My apologies. We can take this discussion elsewhere...
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  18. David, love your close-up crop. Now your story has more impact as the non-essentials are gone. Best to compose this way in the field with an eye out to capture the essentials, leave out the distractions, and mindful of background and the sun's direction.
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