Photographing a White Bird

Discussion in 'Nature' started by Sandy Vongries, Nov 25, 2017.

  1. What David said. In addition, you didn't do that much lifting and were at a relatively low ISO, so I wouldn't expect a significant increase.
  2. Clearly, David, with that Canon 5D Mark IV you brought the right equipment that can render that dark of a scene that well at ISO 25600. Checked out the enlarged version on Flickr and can only wish that some day I might be able to afford a camera like that.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017
    dcstep likes this.
  3. That would be David, not me :)

    I use Nikons and am fairly certain that I have never used ISO 25600...
  4. You don't think lifting the jpeg's darkest shadow detail from 000RGB to 20,26,14RGB is a bit extreme especially for a jpeg?

    If so, then Sandy should consider exposing for the white highlights of BIF's shooting jpeg with the sun low in the sky but with a reasonable high ISO setting that at least allows 1/500's and up shutter speed. Fast shutter speed would be top priority over aperture and high ISO as long as the white bird plumage isn't blown.
    dcstep likes this.
  5. Whoops! I caught myself the first time I posted to both of you to make sure I didn't get the names mixed up but I guess it was just a matter of time when my memory would bite me in the arse posting this much in one thread. At least I had enough time to correct it.
    dcstep likes this.
  6. I feel your pain. ;-( Really, I want wildlife photography to become way more affordable. I think that the more of us in the pool, the merrier.

    Sony, IME, is moving quicker than Canon, toward an affordable, high-ISO machine. I'm shooting my, relatively expensive, Sony a9 at formerly insane ISOs. The a7R III will be out later this week, with even better dynamic range at a retail price $1,000+ less. We can only hope that this will continue to trickle down their line and break the $1000-body price barrier.

    Here's a buck, running at 20-mph to 30-mph, shot through my windshield, in pretty heavy snow, with my EXPENSIVE a9 at ISO 25600:

    [​IMG]Big Buck Runs by David Stephens, on Flickr
  7. Let me just say that, IME, even with modest cameras, like my OLD Canon 7D, shooting in RAW will usually give you around 1-stop more dynamic range than the same in-camera JPEG. Shooting RAW and Exposing-To-The-Right ("ETTR") maximizes your data collection if gives you much greater latitude to adjust during RAW conversion. Birds and wildlife shots often have very wide DR, when you shoot in-camera JPEG, it's as if you're shooting Kodachrome all over again, and eschewing all (well, most) of the advantages of digital files.
  8. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    If I had metered spot and used the DF, I believe I'd have got the shot. Have been working with Pattern for a few weeks, brought the D 750 for the extra MP, since I knew I couldn't get close. I have always found the D 750 quirkier than the DF, but it was just in on the recall, so I hoped for the best. Actually, except under very difficult conditions, my percentage of successful shots is usually quite decent, which is why I started this thread. Certainly I got a lot of ideas from those of you who contributed. Thanks again!
  9. Not as good as the night shot of the deer with Canon 5D at the same ISO, but then I have to wonder why a manual exposure shutter speed of 1/320's with the Sony. Was this jpeg or Raw? Was the image dark and you lifted it in post?

    It's very informative to see a number of good cameras perform differently in challenging real world situations over looking at dpreview static scene analysis shots and gallery snaps with no background on the conditions and amount of time the photographer reacted in getting a quick shot.

    I have to thank everyone as well for posting very useful information and also especially thank Sandy for starting this thread.
  10. Good questions Tim.

    The night shot of the deer (Canon) was in much better conditions, in that I was standing close to the buck and he wasn't running. The running buck shot was through the windshield and it pretty heavy snow and the buck was moving at least 20-mph. I happened to have my 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 zoom mounted, with the 1.4x teleconverter, so that results in f/8 as my largest available aperture. If I'd had my 500/f/4 mounted, I would have opened it all the way up and moved SS up to maybe 1/500-sec. It was RAW and I brought the overall EV up in RAW conversion. ISO 25600 seems to be about as high as I can go and still see in the EVF. On the Canon it's a little easier to see in such darkness, but it easier. I prefer to top the Sony out at ISO 20000 and the Canon at 25600, expecting a lot of noise in both cases.

    One other thing about noise, I use DxO PRIME noise reduction, which does a pixel-by-pixel analysis to minimize noise and not smash details. It does a darn good job. You should see the chrominescance before NR, with either Canon or Sony. The 5D MkIV cleans up way better than the 7D MkII and 5DS-R. The Sony a9 is close to the 5D4. Can't wait to get the a7R III, which is reported to have another stop of DR.

    Those static IQ tests are useful, but really don't tell the whole story. Some files start out bad and just can't be fixed, no matter what software you use. Some other files, look like crude when you start, but clean up nicely. Real world shots, in tough positions are really the most informative, but finding some that match your subjects and shooting style can be tough. That's why I like to share on PN.
  11. The results seem to speak for themselves - looks OK to me so the change was not extreme.

    It takes getting used to; it's a tad hard to predict what it will come up with but eventually one gets the hang of it. I am sure one can come up with scenarios where it completely screws up but in many cases it does a fairly good job and in many others, the corrections needed become obvious at some point.
    dcstep likes this.
  12. Using spot metering on a white bird will result in a grey bird. Also, remember that keeping the spot on a flying bird is quite difficult. If you use spot and meter on a white bird, then you probably need +1EV or +2/3EV adjustment, to get the bird white and still not blow out highlight.

    BTW, this is a VERY COMMON error. I see postings all the time, showing what should be a white bird and it's grey. Using Spot metering demands that you understand what the meter is trying to do. The meter assumes that what you've selected to meter is actually 18% grey, so it'll try to make that selection look 18% grey, underexposing white things and overexposing black things (think of a black labrador).
  13. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    A: It's all in How you use the spot to get what you want. B: No harder than wingshooting - at one point, in saner days, there were camera gunstocks. I have a spare stock, and have considered building one.
  14. I've never seen a survey about photographers' understanding of how metering works, but my casual observation would have me betting that well over half don't understand it, including those that use spot metering.

    I don't know anyone personally that uses a stock, but I've seen reviews of one or two that are out there. I hold my camera with 500/f4 attached, much like I did an M-16 in the army, EXCEPT there's no stock against my shoulder. My right hand a arm take a good bit of load, that I've now trained. My face is against the camera and my hand. Starting with a stock is a good idea.

    That said, putting a spot on a bird and shooting and putting a spot on a bird and following are two different things. With a heron or egret, it's no big deal, but most diver ducks and puffin are different matters, because of small size and velocity in the 50-mph range. I'd rather set my exposure Manually and not have to worry about my spot meter being on exactly the right part of the bird.

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