Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

To 'Monopod' or not...........


  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1 canon eos

canon eos

    canon eos

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,123 posts
  • Location1000 Islands area, Ontario Canada

Posted 05 July 2012 - 05:39 PM

There are many instances when a monopod or other camera/lens support is of great value. With some longer and/or heavier lenses it is a good way to gain more stability, and similarly in lower light conditions it really is an asset to have more support.
But as with all photo gear considerations, it is not cast in stone that a support is the best option in all cases. For bird-in-flight (BIF) photography it actually can be quite challenging to work with a support, and hand-holding may be as good or better an option. With a monster lens this may not be an option!
I worked with a tripod for many years when there was no option, when films were slow (ISOs) and editing potentials were not as good as today in the digital world.

Here are a few images shot recently around 'my' Beaver pond. Canon T2i, Canon 400L lens. I shoot only hand-held and use Auto-ISO, capped at 1600. As I had noted previously, using Auto-ISO and aperture priority can sometimes yield a slower shutter speed than I prefer (1/1000 and up).

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

And I'm pleased with how well the 400L gets these Dragonflies. (about 25ft away, yes in harsh lighting!).....

Posted Image


Thank you for looking in and for any comments or input.

#2 lonestranger

lonestranger

    lonestranger

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,957 posts
  • LocationActon, Ontario

Posted 05 July 2012 - 06:11 PM

Awesome shots, canon eos.

I use a tripod for many of my yard pictures, mostly because it gives me somewhere to set my camera right in front of my chair when I'm not actually shooting with it. I take my monopod with me on some of my hikes, carrying it over my shoulder when I am walking. While the added stability of both does help in low light situations, they both become a minor inconvienence when a bird flies over head. I say "minor" inconvienence because it only takes a second or two to release the camera and raise it to the sky, but as we all know, a lot can happen in a second or two and the shot can come and go in that time. I like having the added support if it's practical, and deal with the minor inconvience of releasing my camera from said support when needed. Having said that, I still walk around holding the camera at my side by the tripod mount, and probably take as many handheld shots as I do supported shots.

Recently(July 5/14)added some new photos to my Picasa Web Album.

http://picasaweb.goo...Ai6G4wenXZD7ClQ


#3 canon eos

canon eos

    canon eos

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,123 posts
  • Location1000 Islands area, Ontario Canada

Posted 05 July 2012 - 08:57 PM

Thanks, LS.
I find I can (usually) hand-hold down to about 1/400 sec. Personally I find that amazing. It's not a matter of patting-myself-on-the back but in film days using a 400mm (640 equivalent on my T2i) hand held was totally not possible.
Here is an example at what I think are the limits, whether hand-held or not. Going much below 1/400 and you are likely to have subject (bird) movement, so a support is only going to ensure a steady camera, while the bird moves!
I wouldn't print this (my norm is 13x19in) but it is reasonable on the 'net. Shot at 1/400 sec, f8, with an ISO of 3200..........

Posted Image

#4 guy_incognito

guy_incognito

    guy_incognito

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 4,921 posts
  • LocationSo Cal

Posted 06 July 2012 - 01:07 AM

I basically never use a monopod or tripod, mainly because I usually am on the move on foot.

I never used film, but I can only imagine what kind of advantages we have nowadays. As canon eos was saying, it is possible to get some pretty passable images in poor conditions. Here is an example I took handheld at 400mm (640mm equivalent) with my Canon 100-400. I am sure the IS saved me from myself, but obviously can't save subject blur.

ISO 1600, f/6.3, 1/30 sec!

Posted Image

Latest lifers: Northern Gannet, Tufted Puffin, Pacific Wren, Blue-winged Warbler, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Chestnut-collared Longspur, McCown's Longspur, American Three-toed Woodpecker, Brown-capped Rosy-Finch, White-tailed Ptarmigan, Pine Grosbeak

Trip reports: Colorado 6/2014, Costa Rica 3/2014, Texas 12/2013, Central CA 8/2013, Arizona 6/2013, Midwest 5/2013, Hawaii 2/2013, Florida 9-10/2012, Monterey 8/2012, Salton Sea 7/2012, SE AZ 6/2012, Chicago 5/2012, Arizona 3/12, Arizona 12/11, Chicago 9/2011, Monterey 8/11, Arizona 12/10


#5 David Case

David Case

    Advanced Member

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,025 posts
  • LocationEugene, Oregon

Posted 06 July 2012 - 06:21 AM

Those are great Osprey shots canon eos! It looks like that bird got interrupted mid meal.

I agree with all of the observations that everyone has made so far and have a few of my own to add. First, I think it is possible to get good flight shots using a tripod if you use a gimbal head. Because the weight of the camera and lens hangs from the head and is balanced they allow very free and easy movement of the rig. I haven't tried one myself because they are expensive and I don't have a big enough lens to warrant it, but from everything I have read they work great. Of course you still have to lug all the equipment on site, but once you are set up they are supposed to be easy to use.

Second, a monopod is very useful in certain situations where it is difficult to set up a tripod, like very uneven ground or in mud. For example, I was taking some HDR sequences along a lake shore and was positioned amongst some logs that lay across the bank and down into the water. There wasn't room between the logs for tripod legs and even if there had been, I was setting the monopod down into the mud. I would not have risked this with a tripod because of instability; I wouldn't risk having it fall over and dump my equipment into the lake.

Third, one big advantage of using a tripod when the situation allows for it, is it slows you down. This is a problem for me, anyway. I tend to be impatient and work too quickly. With the tripod I take my time composing the shot, getting the exposure and focus right, etc. because I have to. Plus, if I get something wrong I can simply tweak it and shoot it again. So in these situations I get better results if I can just get myself to break out the tripod and take my time.

However, I work a lot like guy_incognito in that I am mostly on foot. So the bulk of my shots end up being hand held. I keep the last custom function on the mode dial of my camera set to a shutter priority (Tv) mode using 1/2000, AI Servo, high speed shot mode, and ISO set to Auto. That way if something happens quickly I can try and get my camera on the action and have a good chance of getting a decent shot. If I encounter a bird that is not moving around too quickly I will usually switch to aperture priority (Av) and stop down to get more depth of field and use a low ISO and a slower shutter speed, assuming I have the light. If the bird suddenly takes off, it just takes a quick flick of the mode dial (this is why I keep the Tv mode at the END of the dial, so I don't have to search for it) to get me back into high speed action. For example, a few weeks ago I was shooting a male pigeon doing courtship displays when I saw an osprey dive for a fish. I didn't have a clear shot of where it entered the water but I knew it might come up with a fish so I turned my mode dial to Tv to be ready. The osprey came up empty but flew right at me. This is what I got ...

Posted Image

BTW, that is an extreme crop down to the pixel level just for dramatic effect. The full shot has the whole bird plus lots of extra space besides. Most of the time my camera chooses f6.3 on my 100-400f4.5-5.6L lens. I was at 400mm for this shot and the ISO came out to 500.

Also, I typically carry a few other lenses with me when I am out tromping around in case I want to do macro or landscape shots. I also carry either a tripod (heavy, ugh!) or lately my monopod. I am generally pretty much loaded for bear, as they say. :)

#6 canon eos

canon eos

    canon eos

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,123 posts
  • Location1000 Islands area, Ontario Canada

Posted 06 July 2012 - 11:29 AM

>>>>"Those are great Osprey shots canon eos! It looks like that bird got interrupted mid meal"............

Thanks, David. I'm not sure how close to meal time it was for the Osprey family but I know they tear off the head of the fish (to let it bleed out) quite some time before offering it to the family.

>>>>"Also, I typically carry a few other lenses with me when I am out tromping around in case I want to do macro or landscape shots. I also carry either a tripod (heavy, ugh!) or lately my monopod. I am generally pretty much loaded for bear, as they say"........

I'm retired and/but I am in fairly good shape, and hope to keep that way....LOL
I learned years ago to carry around a minimum of gear. I have heard/read many times that there is a definite factor in that the more gear one carries the less photos one actually takes, and that applies whether traveling or birding. And I buy into that. Another poster here calls it the 'lug' factor, or as you say it may be the 'heavy, ugh' factor!
For those capable and wishing to bring along a great selection of gear for the just-in-case situation, by all means make sure you are covered!

Again, I in no way dispute the value of well -selected photo gear. I know that a monopd or tripod and gymbal-head and use of a birding blind certainly have great merit and one can only envy the images that may be possible from using a comprehensive (and often expensive!) setup.

#7 David Case

David Case

    Advanced Member

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,025 posts
  • LocationEugene, Oregon

Posted 06 July 2012 - 01:55 PM

>>>>"Those are great Osprey shots canon eos! It looks like that bird got interrupted mid meal"............

Thanks, David. I'm not sure how close to meal time it was for the Osprey family but I know they tear off the head of the fish (to let it bleed out) quite some time before offering it to the family.

>>>>"Also, I typically carry a few other lenses with me when I am out tromping around in case I want to do macro or landscape shots. I also carry either a tripod (heavy, ugh!) or lately my monopod. I am generally pretty much loaded for bear, as they say"........

I'm retired and/but I am in fairly good shape, and hope to keep that way....LOL
I learned years ago to carry around a minimum of gear. I have heard/read many times that there is a definite factor in that the more gear one carries the less photos one actually takes, and that applies whether traveling or birding. And I buy into that. Another poster here calls it the 'lug' factor, or as you say it may be the 'heavy, ugh' factor!
For those capable and wishing to bring along a great selection of gear for the just-in-case situation, by all means make sure you are covered!

Again, I in no way dispute the value of well -selected photo gear. I know that a monopd or tripod and gymbal-head and use of a birding blind certainly have great merit and one can only envy the images that may be possible from using a comprehensive (and often expensive!) setup.


Taking too few shots is not a problem I have! The bulk of my photo processing time is spent deciding which shots to keep and which to toss. Most of the time I don't end up breaking out those extra lenses, but some of my best shots were taken on those occasions when I did, so for now I'll continue to lug them along. Also my rig is pretty compact. All of the extra gear is safely tucked away in my camera backpack and my camera with the 100-400 attached is hung around my neck. This arrangement does not limit my mobility in using the camera. And when I do get tired from carrying the extra weight I just break out my Walkstool and sit for a while and have a rest. :) I find that sitting in one location for a while often opens up possibilities in that I start noticing things that I might otherwise have missed simply because I am moving.

#8 canon eos

canon eos

    canon eos

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,123 posts
  • Location1000 Islands area, Ontario Canada

Posted 06 July 2012 - 03:24 PM

Sounds like you are quite mobile, David. I use a backpack when traveling as I like the constant mobility/freedom. And yes, a stool is handy; I find that when in a location for a while the birds get closer and more curious!

#9 Joejr14

Joejr14

    Joejr14

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 4,213 posts
  • LocationVernon, CT

Posted 07 July 2012 - 11:19 PM

To be honest, I'm not sure that I could function without my monopod. While I can certainly carry around my camera and lens, it takes its toll after a few hours and nevermind attempting to hand-hold it for prolonged periods of time. I'm certainly not in top shape, but I'm on my feet walking all day for work and am pretty active outside of work, and it's a pain to lug the setup around monopod or not.

I think part of this conversation depends on whether or not the lens you're using has VR/IS/OS or not. My sigma does not, but the Nikon I rented last October did and I was more comfortable hand holding that.

On a separate matter, I'm surprised that you both like shutter and aperture priority. I will sometimes use aperture priority if I'm out just looking for life birds and not necessarily 'photographing', but when I'm out looking for keeper shots I never use anything but full manual. My biggest problem with either of those modes is that even today's top camera bodies have sensors that have problems with high contrast images, such as ospreys and eagles (plus a lot of other birds). I think 99% of the time 99% of camera bodies will incorrectly expose for those birds, and we all know what a mess it is to try and recover detail from the blacks.

Are you guys relying on EC when in those modes?

#10 David Case

David Case

    Advanced Member

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,025 posts
  • LocationEugene, Oregon

Posted 08 July 2012 - 04:39 AM

On a separate matter, I'm surprised that you both like shutter and aperture priority. I will sometimes use aperture priority if I'm out just looking for life birds and not necessarily 'photographing', but when I'm out looking for keeper shots I never use anything but full manual. My biggest problem with either of those modes is that even today's top camera bodies have sensors that have problems with high contrast images, such as ospreys and eagles (plus a lot of other birds). I think 99% of the time 99% of camera bodies will incorrectly expose for those birds, and we all know what a mess it is to try and recover detail from the blacks.

Are you guys relying on EC when in those modes?


There is more than one way to get a good exposure. I just adjust the exposure compensation if the camera is over or under exposing. Personally, most of the time I use the Tv mode in situations where manual just wouldn't work, like a bird in flight for example. When things are moving slower then I will switch to Av and use exposure compensation when needed. Of course you can also affect the way the camera will expose by setting it to different metering modes and by choosing a mid range value to focus on. I don't have an accurate enough intuition about exposure to be able to eye a scene and then just dial in the exposure in manual. I have to do a series of test shots to get things tweaked correctly and that is equal in complexity to using exposure compensation.

#11 Joejr14

Joejr14

    Joejr14

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 4,213 posts
  • LocationVernon, CT

Posted 08 July 2012 - 01:18 PM

I understand and agree there's more than one way to get the correct exposure. In my experience its just harder to get the correct exposure with aperture or shutter priority than manual. Exposure compensation used to annoy me in those modes so i made the switch. I count on the meter to help me expose but always check the histogram and adjust from there.

I know ospreys are tough regardless of the mode you're using. I only inquired because from my monitor it looks like all the ospreys photos in the thread are underexposed by half a stop or so.

#12 canon eos

canon eos

    canon eos

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,123 posts
  • Location1000 Islands area, Ontario Canada

Posted 08 July 2012 - 08:08 PM

There seems to be two points being considered with the above posts. I in no way consider myself an 'expert' in photography, and bird photography specifically, but let's look at the weight and exposure areas mentioned.

Joe: >>>>>"To be honest, I'm not sure that I could function without my monopod. While I can certainly carry around my camera and lens, it takes its toll after a few hours and nevermind attempting to hand-hold it for prolonged periods of time. I'm certainly not in top shape, but I'm on my feet walking all day for work and am pretty active outside of work, and it's a pain to lug the setup around monopod or not."

The weight of the gear being used to obtain bird images varies greatly. To get the absolute best images, not just geographically or because of rarity, the best gear and application of sound photographic principles is usually required. Luck can play into things as in superb lighting (or recognition thereof), and that can work both ways. Sometimes having the best gear just doesn't work out, and similarly good fortune can come to those ready to take advantage of it.
So it comes down to a personal decision as to how much gear, and weight, one feels they may need. It's not always necessary (to have all the gear), but it may help.
Many wish to have the enjoyment factor of photography and birding maintained, and so try to pursue bird photography with the minimum gear required to get the images (and quality) they want.

Joe:>>>>I think part of this conversation depends on whether or not the lens you're using has VR/IS/OS or not. My sigma does not, but the Nikon I rented last October did and I was more comfortable hand holding that.

The camera/lens ergonomics do play into the comfort and operator satisfaction elements in all this. What lens or technique may work for one, will not necessarily be right for another photographer. Sometimes following website/forum 'information' is not the best suggestion. Actually trying a lens or camera in person can save considerable dissatisfaction or uncertainty down the road. (not all men have big hands, not all women are petite, not everyone has the same intuition with supplied controls, for examples).

Joe:>>>>>On a separate matter, I'm surprised that you both like shutter and aperture priority. I will sometimes use aperture priority if I'm out just looking for life birds and not necessarily 'photographing', but when I'm out looking for
keeper shots I never use anything but full manual. My biggest problem with either of those modes is that even today's top camera bodies have sensors that have problems with high contrast images, such as ospreys and eagles (plus a lot of other birds). I think 99% of the time 99% of camera bodies will incorrectly expose for those birds, and we all know what a mess it is to try and recover detail from the blacks. Are you guys relying on EC when in those modes?
And..........
I know ospreys are tough regardless of the mode you're using. I only inquired because from my monitor it looks like all the ospreys photos in the thread are underexposed by half a stop or so.


First, on my calibrated monitor the Ospreys are displayed the way I like, but for me that is subjective, and very easily 'corrected'. (It's been mentioned to me before.........LOL)
I believe I had mentioned before that I am comfortable using all-manual or Av or Tv (Canon).
If I were in a birding blind with constant good lighting I'd likely use manual exposure. But may not even there, as my camera (almost any DSLR) if directed right is going to get the exposure correct.
I should add here (and I know I have mentioned this before), I shoot RAW exclusively.
But shooting in quickly varying conditions (usually what we get for BIF), the edge of auto shutter or aperture priority is invaluable, at least for me. There's a heck of a lot of things going on with Birds-In-Flight and I like, and very much appreciate the technical 'assistance' I get from my very competent DSLR onboard computer.
I know Joe that the metering of your Nikon D300 is very much up to the task.

Regarding EC or exposure compensation, again, I used it for years, especially with the very limited range of slide film. But shooting RAW (for me, again) has all but obviated the use of any EC. It's very easy to compensate PP (after the fact, as it were).
I do studio portraiture, and it's a whole different world, photographically compared to birds, and in particular BIF.


David:>>>>>There is more than one way to get a good exposure. I just adjust the exposure compensation if the camera is over or under exposing. Personally, most of the time I use the Tv mode in situations where manual just wouldn't work, like a bird in flight for example. When things are moving slower then I will switch to Av and use exposure compensation when needed. Of course you can also affect the way the camera will expose by setting it to different metering modes and by choosing a mid range value to focus on. I don't have an accurate enough intuition about exposure to be able to eye a scene and then just dial in the exposure in manual. I have to do a series of test shots to get things tweaked correctly and that is equal in complexity to using exposure compensation.

This is pretty much my experience.

Joe:>>>>> I count on the meter to help me expose but always check the histogram and adjust from there.

I rarely consult the Histogram. Whether the onboard or software Histogram, it is an available tool and provides good input. But it's not the be-all-and-end all.
If we view high quality photographic prints (whether of birds, or otherwise), especially at suitable viewing distances, the subtle nuances of lighting can often include what may be considered overly dark or light areas.
That said, as in any photography, the quality of lighting is paramount to achieving excellent images.


Sidebar:
I have a good friend who in most circles is acknowledged as one of Canada's top photographers. The aforementioned attribute of being Intuitive is one of his strong assets. But he is also blessed with an uncanny sense of Composition. For his triple-header he sees and understands Light like no one I know.
I wish I had a fraction of his talent. And I'm glad he's not doing Bird Photography......LOL

Thanks for all the great input. I appreciate it.

#13 Joejr14

Joejr14

    Joejr14

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 4,213 posts
  • LocationVernon, CT

Posted 09 July 2012 - 12:07 AM

I'll try to address this in two parts....

There seems to be two points being considered with the above posts. I in no way consider myself an 'expert' in photography, and bird photography specifically, but let's look at the weight and exposure areas mentioned.

Joe: >>>>>"To be honest, I'm not sure that I could function without my monopod. While I can certainly carry around my camera and lens, it takes its toll after a few hours and nevermind attempting to hand-hold it for prolonged periods of time. I'm certainly not in top shape, but I'm on my feet walking all day for work and am pretty active outside of work, and it's a pain to lug the setup around monopod or not."

The weight of the gear being used to obtain bird images varies greatly. To get the absolute best images, not just geographically or because of rarity, the best gear and application of sound photographic principles is usually required. Luck can play into things as in superb lighting (or recognition thereof), and that can work both ways. Sometimes having the best gear just doesn't work out, and similarly good fortune can come to those ready to take advantage of it.
So it comes down to a personal decision as to how much gear, and weight, one feels they may need. It's not always necessary (to have all the gear), but it may help.
Many wish to have the enjoyment factor of photography and birding maintained, and so try to pursue bird photography with the minimum gear required to get the images (and quality) they want.

Joe:>>>>I think part of this conversation depends on whether or not the lens you're using has VR/IS/OS or not. My sigma does not, but the Nikon I rented last October did and I was more comfortable hand holding that.

The camera/lens ergonomics do play into the comfort and operator satisfaction elements in all this. What lens or technique may work for one, will not necessarily be right for another photographer. Sometimes following website/forum 'information' is not the best suggestion. Actually trying a lens or camera in person can save considerable dissatisfaction or uncertainty down the road. (not all men have big hands, not all women are petite, not everyone has the same intuition with supplied controls, for examples).



I certainly don't consider myself an expert at all, far from it in fact. I think i occasionally stumble upon good photographs but I certainly don't have the understanding of exposure, composition or lighting that many others do.

I think you're exactly right about 'luck'. I can lug $15,000 (I wish) of gear to the beach at 4:30am, setup my $5k camera and $10,000 lens on my $1500 tripod (again I wish I had all that gear) and gimbal head, and if there's no birds or the light sucks, the pictures are going to suck. Alternatively, I can happily carry my wife's D60 and $1000 300mm f/4 down to the beach, setup, crawl around on the sand and be blessed with fantastic light and cooperative birds and end up with fantastic results.

And obviously some setups work for some and not others. I'm able to lug around 15lbs worth of gear, others are not. Some find monopods and tripods a hinderence, while I find mine immensely helpful with my shooting. Agree 100% with everything you said about comfort with gear and nothing working for 100% of folks.


Joe:>>>>>On a separate matter, I'm surprised that you both like shutter and aperture priority. I will sometimes use aperture priority if I'm out just looking for life birds and not necessarily 'photographing', but when I'm out looking for
keeper shots I never use anything but full manual. My biggest problem with either of those modes is that even today's top camera bodies have sensors that have problems with high contrast images, such as ospreys and eagles (plus a lot of other birds). I think 99% of the time 99% of camera bodies will incorrectly expose for those birds, and we all know what a mess it is to try and recover detail from the blacks. Are you guys relying on EC when in those modes?
And..........
I know ospreys are tough regardless of the mode you're using. I only inquired because from my monitor it looks like all the ospreys photos in the thread are underexposed by half a stop or so.


First, on my calibrated monitor the Ospreys are displayed the way I like, but for me that is subjective, and very easily 'corrected'. (It's been mentioned to me before.........LOL)
I believe I had mentioned before that I am comfortable using all-manual or Av or Tv (Canon).
If I were in a birding blind with constant good lighting I'd likely use manual exposure. But may not even there, as my camera (almost any DSLR) if directed right is going to get the exposure correct.
I should add here (and I know I have mentioned this before), I shoot RAW exclusively.
But shooting in quickly varying conditions (usually what we get for BIF), the edge of auto shutter or aperture priority is invaluable, at least for me. There's a heck of a lot of things going on with Birds-In-Flight and I like, and very much appreciate the technical 'assistance' I get from my very competent DSLR onboard computer.
I know Joe that the metering of your Nikon D300 is very much up to the task.

Regarding EC or exposure compensation, again, I used it for years, especially with the very limited range of slide film. But shooting RAW (for me, again) has all but obviated the use of any EC. It's very easy to compensate PP (after the fact, as it were).
I do studio portraiture, and it's a whole different world, photographically compared to birds, and in particular BIF.


David:>>>>>There is more than one way to get a good exposure. I just adjust the exposure compensation if the camera is over or under exposing. Personally, most of the time I use the Tv mode in situations where manual just wouldn't work, like a bird in flight for example. When things are moving slower then I will switch to Av and use exposure compensation when needed. Of course you can also affect the way the camera will expose by setting it to different metering modes and by choosing a mid range value to focus on. I don't have an accurate enough intuition about exposure to be able to eye a scene and then just dial in the exposure in manual. I have to do a series of test shots to get things tweaked correctly and that is equal in complexity to using exposure compensation.

This is pretty much my experience.

Joe:>>>>> I count on the meter to help me expose but always check the histogram and adjust from there.

I rarely consult the Histogram. Whether the onboard or software Histogram, it is an available tool and provides good input. But it's not the be-all-and-end all.
If we view high quality photographic prints (whether of birds, or otherwise), especially at suitable viewing distances, the subtle nuances of lighting can often include what may be considered overly dark or light areas.
That said, as in any photography, the quality of lighting is paramount to achieving excellent images.


Sidebar:
I have a good friend who in most circles is acknowledged as one of Canada's top photographers. The aforementioned attribute of being Intuitive is one of his strong assets. But he is also blessed with an uncanny sense of Composition. For his triple-header he sees and understands Light like no one I know.
I wish I had a fraction of his talent. And I'm glad he's not doing Bird Photography......LOL

Thanks for all the great input. I appreciate it.


Lots of things to address here and I don't want it to get super confusing so I'll reply all down here.

I don't have any calibration software but I have used various calibration websites and it still looks underexposed to me. I know some folks are opposed to others doing re-posts of their shots, would you mind if I played around with some of those shots to see?

I agree and disagree about the camera coming up with the right exposure if directed properly. I agree 100% with that, but the question is about directing it properly. Imo, if you're shooting in aperture or shutter priority, tweaking with EC to get the camera to 'expose properly' is the camera getting the exposure wrong. On many birds it'll get the exposure right, but on high-contrast subjects it frequently fails miserably.

I'm going to pass on your EC, Raw and post-processing comments until a bit later...

Before I jumped into full manual mode (which I use about 85% of the time) I missed many a shots because my camera simply failed horribly on getting the exposure right in aperture mode. I rarely if ever use shutter priority.

Onto the good stuff...

I'm floored that you don't pay attention to your histogram. In the field, are you relying on your LCD screen to judge exposure?? Or are you just not worrying about it because you're relying on post processing to fix any tweaks that are needed in exposure?

I've spent a LOT of time reading everything I can about bird photography, and Arthur Morris is arguably one of the best in the world. I've read his CD book numerous times, and I read countless avian critique threads on www.birdphotographers.net (he's a moderator and contributes, there are some VERY useful threads over there). He is a very vocal proponent of using the histogram to check your exposure. I'm very confused as to how you're exposing correctly if you're not referencing any histogram data at all. While I agree that no single tool is the be-all end-all of photography, the histogram is an essential part if you know how to read it and apply it correctly.

I say all of that because if you underexpose a shot by 1/2 or a full stop, sure you can fix it in PP. You also lose details in the blacks and whites, and add unnecessary noise into the image through PP. Can an improperly exposed raw image be fixed to a printable imagine using PP, sure. But no matter what you do PP wise, you're going to either lose details or add noise/artifacts into the image when you're tweaking with exposure. There's just no way around that.

Sidebar on the sidebar: I appreciate the input as well. Like I said, I'm no expert photographer and it sure helps to be able to talk and bounce ideas, comments, etc around others.

#14 canon eos

canon eos

    canon eos

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,123 posts
  • Location1000 Islands area, Ontario Canada

Posted 09 July 2012 - 01:13 AM

Yes, good stuff here, Joe.
We might(!) be getting away from Monopods a little. I've had a number of folks here contact me to say they appreciate the info shared here, especially as it applies to bird photography.
Perhaps in another thread some more can be explored. I'm not a technical guy (at least not in photography!) and can easily be swamped by others!

But just quickly in very general terms, regarding exposure..............
My years of doing studio portraiture, mostly with B&W film has put some of this in perspective. I used to get anxious calls shortly after a shoot to inquire how well things went. My gosh, I had 10-20 rolls of film to develop. Even with lighting changes I usually had a good sense about how things might work out, and I was usually right, thank goodness.
For one thing I did have a lot of experience with what I was doing, and secondly most B&W film had quite a latitude. Similarly, RAW digital files are more forgiving. It may be about 2 stops (a stop either way) but it is of value.
But also, as with my portraiture, I got the shot first, and worried later whether it was 'perfectly' exposed. And I do that with birds now, as the moment is fleeting, as we all know.

I do sneak a very quick look at my LCD c/w 'blinkies' turned on from time to time. The spot or partial metering will often yield out-of-range areas away from the main subject, and I'm ok with that :)

#15 Joejr14

Joejr14

    Joejr14

  • New Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 4,213 posts
  • LocationVernon, CT

Posted 09 July 2012 - 08:05 PM

Looks like I'll have to start a technical thread here in a minute with some pictures so we can all give some input on exposure, etc.

I disagree about 'getting the first shot' before 'getting the shot perfect' in all situations except when I'm 'birding' and not 'photographing'. For me, nothing is more aggravating than getting the perfect pose, angle, light, and having the shot be wrong on the techs. I'd rather miss that shot fiddling with the controls than have an okay picture that I can't fix to 'pefect' in post-processing.

As far as blown highlights in the sky or background---gotta do whatcha gotta do to get the bird exposed properly first. Backgrounds are much more easily fixed than main subjects in PP.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users