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About LauraC

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  1. I started out with Auto on bird photography and then looked at the camera info on the keepers after I got home to guide me on future manual settings with those birds and that camera in those weather conditions. For me now, I take a lot of flying photos and it depends how fast the bird flies. Seagulls at a lake (juvenile ring-billed) are my favorite. At a lake, they glide and they drop vertically like helicopters but with landing feet down. Good bird to practice taking flying bird photos. Also if you photograph them at a lake they'll fly toward you on the shore. Great Blue herons flying are also slow. I think that's why you see so many flying photos of them. It's not hard to get them. Songbirds flying...ugh. Too fast for me the slowpoke, handholding. For perched photos of songbirds, have to adjust speed for them twitching. I start my "flying seagulls at the lake" at Manual F11, 1250, auto ISO. I tend to go out on mostly/partly cloudy days in the winter (the only time they are here) to get them. Flying gulls: https://zzcapphotos.smugmug.com/What-Bird-2012/n-LWXFj/i-4v8TMQk/A https://zzcapphotos.smugmug.com/What-Bird-2012/n-LWXFj/i-McD2qMz/A https://zzcapphotos.smugmug.com/What-Bird-2012/n-LWXFj/i-6kXFzMc/A Non-flying photos of birds: https://zzcapphotos.smugmug.com/What-Bird-2012/n-LWXFj/i-mbxW8Hc/A https://zzcapphotos.smugmug.com/What-Bird-2012/n-LWXFj/i-DzxxbKK/A https://zzcapphotos.smugmug.com/What-Bird-2012/n-LWXFj/i-4W2rKJd/A
  2. LauraC

    lens buget arounf $2k

    Thanks so much for this info. I did not know I could use an FX lens on a DX body. That clears up that issue.
  3. LauraC

    lens buget arounf $2k

    It's actually okay for some local bird photography. Both below were taken with that lens on one of my 7000 series cameras. I do want zoom. Thank you for your suggestion. I'm going to research it this weekend.
  4. LauraC

    lens buget arounf $2k

    Like the original poster I'm in the same 7000 series Nikon. I am looking for a lens for my D7200 with 500mm max (600mm max would be okay too if it isn't much heavier). The lens I use now DX AF-S Nikkor 55 - 300mm 4.5 - 5.6G ED VR isn't cutting it for some birds due to their size/distance. I get confused as to whether the lens ads I see are compatible with a DX camera especially when the customer reviewers talk about their Canons or their Nikon FX cameras. Also, do I need something additional to mount it on my camera? I've never used any lens other than Nikon but I'd be willing to entertain a Sigma if I knew I didn't have to add anything to the camera to mount the lens. Looking for something less than $2,000. I handhold everything and mostly take bird photos from my car's open window due to leg issues and will continue to do so. Primarily looking to use it in refuges. I don't mean to horn in on another person's thread but I'm thinking since they have the same series camera it might be helpful info for them, too.
  5. LauraC

    Picture taking on a grey day

    After you d-lighten it, you select the bird, inverse the selection, DeNoise everything but the bird. Then select the bird in Photoshop and using Topaz Adjust add Clarity. It's not going to be an award winning photo but it doesn't have to be tossed. Cropping is in there somewhere because it's composed wrong.
  6. LauraC


    Like you, I'm still using Photoshop Elements 13 (don't really feel the need to upgrade to full blown Photoshop), use a 300mm lens (I handhold everything/have trouble lifting bigger lenses/can't lug a tripod) and primarily photograph birds. I compete in 2 clubs' annual salons and my bird photos do fine. I also, however, have Topaz (Adjust, DeNoise, Impressions) and Nik plug-ins for PE13 and do a lot of post-processing which I enjoy and to add detail to the bird's feathers (Topaz Adjust), Topaz DeNoise to get rid of the background noise after cropping and Nik Color Efex Pro 4 to add things like polarizing the sky background and for punching up green foliage. PE13 I mainly use for the selection tool, to adjust lighting and color and to remove unwanted objects (like wires and signs) using Content-Aware. I do not shoot RAW primarily because with birds who twitch a lot, I shoot burst and discard a lot of photos. I have a Nikon D7200 and actually still use Picasa to crop and straighten before I bring the image into Photoshop Elements. I don't sell photos. Do you like to do post-processing? Most of the photographers I know are better photographers than I am but I can level the field with post-processing in some cases.
  7. Thank you so much. I especially appreciate the info along with the ID. I took a photo of the sign at the refuge with these types of birds on them to help me when I got home and uploaded them but I am looking at it now and all I see are dunlin, greater yellowlegs, semipalmated sandpiper, semipalmated plover, dowitcher, black bellied plover, avocets (turned up 2 days before I left), black necked stilt (which is easy to ID). I used to have a tee shirt with these type of birds on them and I remember the willet was one of them. Don't know why they didn't include them on their sign. I bought that old tee shirt from them.
  8. I only get to the refuges on the East Coast maybe once every other year. I can usually ID a Greater Yellowlegs (from the yellow legs - but I don't know if their legs are always yellow) but the rest of the little brown wading birds all look alike to me. I caught this one in flight. Can you please tell me what it is? Photo taken May 6 in Delaware. I'm sorry I forgot to re-sharpen it after I resized it to post it here.
  9. LauraC

    Picture taking on a grey day

    You can fix this one in post processing with minor editing. In Photoshop Elements use Adjust Lighting then Shadows/Lighten Shadows. In Picasa use fill light. If you have a Nikon add D-Lighting while it's still in the camera. If lightening it up makes it look noisy, De-Noise it. You can use Topaz for that. You posted a small image but I was able to lighten it up just fine and see both birds. If I wanted to take the time with a larger image after I lightened it, I'd select the osprey and the larger branches and add clarity or crispness. But, I agree that it's better when it comes out of the camera right.
  10. LauraC

    Ugly Bird ID

    Thanks a bunch. I appreciate it.
  11. LauraC

    Ugly Bird ID

    I have been at Bombay Hook NWR in Delaware for the last 2 and a half weeks (May 1 - May 17) and cannot ID this ugly bird. I'm guessing it is some juvenile heron (it's the right size for a heron and was in the vicinity of egrets and herons) who will grow into his or her adult good looks eventually. In my camera the bird's streaks looked more grey than brown so that's how I described it when asking for ID help at Bombay Hook to no avail. I was pretty far away from the bird but I do have another image that shows the back of the wings better if you need to see it. The streaks are what's throwing me. The photos of younger great blue herons on bird websites don't look so streaky. If it is a young great blue heron about how old is it (teenager, toddler --- sorry not up on bird age terminology)? https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-MkXm48z/0/9aff87fc/O/i-MkXm48z.jpg I'm sure the bird told all his bird friends about the ugly old camera lady taking his picture.
  12. LauraC

    upgrading camera

    How about some Noise software as a plug-in to Photoshop or Photoshop Elements? I use Topaz DeNoise. I remove the noise from the whole image and then use my selection tool in Photoshop Elements to select the bird and go into Topaz Adjust to put the detail in the bird back in with filters called Clarity, Crisp, etc., which can be adjusted. In Topaz DeNoise, you can try different levels of noise reduction until you find what you like. With the strongest level of Noise Reduction. it will deband, too, if you have that problem.
  13. LauraC

    Migrating Gull Behavior

    Thank you both for responding. Yesterday, about 30 gulls arrived! I don't feed the ducks/geese at all anymore and would never feed them by hand. I used to give them black birdseed (like cardinals and chickadees eat) just to keep them eating elsewhere while I photograph the gulls (because the ducks like grapes, too). Birdseed is ok for ducks/geese and so are grapes. The geese and ducks here are very aggressive but funny. They come up to your car and tap on it with their beaks to let you know that they are here. Then, if you have your driver's side window open, the geese (not Canadian geese) look at you and then toss their head away from your car to signal you to throw some food out to them. I feed the wintering seagulls grapes. They prefer the red ones and the red looks good in photos when they fly off with one. I toss the grapes to them. The young gulls can't eat them. They can't seem to pick them up with their beaks. I feed the seagulls so they fly towards me (rather than left to right or vice versa) in front of me because I prefer those type of photographs. It's easy to photograph gulls at a lake compared to an ocean. They float in the water like the ducks, repeatedly dunk their heads to bathe, fish for food, then fly to the shore, perch on the lampposts (when it's not windy) with the crows or the floating docks to sun themselves. I will wait to see if more gulls show up. Thanks again.
  14. I'm not a birder but I am a bird photographer hobbyist. I've tried to do some research on this but cannot find the answer and was hoping some of you know. I live in Tennessee. Ring-billed gulls arrive at the lake in my town typically the last week of November or the first week of December. The earliest I have them arriving is November 22. I know this because I check every day to see if they have arrived and I name my photo files with the date the photos are taken and have done that for the last 7 years. They always leave the first week of March. I'm talking at least 75 - 100 of them. This year 2 showed up a week ago, it is now December 10 and the rest aren't here yet. These are my questions: 1. Why do they migrate here at all? Right now it's 27 degrees at 10:30A. Can't be much colder where they are from. It is usually 40s and 50s during the day but why not go further south? 2. Is it possible they won't show up at all this year? If so, why would that happen? 3. We also have ducks and geese at my lake all year long. People used to feed them all (ducks, geese, gulls) but the town put up a sign not to feed the ducks and geese bread (bad for them) and instead use the newly installed machines with duck food. Well, that's fine/right for the ducks and geese but the wintering seagulls don't seem to care for it. This would be the 3rd winter of no bread if they were actually here. I feed them grapes. The question is, could no longer getting bread from a lot of people make the gulls change winter migration destinations? Anything you can tell me would be appreciated.
  15. LauraC

    Upgraded from Nikon D5200 to 7200 [RESULTS]

    I upgraded from the 7100 to the 7200 because I had banding problems with the 7100. No more problem with that. I handhold my camera for all photos.