Author Topic: Photographers, cameras & questions  (Read 29282 times)

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Offline boonibarb

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Re: Photographers, cameras & questions
« Reply #30 on: June 26, 2012, 07:05:53 PM »

When i am all the way zoomed in, i have a hard time finding a flying Bird or even a perching Bird with my point & shoot!
For me the trick is to be on wide angle, then zoom in once i find them, but sometimes that makes the click too late!
wooohoooo!

Offline winterwren

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Re: Photographers, cameras & questions
« Reply #31 on: June 28, 2012, 11:13:27 AM »
Tumbleweed, I did my whole first year of ground observations with a point-and-shoot. I used one of the semi-manual settings (aperture priority, as Guy described, or shutter-speed priority, and playing with exposure compensation) to get the highest shutter speed I could with the available light. (You can look at the 2009-2010 threads to see the results.)

Without the big zoom lens, I had to rely on proximity, and of course luck, to get good shots. To get close to the birds, I had to learn patience and learn about their habits, learn to predict where they will be and which way they will move. You can't just go somewhere and think you'll get great shots in a few minutes. Well, sometimes you do; that's the luck part; but sometimes you have to sit somewhere for an hour or more. But this in itself teaches us to slow down, to blend in, to accept what is there (for example, instead of getting impatient because the eagles don't fly your way, you notice that there's a cute shore bird peering at you from a few feet away). It teaches us to breathe our way into Nature's pace. And isn't THAT why we do all this?

So, I found it a good learning process, to go to the limits of what a decent point-and-shoot camera could offer before moving up to a DSLR. I learned a LOT about photography and I learned a LOT about birds in that year. And also it gave me time to decide if I was passionate enough about this to justify saving up for that big zoom lens.

A lot of people go out and buy some new and expensive equipment to improve their photos, instead of working on finding the potential of the camera they do have, and on improving the photographer (yes, that's you!). I found the latter much more satisfying.

About tracking birds in flight: that part came easily to me, but I've been working on the water for much of my life, and so I have a lot of practice tracking tiny targets with binoculars, which is the same skill. So, practice, practice, practice. Track the robins in your yard. Track the neighbour's kid riding his bike down the street. Look at your target with naked eye, and lift your camera to your face without looking down. It helps if you can find a bigger landmark nearby, a distinctive tree or branch. Start with wider angle, then zoom in, as Booni explained in the last post.

Offline Guy

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Re: Photographers, cameras & questions
« Reply #32 on: June 28, 2012, 07:05:15 PM »
Good stuff wren, I'd like to add that choosing a single focus point (refer to your manuals) is essential, choose the centre focus point and the smallest focusing area if there's options for that.

If you're at a party and she's having more fun than you  in actuality your having way more fun than if you were having fun and she wasn't.

Offline PamNY

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Re: Photographers, cameras & questions
« Reply #33 on: June 30, 2012, 09:15:39 AM »
Wren you have articulated what I've been thinking about lately. A DSLR isn't in the budget right now -- but I'm learning a lot about birds and photography even with a P&S.

I also find a lot of interesting things because I'm mobile on my bicycle -- much as I'd love to have better equipment, I probably wouldn't have found the precious baby barn swallows if I were lugging a lot of stuff.

Offline Tumbleweed

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Re: Photographers, cameras & questions
« Reply #34 on: June 30, 2012, 10:09:22 PM »
Winterwren, you have a well written experience! This should give encouragement for those just starting in photography with a small budget. There is no shortcut to making good photos. All of us must live through our own trials and errors to get to our goals.

My original question was more of curiosity for this group, and encourage everyone to enjoy the artform regardless of their equipment. For me, I do all my photo-taking on a DSLR, publishing some to my own website.  Have fun, everyone!

Offline boonibarb

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Re: Photographers, cameras & questions
« Reply #35 on: July 02, 2012, 08:38:02 PM »

i have a question for those of you who got the Nikon P510.
i played with my settings & put a black frame around all my fotos when i play them back using the monitor.
It*s turned out i do not like this setting, as each foto has to be clicked to see it full screen, then you need to go back to the black framed version to go to the next foto.
Can anyone tell me how to eliminate the black border & go back to seeing the fotos full screen as was the default setting?
wooohoooo!

Offline jungleland

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Re: Photographers, cameras & questions
« Reply #36 on: July 03, 2012, 08:03:20 PM »
Winterwren you are right!  After reading this thread I didn't realize my camera could already do some of the things mentioned.  My point and shoot can adjust exposure on many modes.  I tried out the vivid color on my hydrangeas that Guy had mentioned and the d lighting.  I never heard of that before and there it was on my camera in the playback mode!  I took out my manual and reread it several times in the last 2 days then headed out to the yard and pond.  I was trying to take pictures of loons in the "beach mode" but wonder now if I should be using some other mode?  They don't seem very detailed.  I did play with exposure.   Here are a couple of pics.  If someone has suggestions on better settings I would gladly appreciate them!!!  :ecsmile





When shooting birds in trees, sky or the water is it better to select auto mode then make adjustments to exposure, ISO?  Should you not zoom in too much then crop?  Also I use picasa, how is that compared to photoscape?

I was also trying to take a picture of a butterfly on a flower and it's wings kept moving so I wonder what would be a good mode for trying to take a picture like that?


I learned a lot already from just reading the last 3 pages, but that has lead to more questions.
Thank-you to all of you who contributed such helpful information!!!   :ty :ty :ty

Offline Guy

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Re: Photographers, cameras & questions
« Reply #37 on: July 03, 2012, 09:05:39 PM »
Pretty good loon shots jungleland, one of the main problems here is the lighting, kind of looks like high mid day sun, morning and evening with the sun somewhere behind you is best. 'Beach mode' just overexposes the picture a bit but leaves you little control. like usual I suggest aperture priority 5.6 or 6.7 to start as that will give a good shutter speed necessary for bobbing loons and camera shake amplified by zooming in. Blast a shot and if it's good keep shooting, if it's not go up or down with your exposure compensation. That's also good for your butterfly. And don't be cheap on that shutter button take tons of shots they're free and easy to delete. One decent shot out of a hundred isn't bad.

Keep your iso as low as possible, I rarely venture beyond iso/200 as the pictures quickly turn to junk after that. As for zoom vrs crop keep the zoom down unless you're using a tripod, better a more distant clear picture than a blurry close-up and as you crop you can see the extent where the image is still sharp at a certain size.
If you're at a party and she's having more fun than you  in actuality your having way more fun than if you were having fun and she wasn't.

Offline Guy

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Re: Photographers, cameras & questions
« Reply #38 on: July 04, 2012, 09:14:39 AM »
P.S. - If your lighting is going to stay fairly even as soon as you get a decently lit picture bring up the information on that picture, say it's f/6.7, 1/750, switch to manual mode and enter those values, now exposure compensation is disabled and the exposure is controlled by changing the F number and shutter speed. This is actually very easy to do and gives you full control. This is best for a fairly static scene not for a flying bird as the scene's lighting will change as yo pan with the bird.
If you're at a party and she's having more fun than you  in actuality your having way more fun than if you were having fun and she wasn't.

Offline jungleland

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Re: Photographers, cameras & questions
« Reply #39 on: July 06, 2012, 06:00:40 PM »
Thank-you Guy for all your suggestions.  I have written them down and plan to try them out soon.   My Nikon L110 only allows some manual changes but my older canon has manual adjustments so I will compare.  Again  :ty

Offline basenjimom

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Re: Photographers, cameras & questions
« Reply #40 on: July 06, 2012, 06:14:14 PM »
Jungle, my pics at 'Garden' are from a L100.  Here is where I learned about my cam.  I never knew it could take a half way decent pic.  

I'll keep reading here and learning.

(edited to change L110)

Offline Tigerlady105

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Re: Photographers, cameras & questions
« Reply #41 on: July 06, 2012, 07:01:05 PM »
Thank you to everyone who is posting tips here.  I've copied all of them!   :thumbup:
Commit random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.

"When one tugs at a single thing in nature; he finds it attached to the rest of the world". ~John Muir

Offline Guy

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Re: Photographers, cameras & questions
« Reply #42 on: July 07, 2012, 02:44:46 PM »
Why choose 'aperture priority' for moving targets?

(clickable image)
This picture was taken in aperture priority mode with f/5.6 chosen which leaves the camera to choose the speed, exposure compensation can be used in this mode but a couple test shots showed I didn't need it with the low morning sun behind me (this gave them the golden glow). Anyways f/5.6 lets a fair amount of light in allowing the camera to choose a high shutter speed which in this case was 1/2000 and even at that the fast beating wings show some blurring even though the bodies and heads are sharp. My point here is that a fully automatic setting MIGHT have chosen f/5.6, 1/2000, but it might have just as easily chosen f/11, 1/500 which is the exact same exposure but the slow 1/500 speed would have
produced a fuzzy brown blob for a picture. If the sun was higher and brighter I would have chosen a higher number F/stop or else the camera wouldn't have had enough speed to not overexpose the picture.

Also I was set at iso/200, raising the iso will also increase the exposure allowing for more speed or depth of field (higher F number) but increasing the iso quickly degrades the quality of the image so I don't recommend it except under special circumstances.
If you're at a party and she's having more fun than you  in actuality your having way more fun than if you were having fun and she wasn't.

Offline Donnae

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Re: Photographers, cameras & questions
« Reply #43 on: July 07, 2012, 03:08:40 PM »
WOOOO HOOOOO I just bought a Nikon P510..... so excited and it comes with a hour lesson that I have to book.  Now to learn how to use it :-)

Offline Tigerlady105

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Re: Photographers, cameras & questions
« Reply #44 on: July 07, 2012, 05:05:04 PM »
Congratulations, Donna! So eggciting, isn't t?! We're all learning together here!    Enjoy it!   :heart

Guy, thank you for your excellent tutorials!  They are just the right size for us to absorb a little at a time.  I especially appreciate that you give us the reasons for your choices.    :thumbup:
Commit random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.

"When one tugs at a single thing in nature; he finds it attached to the rest of the world". ~John Muir