BIF shooters, please help

Started 6 months ago | Questions
dzba
Contributing MemberPosts: 652Gear list
Like?
BIF shooters, please help
6 months ago

I recently was given a Canon 70-300 1.4/5.6 ISA USM by a friend who said it only locks on focus 50% of the time.  I use this lens on my Canon t4i.

Depending how you look at it, I've been blessed, or cursed, with a chance to photograph bald eagles at distances varying from 20 yards to 300 yards.  I'm posting pics to show what my results have been.     These birds are surprisingly quick for their size and when the action happens I'm not quick enough to get everything right.  I have improved a great deal in the last 6 days of shooting these magnificent birds.

SS- 1/1328 sec,  FS- 7.1,  ISO 200 @ 255 mm

SS-1/1000 sec,  FS- 7.1,   ISO 200   @260 mm

SS- 1/500,  FS- 7.1,   ISO- 200  @280mm

These are SOOC in raw format, then resized and converted to jpeg, so post here.

A local pro advised me to shoot to open up my lens to 5.6 and bump the ISO up to attain a minimum of 1/2000 shutter speed.  He feels that even though the sweet spot on the lens is between f7 and f10 I'd be better off opening up the lens so I can gain shutter speed.  In the past, when I've used ISO over 200 I start to see noise and don't like what I'm seeing above 400.

It occurred to me that I could gain a lot more in the way of sharpness if I went into the picture style editor.  I've been shooting in Faithful style and had the sharpness set at 1+  out of a possible 7+  max setting.

I've been shooting in raw format and continuous burst when I can keep the subject in the frame.  I get green confirmation dot after pre focusing for a couple of seconds and then shoot.

I switched from continuous focus because I had trouble locating the bird in the viewfinder when the focus was way off.  They can, and do, change directions on a dime, and give you 5 cents change.  I'm too slow to capture their sudden moves.  When I can anticipate, I have a chance.

All have been hand held attempts at this point.  I have a good tripod, with a ball head and intend to try using that in spite of their quick movements.   Since the location is 10 away and I have plenty of time, I go a lot.  I'm a glutton for frustration at this point.:-(

I would welcome suggestions and ideas on how I can get my efforts much sharper before I attempt any post processing.  Thanks, Mike

 dzba's gear list:dzba's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 Canon EOS 650D Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM +1 more
ANSWER:
Canon EOS 650D (EOS Rebel T4i / EOS Kiss X6i)
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
TC63
Regular MemberPosts: 185
Like?
Re: BIF shooters, please help
In reply to dzba, 6 months ago

Although I haven't used the same lens YET on my Eagle shooting, AI servo serves me well, as well as back button focusing. Try changing your focus point to center...refer to the lenses IS modes.I often expose to the right when shooting these birds.

You can still up the ISO and fix in post and also a gimbal head is so much better if you can afford one as they do come as low as around $125 US.

Lastly you can get decent photos with the lens. My experience so far with the lens is good and no focus problems at all BUT you have to know that the lens has it limitations when shooting these birds from a distance.

Just my opinion as I'm sure more of the good folks here will tune in as well.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
seeker moc
Regular MemberPosts: 123Gear list
Like?
Re: BIF shooters, please help
In reply to dzba, 6 months ago

A local pro advised me to shoot to open up my lens to 5.6 and bump the ISO up to attain a minimum of 1/2000 shutter speed. He feels that even though the sweet spot on the lens is between f7 and f10 I'd be better off opening up the lens so I can gain shutter speed. In the past, when I've used ISO over 200 I start to see noise and don't like what I'm seeing above 400.

Fast shutter speed is a good idea when trying to shoot something moving that fast. It should freeze movement both from camera + telephoto lens-hand holding and subject movement. Also, if you have unintended motion blur in the pictures, sharpness and everything else is irrelevant, so I would consider freezing movement more important that using your preferred aperture/ISO. Though from what I've read, 1/1000 should be fast enough for eagles and other large birds.

That said, in my (quite amateur) opinion, the problem in the pics you posted looks more like focus is slightly off than motion blur.

It occurred to me that I could gain a lot more in the way of sharpness if I went into the picture style editor. I've been shooting in Faithful style and had the sharpness set at 1+ out of a possible 7+ max setting.

AFAIK, if you're shooting RAW, this is irrelevant. Picture styles are only applied to out-of-camera JPEGs. Any thing you can do w/ picture styles you can do in PP.

I've been shooting in raw format and continuous burst when I can keep the subject in the frame. I get green confirmation dot after pre focusing for a couple of seconds and then shoot.

I switched from continuous focus because I had trouble locating the bird in the viewfinder when the focus was way off. They can, and do, change directions on a dime, and give you 5 cents change. I'm too slow to capture their sudden moves. When I can anticipate, I have a chance.

All have been hand held attempts at this point. I have a good tripod, with a ball head and intend to try using that in spite of their quick movements. Since the location is 10 away and I have plenty of time, I go a lot. I'm a glutton for frustration at this point.:-(

With shutter speeds high enough, a tripod shouldn't matter. If anything, I would think a tripod would hinder your ability to easily track your subject (though I've never used a really good tripod before, so I don't know for sure).

I would welcome suggestions and ideas on how I can get my efforts much sharper before I attempt any post processing. Thanks, Mike

 seeker moc's gear list:seeker moc's gear list
Canon EOS 100D Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC MACRO OS HSM | C
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Digirame
Forum ProPosts: 29,195
Like?
Re: BIF shooters, please help
In reply to dzba, 6 months ago

With my Canon T2i (550D) camera, I commonly use up to ISO5000. A little noise is better than a blurry picture. When the photo is resized or printed out the small amount of noise is "washed away", I believe because the noise is in the mix with other good pixels. It also depends on the size of the print, the printer and many other things.

Here's one recent picture at ISO5000 that I previously showed (as an extreme example). It was very cloudy with light rain and I took this through thick glass at the zoo. I also have taken pictures of birds up to ISO5000 also (it's because we have such a rainy climate where I live).

I don't have experience with other Canon telephoto lenses, so I can only relate to what I get with my Canon 55-250mm IS lens. Here's a BIF with that lens at ISO800 at F13. What I like about my lens, is that the autofocus locks on fast (compared to my older Olympus DSLR 70-300mm lens). This little bird was skimming along the surface of the water rather fast. I might have cropped this a little too. At the time (if I remember correctly) I saw this bird and just took it with whatever settings I had in the camera at the time. I wasn't planning on taking this picture. I just happened to see the bird and quickly reacted.

So, what I'm saying (with these examples) is that if I were you, I would be stopping the lens down some and using higher ISO levels. We have to be careful to not pixel peek too much for a little bit of noise. Just look at the overall result when it's shown on the web or when we print the picture out.

Oh, just one more comment.  These are out-of-the-camera JPEGs and my sharpness level (I believe) is at 4 out of 7 (that I set in the menu).

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
dzba
Contributing MemberPosts: 652Gear list
Like?
Re: BIF shooters, please help
In reply to TC63, 6 months ago

TC63 wrote:

Hi TC, thanks for you reply and suggestions.

Although I haven't used the same lens YET on my Eagle shooting, AI servo serves me well, as well as back button focusing. Try changing your focus point to center...refer to the lenses IS modes.I often expose to the right when shooting these birds.

I have been using single, center point focus and then after achieving focus confirmation and holding the shutter button 1/2 way down, recompose.  I remember reading about the back button focus here, but haven't bored down that deep into the menu settings to change to it.  I'll likely try to do this tonight, after today's shooting.  The eagles have "peak activity times" and I'm about to head out for them.

I can't seem to get find the bird in the viewfinder unless I can prefocus to a proximity distance and then, I can locate the bird in my viewfinder.  When everything is blurry, I have no success finding it.  Point well taken on the exposure being a bit dark.  I've been so frustrated trying to get sharper pics that I'd overlooked the exposure, I've had EV set at zero.

You bring up an interesting point about the IS feature.  This lens has 3 IS positions.  I've read S-1 is for general handheld photo taking.  S-2 is for panning moving subjects.  The person who gave this lens to me said to not use that setting.  He used this lens for racing cars going 140 mph and never used S-2.  The third option is off.  From what I've read on the web, most bird shooters advise turning IS off.  That make no sense to me.  I have only tried S-1 so far.

You can still up the ISO and fix in post and also a gimbal head is so much better if you can afford one as they do come as low as around $125 US.

I had a chance to "try" a gimbal head one of the local "big gun" boys had on their setup.  I too, think this suggestion will be something I end up doing.  I know it's way overkill for what I currently have for equipment, but maybe someday I'll rent heavier glass.

Lastly you can get decent photos with the lens. My experience so far with the lens is good and no focus problems at all BUT you have to know that the lens has it limitations when shooting these birds from a distance.

I agree that I can get decent pics with this lens.  See my heron posting in this week's show your snaps thread.  Seems to work well for me for landscapes.

Just my opinion as I'm sure more of the good folks here will tune in as well.

I'm hoping that others will offer their help.  Maybe R2 can chime in with his ?  His eagle photos were what pushed me off the fence towards getting this camera.  Thanks again, Mike

 dzba's gear list:dzba's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 Canon EOS 650D Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
guinness2
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,698
Like?
Re: BIF shooters, please help
In reply to dzba, 6 months ago

No worries, BIF is very difficult. I second your pro friend and TC64. I have the lens and tried BIF, firstly, you need bright sunny day to achieve 1/1000s , forget overcast days shooting, seconds, it's focusing speed is quite slow, suppose many OOF garbage. Central point, AI servo, continuous shooting and Back button focusing helps. It is fine lens ,only that AF speed...

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
dzba
Contributing MemberPosts: 652Gear list
Like?
Re: BIF shooters, please help
In reply to seeker moc, 6 months ago

seeker moc wrote:

Hi moc,

thanks for your interest and reply.

A local pro advised me to shoot to open up my lens to 5.6 and bump the ISO up to attain a minimum of 1/2000 shutter speed. He feels that even though the sweet spot on the lens is between f7 and f10 I'd be better off opening up the lens so I can gain shutter speed. In the past, when I've used ISO over 200 I start to see noise and don't like what I'm seeing above 400.

Fast shutter speed is a good idea when trying to shoot something moving that fast. It should freeze movement both from camera + telephoto lens-hand holding and subject movement. Also, if you have unintended motion blur in the pictures, sharpness and everything else is irrelevant, so I would consider freezing movement more important that using your preferred aperture/ISO. Though from what I've read, 1/1000 should be fast enough for eagles and other large birds.

I agree with all of the above.

That said, in my (quite amateur) opinion, the problem in the pics you posted looks more like focus is slightly off than motion blur.

It occurred to me that I could gain a lot more in the way of sharpness if I went into the picture style editor. I've been shooting in Faithful style and had the sharpness set at 1+ out of a possible 7+ max setting.

AFAIK, if you're shooting RAW, this is irrelevant. Picture styles are only applied to out-of-camera JPEGs. Any thing you can do w/ picture styles you can do in PP.

AFAIK ?  I wan't aware that would include the sharpness setting.

I've been shooting in raw format and continuous burst when I can keep the subject in the frame. I get green confirmation dot after pre focusing for a couple of seconds and then shoot.

I switched from continuous focus because I had trouble locating the bird in the viewfinder when the focus was way off. They can, and do, change directions on a dime, and give you 5 cents change. I'm too slow to capture their sudden moves. When I can anticipate, I have a chance.

All have been hand held attempts at this point. I have a good tripod, with a ball head and intend to try using that in spite of their quick movements. Since the location is 10 away and I have plenty of time, I go a lot. I'm a glutton for frustration at this point.:-(

With shutter speeds high enough, a tripod shouldn't matter. If anything, I would think a tripod would hinder your ability to easily track your subject (though I've never used a really good tripod before, so I don't know for sure).

Yes to the above.  The above mentioned pro had a second setup hanging around his neck that he used when the birds got too close for his 500 mm prime.  Thanks again for your response, Mike

I would welcome suggestions and ideas on how I can get my efforts much sharper before I attempt any post processing. Thanks, Mike

 dzba's gear list:dzba's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 Canon EOS 650D Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Digirame
Forum ProPosts: 29,195
Like?
Re: BIF shooters, please help
In reply to dzba, 6 months ago

To follow up with what I previously was saying, here's one at ISO400.  All day long, you could be using at least ISO400 to achieve faster shutter speeds.   I wouldn't hesitate to use ISO800 or even ISO1600.  I'm often forced to use higher ISO levels, because I take pictures of flying birds in cloudy weather too (but they don't look as good because of the light gray skies).

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
AndyMulhearn
Regular MemberPosts: 378Gear list
Like?
Re: BIF shooters, please help
In reply to dzba, 6 months ago

dzba wrote:

These are SOOC in raw format, then resized and converted to jpeg, so post here.

OK, so you shoot raw and post process. Just to be clear on what you're saying...

A local pro advised me to shoot to open up my lens to 5.6 and bump the ISO up to attain a minimum of 1/2000 shutter speed. He feels that even though the sweet spot on the lens is between f7 and f10 I'd be better off opening up the lens so I can gain shutter speed. In the past, when I've used ISO over 200 I start to see noise and don't like what I'm seeing above 400.

I would say that's a good starting point but some modification may be needed. I suspect you can get away with somewhere between 1/1000 and 1/2000 depending on the bird. Bigger birds flap their wings more slowly so 1/1000 may be enough. He's also correct about opening up to f5.6 but a) the lens may be soft at that aperture and b) the shallow depth of field may not help with focusing issues.

I also think you're going to need to accept some noise because you have no option. For these birds I would start at 1/1000, f8 and use Auto ISO with the upper limit set to ISO 3200. Whatever post processing software you use will have noise reduction tools, you'll just need to learn how to use them. If you get really good light and can go to 1/2000 then by all means do but you can vary it depending on the size of the target.

It occurred to me that I could gain a lot more in the way of sharpness if I went into the picture style editor. I've been shooting in Faithful style and had the sharpness set at 1+ out of a possible 7+ max setting.

Sorry, this does't mean anything to me. Are they camera settings or something in the software you use? They'e certainly not something that I think will impact raw images out of a Canon camera. Honestly you should shoot raw and put the sharpness in during post processing.

I've been shooting in raw format and continuous burst when I can keep the subject in the frame. I get green confirmation dot after pre focusing for a couple of seconds and then shoot.

Ah, no that's not going to work. Yes, use raw but unless I've misread your post, you're using single-shot AF. What happens there is that the camera focuses where the target is and then stops focussing. The by the time you've reacted fired the shutter, the target has moved. You need to switch back to AI Servo and work with it. BIF, IMHO, is about the hardest discipline to master. It needs lots of practice.

I switched from continuous focus because I had trouble locating the bird in the viewfinder when the focus was way off. They can, and do, change directions on a dime, and give you 5 cents change. I'm too slow to capture their sudden moves. When I can anticipate, I have a chance.

You really need to do two things. One, practice following birds and two, take lots of shots. Only if you practice can will you get better. While the Eagles are spectacular birds, I practice on seagulls. They let you get closer, there are a lot more of them, you can attract them with bread and they can be a little more predictable in flight.

All have been hand held attempts at this point. I have a good tripod, with a ball head and intend to try using that in spite of their quick movements. Since the location is 10 away and I have plenty of time, I go a lot. I'm a glutton for frustration at this point.:-(

I've never used a tripod for BIF and can't see how you would. Unless the bird is so far away it's movement across the field of view is relatively slow at which point it's far enough away that you'd need a 800mm lens to shoot it. I shoot handheld...

I would welcome suggestions and ideas on how I can get my efforts much sharper before I attempt any post processing. Thanks, Mike

I think you need a longer lens but there's not much you can do about that.

It's also worth looking at the bird's behaviour. Stuff like they prefer to take off and land into the wind so if you have the wind at your back they will fly towards you to land. Do they come back to a perch? If you see them landing somewhere consistently you can pre-focus on the perch and get the coming into land and taking off. For example:

Coming in to land on a roof top

Taking off into the wind

Both shot with a 7D and EF 400mm L.

And switch to back button focus, it's a far better way to control the AF than the standard shutter/AF on the one button.

 AndyMulhearn's gear list:AndyMulhearn's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0L USM
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
dzba
Contributing MemberPosts: 652Gear list
Like?
Re: BIF shooters, please help
In reply to Digirame, 6 months ago

Digirame wrote:

With my Canon T2i (550D) camera, I commonly use up to ISO5000. A little noise is better than a blurry picture. When the photo is resized or printed out the small amount of noise is "washed away", I believe because the noise is in the mix with other good pixels. It also depends on the size of the print, the printer and many other thing

Here's one recent picture at ISO5000 that I previously showed (as an extreme example). It was very cloudy with light rain and I took this through thick glass at the zoo. I also have taken pictures of birds up to ISO5000 also (it's because we have such a rainy climate where I live).

I've noticed you frequently do this.  I just tried to post a pic of taken at a high ISO I took, but DP review locked up and I couldn't do it.  Maybe tonight, after my day's outing ?  I would like to hear more about how you're able to consistently do this.

I don't have experience with other Canon telephoto lenses, so I can only relate to what I get with my Canon 55-250mm IS lens. Here's a BIF with that lens at ISO800 at F13. What I like about my lens, is that the autofocus locks on fast (compared to my older Olympus DSLR 70-300mm lens). This little bird was skimming along the surface of the water rather fast. I might have cropped this a little too. At the time (if I remember correctly) I saw this bird and just took it with whatever settings I had in the camera at the time. I wasn't planning on taking this picture. I just happened to see the bird and quickly reacted.

So, what I'm saying (with these examples) is that if I were you, I would be stopping the lens down some and using higher ISO levels. We have to be careful to not pixel peek too much for a little bit of noise. Just look at the overall result when it's shown on the web or when we print the picture out.

In a slower moment I'm going to try this.  There are (at times) gulls in the air flying about.  I like how sharp your image is.  Mine are not even close, yet.

Oh, just one more comment. These are out-of-the-camera JPEGs and my sharpness level (I believe) is at 4 out of 7 (that I set in the menu).

Out of frustration, early this AM I changed my setting from zero to 7.  Per your recommendation I'm moving it to 4, as I haven't (yet) left for today's outing.    Will have more time tonight and will show how it goes.  Provided the eagles show themselves.  As word gets out, more people are getting too aggressive and approach them and they don't tolerate that.  The city police finally came yesterday and escorted one very obnoxious, repeat offender.  Thanks again, Mike

 dzba's gear list:dzba's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 Canon EOS 650D Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
dzba
Contributing MemberPosts: 652Gear list
Like?
Re: BIF shooters, please help
In reply to guinness2, 6 months ago

guinness2 wrote:

Hi guinness,

thanks for your interest and reply.  I'm trying to get out the door for today's shoot, but wanted to let you know your input is appreciated, and welcome.  I'll find more time tonight to respond.

No worries, BIF is very difficult. I second your pro friend and TC64. I have the lens and tried BIF, firstly, you need bright sunny day to achieve 1/1000s , forget overcast days shooting, seconds, it's focusing speed is quite slow, suppose many OOF garbage. Central point, AI servo, continuous shooting and Back button focusing helps. It is fine lens ,only that AF speed...

One thing I've learned about this, it's very tough for me to get what I want.  More later, Mike

 dzba's gear list:dzba's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 Canon EOS 650D Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
dzba
Contributing MemberPosts: 652Gear list
Like?
Re: BIF shooters, please help
In reply to Digirame, 6 months ago

Digirame wrote:

To follow up with what I previously was saying, here's one at ISO400. All day long, you could be using at least ISO400 to achieve faster shutter speeds. I wouldn't hesitate to use ISO800 or even ISO1600. I'm often forced to use higher ISO levels, because I take pictures of flying birds in cloudy weather too (but they don't look as good because of the light gray skies).

Another fine example of your efforts.  See my earlier response to you.  I will get braver today and try higher ISO speeds to see how that works for me.  I tried to post a high ISO shot of mine, but couldn't and can't wait any longer, at the moment.  I'll check back in after I return from today's outing.  Thanks, Mike

 dzba's gear list:dzba's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 Canon EOS 650D Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Digirame
Forum ProPosts: 29,195
Like?
Re: BIF shooters, please help
In reply to dzba, 6 months ago

I've been using this Canon system for a little over two years.  Previously, I was using an Olympus system.  If I'm not mistaken, the sharpness levels are only good for JPEG shooters.  For those taking pictures in RAW these settings have no affect (but please verify this as I only shoot JPEGs).

My suggestion is that you might want to start taking pictures in JPEG only (while you are practicing).  When you are starting to improve then you could switch to RAW.  That might help you post process faster and your files won't be as huge.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
dzba
Contributing MemberPosts: 652Gear list
Like?
Re: BIF shooters, please help
In reply to AndyMulhearn, 6 months ago

AndyMulhearn wrote:

Hi Andy,

thanks for your time and response.  I've been trying to get out the door for over 30 min, but wanted to reply to each post, so far.  I will get back to your suggestions, tonight after I return.  For now, I've read and agree you've made some good suggestions.  I'll experiment more today, and see how that goes.

dzba wrote:

These are SOOC in raw format, then resized and converted to jpeg, so post here.

OK, so you shoot raw and post process. Just to be clear on what you're saying...

A local pro advised me to shoot to open up my lens to 5.6 and bump the ISO up to attain a minimum of 1/2000 shutter speed. He feels that even though the sweet spot on the lens is between f7 and f10 I'd be better off opening up the lens so I can gain shutter speed. In the past, when I've used ISO over 200 I start to see noise and don't like what I'm seeing above 400.

I would say that's a good starting point but some modification may be needed. I suspect you can get away with somewhere between 1/1000 and 1/2000 depending on the bird. Bigger birds flap their wings more slowly so 1/1000 may be enough. He's also correct about opening up to f5.6 but a) the lens may be soft at that aperture and b) the shallow depth of field may not help with focusing issues.

I also think you're going to need to accept some noise because you have no option. For these birds I would start at 1/1000, f8 and use Auto ISO with the upper limit set to ISO 3200. Whatever post processing software you use will have noise reduction tools, you'll just need to learn how to use them. If you get really good light and can go to 1/2000 then by all means do but you can vary it depending on the size of the target.

It occurred to me that I could gain a lot more in the way of sharpness if I went into the picture style editor. I've been shooting in Faithful style and had the sharpness set at 1+ out of a possible 7+ max setting.

Sorry, this does't mean anything to me. Are they camera settings or something in the software you use? They'e certainly not something that I think will impact raw images out of a Canon camera. Honestly you should shoot raw and put the sharpness in during post processing.

I've been shooting in raw format and continuous burst when I can keep the subject in the frame. I get green confirmation dot after pre focusing for a couple of seconds and then shoot.

Ah, no that's not going to work. Yes, use raw but unless I've misread your post, you're using single-shot AF. What happens there is that the camera focuses where the target is and then stops focussing. The by the time you've reacted fired the shutter, the target has moved. You need to switch back to AI Servo and work with it. BIF, IMHO, is about the hardest discipline to master. It needs lots of practice.

I switched from continuous focus because I had trouble locating the bird in the viewfinder when the focus was way off. They can, and do, change directions on a dime, and give you 5 cents change. I'm too slow to capture their sudden moves. When I can anticipate, I have a chance.

You really need to do two things. One, practice following birds and two, take lots of shots. Only if you practice can will you get better. While the Eagles are spectacular birds, I practice on seagulls. They let you get closer, there are a lot more of them, you can attract them with bread and they can be a little more predictable in flight.

All have been hand held attempts at this point. I have a good tripod, with a ball head and intend to try using that in spite of their quick movements. Since the location is 10 away and I have plenty of time, I go a lot. I'm a glutton for frustration at this point.:-(

I've never used a tripod for BIF and can't see how you would. Unless the bird is so far away it's movement across the field of view is relatively slow at which point it's far enough away that you'd need a 800mm lens to shoot it. I shoot handheld...

I would welcome suggestions and ideas on how I can get my efforts much sharper before I attempt any post processing. Thanks, Mike

I think you need a longer lens but there's not much you can do about that.

It's also worth looking at the bird's behaviour. Stuff like they prefer to take off and land into the wind so if you have the wind at your back they will fly towards you to land. Do they come back to a perch? If you see them landing somewhere consistently you can pre-focus on the perch and get the coming into land and taking off. For example:

Coming in to land on a roof top

Taking off into the wind

Both shot with a 7D and EF 400mm L.

Beautifully sharp images.

And switch to back button focus, it's a far better way to control the AF than the standard shutter/AF on the one button.

I'll have to setup back button focus tonight, when I will have some time and try it.  Thaks again for your response, I'll get back to this post later tonight, Mike

 dzba's gear list:dzba's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 Canon EOS 650D Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
AndyMulhearn
Regular MemberPosts: 378Gear list
Like?
Re: BIF shooters, please help
In reply to dzba, 6 months ago

dzba wrote:

I'll have to setup back button focus tonight, when I will have some time and try it. Thaks again for your response, I'll get back to this post later tonight, Mike

No problem Mike, have a good day

 AndyMulhearn's gear list:AndyMulhearn's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0L USM
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
seeker moc
Regular MemberPosts: 123Gear list
Like?
Re: BIF shooters, please help
In reply to dzba, 6 months ago

AFAIK, if you're shooting RAW, this is irrelevant. Picture styles are only applied to out-of-camera JPEGs. Any thing you can do w/ picture styles you can do in PP.

AFAIK ? I wan't aware that would include the sharpness setting.

RAW is the unaltered output of the image sensor. No in-camera processing (lens correction, picture style, sharpness, auto lighting optimizer, etc) is applied to RAW files. I have heard this may be different with Nikon (who supposedly does add sharpening to RAW files), but at least for Canon they don't.

 seeker moc's gear list:seeker moc's gear list
Canon EOS 100D Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC MACRO OS HSM | C
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
seeker moc
Regular MemberPosts: 123Gear list
Like?
Re: BIF shooters, please help
In reply to Digirame, 6 months ago

Personally, with the SL1, I set max ISO to 1600. ISO 100-400 are great, ISO 800-1600 are good with a little noise reduction applied, but once you go over 1600 things start to go downhill pretty quickly, especially in low-light.

 seeker moc's gear list:seeker moc's gear list
Canon EOS 100D Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC MACRO OS HSM | C
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Digirame
Forum ProPosts: 29,195
Like?
Re: BIF shooters, please help
In reply to seeker moc, 6 months ago

Yes, after ISO1600 there's more noise. But I have found it acceptable, so that I can achieve the depth of field and shutter speed that I want so that a large portion of the bird is in focus and it's not blurry. Here's one at ISO5000 from my camera. According to DxO Mark the low light performance of the SL1 (100D) camera is similar to my Canon T2i (550D) camera.

This is an out-of-the-camera JPEG, that is post processed simply with IrfanView. I suppose if I shot this RAW and applied some noise reduction with other software, it would be better. But I kind of like it the way it is now. A little extra grains or noise doesn't necessarily detract from the overall image. But I suppose that's a subjective opinion, that each of us might view differently.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Atoche
Contributing MemberPosts: 577Gear list
Like?
Re: BIF shooters, please help
In reply to dzba, 6 months ago

I personally have just begun to take some BIF pictures. I have read and begun to practice, I'm happy to share my initial experience with you.

what I have learned:

1. SS is king, I bump ISO to get my SS up above 1/2000

2. I set my aperture between f/8 and f/13 but rarely more or less than that

3. i expose to the right. This was weird to me at first, given I had a high ISO setting I did not think ETTR would be important. So, even on a bright sunny day I will bump up ISO, SS and still expose to the right.

SS stops the motion well. F/8-13 ensures adequate DoF, and ETTR exposes to remove the noise.

now, I am concentrating on hitting the bird with the af point. Currently I am using AI Servo, and AF expansion mode most often beginning with the center af point. I am not using a tripod, monopod, or gimble head.

what has helped me the most? reading DPReview - and practicing every day that I can!

-- hide signature --

"I may be a geek, but it pays for the car...!"

 Atoche's gear list:Atoche's gear list
Pentax Optio WG-2 GPS Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS 500D Canon EOS 7D Sony Alpha NEX-3N +9 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
dzba
Contributing MemberPosts: 652Gear list
Like?
Re: BIF shooters, please help
In reply to Digirame, 6 months ago

Digirame wrote:

Hi again Digi,

just returned from today's outing.  I'm in the process of downloading the results now.  Want to review what the images look like on the monitor before I form an opinion.

Yes, after ISO1600 there's more noise. But I have found it acceptable, so that I can achieve the depth of field and shutter speed that I want so that a large portion of the bird is in focus and it's not blurry. Here's one at ISO5000 from my camera. According to DxO Mark the low light performance of the SL1 (100D) camera is similar to my Canon T2i (550D) camera.

This is an out-of-the-camera JPEG, that is post processed simply with IrfanView. I suppose if I shot this RAW and applied some noise reduction with other software, it would be better. But I kind of like it the way it is now. A little extra grains or noise doesn't necessarily detract from the overall image. But I suppose that's a subjective opinion, that each of us might view differently.

I don't see many hummers on branches when they're around.  You've once again shown that you have no problems using high ISO and get good results.  I'm a long way from that, at this point.   My brother got a hummer feeder so we can try our luck this summer in the mountains and maybe get some good shots of their nearby resting places.

Do you recall if you had the sharpness level set at 4 in the above image ?  I'm attempting to use FastStone for an image viewer, mainly and have just started messing with Lightroom for editing.      When I resized the pics today to post them here I lost all the exif data doing so in the smaller size.  I like having that data available to review and get a greater understanding what works and what didn't.

I'll try to check back in later tonight, but will early tomorrow after recuperating from the windy day today.  Thanks for your interest and help, Mike

 dzba's gear list:dzba's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30 Canon EOS 650D Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads