GBH Flight Sequence from Great Falls on the Potomac River

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Strategist
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GBH Flight Sequence from Great Falls on the Potomac River
4 months ago

Flight sequence shots...

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Tom

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Chuvarsky
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Re: GBH Flight Sequence from Great Falls on the Potomac River
In reply to Strategist, 4 months ago

Really great series and great pictures!

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Dick

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Chuck_FL
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Re: GBH Flight Sequence from Great Falls on the Potomac River
In reply to Strategist, 4 months ago

Tom,

Great shots, like the background to.

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Strategist
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Re: GBH Flight Sequence from Great Falls on the Potomac River
In reply to Chuck_FL, 4 months ago

Thank you Churvarsky and Chuck. The Potomac River at Great Falls is a perfect place to get photos of these guys when they are active.

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Tom

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dwa1
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The most impressive GBH images that I have ever seen.
In reply to Strategist, 4 months ago

Wow (again)! Tom, these are the most impressive GBH images that I have ever seen. At 500mm and f4 you did a great job to nail that sequence. Not much room for error with those settings. Great job on the editing too. They sort of have a "slight" HDR look to them. Very artistic too. Wall hangers for sure.

Keep up the great work and thanks for posting.

Wayne

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Strategist
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Re: The most impressive GBH images that I have ever seen.
In reply to dwa1, 4 months ago

dwa1 wrote:

Wow (again)! Tom, these are the most impressive GBH images that I have ever seen. At 500mm and f4 you did a great job to nail that sequence. Not much room for error with those settings. Great job on the editing too. They sort of have a "slight" HDR look to them. Very artistic too. Wall hangers for sure.

Keep up the great work and thanks for posting.

Wayne

Thank you very much, Wayne.  This particular series everything just sort of came together.  I won't tell you how many I had to throw away to get these keepers, though!

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Tom

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tpg77
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Re: GBH Flight Sequence from Great Falls on the Potomac River
In reply to Strategist, 4 months ago

Those are beautifully done both shots and processing.

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Combat By Design
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Re: GBH Flight Sequence from Great Falls on the Potomac River
In reply to Strategist, 4 months ago

These are excellent.
Roughly how far away would you say you were?

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Strategist
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Re: GBH Flight Sequence from Great Falls on the Potomac River
In reply to tpg77, 4 months ago

tpg77 wrote:

Those are beautifully done both shots and processing.

Thank you, TPG!

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Tom

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Strategist
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Re: GBH Flight Sequence from Great Falls on the Potomac River
In reply to Combat By Design, 4 months ago

Combat By Design wrote:

These are excellent.
Roughly how far away would you say you were?

Hello "Combat" and thanks for the kind words.  I would estimate that I was 75 yards or so from the GBH.

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Tom

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Fish Chris
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Re: GBH Flight Sequence from Great Falls on the Potomac River
In reply to Strategist, 4 months ago

Very nice GBH shots. Like the BG a lot too.

Just curious why you used 1/4000 and 1/5000th ? I often prefer the wings of a bird to be totally sharp and unblurred.... however, this can usually be achieved with larger birds, at 1/2000th, or even 1/1600th....

When learning my 7D, I had graduated up to as fast as 1/3200.... and I thought that was fast... but even at 1/3200, I saw considerable photo quality degradation, and ended up going back to at least 1/2500... or slower... and in fact, thinking more about pushing it down to the slower end, using my new tripod more often....

But in any case, these are very nice I love GBH's

Peace,

Fish

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Strategist
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Re: GBH Flight Sequence from Great Falls on the Potomac River
In reply to Fish Chris, 4 months ago

Fish Chris wrote:

Very nice GBH shots. Like the BG a lot too.

Just curious why you used 1/4000 and 1/5000th ? I often prefer the wings of a bird to be totally sharp and unblurred.... however, this can usually be achieved with larger birds, at 1/2000th, or even 1/1600th....

When learning my 7D, I had graduated up to as fast as 1/3200.... and I thought that was fast... but even at 1/3200, I saw considerable photo quality degradation, and ended up going back to at least 1/2500... or slower... and in fact, thinking more about pushing it down to the slower end, using my new tripod more often....

But in any case, these are very nice I love GBH's

Peace,

Fish

Hello Fish, the shutter speed was automated since I tend to shoot BIG in aperture priority.  In this case, I was focused on a GBH that was closer to me and fishing with the grey rocks of Great Falls in the background.  I set the F5 to try and blur the background as much as possible without doing damage to the bird.  Though the camera and tripod were on the closer bird, I noticed this one flying from left to right and simply moved quickly to the camera and started shooting the heron in flight.  Had I not been watching the fishing activities of the closer bird, I might have adjusted to F7.1 or 8 in order to give me a bit more DOF since I had the falls in the background.

I haven't noticed a degradation in going to the faster shutter speeds, but that is something that I will need to experiment with and see what I get.  Thanks for the suggestion!

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Tom

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Combat By Design
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Re: GBH Flight Sequence from Great Falls on the Potomac River
In reply to Strategist, 4 months ago

Strategist wrote:

Combat By Design wrote:

These are excellent.
Roughly how far away would you say you were?

Hello "Combat" and thanks for the kind words. I would estimate that I was 75 yards or so from the GBH.

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Tom

Hmm...did you have an extender, or did you crop these at all?
I may be just terrible at judging distance, but I imagine I couldn't have been much more than 50 yards away from the geese/heron I was photographing earlier this week, and they weren't nearly that large on the page... I don't have access to my photos right now, or I'd show you :\

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Strategist
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Re: GBH Flight Sequence from Great Falls on the Potomac River
In reply to Combat By Design, 4 months ago

Combat By Design wrote:

Strategist wrote:

Combat By Design wrote:

These are excellent.
Roughly how far away would you say you were?

Hello "Combat" and thanks for the kind words. I would estimate that I was 75 yards or so from the GBH.

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Tom

Hmm...did you have an extender, or did you crop these at all?
I may be just terrible at judging distance, but I imagine I couldn't have been much more than 50 yards away from the geese/heron I was photographing earlier this week, and they weren't nearly that large on the page... I don't have access to my photos right now, or I'd show you :\

They are all cropped.  They were shot with the 500mm 4.0 Nikkor.  Here is an uncropped version of the last shot in the series.

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Tom

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Combat By Design
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Re: GBH Flight Sequence from Great Falls on the Potomac River
In reply to Strategist, 4 months ago

There we go! That's more like the zoom I was getting...and I LOVE that full shot. (like... LOVE  it.)

What tripod were you using, and how were you set up (as far as tightening the head/swivel and what not)?

I'm getting my feet wet with wildlife, so I've got about a zillion questions...at any time if you get sick of answering just tell me to shove it...haha

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JEO126
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Re: GBH Flight Sequence from Great Falls on the Potomac River
In reply to Strategist, 4 months ago

Tom, I'll just echo everyone else... what terrific shots! I like #5 especially, with the rock outcropping, rushing water, mist, and GBH floating in peacefully for a landing. Crawfish series yesterday was great too, by the way. For us entry-level folks, it's reminder to think about the setting and 'story' too - as if there wasn't already enough to think about!

John

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Strategist
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Re: GBH Flight Sequence from Great Falls on the Potomac River
In reply to Combat By Design, 4 months ago

Combat By Design wrote:

There we go! That's more like the zoom I was getting...and I LOVE that full shot. (like... LOVE it.)

What tripod were you using, and how were you set up (as far as tightening the head/swivel and what not)?

I'm getting my feet wet with wildlife, so I've got about a zillion questions...at any time if you get sick of answering just tell me to shove it...haha

Happy to offer any assistance, Combat.  If fact, when I looked at the full frame shot, I thought I might like that one best, too.  I had over 600 photos to process from my last outing, and sometimes I simply copy the adjustments from a first shot in a series, and paste them into the other shots in the series (using Lightroom 5.5).  This time, I think that I should have been less aggressive with the pasting.

I have used a Gitzo 3540XLS with a Wimberly Sidekick for many years, now, with both my 200-400 and 500mm lenses.  I find that I really need that kind of stability with these lenses.  I have a RRS Ballhead, but only use it with shorter lenses.  The Sidekick makes it very easy to loosen either the horizontal or the vertical (or both, as in this series of GBHs) so that I can move more quickly.  However, when I left the GBH site, I went to another where I used the same combination for taking shots of a Red Bellied Woodpecker who has a nest he is visiting quite often.  In that situation, I wanted to keep the vertical locked and the horizontal free to shoot him when he exited the next.

I goofed up and took another tripod that has the RRS Ball head on it during one shoot.  I was using the 500mm to take photos of a night time rocket launch, and not tightening the ball head enough, the weight of the lens caused the camera to tilt forward quickly and really pinched the heck out of my hand!  I still use the ball head with my 70-200 and anything lower than that.

No problem with any questions.  You can also email through my website at www.tomstovall.com.

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Tom

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Strategist
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Re: GBH Flight Sequence from Great Falls on the Potomac River
In reply to JEO126, 4 months ago

JEO126 wrote:

Tom, I'll just echo everyone else... what terrific shots! I like #5 especially, with the rock outcropping, rushing water, mist, and GBH floating in peacefully for a landing. Crawfish series yesterday was great too, by the way. For us entry-level folks, it's reminder to think about the setting and 'story' too - as if there wasn't already enough to think about!

John

Thank you, John, for those kind words.  Just remember, even a blind hog finds an acorn sometimes! Regarding your comments, I always try to remember two key points:

1.  "If your pictures aren't good enough; you're not close enough." and,

2.  "One of the challenges of good photography is being able to tell a story through a single frame."  In this case, there were a few frames, but I think you get the point of those wise words from Dewitt Jones, I believe.

In my best shots, I can look at those and it clearly brings back the whole story of where I was, and what was going on when I got the shot.  Those are the real keepers!

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Fish Chris
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Re: GBH Flight Sequence from Great Falls on the Potomac River
In reply to Strategist, 4 months ago

Strategist wrote:

Fish Chris wrote:

Very nice GBH shots. Like the BG a lot too.

Just curious why you used 1/4000 and 1/5000th ? I often prefer the wings of a bird to be totally sharp and unblurred.... however, this can usually be achieved with larger birds, at 1/2000th, or even 1/1600th....

When learning my 7D, I had graduated up to as fast as 1/3200.... and I thought that was fast... but even at 1/3200, I saw considerable photo quality degradation, and ended up going back to at least 1/2500... or slower... and in fact, thinking more about pushing it down to the slower end, using my new tripod more often....

But in any case, these are very nice I love GBH's

Peace,

Fish

Hello Fish, the shutter speed was automated since I tend to shoot BIG in aperture priority. In this case, I was focused on a GBH that was closer to me and fishing with the grey rocks of Great Falls in the background. I set the F5 to try and blur the background as much as possible without doing damage to the bird. Though the camera and tripod were on the closer bird, I noticed this one flying from left to right and simply moved quickly to the camera and started shooting the heron in flight. Had I not been watching the fishing activities of the closer bird, I might have adjusted to F7.1 or 8 in order to give me a bit more DOF since I had the falls in the background.

I haven't noticed a degradation in going to the faster shutter speeds, but that is something that I will need to experiment with and see what I get. Thanks for the suggestion!

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Tom

Right on. That explains it.

When I mentioned degradation of PQ, regarding faster shutter speeds, I didn't mean to say,
degradation directly from the faster shutter speed, but rather, because a faster shutter speed (when the camera is adjusting other aspects (such as in TV) will cause the ISO to go higher...

So like when I'm shooting in TV (much of the time when I'm birding) speeding up my shutter, indirectly gives me more noise.

Peace,

Fish

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Strategist
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Re: GBH Flight Sequence from Great Falls on the Potomac River
In reply to Fish Chris, 4 months ago

Fish Chris wrote:

Strategist wrote:

Fish Chris wrote:

Very nice GBH shots. Like the BG a lot too.

Just curious why you used 1/4000 and 1/5000th ? I often prefer the wings of a bird to be totally sharp and unblurred.... however, this can usually be achieved with larger birds, at 1/2000th, or even 1/1600th....

When learning my 7D, I had graduated up to as fast as 1/3200.... and I thought that was fast... but even at 1/3200, I saw considerable photo quality degradation, and ended up going back to at least 1/2500... or slower... and in fact, thinking more about pushing it down to the slower end, using my new tripod more often....

But in any case, these are very nice I love GBH's

Peace,

Fish

Hello Fish, the shutter speed was automated since I tend to shoot BIG in aperture priority. In this case, I was focused on a GBH that was closer to me and fishing with the grey rocks of Great Falls in the background. I set the F5 to try and blur the background as much as possible without doing damage to the bird. Though the camera and tripod were on the closer bird, I noticed this one flying from left to right and simply moved quickly to the camera and started shooting the heron in flight. Had I not been watching the fishing activities of the closer bird, I might have adjusted to F7.1 or 8 in order to give me a bit more DOF since I had the falls in the background.

I haven't noticed a degradation in going to the faster shutter speeds, but that is something that I will need to experiment with and see what I get. Thanks for the suggestion!

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Tom

Right on. That explains it.

When I mentioned degradation of PQ, regarding faster shutter speeds, I didn't mean to say,
degradation directly from the faster shutter speed, but rather, because a faster shutter speed (when the camera is adjusting other aspects (such as in TV) will cause the ISO to go higher...

So like when I'm shooting in TV (much of the time when I'm birding) speeding up my shutter, indirectly gives me more noise.

Peace,

Fish

Now I understand...I'm kind of slow this evening, Fish. Yeah, I use auto ISO on occasion, but usually only when the light is very poor. I do use it shooting some swim team events in the evening when the light is getting bad. But you are right about being careful with auto ISO. It's a great feature for some situations, though.

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Tom

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