d7000 help to improve bird photos

Started Nov 12, 2012 | Discussions thread
OP crs-collectibles Regular Member • Posts: 133
Re: d7000 help to improve bird photos

Catallaxy wrote:

The first looks like you have backfocus. You also shot in very harsh light and too far away.

The second has flare, which robs resolution. And maybe camera shake.

The third seems to be in contra light and might have backfocus too. Maybe some sort of camera shake too

Maybe I have some back focus issue with the body because that's 2 different lens and I also cannot get good clean shots with the 18-105. Occassionally I do get good shots so I'm sure it's me. Didn't think that camera shake could have that much affect, I guess it could because of the long focal length.

For now, use single point, AF-C and center it on the bird's eye. If you are so far way that you cannot see the eye, you are not going to get a decent shot. Shoot during the shoulders of the day when light is less harsh. Use your lens hood and shoot with the sun at your back or at least on the side - not into the sun.

I thought I was using either AFS or AFC with single point.

Watch your metering on the subject - it does not matter if the background is blown or too dark - you must expsose the bird so it looks good.

Learn stalking techniques. Move slowly. When the bird gets nervous - stop. For up to 5 or ten minutes even until they relax and start singing/grooming, again, etc. Move in a zig-zag towards them - never directly at them since that triggers their flight instinct (some big animal is looking at me and moving right toward me... fly, fly, fly!). Take a series of shots as you move closer and from different angles. Keep your lens up and minimize arm and body movements and noises.

Improve your hand holding technique. Even high shutter speeds will not save you if you jab the shutter button. Roll your finger over it like you are rolling an English pea around on a table. Arms tucked in and braced against your sides. Left hand firmly supporting the lens - push back a bit on the lens so your brow/eye makes good contact with the camera body. Trip the shutter on the exhale.

For the first pic, I was sitting on a bench trying to steady myself. I took about 10 and this was probably the best one.

You did not mention what tripod you were using, but the tripod collar on the 80-400 VR is not known for being the greatest. Make sure you are using a good tripod and turn off VR. A good tripod costs at least about $250 or more so if you did not pay that much, you need to reconsider whether it is good enough. If you have doubts, then post the make/model of tripod and we can give you some advice on that. Lots of posts here over the years from "a sturdy tripod' and actually the tripod was junk and you could see it in the photos.

I was using a manfrotto 190cxpro3 and 498rc4 head.

Good luck!

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