Two days ago I wrote a blog about capturing images of dark birds with details. My plan was to set up my camera and try-pod in such a way to capture them at an angle to the sun. I realized some success, setting up on the Levee I was higher than many of the birds and even with others.
This photo was taken at a distance of 75 feet perched on the edge of the leaves. The detail is what I am working towards, 85 pictures were taken of them; I deleted all but ten. That’s just over my goal of 10% keepers, that percentage will grow as my skills improve.
To achieve the same level of detail when two or more birds are in the frame remains a challenge for me. The picture above is not too bad, perhaps it’s the best one can expect. This image was taken from 75 feet away as well with my 150-400mm lens, f8 and 1/1250 shutter speed; taken at close to 10am under the direct morning sun.
The photo above was taken using the same camera settings however the distance was drastically further. At 130 feet it taxes the limit of the lens for detail; landscapes it works well for. The image displays a fair amount of detail but I had to edit heavily which I dislike doing. I don’t use a heavy duty editor such as Photo-shop instead I prefer Light-room it’s smaller but heavy hitting relative. All I really use in an editor is cropping, chromatic aberration correction and haze conditioner.
Heavy cropping is in order when I’m further than 100 feet from the subject, which means to get the detail the camera must be set correctly. An aperture of f8-f11, sensitivity of ISO 1000-2500 along with a fast shutter speed which 1/1250 is in my opinion.
Shutter speed is actually frequency, if a birds wings flap twice a second, almost any shutter speed will stop it. Similarly when one is attempting to stop an electric motor spinning at 1890 rpm, 1/1250 would most likely be fast enough, 1/2000 would work as well; however the the background noise would then be increased, along with the f-stop, oh well that’s another blog.
Jacques Lebec Flutter Shutter