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Sixteen seconds, Swamis Beach

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Egret and Avocet

Here is a shot I took at SJWA yesterday of a greater egret with an American avocet standing behind it.

There is a stilt behind that bird but it is so blurry it is almost not even worth mentioning.

I am not sure if I like the shot or not but it shows the limits of my customary approach to shooting birds.

I tend to shoot wide open, especially with birds that are apt to start flying, typically sticking an aperture of ƒ2.8 on the 400mm and somewhere between 2000 and 4000th of a second shutter speed with auto iso.

I will slow it down as necessary to about 650th of a second with the long prime if the subject is static.

I took this picture at ƒ3.2, giving me a slightly wider focal plane. It wasn't enough. As you can see, the long beaked avocet is not in focus. But I guess this is okay, just makes the thing a bit "artier." And if you will notice, the reflection of the avocet is nearly in focus.

I was shooting up into the ƒ8 range yesterday, manual. I should have stopped down for this shot, I suppose. When you are shooting wide open you might only get a portion of your subject in focus and shooting two subjects at the same time is very difficult.

The problem is that if you have a long lens that shoots ƒ2.8 you tend to want to take advantage of it all the time and that is something I need to change in my repertoire in order to become a better photographer. Compositionally the shot is good and it probably would have been excellent at ƒ5.6 or higher for a greater depth of field.

6 comments:

Jon Harwood said...

It is taken as the REVEALED WORG OF GOD among wildlife shooters that all must be sharp. No way to get past that. It is BS though. What is good in a biology text isn’t always good. Focus isn’t king in interpretive photography. I have spoken. (Steps down from plinth).

Sanoguy said...

I think I would be shooting, in the bright light, at f11 or even 16... at 2.8 your aim to get the sharp spot has to be right on.. no room for error... with a fast shutter speed if they are moving or might move... with a stationary subject you could easily go to 1/250 or maybe slower... I like Auto ISO.... with the settings I describe, ISO should be pretty low so noise should not be an issue. Just one person’s opinion!

Blue Heron said...

There is no room for error but I can basically shoot in any light, the only problem occurs with multiple subjects. All has to do with what we are trying to get, but thank you Mike.

Ken Seals said...

The lens is not hard wired to f:2.8. Pick your desired dof and choose the aperture accordingly. Each composition usually requires a different dof.

Blue Heron said...

You're right.

Wilbur Norman said...

Most of us are in love with shallow depth of field once we get those fast lenses. It's addictive and a difficult style to break after getting, early on, great results. I often forget (even tho I have written on this topic) to move my aperture setting once I've had my bokeh fill. This, especially, as I do not do much nature photography as a Leica M shooter with all those great fast primes.

We just have to keep reminding ourselves: f8 and be there!