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  1. #1
    miacat63 is offline I'm new here!
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    Default Best settings for wildlife photography

    Hi All, I have recently brought the Canon D40 and two lenses for it, the EF-S 17-85mm 4 - 5.6 IS USM , and EF 70 - 300 mm 4.5 - 5.6 DO IS USM lens.
    A big investment I know, but hopefully worth it.
    What I need is some good advice as to how to best use them! I am planning a trip to India next month to hopefully take wildlife pictures mainly and portraits of the diverse people, the landscapes and buildings.....just want to capture everything of this amazing country.
    My problems are that I tend to play a bit safe at the moment and just take on auto focus and use the pre programmed dial settings for portrait, or action mode.
    I know this camera can do a huge amount, but as I am so new to it, I am not too sure what to set it to take good shots of say a tiger walking towards me, whilst I am perched on top of a moving elephant.
    I had a Fuji Finepix 7000 previously which was great, as it seemed to take great shots and all I needed to do was zoom in and hey presto...got a decent shot.
    With the new technology of this camera, I am a bit confused, and as I dont have months to practice before going, just wanted a few good tips to hopefully get me some decent results without too much changing of the settings. Ie. if I see some wildlife I want to photograph, should I just set the camera to action mode with multi shot, or landscape so that everything is in focus? As time is sometimes so limited when photograhing animals with just a few seconds to take the shot, and also with a limited view from a jeep or elephant!, I just want to feel confident that the setting I choose for the morning would cover most photo opportunities.
    I did also buy a polarising lens to eliminate any potential glare and also have a lens hood. When I tried some shots this weekend in the UK with the DO lens, my pictures were awful...nothing was properly in focus? Was that because the light was not strong enought to have the filter on?

    Thanks for taking your time to reply with any good and easy to understand advice, I really appreciate it.

  2. #2
    the_camera_poser is offline dPS Forum Member
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    Default Why your 70-300 pics may have been poor

    Did you use your polarizer with the 70-300? What brand and model is your CP? I have a consumer-brand hoya, and while it can really save an otherwise marginal shot, it absolutely plays havok with my 30D's autofocus, and this is mounted on my 24-105L, which is a pro-grade lens. I've tried it on my 100-400 L, which si a really nice pro-grade telephoto, and it completely trashes the image quality. Usintg this polariser reduces my "keeper" rate from something around 80-90% to 30-40%, so I only use it when I really need it, and I always try and take multiple pics of the same scene in hopes that one or more may come out.

    Other than that, I'd go out, set yourself some "tasks", and do as much shooting as you can before you go, making sure to download and critique each of your sessions, and get input from others. I'd focus first on your main area of interest- and then branch out into other areas as your trip nears, so you're building your skills.

    As for wildlife, it really depends on what your going after. I find that I always have to remind myself to switch from One Shot AF to AF Servo, as servo tracks moving targets, where as one shot is good for portraits or stationary scenes. I usually shoot wildlife in Av mode (and everything for that matter), with the Av up to the widest it will go, as my understanding is that this allows for the fastest shutter speed, which should give you the sharpest pics. You may want to set the camera to high speed mode if you prefer to hold the shutter button down and fire off a whole string to catch that "one in a million" that might just present itself or you may want to set the camera to one shot and track the target until that right moment appears. In low light, you may want to alter the ISO to 200 or 400 too; just make sure to put it back to 100 when done.

    For me, the general rule of thumb for shooting, which works for my amateur self, is:

    Wildlife- Av as low as it will go (wide open, in other words), AF Servo, Medium high speed.

    Portraits/casuals- Middle Av ranges- 5.6-8, Af One Shot

    Landscapes- Highest Av my lens will do with decent image quality- usually around Av 11, to give you the greatest depth of field.

    General use (I don't want to think about it mode)- Av 5.6

    Maybe you should do a bit of reading on the different modes, find the one you are most comfortable with, and then practice heaps with that. The reason I like Av mode is that it allows me to control the depth of field of shots, and also to freeze or blur motion without going through the hassle of trying a million and one Tv settings.

    Also, remeber that your 17-85 have a lot of distortion at the wider ranges of it's focal lengths, so don't be surprised if you get some barrel effect or curving of straight lines in shots involving lots of striaght lines around the edge of the frame. Have a look at the lens review at www.photozone.de for a discussion of this: http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/len...6_is/index.htm

    Bird photography for me is the hardest, and so don't feel bad if you aren't getting great bird photos. Even with my $2,300 Aus 100-400 my bird pics are hit and miss.

    Now, I am a pretty low-level amateur, so PLEASE take my advice with caution!

    Make sure you have LOTS of CF cards!

    Have fun, what a dream trip!

  3. #3
    miacat63 is offline I'm new here!
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    Default

    Many thanks for your response and your advise. I have printed it to take with me on my trip! Will try as you suggest this weekendand see how it goes. I think I would rather take multiple shots in the hope of getting a few really good ones..and yes ...I am taking plenty of cards as I know that once I start...I cant stop clicking the button. Thanks again :-))

  4. #4
    the_camera_poser is offline dPS Forum Member
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    Default

    make sure you post a range of photos on here to get feedback. If you can go out Saturday and get some stuff, process them in the evening, post them, get your feedback and then go back out Sunday afternoon armed with the feedback and new ideas, you'd really be maximizing your learning.

    Have fun! That's a nice kit you got there!
    Downunder

  5. #5
    the_camera_poser is offline dPS Forum Member
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    And don't forget to do some night work as well!
    Downunder

  6. #6
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    TerryL is offline dPS Forum Member
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    Default

    Get set up in AV and switch back and forth between auto mode and AV, it just takes a few clicks, its more important to get the shot, You may get some large memory cards and take shots in raw plus jpg, you can fix alot of mistakes in raw, just my .2
    Canon 2 5D Mark II- Canon 50mm 1.2--Canon 70-200mm 2.8L IS--Canon 100mm 2.8 Macro--Canon 24-105mm F4L IS--Canon -- Canon Battery Grip--Speedlight 530EX----ThinkTank StreetWalker Pro Bag

  7. #7
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    inkista is offline Gear Geek Girl
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    Default

    With wildlife, you're likely to be using the 70-300 to get the most reach.

    You have two options.

    Because the 70-300 is slow at the long end (f/5.6@300mm), you can use Av to shoot wide-open and make sure that you get the fastest shutter speed you can.

    Or, you can use Tv, to ensure a fast-enough shutter speed.

    Shutter speed is critical for two reasons: 1) to freeze action and 2) to eliminate camera shake.

    Camera shake becomes more critical the longer your lens is. The rule-of-thumb for eliminating camera shake from a handheld shot is to shoot at a shutter speed of 1/focal_length or faster (e.g., at 300mm, you have to be at 1/300s or faster). IS can help "soften" this requirement by a stop or two.

    However, IS does nothing to stop subject motion. Like a tripod, IS can only help steady the camera. It can't slow subject motion. Fast birds in flight, for instance, typically require 1/500s or 1/1000s, anyway.

    Get familiar with your IS modes, and your autofocus modes (servo!) and options. Getting autofocus quickly is going to be important with fastmoving wildlife. Be careful about using continuous burst mode--sometimes the burst rate keeps the camera's autofocus from catching up between shots. Keep your bursts short and well-timed. The most common way people use autofocus is to set only the center autofocus point on, rather than using the entire array.

    Good luck!
    I shoot with a Canon 5DmkII, 50D, and S90, and Pansonic GX-7. flickr stream and equipment list

  8. #8
    miacat63 is offline I'm new here!
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    Many many thanks for taking the time and trouble of replying. I will certainly get out there this weekend and experiment taking in the good advice given.
    I will post some of the results on Sunday. Thanks again everyone
    Miacat 63

  9. #9
    miacat63 is offline I'm new here!
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    2008 Bushy Park Jan 112a

    I took a lot of bird photos this weekend using the 100 - 300 DO lens. I set most onto the preprogrammed action mode (which I suppose was "cheating" a bit) but I really wanted to try to get some nice shots. These seemed to work quite well and I have posted more onto my flickr page for you to view more if you are interested.

  10. #10
    miacat63 is offline I'm new here!
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    Did as you suggested and got busy this weekend. Posted about 20 pics on flickr website if you care to have a look. Did not want to download too many on this site incase it seems greedy :-))

    miacat63
    Also now on flickr if you would like to see more of my pictures.
    Equipment Canon 40D, 70-300mm DO/IS lens, EFS 17-85MM IS Lens.

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