Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pardon the techie shit,, good stuff at the bottom.

Rains are letting up. But not before the Kendal Bridge went under. It has been out all day with no sign of it re-surfacing any time soon. It’s been over 2 years since it washed away the first time.

Mrs. Barn has flew-the-coup. She caught the first Maya flight outa here leaving me and Scurvy to run this bachelor pad all by ourselves.
No plans beyond beatin all the shit outa a few cases of beers. And maybe that bottle of 1800 tequila a guest left behind.

I got an email a few days ago asking about hummingbird photos.
“,,can you give me information on these Hummingbird photos. Shutter speeds and such.”

So at the expense of those of you who could give a giant turd less about shutter speeds, I’ll answer this question. Sorry.
Plus,, there is a new hummer in the hood I will be hunting this afternoon.

Here is my standard setup for these shots.

The location is right on the DoubleWide. I have 2 feeders up that attract the birds.
I set my bar stool over in the corner about 10-15 feet away.
The bird is lit by a Nikon SB 800 strobe which is usually installed on a small softbox for a softer light.
I use a Nikkor 300 f4 telephoto with is conveniently cropped to 450 on my camera body.
All settings, focus, exposure, strobe settings, are done in manual.
ISO as low as it will go,, 200.
OK,, here we go.
First thing I want to do is decide my f-stop. I want to blur the background to make the bird stand out more so I go for a large aperture in this case f-4. (more on that in a sec)
I set the softbox up real close to the target area and can move it back and forth as needed.
Then I adjust my flash power to get the correct exposure.
The flash power usually ends up around 1/32nd power which helps to stop them wings. The shorter the duration of the flash, the better ‘stopping’ power.
Then it’s the shutter speed. Most folks assume I use some super hi S.S. but that’s not the case.
My current camera will only sync up to 180th S.S. anyway.
But, I set my S.S. to 200 and can get away with it.
So,, the camera settings are ISO 200, f-4 at 200th.

Then I plunk my ass in the bar stool with the camera and long lens on a monopod, set a beer close by and wait.
Now, you ask why 200th on the S.S.?
Well,, the ‘correct’ exposure for the background of this area at around 3 o’clock is around f-4 @ 60th using ISO 200.
So by purposely under exposing the background by almost 2 full stops, it guaranties the background to be dark. If I choose to I can slow the shutter speed to lighten the background. None of these S.S. changes affect the bird as he is being lit by the flash only.
I am really making 2 exposures here. One for the background and another for the flash-lit area.
Clear as mud?
Now the focus.
My ‘birdzooka’, the 300 f4 is 20 years old and tends to ‘hunt’ when chasing a moving bird. So,, I force the bird where I want him to go by putting a piece of scotch tape over all the holes of the feeder except the one I want him at. Then I pre-focus on that area in manual.
Sometimes when I am having a hard time catching the bird in the 'sweet spot', I will close down the aperture a few stops(adjusting the strobe accordingly), to widen the depth of focus. Giving me some wiggle room if I am not spot on with the focus point.
When the bird is in the zone, bang, I got him!

Here is one with the faster S.S.

And one with the slower S.S. showing how it lightens the background. The bird exposure is not changed by the S.S.

OK,, enough of that shit. Lets talk Hooters!

Intoxicated /adj./
When you feel sophisticated without being able to pronounce it.


Drew Travers said...

Damn... you make it sound so easy! Do you still have time to drink the beer?

Barnacle said...

actulay,, yes.
in a session of about 40-50 shots i will wash back about 6 beers.
then my trigger finger gets a bit,,,, wobbly.

Anonymous said...

Brother Bill,

Can't wait to get back to visit Hooters.

Them there chicken wings sure look mighty tasty.

Anonymous said...

Lots I didn't know, and am not sure I absorbed.
Never read the manual with the camera and don't even know how to shut off the flash. Bill, my cap is off to you. Deep thanks for the education.