Short Walk


Link Posted 07/04/2013 - 21:53
A couple of birds from a short walk this afternoon.

Greylag Goose taking off


Any tips or suggestions for improvement welcome.


Link Posted 09/04/2013 - 00:25
On the first shot, an f11 aperture setting is not open enough.....try 5.6 or larger. Then, you might try raising your ISO from 400 to 800.....your K-x has a wonderful low noise sensor (you could even go higher with ISO if low light). What both of those changes will help with is to allow a faster shutter speed which will freeze your subject. Your photo was shot at 1/320s.....and that is not as forgiving as say 1/1000 or faster for birds in flight! One other thing to consider would be whether you had the image stabilization activated?

For the second shot, not sure what lens you are using....but there is some pretty noticeable CA (chromatic abberation) aka purple fringing. Part of it is the quality of the lens, but part of it is the extreme contrast you have here. You have what might be blown highlights in the background which makes the CA apparent. The problem is you don't always have the luxury to move to a better spot with skittish wildlife! So you may have to live with some of that with a bright sky. Other than that it's not bad at all.....the bird is sharp and in focus (which you notice much more if you click on it the image twice for full size). It would be nice if there weren't branches blocking some of the view....but again, you get the shot you can first and then maybe try a different vantage point to change the obstacles/sky etc. Finally, while f8 is better than f11....and in this case there is not much movement to worry about....what the larger aperture setting will help with is relative quality of bokeh. You want a shallower DOF (depth of field) to emphasize the subject with a nicely blurred background. In this case with the white, you wouldn't notice a creamier bokeh as much, but with other backgrounds/ makes a big difference.
Last Edited by ccd333 on 09/04/2013 - 00:40


Link Posted 09/04/2013 - 00:39
On closer inspection of the Robin, there is some blur from the eye to the end of the beak. Just a slight movement with a slower shutter speed can cause this. A minor nit to be sure in relation to the rest of the bird......but if you get in the habit of using faster shutter speeds for wildlife, then you can avoid the blur from movement much more readily.


Link Posted 09/04/2013 - 08:02
Beautiful pictures.
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Link Posted 09/04/2013 - 13:01
First of all, thanks for taking the time to look at my pictures and give me some suggestions. The lens I was using was the kit 55-300mm that came with my K-x.

For both shots I was using shutter priority - so I guess I underestimated the speed I would need for birds that are moving. Usually for things that might move, I try fixing the shutter speed and letting the aperture set itself. If I stick with that it sounds like I need to be a bit more proactive with the ISO settings to let me get better control of the aperture as well, or would I be better off fixing the aperture and tweaking the ISO to get the shutter speed that I want?

Full manual would obviously give me more control, but when walking about its a lot easier to have one or the other already set up.


Link Posted 09/04/2013 - 15:25
Steve, you're welcome. I appreciate when someone asks for tips on improvement.

To answer your very good question, you could do a lot of things. You have a zoom lens which has variable aperture range depending on focal length. It's 5.8 at the long end....which is invariably what you would use most for wildlife. So with that relatively slower glass you either need fairly bright conditions....or you need to compensate with your camera settings.

Just setting your aperture wider would make a huge difference. So, could use aperture priority and set it to, say 5.6, and see how that works for you. Then it would be a matter of available light to whether you need a higher ISO. The point with the ISO is that you CAN bump it higher regardless (when shooting wildlife) because of your K-x and the relatively low noise. That gives you extra flexibility to get faster shutter speeds no matter whether you set shutter or aperture as priority. Then that allows for any rapid movement being caught without blur. The caveat of course being how stable you are holding the camera. As I stated earlier, make sure you are using your IS for these shots even in bright conditions. It will make your photos sharper across the board.

As far as full manual....I always shoot that way. I want complete control, so I set the aperture, shutter, and ISO. And I think you will find in most cases when shooting wildlife that once you take a couple shots to zero in on the settings that work most effectively, unless the lighting changes will work that way for every shot.
Last Edited by ccd333 on 09/04/2013 - 15:57


Link Posted 09/04/2013 - 19:21
Looking back through some of my older pictures I tend to have used to quite a small aperture - even on pictures that I was quite happy with (see below which was F8 ) I guess this might be because people talk about lenses being sharper when stopped down a bit. I'm now thinking that a wider aperture would make the subject pop a bit more.

Thanks again for the advice, I've now got a few things to try the next time I am out.


Link Posted 09/04/2013 - 20:57
Cool, Steve. Good luck experimenting.

BTW, one other thing I noticed from your settings is in camera contrast set to +2. You might try experimenting with a lower setting to give a little more headroom for highlights.
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