LESSONS: This is the best flying pelican shot
I've taken with my new camera. I have lots with my Sony, but they're
all from further off at fewer megapixels. This is about 1/9 of the full
frame. I was panning along with the bird and too far a distance in the
first place, and it was flying away. The far back background's not much
a problem, but the bunch of sleeping pelks and one cormorant don't help
it, but there it is and there they are.
Focus could be better
(should be better) but it's a nice wing configuration and we can see
his beak and the beak fin
him as a breeding male, so for a change, I know this one is a male.
But it's a mediocre photograph, and I'll keep trying to capture a flying
pelican when the sun shines and I'm in Sunset Bay, but I know the
whole flock of them will disappear wherever they go every spring by April.
By the middle of next
October, when they come back, I should know my new cam well enough to get
a much better shot,
even closer. By then, too, I should have expanded my DX lens collection
(zero so far) and decided which zoom to get.
Running On Water - 1/250 @ f/9 ISO 250
HH Pattern FF
is another dream-shot attempt that failed. I'm fascinated with the way
Coots get up to speed
high enough to get into the air and fly away. They run on the surface
of the water, and I want to capture a good shot of that scene.
that the reason this one is running (toward the shore, as it turns
out) is that gull that blots the image at the upper right. I'd rather
the coot were closer (this is about 40% of the full image) or its impeller
were absent or in focus. It'd be nice if we could tell what that was
without staring many seconds.
Nice line of foot splashes,
though not very sharp.
I don't understand why
gulls dislike coots enough to chase them dozens of yards away, but they
do it often if there are bread-feeding humans around. This and the Pelk
Fly-by series that is also mostly a failure so far are my two main pan
Water Splasher - 1/320
@ f/9 ISO 250 HH about 50% of frame Pattern
Here's another water running
coot, another nice splash, but since we can't see the coot's legs or
feet, we don't know why it's there or why I shot this photo. I'm not
Avert Eyes, A Texture Study - 1/750 @ f/9
ISO 250 HH FF Pattern
He was standing on the
pier watching birds, and he probably assumed I was, too. He was just
standing there in great sunlight, so I photographed him. Turns out he
comprises a wonderful texture study, although I hadn't noticed anything
but that he was right there in easy photo distance. The clumpy shirt-jac,
, shirt, shaved and unshaved hair and skin. On the full-size version
I can see
hairs on his hand and count them on his face and head.
Amazing to see for this
photog so very used to 5 megapixels, this shot, more than anything I've
shot this week with the new cam, shows what 10+ megapixels really means.
Hardly a great photo.
But an important step. And kinda interesting in a human way.
I shot more people pictures
today than I have in many years. Which leads to the notion that this
camera may bring me back into the photojournalism form. Good direction.
I started out as a photojournalist.
My first photo job was PR photog for the University of Dallas when Sybil
Novinsky was in charge of that at UD. They provided the camera (Speed
Graphic with Polaroid back), film and opportunities. If I got anything
usable, they used it and paid me. It was a wonderful introduction to
My second photo job was
(and I got to invent my own title) as Photojournalist for The Texas Catholic.
It turned out I also was a production assistant, press check dolt and
delivery boy (still warm inked copies to the bishop).
Later, after graduating
from college, menial jobs and Vietnam, I got a job as staff photographer
with The Dallas Times Herald, which was a marvelous job. I've done a
lot of photography
Disgruntled Motorized Scooter Rider and Truck
boy - 1/500 @ f/11 ISO 250 HH [vertical crop of FF] Pattern
guy - 1/320 @ f/9 ISO 250 HH FF CWA (Cener Weighted Average)
The boy seemed either
upset or concentrating every step of the way. He was going very slow.
Walkers outdistanced him easily. As I often do when preparing images
for online, I sharpened him and his scooter but not the sidewalk or grass
Same with the guy sitting on his truck doing whatever with a PDA or phone.
I liked the colors and
position of each of these. Scooter Boy has enough context. In real life,
I'd be tempted to crop just left of the bicyclist chopped off at the
far right. Truck Sitter is also simple and sharp against a smoothed out
of focus (I think they call this bokeh [which may be pronounced boquet]).
The Sitter has nearly no context outside of what's in his hands. I know
he was sitting on top of his truck cab, which is why I noticed him.
that's not evident in this picture. If I were using a zoom, I'd have
zoomed in on the boy and out from the man. But I was stuck with my framing,
and I just shot away.
I have no idea why I changed
metering modes. I think I changed them at random, although I probably
thought I knew what I was doing. Sometimes it's easy to fool myself.
Simple compositions, great
colors, excellent focus and exposure. Mediocre context.
Spillway Gush - 1/2,500
@ f/7.1 ISO 250 HH FF Pattern
My first attempt at an
artsy shot. I now know I'm not stuck with what P (the auto exposure mode
that doesn't use the letter A that I missed yesterday) sets for me. I
can change shutter speed and apertures at the same time keeping the same
exposure but changing f/stop or shutter speed.
Here I didn't care about
depth of field or whether the guard rail fuzzed out or not. I was only
interested in stopping that water. First time I shot this scene I did
so at the auto-set 1/640, which from my Sony experience I knew wasn't
near fast enough. I should have tried for even faster but I settled for
a neat double to 1/1,250, which was kinda okay.
Since we both know I was
shooting at the lake, we've figured out by now that the subject is probably
water. But it could be a cotton factory or some such. The context and
the framing are abstracted. I like abstract, because it tends to make
us need to think. Maybe.
Dad & Child - 1/500 @ f/11 ISO 250 HH FF Pattern
This is not a great shot,
but it leans in that direction. It would help to crop it just outside
Dad's legs, so we could concentrate on the child. But that wouldn't save
this shot. I should have waited for a better facial expression from the
child. The open hand is okay, but him/her doing something would help.
Metering is good. Exposure
is near perfect. The dark shadows don't help much.
Gull Wing Gull - 1/500 @ f/8 iso250 HH slightly
This may well be the gull
whose wings and splash tops this page. It was shot about a second
before it, so this must be the culprit. When I previewed this image on
the camera monitor (at least four times) I thought it was another failure.
Instead it's a pretty nice portrait of Mr. Mine-Mine-Mine (See Finding
Woulda been nice if I'd
got the top of his wings. But the lens is not a zoom, and I was sitting
on the pier with my back leaning comfortably on it and was too lazy to
move. Too slow to, too.
Again, this bird is sharpened.
Full 100% here. Not the water, just the bird. Lovely rendering of the
feathers. This is one sample of several avian portraits I shot out there
on the pier.
Mallard Portrait with Rings - 1/500 @ f/7.1
iso250 HH [FF-width with top cropped off] Pattern
I usually go for the pelicans
and the herons and the egrets — almost anything elegant and exotic. Mallards
are pretty common birds. But I liked the fit of this one's jib, colors
and textures. It was nice side lighting, also. Interesting the way his
Greater Scaup swimming budy is nearly silhouetted, and that bulging ring
of water he's churning and his wiggling reflection help to concentrate
out attention on him.
A qualified success here.
The full 100% view shows amazing detail. This camera and I are finally
Stealth Mode - 1/500
@ f/11 iso250 spot [1/9th crop]
When I first previewed
this shot, I thought I'd failed again. It would help if their eyes were
more visible or if any one of them stuck their necks out a bit, but then
that's what this photo is about. These guys are laid back and tucked
in. They're comfy and resting. In fact, they stayed right there for a
long time — until they were spooked by a canoeist who paddled right through
their roost, well out in the water away from people and dogs and cars
and the shore.
Pattern metering renders
my mostly white pelks (parts of their wings are black, but it only
shows when the extend them) as over-bright white blobs. Only spot metering
gets it right.
For the bottom version
shadows, paradoxically making it look more natural. The blue is true,
but I think unbluing it makes the image look more natural. I like the
vertical tree reflections wiggling in the water, also.
It's still not a great
shot, but it's much improved. Next time, I'll get more pelkinality. These
are very social birds.
Car Focus Dog - 1/250
@ f/8 iso250 Pattern FF HH
I shot this dog twice,
with plenty of depth of field — both this side and the far side of
the red car are in sharp focus, although the car and grass beyond are
not. So's the dog's backlighted back. But in neither shot is his soft,
or neck sharp.
if you think about it.
Had a lot of trouble,
too, with that vivid red color. Look closely at it and you can see a
grain-like patterning over most of it. That's what we call a JPEG artifact.
It's what happens when the resolution is brought down too far — or, in
this case, the sensor is too sensitive to a color.
My Sony had the same issues
with the same color. Many of the posters on DPR's D200 forum believe
that Nikon's sensor is made by Sony. They sure are similar in this respect.
The model after my F707 — the 808 — supposedly fixed Sony's problem,
but it looks like Nikon's fabulous (IMHO) new camera has issues with
the color red.
[All shots taken with
the Nikon 180mm 2.8 AF lens.]