25 December 2017

My most memorable Birds in Flight Photography Series of 2016 / 2017

Swift Tern dropping his breakfast - Woodbridge Island, Cape Town
After watching a swift tern executing a successful breakfast dive, I started tracking the bird to get a closer look - just to see him dropping his latest meal mid-air. Very much in reaction towards inevitable onslaught from the fast approaching king gull. Lucky escape for the fish, as it dropped back into the Milnerton lagoon.

Swift tern images with Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens ISO 800 f/5.6 1/5000's, AI Servo Mode: Case 1/ Wide Zone (Handheld). 10 fps High-Speed continuous shooting mode. 

My most memorable Birds in Flight Photography Series of 2015 - Confused Seagull

Five consecutive frames

(Click to Enlarge)
Swift Tern in Flight  - Woodbridge Island, Cape Town
Swift Tern in Flight  - Woodbridge Island, Cape Town

Swift Tern in Flight  - Woodbridge Island, Cape Town
Swift Tern  in Flight - Woodbridge Island Cape Town

Swift Tern in Flight  - Woodbridge Island, Cape Town
Swift Tern in Flight - Woodbridge Island Cape Town

Swift Tern in Flight  - Woodbridge Island, Cape Town
Swift Tern in Flight -  Woodbridge Island Cape Town

Swift Tern in flight - Woodbridge Island Cape Town

Canon EOS 7D Mark II - Birds in Flight Photo Gallery View

22 December 2017

Low Light Photography - Intaka Island

African Sacred Ibis Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens ISO 2500 - Intaka Island, Cape Town
African Sacred Ibis in Flight - Intaka Island (ISO 2500 - 3200)
I don't often go to Intaka Island for Birds in Flight photography, but spent some time there early this morning. Unlike Woodbridge Island, the best hide-area at Intaka Island is shooting mostly directly into the sun.

Early morning Birds in Flight Photography at Woodbridge Island is always with the sun behind the photographer (offering direct, but soft light on the birds).

These images (from an Intaka Island hide) are captured at Auto-ISO with the dark-green foliage adding for an additional challenge to the low / variable light conditions.

I rarely shoot higher than ISO 1600 with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm F/5.6L USM lens, but in many ways (ito the conditions) I'm more than satisfied with these images and outing to Intaka Island.

With Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens (4 consecutive frames @ 10 fps)

Cape Town Birds in Flight Shooting Location / Conditions
Intaka Island, Cape Town. Overcast (no wind)

(Click to Enlarge)
African Sacred Ibis Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens ISO 2500 - Intaka Island, Cape Town
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens ISO 2500 - Intaka Island, Cape Town

African Sacred Ibis Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens ISO 3200 - Intaka Island, Cape Town
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens ISO 2500 - Intaka Island, Cape Town 

African Sacred Ibis Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens ISO 2500 - Intaka Island, Cape Town
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens ISO 2500 - Intaka Island, Cape Town

African Sacred Ibis Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens ISO 2500 - Intaka Island, Cape Town
Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens ISO 2500 - Intaka Island, Cape Town

Canon EOS 7D Mark II - Birds in Flight Photo Gallery
Canon EOS 7D Mark II - Birds in Flight Photo Gallery

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town
Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town

10 December 2017

Happy Duck with Canon EOS 7D Mark II - Cape Town

After the conclusion of one of my Birds in Flight Photography Workshops Cape Town I sat down next to the Milnerton lagoon / Woodbridge Island for some reflection. As usual, at this site, I very quickly had one of the resident ducks around me doing some late morning grooming. The white duck was right in front of my lens and I really enjoyed the Canon EOS 7D Mark II close-up opportunity.

All photos by Vernon Chalmers with Canon EOS 7D Mark II / Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens (M Mode / Handheld). Manual mode: ISO 320 / f/6.3.

(Click to Enlarge)
Happy Duck with Canon EOS 7D Mark II - Woodbridge Island 01
Happy Duck Woodbridge Island / Cape Town (Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm lens)


Happy Duck with Canon EOS 7D Mark II - Woodbridge Island 02
Happy Duck Woodbridge Island / Cape Town (Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm lens)


Happy Duck with Canon EOS 7D Mark II - Woodbridge Island 03
Happy Duck Woodbridge Island / Cape Town (Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm lens)


Happy Duck with Canon EOS 7D Mark II - Woodbridge Island 04
Happy Duck Woodbridge Island / Cape Town (Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm lens)


Happy Duck with Canon EOS 7D Mark II - Woodbridge Island 05
Happy Duck Woodbridge Island / Cape Town (Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm lens)


Happy Duck with Canon EOS 7D Mark II - Woodbridge Island 06
Happy Duck Woodbridge Island / Cape Town(Canon EOS 7D Mark II / 400mm lens)

Canon Camera / Photography Workshops Cape Town

Canon EOS 7D Mark II - Birds in Flight Photography Gallery
Canon EOS 7D Mark II - Birds in Flight Photography Gallery

01 December 2017

Auto-ISO Study for Birds in Flight Photography

Auto-ISO Study for Birds in Flight Photography
I'm currently researching the application of Auto-ISO in Birds in Flight photography and would like to share a few images captured with the Canon EOS 70D / EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens - demonstrating the modern DSLR's ability for making ISO changes (when Auto-ISO is enabled).

Note: My own field study is based on the relationship between BIF photography (high shutter speed shooting / continuous AF tracking) and the modern DSLR's Auto-ISO function and will not (necessarily) apply for static subjects (i.e. perched birds) - although, I use the same settings when shooting perched birds (when out doing Birds in Flight photography in good light).

The Canon EOS 70D (APS-C / crop body) is not really recognized as a Canon-recommended high-end body (in the same way as the EOS 7D Mark II (2014) and higher were at the time of Canon's 2013 Auto-ISO publication) for shooting Auto-ISO in Manual and the Semi-Auto Modes (Av = Aperture Priority / Tv = Shutter Priority Modes).

Nevertheless, I went out with the EOS 70D on Auto-ISO for testing / demonstrating the typical enthusiast camera's ability for auto-adjusting ISO's in a low-light and fast-changing background shooting environment.



Each of the 4 consecutive frames exposed at different ISO's as the small / erratic bird moved quickly against a lighter to a darker background:

Image 1
 ISO 1000
Image 2 ISO 1600
Image 3 ISO 2000
Image 4 ISO 2500

Canon Gear

  • Canon EOS 70D
  • Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens

Exposure Settings

  • Manual Mode
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • ISO: Auto-ISO (1000 - 2500)
  • Shutter Speed:1/5000s

Autofocus (AF) Settings
  • AI Servo
  • Continuous Shooting: 7 fps
  • Zone Selection
  • Handheld

Focal Length
: 300mm

Lightroom 6 Post-Processing
Minimal post-processing (+- 50% crop / slight exposure correction / lens profile correction)

Cape Town Location
Pied Kingfisher at the Pump Station Diep River / Woodbridge Island

Shooting Conditions
Low-light / overcast conditions

Finding
A significant finding is the rapid change in ISO 1000 to 2500 (between the 4 continuous frames) as the camera is attempting an ideal exposure.

(Click to Enlarge)
Auto-ISO Study for Birds in Flight Photography
Image 1: ISO 1000 - Auto-ISO for Birds in Flight Photography (Canon EOS 70D)

Auto-ISO Study for Birds in Flight Photography
Image: ISO 1600 - Auto-ISO for Birds in Flight Photography (Canon EOS 70D)

Auto-ISO Study for Birds in Flight Photography
Image 3: ISO 2000 - Auto-ISO for Birds in Flight Photography (Canon EOS 70D)

Auto-ISO Study for Birds in Flight Photography
Image 4: ISO 2500 - Auto-ISO for Birds in Flight Photography (canon EOS 70D)

Low Light / High ISO Shooting Canon EOS 7D Mark II Cape Town
Low Light / High ISO Shooting Canon EOS 7D Mark II Cape Town

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town
Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town

Pincushion Flowers using Autofocus and Manual Focus Override

The objective of this post is to show the ability of a macro (and many other lenses) to manual focus while in camera / lens AF Mode.

For these images I focused from four different distances with my Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens - while just hand holding the camera / lens and after 'locking focus' with the AF focus I just turned the front focus ring (for further fine-tuning). For optimum focus / sharpness results it's recommended to use a tripod - but, not always possible (in limited time / space).

In my upcoming Macro and Close-Up Photography Workshop I will demonstrate the Canon Extension Tube EF25 II on various non-macro lenses.

With Canon EOS 70D / 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens: f/8 ISO 400 (Ring Lite MR-14EX II Flash).


(Click To Enlarge)

Pincushions flowers using AF and Manual Focus Override
Canon 100mm Macro Lens - AF Focus with Manual Focus Override

Pincushions flowers using AF and Manual Focus Override
Canon 100mm Macro Lens - AF Focus with Manual Focus Override

Pincushions flowers using AF and Manual Focus Override
Canon 100mm Macro Lens - AF Focus with Manual Focus Override

Pincushions flowers using AF and Manual Focus Override
Canon 100mm Macro Lens - AF Focus with Manual Focus Override

Aperture Demonstration for New Photographers

Aperture Demonstration: Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens
Aperture Demonstration for New Photographers - With Canon EOS 6D / EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens

A brief aperture / background blur demonstration of 8 images captured at different apertures, but exactly the same depth of field between camera / subject and background distance.

Objective: To demonstrate what effect an aperture change will have on background blur when changing the aperture setting on the camera (with all other settings exactly the same).

Lens Apertures
Apertures selected from first to last image: f/1.8 / f/2.8 / f/4 / f 5.6 / f/8 / f/11 / f/16 / f22 (f/1.8 is the largest aperture (actual lens opening with f/22 the smallest aperture of the particular lens used). Read more on the inter-relationship between Aperture / ISO and Shutter Speed: Exposure Triangle>>

Note how the density of the background blur decrease from f/2.8 to f/22. The background blur changes will have very little effect on the focused subject (red telephone / money box).

Difference between Digital Noise and Background Blur View

When is this applicable? In almost all subjects we photograph - from portraits to wildlife to landscapes. For portraits you want to isolate the subject by using a larger aperture (smaller f/ number) i.e. f/2.8 - f/4, for wildlife; isolating animals from their immediate habitat at i.e. f/4 - f/5.6 and for landscapes where you want image sharpness across the frame with smaller apertures (higher f/ number) i.e. f/11 - f/16.

The quality and density of the blur will depend on type of lens used, focal length of the lens, distance to subject (and to background). Various other camera / environmental factors could also have an effect on the desired outcome.

Creative application will also have an effect on the background blur, i.e. long exposures or showing motion in some part(s) of an image. Another consideration is macro photography where you may want to capture a close-up flower with a very narrow depth of field relative to its background - where you may require an aperture between i.e. f/2.8 - f/11 depending on the required blur effect(s) across the frame.

Canon EOS Camera / Lens / Speedlite Flash - Other Settings Used

  • Canon EOS 6D / Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens / Canon Speedlite 430EX II
  • f/1.8 - f/22 / ISO 400 / 1/60s (85mm) Manual Focus (via Live View) Tripod

(Click To Enlarge / Slideshow)

Aperture f/1.8  ISO 400 : Canon EOS 6D / EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens  Aperture f/2.8  ISO 400 : Canon EOS 6D / EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens

Aperture f/4  ISO 400 : Canon EOS 6D / EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens  Aperture f/5.6  ISO 400 : Canon EOS 6D / EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens

Aperture f/8  ISO 400 : Canon EOS 6D / EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens  Aperture f/11  ISO 400 : Canon EOS 6D / EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens

Aperture f/16  ISO 400 : Canon EOS 6D / EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens  Aperture f./22  ISO 400 : Canon EOS 6D / EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens
Shooting Location: Milnerton Cape Town (Photographer: Vernon Chalmers)

More about the Exposure in Photography Exposure Triangle