29 May 2021

Canon Camera Field Testing Cape Town

Canon EOS Camera Field Testing Service Cape Town
Canon EOS Camera Field Testing Service Cape Town
Canon EOS Field Testing Service Cape Town

R500-00 for up to three hours Field Testing and general settings discussion / improvement recommendations (one Canon EOS body and up to two lenses).

Field Testing Location
Arnhem, Milnerton
Woodbridge Island
Google Map

I get a fair amount of questions from photographers that are not satisfied with Autofocus (AF) and sharpness / image quality of their Canon EOS body and specific lens pairings.

In many minds proper lens calibration is the the first (and at times the only) solution that most photographers think about after spending countless hours on their own in trying to fix this problem.

Calibration Options
Calibration can be done by the photographer via an in-camera Autofocus Micro Adjustment (AFMA) procedure (if the body is embedded with this function - only higher-end enthusiast / professional bodies will have this option). There are different calibration software options available than can be used for doing your own AFMA or you can go to i.e. ORMS who offers a lens calibration service of +- R2 500-00 per lens.

I understand this frustration many photographers experience and for of  my photography clients I offer assistance in the form of Field Testing various body / lens pairings (as part of the training they are doing).

Field Testing Objective
Field Testing is the identification of focus problems, possible sharpness and other image quality issues that may be the result of improper AF and general exposure settings for a variety of genres / subjects during a practical photography application session. Field Testing is not a replacement for lens calibration. Calibration may be an option after field testing if the recommended settings and adjustments does not meet expectations.

Canon EOS Camera Field Testing Service Cape Town
Canon EOS Camera Field Testing Service Cape Town
Field Testing Performance / Sharpness Standards

With 10 years of experience with many different Canon EOS bodies and EF / RF lenses I have a good understanding what the AF and sharpness standards of these body / lens pairings should be.

Personally, I've never required the need for any lens calibrations (on any of my Canon EOS bodies / EF lenses) and it is very seldom that I recommend lens calibration of any kind - as most of the problems are solved with proper AF / exposure settings.

Instead of carrying out meticulous and time consuming lens testing (and possible tuning) with test charts I prefer Field Testing - where the camera / lens will ultimately be used. Evaluation of Field Testing via a thorough Adobe Lightroom image analysis is enough evidence for providing insight of AF performance and expected sharpness / or lack of sharpness.

In my opinion a thorough Field Testing session would be able to identify any possible calibration requirements (should there indeed be definite AF / sharpness issues). Most of the time it is a combination of improper AF/ exposure settings and other in-camera settings. 

Field Testing Procedure
This is a walk around here at Woodbridge Island with the photographer and his / her lens pairing concentrating on various subjects to replicate general conditions where different ISO's, Apertures and Shutter Speeds are applied in relations to various AF Mode settings. Field Testing results will depend on AF Mode selection, weather conditions and distance to subject. On return to my photography training studio after the Field Testing I will go through the images on Adobe Lightroom with the photographer for initial AF / sharpness result observation.

Field Testing Report
At the end of the Field Testing I prepare a report which will be discussed / sent to the photographer. In this report I will evaluate different images against my own benchmark expectation of what sharpness should be. Further recommendations will be offered in terms of AF and exposure settings - and if I think calibration should be considered for improved sharpness.

Contact Me for more information / scheduling an appointment


Canon EOS Camera Field Testing Service Cape Town
Canon EOS Camera Field Testing Service Cape Town

27 May 2021

Low Light Bird Photography | Table Bay Nature Reserve

Grey Heron in Flight Table Bay Nature Reserve Woodbridge Island, Milnerton
Grey Heron in Flight Table Bay Nature Reserve
I was greeted this morning with fogging almost rain..

What a miserable morning! I almost turned around due to the depressing low light. But, decided to give my kit a low light workout – working with lower shutter speeds on the birds in flight – with the objective in bringing the Auto-ISO one to two stops down for compensating for the probable high noise conditions.

I was very surprised with the abundance of birds and could manage a few bird images worth sharing.

Cape Town Location
Table Bay Nature Reserve Woodbridge Island,  Milnerton – walking distance from my Photography Training Studio

A few birds in flight from this morning
  • Grey heron
  • Cape spurfowl
  • Red-eyed dove
  • Little egret
  • Black-headed heron
  • Portrait of a Grey heron
  • Southern masked weaver
  • Levaillant's Cisticola

Canon Camera / Lens Settings
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II Body
  • EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
  • Manual Mode
  • Auto-ISO: 500 - 640
  • Aperture:  f/5.6 - f/6.3
  • Shutter Speed: 1/1000 - 1/2000
  • AI Servo: Case 1: Wide Zone
  • 10 fps High Speed Continuous Mode
  • Handheld

Post-Processing
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC 9.4: Cropping. Colour correction / noise reduction / lens profile correction.

Cape Spurfowl in flight Table Bay Nature Reserve Woodbridge Island, Milnerton
Cape Spurfowl in flight Table Bay Nature Reserve Woodbridge Island, Milnerton

Red-Eyed Dove in flight Table Bay Nature Reserve Woodbridge Island, Milnerton
Red-Eyed Dove in flight Table Bay Nature Reserve Woodbridge Island, Milnerton

Little Egret in Fight Table Bay Nature Reserve Woodbridge Island, Milnerton
Little Egret in Flight Table Bay Nature Reserve Woodbridge Island, Milnerton

Black-Head Heron in flight Table Bay Nature Reserve Woodbridge Island, Milnerton
Black-Headed Heron taking flight Table Bay Nature Reserve Woodbridge Island, Milnerton

Grey Heron Table Bay Nature Reserve Woodbridge Island, Milnerton
Portrait of a Grey Heron Table Bay Nature Reserve Woodbridge Island, Milnerton

Southern Masked Weaver Table Bay Nature Reserve Woodbridge Island, Milnerton
Southern Masked Weaver Table Bay Nature Reserve Woodbridge Island, Milnerton

Levaillant's Cisticola Table Bay Nature Reserve Milnerton Vernon Chalmers Photography
Levaillant's Cisticola Table Bay Nature Reserve Woodbridge Island, Milnerton

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town View

Bird Species Woodbridge Island, Cape Town View

24 May 2021

Enjoying early morning Birds in Flight Photography

Little Egret - Diep River / Woodbridge Island
The light clearly not as good as last week. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the tranquility and solitude…

I was greeted this morning with an overcast sky along the Diep River / Woodbridge Island, but with plenty bird movement.

A few birds in flight from this morning
  • Little egret
  • Cape teal duck
  • Egyptian goose
  • Grey heron
  • Pied kingfisher

Canon Camera / Lens Settings
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
  • Manual Mode
  • Auto-ISO: 400 - 800
  • Aperture:  f/5.6
  • Shutter Speed: 1/3200s
  • AI Servo: Case 1: Wide Zone
  • 10 fps High Speed Continuous Mode
  • Handheld

Post-Processing
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC 9.4: Cropping. Colour correction / noise reduction / lens profile correction.


Cape Teal Duck in Flight Table Bay Nature Reserve Milnerton Vernon Chalmers Photography
Cape Teal Duck in Flight Table Bay Nature Reserve Milnerton. Woodbridge Island

Egyptian Goose in Flight over the Diep River Woodbridge Island Photo: Vernon Chalmers
  Egyptian Goose in Flight over the Diep River Woodbridge Island

Grey Heron in Flight over the Diep River Woodbridge Island Photo: Vernon Chalmers
Grey Heron in Flight over the Diep River Woodbridge Island

Pied Kingfisher in Flight over the Diep River Woodbridge Island Photo: Vernon Chalmers
Pied Kingfisher with Fish in Flight over the Diep River Woodbridge Island

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town View

Bird Species Woodbridge Island, Cape Town View

17 May 2021

Birds in Flight on a Beautiful Blue Monday

White-Breasted Cormorant Diep River Milnerton Woodbridge Island
White-Breasted Cormorant
I went down the river for a birds in flight session along the Diep River, Woodbridge Island earlier this morning and I was greeting with glorious weather. Crisp windless early morning light, with clear an exquisite clear blue sky and water. The only clouds around was those floating off the top of Table Mountain.

Woodbridge Island Bird Species View
Over and the river was easily more than 15 to 20 birds species; from kings gulls, kelp gulls, swift terns, sandwich terns, red-knobbed coots, little egrets, greater egrets, grey herons, Egyptian geese, Cape teal ducks, yellow-billed ducks, pied kingfishers, African black oystercatchers, white-throated cormorants, Cape cormorants and a low flying African spoonbill.

A few birds in flight from this morning:
  • White-breasted cormorant
  • Cape teal ducks
  • Egyptian goose
  • Rock pigeon
  • Cape cormorant

Canon Camera / Lens Settings
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
  • Manual Mode
  • Auto-ISO: 320 - 640
  • Aperture:  f/5.6
  • Shutter Speed: 1/3200s
  • AI Servo: Case 1: Wide Zone
  • 10 fps High Speed Continuous Mode
  • Handheld

Post-Processing
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC 9.4: Cropping. Colour correction / noise reduction / lens profile correction.


Cape Teal Ducks Diep River Milnerton Woodbridge Island
Cape Teal Ducks Diep River Milnerton Woodbridge Island

Egyptian Goose Diep River Milnerton Woodbridge Island
Egyptian Goose Diep River Milnerton Woodbridge Island

Rock Pigeon Diep River Milnerton Woodbridge Island
Rock Pigeon Diep River Milnerton Woodbridge Island

Cape Cormorant Diep River Milnerton Woodbridge Island
White-Breasted Cormorant Diep River Milnerton Woodbridge Island 

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town View

Bird Species Woodbridge Island, Cape Town View

Table Mountain view from my Birds in Flight 'office’

View over the Diep River, Milnerton Golf Course, Milnerton Golf Course towards Table Mountain
View over the Diep River, Milnerton Golf Course, Milnerton Golf Course towards Table Mountain

Here next to the Diep River, Woodbridge Island, I spend many hours waiting for the birds in flight to fly mainly from the left to the right into the morning sun. Although the mountain view stretches' from my side of the Diep River over the Milnerton Golf Course buildings, the Milnerton Lighthouse and Woodbridge Island to provide some exquisite viewing - my 'frame of opportunity' is actually very small. A few seconds at best.

The majority of the birds I photograph in flight are out of this frame view towards the right – with no background distractions – only the water, reeds and the golf course green. The stretch of land in front is a small island in the Diep River with up to 20 to 30 bird species on or above the island on most days.

These are some of the bird species I had the privilege to see and photograph during yesterday morning's photography session: kings gulls, kelp gulls, swift terns, sandwich terns, red-knobbed coots, little egrets, greater egrets, grey herons, Egyptian geese, Cape teal ducks, yellow-billed ducks, pied kingfishers, African black oystercatchers, white-throated cormorants, Cape cormorants and a low flying African spoonbill.

Attached Birds in Flight images: Yellow-billed duck / Cape cormorant in the small 'frame of opportunity' field of view.

Table Mountain image: With Canon EOS 6D / EF 24-70mm f/4l IS USM lens

Bird images: With Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens

Yellow-Billed Duck Diep River Woodbridge Island
Yellow-Billed Duck Diep River Woodbridge Island 

Cape Cormorant Diep River Woodbridge Island
Cape Cormorant Diep River Woodbridge Island 

Table Mountain Photography View

Woodbridge Island Photography View


14 May 2021

Birds in Flight along the Diep River | Woodbridge Island

Egyptian Goose in Flight at Woodbridge Island
Egyptian Goose in Flight at Woodbridge Island
Quick walkabout this morning for a few birds in flight along the Diep River / Woodbridge Island with a fairly crisp and semi-cloudy sky. 
  • Egyptian Goose
  • Grey Heron
  • Yellow-billed duck
  • Cape cormorant
  • Peregrine falcon

Peregrine Falcon in Flight
 First capture of his sighting this season high above Woodbridge Island (from Arnhem, Milnerton) at extreme long range - just happy to see them / hear them....

More about the peregrine falcon.

Canon Camera / Lens Settings
  • Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
  • Manual Mode
  • Auto-ISO: 320 - 640
  • Aperture:  f/5.6
  • Shutter Speed: 1/3200s
  • AI Servo: Case 1: Wide Zone
  • 10 fps High Speed Continuous Mode
  • Handheld

Post-Processing
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC 9.4: Cropping. Colour correction / noise reduction / lens profile correction.

Grey Heron in Flight at Woodbridge Island
Grey Heron in Flight at Woodbridge Island

Yellow-Billed Duck in Flight at Woodbridge Island
Yellow-Billed Duck in Flight at Woodbridge Island

Cape Cormorant in Flight at Woodbridge Island
Cape Cormorant in Flight at Woodbridge Island

Peregrine Falcon in Flight at Woodbridge Island
Peregrine Falcon in Flight at Woodbridge Island (From Arnhem / Milnerton)

Birds in Flight Photography Cape Town

01 May 2021

Flamingos Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island, Cape Town

Canon EOS 700D / Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens
All Greater flamingo photos by Vernon Chalmers in the Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island with Canon EOS 700D and Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM prime telephoto Lens (Manual Mode / Fast Shutter Speeds / Handheld).

Objective
First 'stationary' practice shots with my new Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM super telephoto prime lens paired with Canon EOS 700D Body.

Post-Processing
Images processed in Lightroom 5.7. Converted from RAW to JPG. Lens profile correction. Crops and minor adjustments.

Cape Town Location
Milnerton Lagoon Woodbridge Island, Cape Town

Canon EOS System / Equipment
  • Canon EOS 700D SLR camera body 
  • Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM telephoto prime lens 

Aperture Priority / Manual Mode Settings
  • Shutter speed: 1/500 - 1/2000s 
  • Aperture: f/5.6 - 6.7 
  • Focal length 400mm 
  • ISO 200-400 
  • No Image Stabilization 
  • Autofocus mode (Centre AF point)

Continuous shooting mode / AI Servo
Handheld
(Click to Enlarge)
Greater Flamingos Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island
Greater Flamingos Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island, Cape Town


Flamingos Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island
Greater Flamingos Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island, Cape Town

Flamingos Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island
Greater Flamingos Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island, Cape Town


Flamingos Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island
Greater Flamingos Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island, Town


Greater Flamingos Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island
Greater Flamingos Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island, Cape Town

Flamingos Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island
Greater Flamingos Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island, Cape Town


Flamingos Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island
Greater Flamingos Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island, Cape Town



Flamingos Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island
Greater Flamingos Milnerton Lagoon / Woodbridge Island, Cape Town
Canon EOS 7D Mark II - Birds in Flight Photography Gallery

Bird watching in the Table Bay Nature Reserve

Helmeted guineafowl - Table Bay Nature Reserve
Peekaboo! Helmeted Guineafowl - Table Bay Nature Reserve
On a glorious and crisp morning I went on my routine short walkabout around the Table Bay Nature Reserve Diep river, Woodbridge Island.

Normally, I'm out looking out for birds in flight, but on this particular mid-morning most birds were settled in their feeding and 'doing-nothing' routine.

I was very pleased to see a few helmeted guineafowl jogging along, at times, precariously close to Otto du Plessis Drive (on-route to the Reserve).

Making my way through the Reserve, and highlight of my morning, was a close encounter with a nesting / perched pair of pied kingfishers. I was fortunate enough to capture at least one of them.

Towards the end of the gallery below are two birds in flight images captured of a Cape teal duck, Egyptian goose and Darter flying over the Diep river (flowing past the Table Bay Nature Reserve and the adjacent Milnerton Golf Course).

My 'Bird Species Index' around Woodbridge Island / Table Bay Nature Reserve

Images by Vernon Chalmers with Canon EOS 7D Mark II and Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens.

Thoughts on my settings used for Birds in Flight / Perched Birds
Exposure settings (maily aperture and shutter speed)  will depend on birds in flight and / or perched birds. With so many birds flying up and down the Diep river, Woodbridge Island / Table Bay Nature Reserve area I rarely change my exposure settings. Shooting with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II / Canon EF 400mm f/4.5L USM lens since early 2015 I've tweaked my settings alike for fast and slower birds. One of the only settings I will change is the shutter speed (to support the lighting conditions).

For perched birds I generally use the same settings in good light conditions for providing a decent exposure. With enough time (and perhaps more so in less light) I may adjust from Manual to Av (Aperture Priority) Mode for decreasing shutter speed and ISO. What I do try and change is the AF Mode, but it is rarely achieved as my main focus is to keep things simple and to enjoy the outing (if setup for birds in flight).

I could also use the Full Frame 6D for perched birds, but prefer the reach of the Crop / APS-C body. Sitting, say for instance, in a hide for perched birds I will use a different combination of body / lens and settings, but in my local shooting environment I prefer one body / lens paring and one set of settings for both flying and perched birds.

Canon EOS 7D Mark II / Lens Settings
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Auto-ISO 400-1200
  • Shutter Speed: 1/4000s
  • AF: Large Zone (Case 1)
  • 10 fps / handheld
  • AF on
  • FL: 400mm (prime lens)
  • CF Card: Lexar Professional 800x / 120MB/s 32GB

Canon EOS Setup and Tips For Birds in Flight Photography

(Click to Enlarge)
Grey Heron in the Table Bay Nature Reserve - Diep River / Woodbridge Island
Grey Heron in the Table Bay Nature Reserve (overlooking the Milnerton Golf Course)

Close Encounter with Pied Kingfisher in the Table Bay Nature Reserve Image 1 / 2
Close Encounter with a Pied Kingfisher in the Table Bay Nature Reserve

Little Cisticola on guard in the Table Bay Nature Reserve
Little Cisticola on guard in the Table Bay Nature Reserve

Cape Spurfowl in Fight over the Table Bay Nature Reserve
Cape Spurfowl in Fight over the Table Bay Nature Reserve

Southern Masked Weaver (ringed) overlooking the Table Bay Nature Reserve
Southern Masked Weaver (ringed) overlooking the Table Bay Nature Reserve

Cape Teal Duck in Flight over the Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve
Cape Teal Duck in Flight over the Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve

Egyptian Goose in Flight over the Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve
Egyptian Goose in Flight over the Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve

Darter in Flight over the Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve
Darter in Flight over the Diep River / Table Bay Nature Reserve

The Hadeda ibis was from a previous walk back from the Table Bay Nature Reserve. Quite tame and minding his own morning breakfast routine.

Hadeda Ibis with breakfast - close to the Table Bay Nature Reserve
Hadeda Ibis with breakfast - close to the Table Bay Nature Reserve

Small birds in the Table Bay Nature Reserve

Hout Bay Harbour African Art & Textiles - For Joseph Inns

On Wednesday morning (28 April 2021) Karen Donaldson and I – both friends of the late Joseph Inns, went to Hout Bay, Cape Town,  to reminisce and discuss our relationship with our very special friend.

I’ve captured many images of Hout Bay Harbour before, with its fishing boats, yachts and glorious mountains. But for Joseph, I wanted something different.

For this post I decided to select four images for my friend that will best represent his love for Africa, Art, Colour and Simplicity.

All images are dedicated to our very special friend, Joseph Inns.

Joseph taught me to see the light, he taught me composition, but above all, he taught me patience… with respect / gratitude.

Photographed and published with permission from the Hout Bay, Cape Town Harbour Crafters and Artists.

With Canon EOS 6D / Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM lens at the Hout Bay Harbour.

Table Mountain & Township - Hout Bay Harbour African Art & Textiles - For Joseph Inns
Table Mountain & Township - Hout Bay Harbour African Art & Textiles - For Joseph Inns

Vibrant Colours - Hout Bay Harbour African Art & Textiles - For Joseph Inns
Vibrant Colours - Hout Bay Harbour African Art & Textiles - For Joseph Inns

Vibrant Colours - Hout Bay Harbour African Art & Textiles - For Joseph Inns
Vibrant Colours - Hout Bay Harbour African Art & Textiles - For Joseph Inns

Soul of Africa - Hout Bay Harbour African Art & Textiles - For Joseph Inns
Soul of Africa - Hout Bay Harbour African Art & Textiles - For Joseph Inns

Grieving the loss of my friend, Joseph Inns View

Darkness into Light at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden View