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The eye on this duck is unacceptably soft. I am told that it could be because of the use of VR at shutter speeds over 1/500. The duck was shot probably at about 1/2500….with VR on. At higher ISO’s, I am going to switch VR off to see if there is validity to this.
Eastern Kingbirds often hunt for insects in “legs”: They scoot a little ways, hover, scoot a little more and hover again, as they are searching for those insects that are also foraging (often the draonflies). This is the first EK I was able to shoot while it was hunting in that way. This image is only 1.2 mpx, so it is just beginning to pixelate after you click on the + sign. But it is the best I could do so far.
Another example of fast action. See the vortex in the water? The male is behind her, with his head looking underwater. They instantly went from casual loafing to fast action. It must have been because they spotted a fish at the same time. The D500 acquired AF on her instantly
This bullfrog was captured via the tilting LCD screen; i.e. LiveView. I had a super wide-brimmed straw hat on, so that may have helped me see the image in the LCD…so I could focus. I used the button under the right thumb. Always have trouble remembering the name of it…..AF-ON? This way of shooting handheld close-ups was an exciting experience because I did not have to hunch down tightly into a right angle finder. But I should say that Nikon admits that focusing in LiveView is not comparable to focusing through the viewfinder. In other words, my right angle finder is the finer, more accurate of the two for focusing, but the LCD is much more comfortable to use.
I had taken my rubber boots off, slipped into those water slippers and very, very slowly slid up over the gunwhale and into the mucky bottom. I had left the D500′s right angle finder at home so I figured I would give it a go with the tilting LCD. It was great because I was able to shoot right along the surface of the water while kneeling into the muck, but with my back straight up. A single focus point placed on the frog’s eye, along with a pressing of the AF-ON button did the trick. I did not think it would work, but it did. I like it!
The above male loon illustrates the advantage of having high speed burst on the D500. I saw that the bird was going to flex his wings, so I made sure it acquired focus and then I opened it up at high speed until the bird had settled down again. This was the reason I was able to get a perfect composition. I do not have a count of the total frames but it was a bunch, and this was the best ot them…..for now at least. And that is the other advantage; i.e. I have the entire high speed xsequence archived. I could not have done this with my D7200.
NOTE: The loon images are JPEG’s. Big mistake and the D500 is set back to RAW.
A lot of what I write is based on what I see; i.e. I now think that the way they kill these fish is by crushing the thoracic area, thereby stopping the heart. These things are not in the literature. But then again, all published literature is based on observations made by people.
I concluded that she had squeezed and continued to squeeze the thoracic area. That is exactly where the loons bill is clasping the Yellow Perch in the image. By the way, the centrarchids, especailly the Yellow Perch and the Bream species are widely considered to be the Common Loons preferred fish species when it is living freshwaters. The reason is because it is able to catch these fish easier because they rely on shorter zigzagging patterns and then taking cover, rather than a sustained flight in one direction, as many of the other fish species tend to do.
Note: I deleted a duck image here becasue it was just too laden with post processing junk. Also, am not quite sure why the above duck is not sharper than it is. Look at the head/eye when fully enlarged. It may be that I have not correctly fine-tuned AF for that distance, but I believe I have. Anyway, this image was captured at 1/2500 second. So I don’t get it….yet. I did not push up this duck. It had already decided it was going to go downlake. I just happen to be ready for it. Afterthought: Maybe it is because I applied too much de-noising. I am new to understanding post processing and new to DXO Pro Optics 10 Elite. It looks like I put too much de-noising into it. Do not have the time to fix it now…..later.
Above duck: CL, AF-C, 3D, 1/2500th, ISO 1250, F8. 1.3 DX format. The sequence total is about 10 shots. The first few are slightly out of focus. I must have realized the focus point was not on the bird just at the instant the bird took off. Because as I recall, I struggled to recover; i.e. get a focus point on the bird and repush the AF-ON button. Though not certain, I suspect I was able to recover because I was in CL and not CH. You see, in CL, the pause between frames is ample time to determine if the D500 is acquiring. I think the only way to recover in CH is to deliberately stop the bursting (so to get a pause), quickly determine if the AF has acquired (and if not then reposition a focus point on the bird and repush the AF-ON button).
I cannot be sure because there is no metadata that covers this and the action begins and ends very quickly. Although the above images look like there are two ducks…..they both are the same duck….and it was not pushed to fly. I have thought about this since I bought this D500 and I have decided that I am not going to go around pushing ducks up. If it happens…it happens. I was launching the canoe and this duck was out off the boat ramp about 80-100 feet.. It was particularly fearful of me, not trusting though. These ducks are quite conditioned to people being fairly close to them. And boy is that a mistake, because this in the country and there is a duck hunting blind across this cove, albeit a delapidated one. Anyway, this bird took off in response to its partner having taken off seconds before. These birds just like to move around…away from any person at all. I saw this happening as I was preparing to launch and so I picked up my camera in anticipation of it wanting to join its partner.
I think the biggest part of this whole BIF thing is correctly anticipating what an animal is going to do…and I mean every single detail of what is going to happen. It is not easy, but it sure is fun. This is a whole new learning curve for me. More experimenting tomorrow early. Still have not figured out how to get a focus point on a duck and keep it there until it takes off. If it was a single focus point I could do it, but not in GRP or 3D or any of the others. I don’t get it yet.
BTW, I notice that lots of folks do not know that birds are animals. They are. Insects are animals. Fish are animals. They all belong to the Kingdom Animalia.
Great Black-backed Gull: Sequence progresses from bottom to top; i.e. last image is on top left.
Autofocus settings for this sequence : CH, AFC, 3D. A3 is set on Maximum delay, which is “5″. ISO 1250
Focus was acquired on the first frame, before starting the sequence. The D500 stayed focused on the gull, while shooting in bursts, at its highest frame rate (with an SD card), throughout the entire sequence, even when the bird passed behind a piling and emerged from the other side.