Wildlife Gardeners - North American Wildlife Gardening

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Fearless Weeder 01-06-2009 09:29 PM

Welcome to the Wildlife Photo Tips Forum
 
In keeping with our Mission Statement, it wouldn't be appropriate to discuss how to take photos of our pets, people, or vacations however discussions of how to photograph native flora and fauna, natural landscaping, and related camera questions are appropriate.

Enjoy.

Sage 02-08-2009 08:06 PM

I See You!
 
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First, please understand I am an amateur photographer and use a P&S (point and shoot) though not a compact. It's a Panasonic Lumix FZ18 I'll share some easy tips anyone can use.

When shooting wild life, eye contact with the camera can make a better shot as in this one that won the January contest.

Sage 02-08-2009 08:48 PM

Two for the Price of One
 
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Either mated pairs or even just two make for interesting shots.
#2 Red-tailed Hawks mating

TheLorax 02-08-2009 10:47 PM

If you are an amateur photographer, I am an amateur gardener.

I bought a PowerShot. Many people seem to have one of those. I figured go with a popular camera others were using and be able get help. I seem to have problems photographing anything that moves. Your photo of the squirrels is one of my favorites. I saw that a while ago and it is a photo we have here somewhere in one of the forums. I love that photo.

Sage 02-09-2009 12:08 PM

Thanks, Lorax. Powershots are great cameras!

As we were leaving the zoo one day, I spotted something out of the corner of my eye, and I stopped and looked at a tree to my right. Then I saw the hole where the squirrels were sticking their little heads out. I just started snapping!

In that we go out looking for something to shoot, we've found the necessity of always having the camera settings ready for the condition so we can shoot fast, and not lose good opportunities having to futz with the settings.

TheLorax 02-09-2009 01:39 PM

I have a friend who has a ranch house. They did not remove any of the hickory trees around their home. There are many nooks and crannies for animals. They have squirrels and screech owls in their trees. One evening at dusk the little screech owls were poking their heads out waiting for their mother to bring back dinner. My friends helped me get up on their roof with a ladder to try to get closer to take photos. I did not fall off but I did not get any photos either. They were too far away for my flash to hit them. I did have fun. There they were staring out at me from their hole and there I was staring back at them. Their little swivel heads would spin down to where my friends were standing on the ground then back up to me on their roof. They have no fear. I considered moving the ladder closer to the hole to stand up on the top to get in closer with my flash. The chorus line on the ground said no.

Im4dabirds 02-09-2009 05:18 PM

The things we do for great shots! LOL I'm new here but enjoying the site a lot and especially like this forum. I love shooting pics of wildlife, although mine is mostly limited to birds, squirrels, chipmunks, lizards and such. Lots of woods around me, but also LOTS of hunters roaming them during winter. Now that the season is over, I hope to get out into the woods a bit and see what I can find. I've only been in this house for about 9 months and haven't had a chance to do much exploring.

Anyway, my reason for posting was to ask how high you can set the ISO on your camera? You may be able to shoot some in low light without the flash. Although The shots are more grainy, you can clean them up a lot with post processing. Just a thought for next time you find an owl nest. :D

TheLorax 02-09-2009 05:48 PM

The things we TRY TO do to get any picture!

This afternoon I discovered a wonderful nest of leaves being built in one of my trees. The squirrels did a really nice job and they were both up there at the same time. One of them had a mouth full of leaves. It was so cute. I did my stealth walk out through the garage and thought I was being really quiet. I wasn't. The minute I came around the corner one jumped into another tree and the other scurried down the other side of the tree. I can get a great photo of the nest if anyone is interested.

I am afraid I would not know where to set the ISO or how high it can go. I downloaded a manual and it still is not sinking in for me. I think I will have to be content with automatic settings.

If anyone is interested in seeing a great shot of a new squirrel nest, let me know.

I've mostly got the same subjects you have other than you could swap the lizards for salamanders, frogs, and toads.

Sage 02-09-2009 05:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Im4dabirds (Post 8415)
my reason for posting was to ask how high you can set the ISO on your camera? You may be able to shoot some in low light without the flash. Although The shots are more grainy, you can clean them up a lot with post processing. Just a thought for next time you find an owl nest. :D

Good suggestion for Lorax! Lorax, can you insert a link to your exact camera model?

TheLorax 02-09-2009 05:55 PM

I have the Canon PowerShot S2 IS.

Sage 02-09-2009 06:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheLorax (Post 8420)
I have the Canon PowerShot S2 IS.

Here's info on your camera: Canon PowerShot

It's much like mine. You can set the ISO for 400 and you have a lot of other settings to work with. Just need to do some test shots to get familiar with your camera.

Before I begin a photoshoot, I choose the settings I think will be best and do test shots. Only takes a minute. ;)

TheLorax 02-09-2009 06:11 PM

That is the exact camera I have. Where does it tell me how to adjust the ISO settings?

Sage 02-09-2009 06:18 PM

http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...elTechSpecsAct

On my Lumix, I would set it in Program mode/click menu button/scroll to ISO/choose

TheLorax 02-15-2009 10:11 AM

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I've given up on the settings. I found where they are. They are too small to read to get where you want to be. I'm doomed to be one of those point and click people.

This is my squirrel nest without the squirrels. Eat your heart out Sage :p She has been working on that nest for a month.

Im4dabirds 02-16-2009 11:18 AM

Lorax, you still get great shots with that camera. It has a fast lens and great shutter speed, and continuous shooting speed. And with a 12X optical zoom you're right up there with the big boys! According to the specs that equals a 36 - 432mm lens. That's better than what I have with my dslr!

I use the continuous shooting mode most of the time. Then I can pick the best of the lot out in post processing. Just be sure and delete the 'others'. I hate doing that cause some of them are good shots too, but I have sooooo many photos I bought two extra hard drives to hold them all. You have to be brutal in deleting marginal shots. But you end up with a tremendous album of excellent shots.

TheLorax 02-16-2009 12:07 PM

If my subject doesn't move I have a chance at getting good shots. That nest couldn't exactly walk out of the frame. I do well enough with stationary objects. One thing I have learned is to make sure my back is to the sun and to be sure there is no intense light source anywhere in front of me. That screws up photos every time. From reading a little of the online manual a few weeks ago (thank you to who ever gave that to me), I found how to use that optical zoom. I always wondered what those arrows meant. I can get in a lot closer now.

I am brutal in deleting. I delete over 20 to every one I keep. You would feel very sorry for me if I posted some I thought were good that were deleted.

Sage 02-16-2009 08:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheLorax (Post 9210)
If my subject doesn't move I have a chance at getting good shots. That nest couldn't exactly walk out of the frame. I do well enough with stationary objects. One thing I have learned is to make sure my back is to the sun and to be sure there is no intense light source anywhere in front of me. That screws up photos every time. From reading a little of the online manual a few weeks ago (thank you to who ever gave that to me), I found how to use that optical zoom. I always wondered what those arrows meant. I can get in a lot closer now.

Yer a bloomin' scream, Lorax! :D

Quote:

I am brutal in deleting. I delete over 20 to every one I keep. You would feel very sorry for me if I posted some I thought were good that were deleted.
That's excellent! :) Too many people save all the pix! :eek:

My husband actually got shots of EAGLES MATING today! :eek: And I pointed out the female sitting there before the male flew in! The shots weren't great because they were far off but I'm so jealous!

Yesterday and again today he got pix of a leucistic Red-tailed Hawk flying! We're going back there every day til I get some good shots! It's about twenty miles away. Pix are here.

Im4dabirds 02-17-2009 10:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheLorax (Post 9210)
I found how to use that optical zoom. I always wondered what those arrows meant. I can get in a lot closer now.

Laughed out loud when I read this! What a hoot! Now we expect to see some really great shots of the nest. :D

Equilibrium 02-17-2009 09:45 PM

Not trying to insult you but do you know what the little flower button on the left hand side of the camera body does for you and how to press it long enough for your camera to enter the macro mode?

TheLorax 02-20-2009 10:39 PM

No insult taken. That was the only button I found out how to work. It's been a godsend. Thanks for mentioning it.

biigblueyes 02-21-2009 12:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Equilibrium (Post 9354)
Not trying to insult you but do you know what the little flower button on the left hand side of the camera body does for you and how to press it long enough for your camera to enter the macro mode?

My camera has a little flower button. What am I supposed to be looking for once it enters macro mode?

Sage 02-21-2009 12:31 AM

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Quote:

Originally Posted by biigblueyes (Post 9743)
My camera has a little flower button. What am I supposed to be looking for once it enters macro mode?

Use it only to get real close. Depending on the camera, having it in macro mode when photographing at a distance can cause the camera not to focus. Check your manual! ;)

Here are examples of macro photography for flowers

TheLorax 02-21-2009 01:19 AM

I can answer that question. Hold the little flower down and you will see a flower appear in your screen and then it moves up toward the top of the frame with other pictures of things. Once it is in the flower mode, you are able to get better detail like Sage's photos above me.

suunto 02-21-2009 06:45 AM

With the Nikon Coolpix camera I use for closeups, it often helps to use the zoom control after selecting the flower symbol - the symbol will turn green when you have proper focus. I found this out after a succession of blurry closeups. The camera also has a vibration damping mode, which also helps with hand-held close-ups.

biigblueyes 02-21-2009 08:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sage (Post 9750)
Check your manual! ;)

I knew you'd say that. All of the other manuals I file away in a "warranty drawer", but that one I keep out, knowing I should, oh I don't know, maybe read it?!?!?

TheLorax 02-21-2009 01:00 PM

I didn't find anything on my camera having a vibration damping mode. You probably have a better camera than me.

The type in the manuals is very small. So small I couldn't use mine. My camera has an online manual. Maybe yours does too biigblueyes?

Sage 02-21-2009 01:45 PM

Mine has anti-shake 1 and 2; for vertical and horizontal . I keep both on cuz my right arm and hand shake from an old stroke unless supported by having my arm resting on something. I need all the help I can get! Holding my camera up high trying to get bird shots is challenging for me and Roger always gets better flying shots than I do. Grrrrrrrr!

TheLorax 02-21-2009 01:56 PM

I can be standing in the exact same location as friends photographing the exact same thing they're taking pictures of and I end up with the blurr. I'm wondering if maybe I don't have a similar problem to you with the camera shaking. I'll look for an anti-shake setting. Maybe my camera lists this feature under that instead of vibration damping. I do fine if I bend down and balance the camera on a knee to photograph a plant.

MaggyNoLia 02-21-2009 02:17 PM

I found this site to be very helpful with their photgraphy information.

http://www.tutorial9.net/category/photography/photography-basics/

I would read the
Photography Basics

at the bottom of the page first. It shows you the parts of the camera and gives you a basic understanding of what happens when you push the button to take a picture.


The
Standing Steady: Proven Ways to Reduce Shake in Photography

tutorial is a good one for helping to reduce blur and hold the camera steady.


The
Photography Troubleshooting: No More Bad Photos

is full of some good tips too.

There are quite a few more tutorials on this site and if you can find the time to browse through them I think you'll find them to be very helpful.

TheLorax 02-21-2009 02:21 PM

Finished reading your other website. I'll do these now. Man oh man I feel like a charity case.

reading about depth of field. That is something else I never get when I take pictures.

MaggyNoLia 02-21-2009 02:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheLorax (Post 9822)
Man oh man I feel like a charity case.

You shouldn't. I'm only about 2 months ahead of you. The first digital camera I owned was a year and a half ago and that was not really a camera, but rather a digital scope. With the scope I was limited on what I could take pictures of. It was really good for long distances, but trying to get a shot of the family right in front of me wasn't something that it could do well. Now, don't get me wrong here....I've used digital cameras for quite a few years, but they always belonged to other family members. They weren't mine and I didn't learn any of the features that came along with those borrowed cameras. Finally I got my own camera for Christmas this year. I felt like it was a Rubik's cube at first. All those buttons and knobs. Reading the manual I saw words I barely understood. I took pictures that were not good and watched my nephews, all under 10, take better shots than I did with their little cameras they got for Christmas. So, I searched out help....online tutorials, books...whatever I could find to help me understand what I was doing wrong, and I'm learning. The more you read, the better you'll understand. It may take reading the same thing a few times, but as you mess with your camera and read a few articles more and more will start coming together for you...I promise you.

tineckbone 05-12-2010 04:53 PM

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I have a Nikon D60, 18-55mm lens and a 55-200mm lens. I have been an avid photographer since I was about 11 years old. I guess that I have been taking pictures now for about 37 years. I love to take pictures of everything. One tip that I can give is for taking pictures of flowers or just about any close up shot outside. Wait for a completely overcast day. The lighting will be flat, no shadows but still bright enough to take pictures without a flash. The first picture is one that I took yesterday with those conditions.

The other thing you can do is wait until the sun goes down a bit and use the flash. That will have a tendency to have only the subject of the picture lit up and the background will be darker. The second picture is an example of that. The third picture is an even more dramatic example of waiting until it is a bit darker outside and using the flash.

You can also use the sun to your advantage by shooting "through" the subject with the bright light behind it, the picture I took for the April photo contest is a very good example of that. Not all subjects are good for that type of photography though and you have to fill the viewfinder with the subject, not always that easy to do...


The only other tip I can give is this...breathe and squeeze. Don't hold your breath and push the shutter release button. Breathe slow and easy and just keep putting more pressure on the button until the shutter goes. Keep your finger on the shutter release button with just enough pressure to actually feel the button under your finger. When you have the composition just right then add more pressure until the shutter captures your prized photograph!:)

havalotta 05-12-2010 09:26 PM

:yayjump Awesome!

BooBooBearBecky 05-14-2010 04:34 AM

tineckbone,
Thanks for the photography tips!

I had no idea it was better to take close up photos on an overcast day. No wonder why so many of my "bug on flower" photos turn out more like "blobs on some kind of plant" photos. :slaphead

BTW....thanks for sharing your fantastic flower photos!

tineckbone 05-14-2010 05:16 AM

Thank you BooBooBearBecky!

Sage 05-02-2012 11:19 AM

Just a couple quick and easy tips for aesthetically pleasing compositions, and especially if you're considering submitting photos to contests.

Don't plant the subject smack in the center. Bad. Crop if necessary.

Don't have diagonal lines leave the frame right at the corner. Bad. Crop if necessary.

Make the subject the obvious focal point, with as little junk around it as possible. If you wish to put the subject in a broader context, include some surrounding detail.

Try to use the "Rule of Thirds". Many cameras have grid lines for thirds under "display"
Otherwise, divide the frame into nine sections, two lines across, two lines vertically. Place your subject at the intersections, usually inside the center section.

Since outdoor nature shots are dependent on various weather conditions, they can benefit from exposure tweaking in virtually any photo-editing program.

Practice these tips and you will be thrilled with your fantastic results!

havalotta 05-02-2012 09:02 PM

Quote:

Don't have diagonal lines leave the frame right at the corner. Bad. Crop if necessary.
Really..... I've done that on purpose. Sometimes both ways.... Actually, I find it quite a challenge.
It gives me the feeling of motion and play. So it's a bad thing ha?

Equilibrium 05-23-2012 09:47 PM

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Here's my recent attempt at "capturing" the magical effects of a setting sun on an American Beech. I tried.... I failed. That's a pillow case behind the new leaves.

Equilibrium 05-23-2012 09:53 PM

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Here's another attempt at catching very busy ants I discovered underneath a stock tank. I swear there WERE ants there when I lifted up the stock tank to take a photo but.... I have no clue where they went in the minute or so it took me to get my camera and run back. I did like the labyrinth they created though and really thought the photo woulda turned out better than it did. It looked really cool to me at the time.

havalotta 05-23-2012 09:54 PM

I've been playing around with black backgrounds.....I want to see the florals POP.
So far I've tried black paper, cardboard, velvet stapled to cardboard.......
What do the professionals use or do? Are their photos computer enhanced or tweaked? or do they use an actual back drop of sorts...If so what? I'm ready to move and groove......

Sage 02-05-2014 09:36 PM

Omg! How did this thread get buried?

Hava, if you're doing botanical macros or even bugs and want the background to go black, use your macro setting or do it manually, use the FLASH on a low setting with a flash ring thing or a styrofoam bowl. Practice til you achieve what you want.

havalotta 02-05-2014 11:54 PM

I don't want the background to GO black. I want it to BE black to begin with. Guess I don't understand what you're trying to tell me. Taking a photo with a flash only brightens things and makes them look oh.... so fake.:yuck

Flash ring? In a bowl?

Sage 02-09-2014 12:19 AM

hava, show me an example of what you want

havalotta 02-09-2014 08:12 AM

Funny you ask. ;)
I returned to the thread last night, which led to the hunting for the photos of the florals I had taken using the various backdrops.
I found them. I'm in the process of looking at them for the very first time. What fun! A virgin stash of Summer fun, mid Winter. Right now I'm separating and deleting. I'll pull you up a few examples after I've enjoyed the show.

havalotta 02-10-2014 02:31 PM

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I want to capture florals against a totally BLACK background....
Attachment 40135
Pretty much like this.....

Attachment 40134
The various papers and velvets I've tried BEHIND the florals tend to show every speck of fiber in them and or shadows.
They appear as if they are on carpet! A black sheet of paper or velvet behind them is a lot of hit and miss.....
The majority showing the graininess .:yuck

Sage 02-10-2014 07:06 PM

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As an demo example, this bug works better because it really shows the well lit background as it was. No black paper or cloth. Just flash with a homemade light ring. I posted these on my Flickr account in 2006.

Attachment 40137 This was shot by me as passenger in car during the day, with a flash and man-made light ring (styrofoam plate)

Attachment 40139 Here is a broader view but you can see the bug I focused on and the black background the flash created. Also, towards the edges you can see through the window

Attachment 40138 This pic was a misfire but it shows what is really beyond the window.

Photographing my little glass antique bottles in a homemade light box with black paper or black velvet always resulted in DUST and LINT showing in the photo! Try to learn this trick and you can get this effect inside or out. You can make the light ring from a styrofoam plate or bowl with the center cut out to fit around your lens, or, you can spend a lot of money on a real ring. :crazy1

Flickr page
Mayfly on car window | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

havalotta 02-10-2014 07:40 PM

So you went from a shot of the mayfly THAT light in the bottom photo to one with THAT dark of a back ground in the photos above it by JUST adding what you call a light ring? Is that the same mayfly, same time, same day?????

Sage 02-10-2014 07:47 PM

Same mayfly, same time, different shots, and I posted the set to Flickr as an example of how following George's handmade tools, in this case the styrofoam light ring, would accomplish the goal of having the background go black. He used to post all his creations and taught us a lot over the years. I priced a light right at the time and the lowest price was $80.00.

Sage 02-10-2014 07:55 PM

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Attachment 40141 Outdoor shot

Attachment 40142 Indoor shot

Same technique

Sage 02-10-2014 07:56 PM

And no dust or lint!


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