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Lens: Vivitar 400mm Camera: K7 
Posted By: dLSK, 01-16-2019, 06:07 AM

Moring

Old member here - I made a post in the introduction section - getting back behind the lens after a few years. Had some health issues with my dad and the mother in law that kept me away from the camera for a while. Wife made a huge career change a few years ago as well, and that's removed some 'free time' for myself, but that's life lol.

Anyway, schedules have stabilized a bit and I've found I now have some time to get back shooting. I used to mainly shoot landscapes , specifically coast line long exposures. Always liked birds though, so challenging and a great test of skill / knowledge / ability. Haven't gone 'out' yet, but I've been able to put some time in the yard with our local winged friends.

Thanks for looking, glad to be back here.

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01-16-2019, 07:08 AM   #2
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Welcome back! Very good shots of the blue jay! The bokeh is really beautiful with vivid colors that make a great contrast to the bird.
01-16-2019, 08:04 PM   #3
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Welcome back, I haven.t been around a whole lot neither but such is life. Very nice Blue Jays BTW.
01-17-2019, 08:43 AM   #4
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Very nice photos! I also have been pretty scarce around here for awhile, but I'm trying to rev up my photographic motor in 2019.

Jer

01-17-2019, 10:51 AM   #5
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I was scarce here for a week once, but I got over it.

Those are nice Blue jay images taken in your yard, and of course, we have a thread for that.
The Yard Birds Thread - Page 92 - PentaxForums.com

And you are shooting with a 400mm lens, and we have a thread for that too.
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/122-lens-clubs/55946-300mm-plus-lens-clu...nses-2027.html
01-17-2019, 08:35 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by dLSK Quote
Old member here - I made a post in the introduction section - getting back behind the lens after a few years. Had some health issues with my dad and the mother in law that kept me away from the camera for a while. Wife made a huge career change a few years ago as well, and that's removed some 'free time' for myself, but that's life lol.

Anyway, schedules have stabilized a bit and I've found I now have some time to get back shooting. I used to mainly shoot landscapes , specifically coast line long exposures. Always liked birds though, so challenging and a great test of skill / knowledge / ability. Haven't gone 'out' yet, but I've been able to put some time in the yard with our local winged friends.

Thanks for looking, glad to be back here.
Nice photos.


Blue Jays are attractive birds as long as they keep their mouths closed.

Incidentally, right now I'm wearing a sweatshirt for a college which has the blue jay as its mascot; I thought that was a strange choice until I realized how fierce blue jays can be.
01-18-2019, 05:19 AM   #7
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Thank you all for the kind words, greatly appreciated.


QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
Nice photos. Blue Jays are attractive birds as long as they keep their mouths closed. Incidentally, right now I'm wearing a sweatshirt for a college which has the blue jay as its mascot; I thought that was a strange choice until I realized how fierce blue jays can be.

Yes, they can be fairly aggressive. Quite a few times a week, they'll chase the Grackles out of the yard. They come in 5-7 at a time, set up a perimeter and trade off ; one eats, others guard, switch. Pretty cool they way they work.


QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I was scarce here for a week once, but I got over it. Those are nice Blue jay images taken in your yard, and of course, we have a thread for that. The Yard Birds Thread - Page 92 - PentaxForums.com And you are shooting with a 400mm lens, and we have a thread for that too. 300mm plus Lens Club: discuss your long lenses - Page 2027 - PentaxForums.com


lol Thank you for the thread links, I'll definitely post the bird stuff there instead, thank you.
The 400mm.... *sigh* it's a good lens. Maybe I just don't have it down yet - shutter +ISO combo - but I find I only get good, nice sharp images about 40%. It's pretty frustrating lol.

Example: A female cardinal will come. They usually survey the scene before actually hitting the feeders, so I know I've got a good minute for shots. I won't move, take 10-15 shots, drive mode hi speed, at least 320 shutter = maybe 5 good ones. Rest are just not sharp, I don't get haha.
01-18-2019, 06:45 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by dLSK Quote
Thank you all for the kind words, greatly appreciated.





Yes, they can be fairly aggressive. Quite a few times a week, they'll chase the Grackles out of the yard. They come in 5-7 at a time, set up a perimeter and trade off ; one eats, others guard, switch. Pretty cool they way they work.






lol Thank you for the thread links, I'll definitely post the bird stuff there instead, thank you.
The 400mm.... *sigh* it's a good lens. Maybe I just don't have it down yet - shutter +ISO combo - but I find I only get good, nice sharp images about 40%. It's pretty frustrating lol.

Example: A female cardinal will come. They usually survey the scene before actually hitting the feeders, so I know I've got a good minute for shots. I won't move, take 10-15 shots, drive mode hi speed, at least 320 shutter = maybe 5 good ones. Rest are just not sharp, I don't get haha.
The other day there were red polls in my yard at my feeders. I haven't had them there for 5 years, the last images I have of them were taken with my Sigma 70-300. I went out, even though the light was poor. I took 230 images and got no keepers. The light was dim and blue, I had very little dynamic range etc. For me the answer is simple. Go out on bright sunny day with lots of light, try and keep your shutter speed around 1/1000s or more, 1/2000 for birds in flight. Try and keep your ƒ-stop at least ƒ5.6 and ƒ8 if you can. 5% good ones is actually doing really well. When I'm out in my blind I often take 700 images to get 20 I like. When I have the birds in my viewfinder I often shoot 23 shot bursts that fill the buffer. Many are thrown out because I don't like the pose, and I frequently have motion blur at lower shutter speeds. When eating their little beaks move at an alarming rate often causing motion blur under 1/1000s. And usually my depth of field is narrow if they move their heads between shots they move their heads out of acceptable focus even when the body in still spot on.

Shooting smaller birds is fraught with challenges. Even when every thing else goes well, not every pose looks as good as every other pose. You simply cannot react in time to catch a specific pose. You have to shoot a burst and hope every thing falls in place. Anticipating movements is spotty, they are by nature unpredictable in their movements. A lot of what non-small bird photographers will tell you to do is nonsense, it's an art in and of itself. Its definitely tougher with a non AF lens. Shooting with the 1.7x AF adapter (partial AF) will cut my shots to 200 from 700, shooting with an MF lens would probably cut it to 60.

But bottom line, try and get your ƒ stop to 8 and your shutter speed to /1200 (a nice compromise) and keep your ISO between 100 and 400 and you should get some images. Totally agressive post processing is also necessary. I typically find one I like then delete everything before it and do the same, go to the next one I like, mass delete everything between those two. To select even 200 shots in short period of time, you need to be fast and efficient. If it's borderline, toss it, keep only your best. If you don't your "bird folder" will have way too many images in it in the blink of eye.


Last edited by normhead; 01-18-2019 at 06:55 AM.
01-18-2019, 08:44 AM   #9
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normhead, maybe I should have clarified a little. If I have the Sigma or the old Tak 200 X 2x teleconverter, there are zero issues. It's only w/ the 400mm Vivitar. Could be the lens just isn't great. Even on a bright sunny day, she's just not sharp 100%. I've tested it many, many times on stationary object, with a tripod. I only still use it for that 4 or 5 images I might get that ARE actually decent
01-18-2019, 09:13 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by dLSK Quote
normhead, maybe I should have clarified a little. If I have the Sigma or the old Tak 200 X 2x teleconverter, there are zero issues. It's only w/ the 400mm Vivitar. Could be the lens just isn't great. Even on a bright sunny day, she's just not sharp 100%. I've tested it many, many times on stationary object, with a tripod. I only still use it for that 4 or 5 images I might get that ARE actually decent
Oh ya, I have a lens like that. The Pentax 28-200 which is a Tamron rebrand, which is good enough for images reduced to 4k (3840x2160) but you don't want to pixel peep it. Great focal length, great price, but rarely used.
01-18-2019, 02:12 PM   #11
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Birds are tough. But you did well on these!
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