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01-28-2017, 04:27 PM   #1
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Bald Eagle - cc requested, please
Lens: SMC A 400mm f5.6 Camera: K-3 Photo Location: in a field ISO: 400 Shutter Speed: 1/1000s Aperture: F10 

OK - conditions were bright sun and breezy; about 10 to 15 mph almost directly at me...

camera/lens on tripod and SR off...

do I simply need more practice, practice, practice, or is there something specific I am not doing...

top photo has the eagle further away than the bottom photo, hence the different amount of crop...







thanks in advance...

01-28-2017, 04:47 PM   #2
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Disclaimer: I'm no birder.

Looking at all your shots, the A400 is giving much better results than the 55-300, which is hardly surprising.

The first and most obvious problem is that you're too far away, but I appreciate the limitations in trying to get close to a wild bird of prey . Do you have a teleconverter?

The noise in the cropped image (I presume it's cropped) is quite intrusive. In such good light a lower ISO should be fine. A perched eagle probably doesn't need a shutter speed of 1/1000 if your'e using a tripod.

A Better Beamer flash extender might help a little in that regard too, while also ironing out some of the shadows. The down side is it might have flown off after the first shot....

Keep it up!
01-28-2017, 05:02 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
Disclaimer: I'm no birder.

Looking at all your shots, the A400 is giving much better results than the 55-300, which is hardly surprising.

The first and most obvious problem is that you're too far away, but I appreciate the limitations in trying to get close to a wild bird of prey . Do you have a teleconverter?

The noise in the cropped image (I presume it's cropped) is quite intrusive. In such good light a lower ISO should be fine. A perched eagle probably doesn't need a shutter speed of 1/1000 if your'e using a tripod.

A Better Beamer flash extender might help a little in that regard too, while also ironing out some of the shadows. The down side is it might have flown off after the first shot....

Keep it up!


I do have a teleconverter, but it's a mediocre-quality 2X, so I don't think it would have helped...

lower ISO - broad daylight doesn't need 400 ISO...

and more practice...


got it - thank you!
01-29-2017, 07:31 AM   #4
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+1 to Sandy's comments. I always go for the lowest ISO possible that allows for enough DOF and a fast stable shutter speed.

I am a casual birder birds have habits, if you find a spot or time of day that birds flock, you can prepare in advance. It's tough with eagles, they might be migrating, but they do like chicken farms, and lakes with fish.

01-29-2017, 07:34 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgski Quote
+1 to Sandy's comments. I always go for the lowest ISO possible that allows for enough DOF and a fast stable shutter speed.

I am a casual birder birds have habits, if you find a spot or time of day that birds flock, you can prepare in advance. It's tough with eagles, they might be migrating, but they do like chicken farms, and lakes with fish.

thank you - ISO noted...

these eagles are migratory, but I drove to where they normally rest during their migration; we have a couple of pairs that reside the area, but they are not easy to find...
01-29-2017, 07:51 AM   #6
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I think it's just too far away. Bald eagles are not the easiest bird to shoot in bright light because of the dark body and white head.
01-30-2017, 07:01 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
cc requested, please
In all honesty... just get closer, you'll have to develop your stealth mode skills so you can creep up on it.

01-30-2017, 07:05 AM   #8
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gotcha - get closer....


thanks for the tips!
01-30-2017, 10:44 AM   #9
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Nice to see another A400 user!

I've found on my K-5 II that I can reliably shoot at 1/500s with only a modicum of attention paid to good technique. I've found shooting a quick burst of 3 or 4 frames does me best.

F/9.5 - my camera is set to use 1/2 stop increments - is my favorite setting for shooting at 30 yards or longer.

It does take some time to acclimate oneself to a new specialty lens. Just recently I've been using the 1.4x-L converter on my A400, and it's taken me about a month to get truly comfortable with it. So if you are fairly new to a 400mm focal length and manual focus, be persistent, give yourself time to learn, and don't get discouraged. I've gone through the WTF am I doing? stage with multiple lenses, and I've always worked through it.

As far as shooting iggles go, we sometimes get a few around here, and I when I see them perched it's always near water. And they don't like me My own experience is I'm best off shooting from the car, behind a tree, or in tall weeds. The more you do it, the better idea you'll have about their behavior and reactions. With all large wildlife, I've found my best techniques are to stay "small" - hunched over, crawling, etc. so I don't look imposing - and don't move directly toward them or make eye contact. I zigzag, turn my back ("I'm not interested in you") and basically just try to give the impression I'm interested in everything other than my quarry.
01-30-2017, 11:09 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
Nice to see another A400 user!

I've found on my K-5 II that I can reliably shoot at 1/500s with only a modicum of attention paid to good technique. I've found shooting a quick burst of 3 or 4 frames does me best.

F/9.5 - my camera is set to use 1/2 stop increments - is my favorite setting for shooting at 30 yards or longer.

It does take some time to acclimate oneself to a new specialty lens. Just recently I've been using the 1.4x-L converter on my A400, and it's taken me about a month to get truly comfortable with it. So if you are fairly new to a 400mm focal length and manual focus, be persistent, give yourself time to learn, and don't get discouraged. I've gone through the WTF am I doing? stage with multiple lenses, and I've always worked through it.

As far as shooting iggles go, we sometimes get a few around here, and I when I see them perched it's always near water. And they don't like me My own experience is I'm best off shooting from the car, behind a tree, or in tall weeds. The more you do it, the better idea you'll have about their behavior and reactions. With all large wildlife, I've found my best techniques are to stay "small" - hunched over, crawling, etc. so I don't look imposing - and don't move directly toward them or make eye contact. I zigzag, turn my back ("I'm not interested in you") and basically just try to give the impression I'm interested in everything other than my quarry.

awesome stuff - I love my A400!


thanks for the tips!
01-30-2017, 07:14 PM - 1 Like   #11
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Did you consider using a slower shutter speed? Since you were on a tripod and, I assume, using a remote release or timer that shouldn't have been a problem. It would have allowed you to stop the lens down and also lower the ISO. For example, 1/125 shutter, F8 and ISO 100 would have provided the same exposure. Next time try playing around with some different settings and comparing the results.
01-31-2017, 06:30 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by JimS_256 Quote
Did you consider using a slower shutter speed? Since you were on a tripod and, I assume, using a remote release or timer that shouldn't have been a problem. It would have allowed you to stop the lens down and also lower the ISO. For example, 1/125 shutter, F8 and ISO 100 would have provided the same exposure. Next time try playing around with some different settings and comparing the results.



no - not considered; it was somewhat windy and I used a higher shutter speed to cut down on wind-driven motion...


had it been more of a still day, I would have considered it - additionally, this was not with a remote release...




thank you for the notes - I'll definitely slow/stop down next time and play with the settings a bit more...
01-31-2017, 08:30 AM   #13
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Getting closer is number one. I would also try mirror lock up (either the timer or preferably with a remote). It sometimes makes a difference, especially with longer glass at mid shutter speeds, so test it out.

If you can't get closer and the bird is going to be small even with a huge crop, consider using the environment it's in as part of the composition. I'm not suggesting being a slave to the 'rule of thirds' or anything, but these two and your other examples on flickr all have the eagle near dead centre. It's worth considering other placements if something can better compliment the shapes in the trees.
01-31-2017, 12:31 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
no - not considered; it was somewhat windy and I used a higher shutter speed to cut down on wind-driven motion...


had it been more of a still day, I would have considered it - additionally, this was not with a remote release...




thank you for the notes - I'll definitely slow/stop down next time and play with the settings a bit more...
When I'm using a tripod (rare, I'm usually shooting handheld) I never just push the the button, if I don't have a remote I'll use a shutter delay. I don't know how sturdy your tripod was or how windy it was but I'm betting a slower shutter speed would have worked. It's just something to think about, every time I'm reviewing a days images I come up with a list of things I should have tried but didn't.

Getting closer, of course, solves a lot of problems but it's easier said than done and usually (for me at least) involves luck. The more you get out the more opportunities you have to be lucky.
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