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08-23-2020, 10:04 AM   #46
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QuoteOriginally posted by countrycowgirl Quote
come winter it will be about 6 -7 hours of daylight
Yeah, that's what I was referring to, in a clumsy fashion I guess.

08-23-2020, 11:36 AM   #47
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QuoteOriginally posted by maw Quote
Sorry 1 sec.
Ah! Ok. That makes sense. The k-3 I think it's similar and I was really lost.
08-23-2020, 11:58 AM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by countrycowgirl Quote
Beautiful capture, thanks for sharing! I have never tried flash, not sure it is something I would want to do with animals, afraid it might startle them a lot, but definitely something to consider. Thanks for the uiggestion. I will keep working and seeing what ISO does and what i can do in post production.

Thanks again
Note for flash, I used it quite a lot with my first DSLR, and *istD, because it had both TTL and P-TTL, capability. Newer bodies are only P-TTL which I believe is inferior.

With my *istD I would expose deliberately -1 to -2 stops shooting manual, and then let the flash fill in the rest, letting the background go slightly dark. It let the subject really pop out of the background

I donít like the newer P-TTL systems as much because I think the preflash may be distracting for birds. But shooting that way you can let the ISO go really low, because the shutter speed drops down to something about 1/150:to 1/200 and it is the burst from the flash at very high speed that freezes the subject.

You will need a Snoot, or Better Beamer on the flash to narrow the flash beam, for additional reach, but the flash does help.

Here is a shot with my *istD and a 500mm equivalent (300mm and 1.7 x AF adaptor) using flash

08-23-2020, 12:43 PM - 4 Likes   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Summary for those keeping score:

OP is shooting in RAW and using Topaz denoise software.
OP is getting ISO pushed to 5000 to 8000 with his desired shutter speed and aperture using the DFA 150-450.
OP is looking for ideas, things proposed have included getting closer (always a challenge) to use a faster lens, using a flash perhaps remotely triggered in a flight path that is commonly used, etc.
It has also been suggested that the OP post a couple of files and links to RAW files and full EXIF to help people see the noise problems he is seeing to verify these are in line with expectations.

In short - he seems pretty aware of what he's doing just a bit less familiar with the K1 than he likes and he is not happy with the level of noise at the current settings. ISO 5000-8000 is pretty challenging but for his shots he isn't happy with lower shutter speeds which would permit lower ISO.

I'm stumped - other than faster long lenses (400 f2.8, 600 f4) there's not much I can imagine that will help. Maybe the EXIF if samples are posted will help point people to some solutions.
Nice summary...thanks for going to the trouble of sorting it all out. The solution matrix is as you noted, with the possible addition of considering support options such a gimbal to allow lower shutter speeds.

As noted above, ISO is no substitute for light and without adequate light, noise dominates.

Addendum: On the bookshelf upstairs is a fine art coffee table book titled "The American Eagle". It dates from the late 1980s and contains bald eagle photography by my friends Tom and Pat Leeson. Photos for the book were taken in all seasons with Nikon F3 manual-focus bodies and Nikkor lenses in the range 20mm to 600mm with occasional use of a 1.4x TC with the 600mm. Films used were Kodachrome 64, Fujichrome 50, and Fujichrome 100 slide films. Most of the tight shooting was done using blinds, both tree-mounted and ground level with almost all work done on-tripod. When working in the blinds, the two would alternate 3-4 hour shifts. Tom and Pat had no concerns about noise, though they had severe constraints regarding light, compounded by shooting at "low ISO" with no option to push in post. As might be imagined, most of the photos were taken at shutter speeds somewhat below 1/1000s, depending on weather and required DOF. I have no idea what their keeper rate was, but do know they typically shot about 30,000 frames per year back then.

Why bring my friend's work up? Without high ISO, skill in the craft and time with the subject produces results.


Steve

(...can't remember the last time I shot 1/1000s or above...seldom uses auto-iso...has ISO ceiling on K-3 set to 3200...)


Last edited by stevebrot; 08-23-2020 at 02:12 PM.
08-23-2020, 08:34 PM - 1 Like   #50
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Nice summary...thanks for going to the trouble of sorting it all out. The solution matrix is as you noted, with the possible addition of considering support options such a gimbal to allow lower shutter speeds.

As noted above, ISO is no substitute for light and without adequate light, noise dominates.

Addendum: On the bookshelf upstairs is a fine art coffee table book titled "The American Eagle". It dates from the late 1980s and contains bald eagle photography by my friends Tom and Pat Leeson. Photos for the book were taken in all seasons with Nikon F3 manual-focus bodies and Nikkor lenses in the range 20mm to 600mm with occasional use of a 1.4x TC with the 600mm. Films used were Kodachrome 64, Fujichrome 50, and Fujichrome 100 slide films. Most of the tight shooting was done using blinds, both tree-mounted and ground level with almost all work done on-tripod. When working in the blinds, the two would alternate 3-4 hour shifts. Tom and Pat had no concerns about noise, though they had severe constraints regarding light, compounded by shooting at "low ISO" with no option to push in post. As might be imagined, most of the photos were taken at shutter speeds somewhat below 1/1000s, depending on weather and required DOF. I have no idea what their keeper rate was, but do know they typically shot about 30,000 frames per year back then.

Why bring my friend's work up? Without high ISO, skill in the craft and time with the subject produces results.


Steve

(...can't remember the last time I shot 1/1000s or above...seldom uses auto-iso...has ISO ceiling on K-3 set to 3200...)
I'm in awe of those photographers, capturing what they did with what they had.

But what if there isn't light? Owls are out at night, and maybe at dawn and dusk. The limits of the hardware we have today are as hard as they were then, they simply have moved outwards. I've gotten shots in low light conditions that I wouldn't even have bothered shooting with the K3.

Someone said to me that when you advance in photography you will become acutely aware of how much a stop will cost you.
08-24-2020, 12:40 AM - 1 Like   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Films used were Kodachrome 64, Fujichrome 50, and Fujichrome 100 slide films. Tom and Pat had no concerns about noise, though they had severe constraints regarding light, compounded by shooting at "low ISO" with no option to push in post. As might be imagined, most of the photos were taken at shutter speeds somewhat below 1/1000s, depending on weather and required DOF. I have no idea what their keeper rate was, but do know they typically shot about 30,000 frames per year back then.
Without high ISO, skill in the craft and time with the subject produces results.
Steve
QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
I'm in awe of those photographers, capturing what they did with what they had.
But what if there isn't light? Owls are out at night, and maybe at dawn and dusk.
Someone said to me that when you advance in photography you will become acutely aware of how much a stop will cost you.
35 years ago, I was employed to often shoot at night, without a flash, with a Nikon F3HP or a Pentax 645. Back then I often used Ektachrome 160 or Kodachrome 200, but the best shots were taken on Kodachrome 64.

With DSLRs, I've become spoiled with high ISO and an expectation that the technology will solve my problems. So even without pushing those chromes, the keys were using a spot meter for a spot lit subject, primes for that extra stop or two, a motor drive (one keeper on a roll of 36 or 15 was success), and patience. And imagine this was all manual focus, no stabilization, and just tracking the subject on a monopod.

The resolution, grain, contrast, and color on 3M Scotch 640T was so "lomo", even without pushing it, that I preferred shooting B&W for anything over ISO 400.
08-24-2020, 09:20 AM   #52
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The other advantage we have today is to shoot raw and underexpose, bringout the detail in PP
08-24-2020, 09:24 AM   #53
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
With DSLRs, I've become spoiled with high ISO and an expectation that the technology will solve my problems. So even without pushing those chromes, the keys were using a spot meter for a spot lit subject, primes for that extra stop or two, a motor drive (one keeper on a roll of 36 or 15 was success), and patience. And imagine this was all manual focus, no stabilization, and just tracking the subject on a monopod.
I added a little bold text to your excellent paragraph. The reason being is that sentence is direct to the original post. Yes, we have become spoiled and turn to manipulation of the technology in preference to practicing the basics. There are other comments above in regard to owls and their habit of being active at night. I have several friends who photograph owls and do so with available light, either at roost or early/late in the day. Back in the old days flash was the standby often using some form of proximity trapping to catch them in flight.

Of course, none of this helps the OP with their desire to get satisfactory results at high ISO.

As an aside, a few days ago, forum member Rense Haveman (@Rense) posted a very nice owl at roost photo taken with a Pentax KP and DA 55-300/4.0-5.8 (1/200s f/8 ISO 800) Long-eared owl | In the rowan tree in our garden | Rense Haveman | Flickr.


Steve

08-24-2020, 11:20 AM - 1 Like   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Back in the old days flash was the standby often using some form of proximity trapping to catch them in flight.

Of course, none of this helps the OP with their desire to get satisfactory results at high ISO.
The suggestion for the OP is that high ISO isn't always required in low light. And off camera flash is an excellent suggestion for a more natural looking 3/4, side, or 3/4 kicker strobe.

The most incredible shots from Nat Geo photographers are rarely serendipitous 'from the hip' shots, but usually elaborate set ups in the field with blinds in the trees and more. When I went to film school, I was shocked to learn how much lighting manipulation was needed to make a shot look natural; it seemed counterintuitive.

One other point for the OP: I have never seen criticism of a great shot due to technical reasons. Blur, grain, sharpness, noise, etc, are all invisible to viewers if the subject matter is captivating and engaging. I've experienced many shots that I didn't want to print or exhibit that were technically flawed but because of the aesthetics or the content, no one thought or felt less about it (except me).
08-24-2020, 11:32 AM   #55
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
The most incredible shots from Nat Geo photographers are rarely serendipitous 'from the hip' shots, but usually elaborate set ups in the field with blinds in the trees and more. When I went to film school, I was shocked to learn how much lighting manipulation was needed to make a shot look natural; it seemed counterintuitive.
Definitely! There is a ton of craft behind almost all bird and wildlife work.*

QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
One other point for the OP: I have never seen criticism of a great shot due to technical reasons. Blur, grain, sharpness, noise, etc, are all invisible to viewers if the subject matter is captivating and engaging.
Yep!


Steve

* Many of the small bird shots on this site are done with fairly sophisticated lighting in the proximity of established feeders.
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