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Forum: Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories 6 Hours Ago  
Thematic Lighthouses
Posted By Des
Replies: 74
Views: 1,423
Thanks Rod. Yes, in a common law sense anyway. Di would bristle at being called that.:-)
Forum: Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories 6 Hours Ago  
Thematic Lighthouses
Posted By Des
Replies: 74
Views: 1,423
Excellent collection of images Jim. Thanks for sharing.

Some old ones of mine. Green Cape lighthouse in Ben Boyd National Park, on the far south coast of New South Wales. It was in operation from 1883 to 1992. The lighthouse keeper's cottage is available for stays - great place.
Forum: Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories 9 Hours Ago  
BIF Photography
Posted By Des
Replies: 993
Views: 107,737
I agree about the shutter speed. With birds in flight you really need to prioritise a fast shutter speed even at the expense of aperture and ISO. With the K-50 you can take the ISO to 3200 if necessary if the light is reasonable (although if the light is good enough to get by with less, so much the better), and the PLM lens does quite well at its maximum aperture, so there is some scope. Shooting at the wide end of the range (55mm) is more forgiving than shooting at the long end - you already have greater depth of field and can often get away with a slower shutter speed than you can at the long end (because slight camera movements will have less of an effect than at longer focal lengths). But to account for a fast-moving subject you really need to use a much faster shutter - something like 1/500th second at the minimum. I have one of my User settings devoted to birds in flight - I use shutter priority (Tv), a default shutter speed of 1/1000th second and an ISO band of 100-3200. That is about the only situation in which I use AF-C and multi-point autofocus. In this User setting I also have the camera set for shutter-button and back-button AF (I usually use back-button only), single-point metering, RAW only, and continuous shooting at the highest rate.

The best settings for BIF have been discussed a few times here. See this thread for example: Focus help with K-3 birds in flight - PentaxForums.com I think you just need to try a few different settings and see what works best for you.

Interesting effect using the wide end of the telephoto lens. Gives more context. One thing is that if the bird occupies only a small part of the frame (because the lens is zoomed out to 55mm), the AF will have a harder time getting a fix on it, because the subject won't cover a lot of the AF points. If you zoom in a bit, so the bird is bigger in the frame, you might find it easier to keep in focus.

I can't gainsay the point made by @PancakeFlipper that a tripod and gimbal are advantageous. But I'd have to say that my experience is that BIF opportunities often don't allow for anything but handheld shooting. Just try to make sure you get a good grip and stance. I like to stand side on to the subject, with the left elbow in tight, the left hand supporting the lens and pivot with the hips - but that's just me.

Incidentally I think you did pretty well in tracking the eagle and keeping it roughly in the centre of the frame, @Ramcam. That's not easy. You are well on the way.
Forum: General Photography 15 Hours Ago  
Australian Bird Photographer of the Year competition now open for entries
Posted By Des
Replies: 17
Views: 531
Wow. I'm impressed. Can't award anything but a koala stamp though.
Forum: General Photography 23 Hours Ago  
Australian Bird Photographer of the Year competition now open for entries
Posted By Des
Replies: 17
Views: 531
I still think the Night Parrots mating would seal it. Thought for 100 years to be extinct until rediscovery in the remotest location. Maybe with a full moon behind.
Forum: General Photography 1 Day Ago  
Australian Bird Photographer of the Year competition now open for entries
Posted By Des
Replies: 17
Views: 531
If you get Birdlife magazine, have a look at the photos that make their cover, or their featured photo. They invariably have something special. Most of the shots depict some kind of action. Otherwise, there is something unique about the light, or about what is happening. They also have to be technically excellent, if not perfect. That's a really hard get.
Forum: Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories 1 Day Ago  
Thematic Jetties & Piers
Posted By Des
Replies: 173
Views: 4,815
The slave ship?
Forum: General Talk 1 Day Ago  
The shocking truth about our Australian members. It's all a sham!!
Posted By Des
Replies: 356
Views: 7,509
Someone pretty clever invented the characters Sandy and Digitalis. I was going to suggest Barry Humphries as the inventor, but then he pretends to be Australian too.

Maybe it was the same person who invented a suicidal sheep thief as the hero of the national song for this invented nation. Quite a sense of humour. And then to round it out, they invented a national anthem containing the phrase "girt by sea".

Speaking as an invented character myself, I am full of admiration.
Forum: General Photography 1 Day Ago  
Australian Bird Photographer of the Year competition now open for entries
Posted By Des
Replies: 17
Views: 531
I know the feeling Craig! I don't think I've ever got a photo that would measure up to this standard. But I've seen photos on this site that would - some of Ken Goh's, for example. (He just needs to pop down from Singapore to Darwin!)
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 2 Days Ago  
pentax 55-300 PLM: best in class for Digital Camera Magazine
Posted By Des
Replies: 126
Views: 6,692
Ah, but think of the saving for @bhbrake in not having to buy a new camera. :-)

Incidentally, one thing about the PLM is that it evens up AF performance between flagship bodies and entry-level bodies. I can't discern any difference in AF speed with the PLM lens on the K-S2 or the K-3. By contrast, my screw-driven lenses all focus noticeably faster with the K-3. Accuracy, of course, is another matter, but at least the K-S2 is in the game for birds in flight, which it wasn't so much with the DA-L 55-300 or the FA*300.
Forum: General Photography 2 Days Ago  
Australian Bird Photographer of the Year competition now open for entries
Posted By Des
Replies: 17
Views: 531
See the rules here: Rules ? Australian BIRD PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2018

Rule 11:
"11. The categories for entries are:
  • Bird Portrait. The bird or birds should be the main visual element in the image. There is no strict definition and judges will make decisions about whether they consider an image to be a portrait when determining shortlisting and award of prizes.

  • Special Theme. Black-Cockatoos. Images must contain one or more of the following species of cockatoo: Palm Cockatoo, Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Glossy Black-Cockatoo, Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo, Baudin’s Black-Cockatoo.

  • Bird Behaviour. Must depict a bird or birds engaging in natural behaviours which excludes direct interaction with humans or objects of human creation.

  • Birds in the Landscape. Depicts a bird or birds in their habitat. The image can showcase the beauty of a place but the bird or birds must be a recognisable part of the image.

  • Human Impact. Must depict the interrelationship between humans and birds, the negative or positive impact that humans have on birds including the activities being undertaken around Australia to study, conserve and rehabilitate bird species. Images may include captive birds. This should be stated if not clear from the image.

  • Creative/Fine Art. Photographs that may or may not be literal, documentary representation of individual birds or groups of birds but rather are designed to creatively and artistically interpret birds and their behaviours. Image manipulation is encouraged. This category may also include monochrome images of birds.

  • Youth. Open to photographers aged less than 18 years. Any entry that would fit with the categories outlined above are acceptable but will be combined and judged as a single category."

I think your image would fit in the "Human Impact" category. (Very nice image BTW Mark.)
Forum: General Photography 2 Days Ago  
Are you FF ready?
Posted By Des
Replies: 69
Views: 1,522
Yes John we are in much the same boat. I decided not to get a K-1, even when it was available at the tantalising price of $A1800 last year (about $US1350 at current rates). Given that we already have FF compatible lenses, there would be gains for wildlife in much better high-ISO performance than with the K-3. But since I am almost always cropping wildlife images anyway, overall a crop sensor camera seems to make more sense. I'm banking on the next APS-C flagship offering all the gains made in the K-P and the K-1, while keeping the strengths of the K-3 (robust construction, excellent ergonomics, fast frame rate, quiet shutter, top LCD screen, dual card slots, etc etc). I've been helped by Norm's account of his experience with the K-1.

At the other end, I expect a K-1 would be a big plus for landscapes, flowers, pets, people shots and so on. But often as not, when I'm taking those kinds of shots, I'm out and about, on a beach or bush walk, or going into town, or out on the property, or whatever. I tend to find the K-S2 with a smallish lens (e.g. 18-135, 20-40, 43, 77, 100) the preferred choice for this (with a telephoto lens on the K-3 if required). Using the K-1 instead of the K-S2 would be at some cost of weight and bulk - I suspect that half the time I wouldn't take it. A FF sensor in a K-S2/K-70 type body would be ideal - but I guess that's a Sony A7iii or something like it rather than a DSLR. (I'm not going there.)
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 3 Days Ago  
pentax 55-300 PLM: best in class for Digital Camera Magazine
Posted By Des
Replies: 126
Views: 6,692
Yes the PLM works perfectly with the K-3 once you install the latest firmware.
Forum: General Photography 3 Days Ago  
Australian Bird Photographer of the Year competition now open for entries
Posted By Des
Replies: 17
Views: 531
+1. Now all we need is to get a photo of Night Parrots mating.
Forum: Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories 4 Days Ago  
Thematic Lighthouses
Posted By Des
Replies: 74
Views: 1,423
What worries me is the warning sign: Danger of death from swimming or fishing. Maybe the water's too cold and the fish too contaminated.
Forum: Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories 4 Days Ago  
Thematic Lighthouses
Posted By Des
Replies: 74
Views: 1,423
Sure has.

No idea Craig.
Forum: Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories 4 Days Ago  
Thematic Lighthouses
Posted By Des
Replies: 74
Views: 1,423
Another great thread idea Rod.

Wilson's Promontory Lighthouse, South Gippsland, Victoria. The southernmost point on the Australian mainland. K-S2 + DA 18-135







Forum: General Photography 4 Days Ago  
Are you FF ready?
Posted By Des
Replies: 69
Views: 1,522
My macro and wildlife primes are full-frame (FF in bold):
DFA 100 f2.8 Macro WR
FA*300 f4.5 (and Kenko PZ-AF 1.5x Teleplus SHQ TC)
Sigma 400mm f5.6 Tele Macro
Plus the DA-L 55-300 f4-5.8 and DA 55-300 f4.5-6.3 PLM seem to be OK at the long end.

At the wide-normal end, it's a mixed bag:
DA 12-24 - OK at the longer end?
DA 18-135
DA 20-40 Ltd - OK from the mid-20s?
DA 35 f2.4
FA 43 Ltd
FA 50 f2.8 macro
FA 77 Ltd

I guess if I got a wide-normal zoom like the DFA 28-105 I'd be reasonably well covered, with a fairly lightweight kit.

But in all honesty, I'm pretty content with APS-C. I like the portability of the K-3 and K-S2. The K-3 is pretty good for macro and wildlife (which is a lot of what I shoot), the K-S2 is good for grab-and-go. If the next APS-C flagship has better AF and significantly better high ISO than on the K-3, that would be my preferred next move.
Forum: General Photography 4 Days Ago  
What is your "Desert Island Kit"?
Posted By Des
Replies: 75
Views: 1,599
Stuff all that. Cara Delevigne.:)
Forum: General Photography 4 Days Ago  
Australian Bird Photographer of the Year competition now open for entries
Posted By Des
Replies: 17
Views: 531
BirdLife Australia BIRD PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2018

This prestigious competition is run by Birdlife Australia, Australia's leading birding organization. Entries close at 2 am on Monday 6 August 2018. The competition is open to people from around the world, but images must show Australian bird species, and must have been taken in Australia or its external territories.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 4 Days Ago  
Pentax DA 55-300mm Lens
Posted By Des
Replies: 41
Views: 1,168
Excellent samples all.

If I were in the OP's position, I would look just for the model with the most features within budget. The HD coatings and WR make that last model more attractive, but since the earlier DA and DA-L are otherwise optically identical they could be a good buy at the right price. The advantage of getting a new (old stock) HD WR model is the warranty, so you can return it if you get a dud. If buying used, if possible try it out first.


Just in case it isn't already clear, you can forget the PLM model: it won't work with the K-5.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 5 Days Ago  
Pentax DA 55-300mm Lens
Posted By Des
Replies: 41
Views: 1,168
I'd say the same about the DA-L. I also got a knock-off hood which is fine. No problems with the plastic mount, and I have learned to live without QS or WR. It's the best bang-for-buck I've had in a lens. I've also got the PLM and it's taken over as the "daily driver", but as good as it is I'm not yet convinced that it's better at 300mm than the DA-L. The point being that the quality of the particular copy you get might matter more than the model.

Sample images taken with the DA-L: Pentax DA-L 55-300mm f4-6.8 images - Flickr - Des (Australia)
Forum: Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories 5 Days Ago  
Thematic Jetties & Piers
Posted By Des
Replies: 173
Views: 4,815
These are magnificent Savoche.

BTW, "quay ring" is a world-class pun.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 5 Days Ago  
Update On NIK Collection & DxO PhotoLab Image Editing Softwares
Posted By Des
Replies: 16
Views: 784
I don't understand this. For example, when I want to create a stitched image I process the images with DxO PhotoLabs (and previously OpticsPro) and export them as TIFFs, then stitch the TIFFs in Microsoft Image Composite Editor, then export the final stitched image as a jpg. As I see it, the only lossy stage of this process is the final export from ICE.
Forum: Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories 6 Days Ago  
Thematic Farming - Agriculture
Posted By Des
Replies: 601
Views: 39,293
Both of those explanations make more sense than my guesses.
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