Off To Alan's

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3,392
Name
Dale.
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#1
I'm going to indulge in just over a week's time with a visit to Alan's sparrowhawk hide down near Kirkudbright with a buddy.

I've been there once before and it is by far the most active hide I've ever been in, it really is non stop with various species. Yeah I know, paid hide and all that but I've nothing to prove to myself in that sense as I've done and still do the other way.

Anyway, last time I was there my images had an odd tinge to them. It was obviously a white balance issue and also back when I used to protect the whites of my images, something I've managed to stop doing, so those images would've been underexposed. (see below).

IMGL0674 jp.jpg


Settings for that were,


5Div, 100-400L @ 400mm
2000/sec,
f5.6,
iso 2000,
spot metering ( this might be a part of the problem ),
I can't find the WB settings in the Exif for some reason, I'm guessing though that it would be cloudy or shade.

I went for 5.6 as I wanted to mush the BG as much as possible and the sparrowhawks are far enough away that DOF isn't really an issue in keeping them sharp, top to bottom so to speak. that said, I may go for f7.1 this time, to be sure.

I'm thinking, being Scotland, the light will be dull and grey, just like last time, so my settings will be about this,

f5.6 to 7.1,
shutter speed will probably be 1600+
iso to suit,
w/b, not so sure, probably custom, to avoid the greeny cast I got last time, which I pressume is because of the woodland cover?

Any thoughts on the cast please, or is it just me? That's as it came off the camera.

Any recommendations on variations to my suggested settings welcomed, particulalrly with metering and WB.

ta much. :)
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
Dale.
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3,392
Name
Dale.
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#4
Photo above does look slightly greenish. Can you use a grey card to provide a white balance reference reading?
Possibly. I think I will delve into the EXIF later and see where it was set last time though, something doesn't add up with the cast.

If the birds are mainly perched, do you need a shutter speed of 1/1600?
There'll be lots of action Bob, 1600 is a good starting point. The smaller wild woodland birds are active all day as well as jays, red squrrels etc. There's plenty of opportunity for landing , inflight, squabbling shots and jumping reds too. I missed out on that kind of thing last time as I went for mainly perched, this time though, I'm going to get out of my comfort zone and try for some moving and interaction type images, after I get the bankers in first. ;):LOL:

The variety of species at this hide makes it a good day, even if the sparrowhawks don't show but I'm sure they will.

Can't wait, not long now. (y)

Long tail tit at 1/1600, probably not the easiest to get inflight anyway but I think a faster shutter speed and this would've been sharp enough, rather than blurred like it is.

IMGL0643 jp.jpg
 
Messages
2,095
Name
Stu
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#5
Dale way way back got a chance at a spar,like yours actually moss topped oak look back the lot, ironic !1 . I suffered that green tinge Giles has picked up on,notch the colour tone to the red side, mate, see what ya think. (Oh howdy buddy:LOL: hope your good) A certain mr morris showed me that one bless 'im . properly humblin !1

Dale all around is green the cast comes simply from reflected light,the camera has just shown us what was there,WB tweak can help to,I do this in dpp buddy you have to be careful mate tis easy to mess with the pinks/reds it's just notching that colour spectrum back to a bit more neutral.

Oh mate all the luck in the world,I hope you get some wonderful images wake me up if I miss your posting kiddo,bit mad of late:banghead:.

Dale i'd really like to see them honestly, but I'll miss stuff at this time. ya want a bit more at the base of the first and I adore the second god don't they bounce,

Me well my SS hmm as fast as possible with your 5Div buddy push iso ! get that exp wired in the slow times waste some frames. I take on board Bob's question tis a fair shout but one isn't just after the bird on stick. Tricky game with our light !! I'd lie to start at 1/3200 if i'm honest,especially with that longtail

hope you get some great chances matey...... really do ..............and a shed load of light;)

stu
 
Messages
4,505
Name
Mike
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#6
My 2p....

Dale, as you know, I was up there recently, once the sparrowhawk has settled you can drop the shutter speed right down, as all other bird life will disappear until 15-20 mins after they have gone. The squirrels still made an appearance though.

This one is totally unprocessed, just whatever lightroom has done to it on import, so no output sharpening from me and it looks plenty sharp enough to my eyes - ISO 3200 1/250th f7.1 on a 500mm. This is the full frame, no cropping, shot on a 1dx. The BG looks fine to me, I don't think the extra stopping down has done any harm. Lens was just rested on the hide window.

_L0U1550.jpg

Obviously, once the little fellas start fluttering about, all bets are off regarding the shutter speed!

Regarding WB, stick to auto WB. If you need to tweak it then you can later as long as you're in RAW, with no IQ penalty. This is a comparison of your shot above, the only difference being I used the WB pipette on the neutral feathers at the side of the base of the tail.

Screen-Shot-2019-02-12-at-20.53.03.jpg

Enjoy your day, and hopefully if you're nice and relaxed with your movements the bird will hang around and give you a few poses

Mike
 
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OP
Dale.
Messages
3,392
Name
Dale.
Edit My Images
Yes
#7
Dale way way back got a chance at a spar,like yours actually moss topped oak look back the lot, ironic !1 . I suffered that green tinge Giles has picked up on,notch the colour tone to the red side, mate, see what ya think. (Oh howdy buddy:LOL: hope your good) A certain mr morris showed me that one bless 'im . properly humblin !1

Dale all around is green the cast comes simply from reflected light,the camera has just shown us what was there,WB tweak can help to,I do this in dpp buddy you have to be careful mate tis easy to mess with the pinks/reds it's just notching that colour spectrum back to a bit more neutral.

Oh mate all the luck in the world,I hope you get some wonderful images wake me up if I miss your posting kiddo,bit mad of late:banghead:.

Dale i'd really like to see them honestly, but I'll miss stuff at this time. ya want a bit more at the base of the first and I adore the second god don't they bounce,

Me well my SS hmm as fast as possible with your 5Div buddy push iso ! get that exp wired in the slow times waste some frames. I take on board Bob's question tis a fair shout but one isn't just after the bird on stick. Tricky game with our light !! I'd lie to start at 1/3200 if i'm honest,especially with that longtail

hope you get some great chances matey...... really do ..............and a shed load of light;)

stu
Cheers Stu mate, fingers crossed for a good day. I will have time hopefully to try different things. It's the sparrowhawks I'll be after but I've been in this hide before and it is so active, small birds, jays red squirrels etc and I plan to stay there dawn 'til dusk.


My 2p....

Dale, as you know, I was up there recently, once the sparrowhawk has settled you can drop the shutter speed right down, as all other bird life will disappear until 15-20 mins after they have gone. The squirrels still made an appearance though.

This one is totally unprocessed, just whatever lightroom has done to it on import, so no output sharpening from me and it looks plenty sharp enough to my eyes - ISO 3200 1/250th f7.1 on a 500mm. This is the full frame, no cropping, shot on a 1dx. The BG looks fine to me, I don't think the extra stopping down has done any harm. Lens was just rested on the hide window.

View attachment 237358

Obviously, once the little fellas start fluttering about, all bets are off regarding the shutter speed!

Regarding WB, stick to auto WB. If you need to tweak it then you can later as long as you're in RAW, with no IQ penalty. This is a comparison of your shot above, the only difference being I used the WB pipette on the neutral feathers at the side of the base of the tail.

View attachment 237359

Enjoy your day, and hopefully if you're nice and relaxed with your movements the bird will hang around and give you a few poses

Mike
Thanks Mike. I've been down to those kind of shutter speeds at my own hide and it works fine for perched as long as they are still. I'm hoping this time to get more landing /squabbling shots etc but I'll have to be more switched on than I was last time in this hide. I'll hopefully be able to strike a balance between ISO and shutter speed. I saw your aperture settings when you posted your pics from this hide in the 'Birds' section and it got me thinking. I was at 5.6 for most of the day when I was there, I was trying to make the most of what light there was but I may try smaller this time, we'll see. I have my new lens to give a proper run out this time too, I have a 100-400L ( I may take it) that I used last time but this time it's going to be the Sigma 150-600, with a bit more reach, that will be 6.3 at the long end anyway.

I much prefer the colours in your image. It's something I'll be keeping an eye on this time.

Mind me asking what metering mode you used?


I've checked the weather, looks like a mixed bag but pretty dull light, with possibly brighter, but not great light in the afternoon.
 
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4,505
Name
Mike
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#8
Cheers Stu mate, fingers crossed for a good day. I will have time hopefully to try different things. It's the sparrowhawks I'll be after but I've been in this hide before and it is so active, small birds, jays red squirrels etc and I plan to stay there dawn 'til dusk.




Thanks Mike. I've been down to those kind of shutter speeds at my own hide and it works fine for perched as long as they are still. I'm hoping this time to get more landing /squabbling shots etc but I'll have to be more switched on than I was last time in this hide. I'll hopefully be able to strike a balance between ISO and shutter speed. I saw your aperture settings when you posted your pics from this hide in the 'Birds' section and it got me thinking. I was at 5.6 for most of the day when I was there, I was trying to make the most of what light there was but I may try smaller this time, we'll see. I have my new lens to give a proper run out this time too, I have a 100-400L ( I may take it) that I used last time but this time it's going to be the Sigma 150-600, with a bit more reach, that will be 6.3 at the long end anyway.

I much prefer the colours in your image. It's something I'll be keeping an eye on this time.

Mind me asking what metering mode you used?


I've checked the weather, looks like a mixed bag but pretty dull light, with possibly brighter, but not great light in the afternoon.
Hi Dale,

I use manual 99% of the time, taking readings (evaluative metering mode) off the grasses and perches so I'm ready for when the birds arrive. Once the sparrowhawk lands, a quick couple of shots in the bag, then a chimp of the screen using blinkies, and make an necessary adjustments, always getting as far to the right as I can.

Remember, if you're shooting RAW, then under flat light you can get away with a small amount of blinkies and recover them later in PP, but if the sun is out you want to avoid blinkies on any area you consider important

Mike
 
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OP
Dale.
Messages
3,392
Name
Dale.
Edit My Images
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#9
Hi Dale,

I use manual 99% of the time, taking readings (evaluative metering mode) off the grasses and perches so I'm ready for when the birds arrive. Once the sparrowhawk lands, a quick couple of shots in the bag, then a chimp of the screen using blinkies, and make an necessary adjustments, always getting as far to the right as I can.

Remember, if you're shooting RAW, then under flat light you can get away with a small amount of blinkies and recover them later in PP, but if the sun is out you want to avoid blinkies on any area you consider important

Mike

Thanks Mike.

So you're metering off a midpoint by the sounds of it. I will try this as I usually focus on the perches, so the focus is ballpark, which would also meter for the perch, then I AF focus on the birds when they come in, which might change the initial metering. Bad habits die hard but I will try a different way this time. (y)

It looks like the light will be flat but that can change in an instant in the Galloway Forests.
 
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