Just some stuff about photography

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Coot of the day

in Olympus E-System , Monday, January 17, 2005

Another day, another batch of lake bird photos. Again I used the 50-200mm lens, again with the teleconverter. This time I had little trouble with AF in C-Mode. Today's photo is a close-up of a coot. Trying to optimise the exposure, I used center weighted averaging centered on the head. I also tried using spot metering with AE Lock, which also gave usable results. LagoLugano_050117_59_001.jpg

Not so boring ?

in Olympus E-System , Saturday, January 15, 2005

Today's "boring bird" is a greater crested grebe, caught in unusual light. This time I used the 1.4 teleconverter, and found that auto focus was much worse. In some circumstances, for example standing on a floating, but almost still, pontoon, trying to focus on a also floating, but practically stationary bird, in C-mode the AF was a complete failure. In S (single) mode it was better, but clearly the reduced light resulting from adding the teleconverter seriously degrades AF performance. grebe2.jpg NOTE - due to the activities of the antisocial, amoral morons who flood blogs with comment spam, I've finally got fed up and been forced to deny unregistered comments. You can still comment here, but first you need to register, once only, with Typekey. I hope to make this more transparent when I have time.

Comment Spam

Just a quick note - due to the activities of the antisocial, amoral morons who flood blogs with comment spam, I've finally got fed up and been forced to deny unregistered comments. You can still comment here, but first you need to register, once only, with Typekey. I hope to make this more transparent when I have time.

Making the mundane interesting

{categories limit="1"}in {category_name} {/categories}, Thursday, January 13, 2005

In the last couple of days I've shot around 280 photos of common (mallard) ducks and associated waterbirds. These are not what you'd call challenging wildlife, simply pretty placid birds on a tranquil lake - say one step up from a park, but not a very big step. However, it occurred to me that perhaps it would actually be a challenge to see if I could take some interesting photos of ducks, and at the same time practice and hopefully improve my wildlife photography skills. The lake is Lake Lugano, and recently I have had about 30 minutes to spare on the lakeside every day between 1pm and 1:30. So the sun is up, and bright, which adds to the fun. Apart from ducks, which are actually show very interesting behaviour if you watch them for a while, there are coots - VERY challenging photographically, being coal black and snow white, and what I think are Great Crested Grebes, which are attractive and fun to watch, although a bit more skittish and elusive than the others. There are also lots of swans and gulls, neither of which interest me much at the moment. I've been using the 50-200mm lens. Initially I used it without the extended grip, but now I've added that, and taken off the collar to save weight - all this is handheld. Having time to take time to work with it, I've been much happier with the auto focus, particularly in C-mode. I'd still like wider focus points, but I'm getting on much better with it. Here is a photo of a Coot - in bright sunlight, it is impossible to capture detail in both the bird's beak and all the body. Exposure is a bit of a guessing game. After some experimenting, I settled on using centre-weighted metering, with a few 1/3 steps of negative compensation, metering on the head (including some of the white area). This seems to work ok - although I'm sure there are other approaches. ESP metering doesn't really work in such a case - the highlights are totally blown. LagoLugano_050114_52_001.jpg Next time out I'll add the 1.4x converter. But what I'm really after is, as I said at the beginning, some really different photos of a common subject - ducks.

Thinking about Flash

{categories limit="1"}in {category_name} {/categories}, Tuesday, January 11, 2005

(This entry is duplicated at the DPReview Olympus SLR forum) Although I've been photographing for many years, I've never been a flash user. I've only ever used flash on point&shoots for family-type photos. During the last few years I've been getting more interested in wildlife photography, and can appreciate the benefits of fill-in flash. Thus I'd like to buy my E-1 a 1-year birthday present. I'm not sure if to buy the FL36 or FL50, and apart from the power I'm not sure I understand the difference between the two. Given that I'm unlikely to get into anything like portrait photography or anything where the flash is the principal light source, and that my main interest is going to be fill-in, can anybody tell me which I'd be best served with ? I'm a bit wary of buying the FL36 and then feeling I sold myself short in 6 months, but then again I don't want to buy the FL50 and find it is total overkill.
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