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Need help shooting swans
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Jan 7, 2012 12:08:30   #
nat Loc: Martha's Vineyard, MA
 
How can I adjust my settings to bring out the feather patterns? As you can see, this swan looks like a big white blob. Thanks in advance



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Jan 7, 2012 12:42:57   #
Swamp Gator Loc: Coastal South Carolina
 
They are overexposed. White birds are tough. The camera will almost always overexpose white birds using any auto setting.
You can drop down some exposure compensation a full stop or more and continue to use an auto setting such as aperture or shutter priority. Or you could (and this is the suggested method) use manual settings.
Properly expose for the birds and let the background go a bit dark.
Also when reviewing the images in your view screen, don't be fooled if they look a little too dark. They will look better and more detailed on the computer monitor in most cases.

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Jan 7, 2012 12:43:43   #
martinfisherphoto Loc: Lake Placid Florida
 
This is how I shoot white birds, may work for you. I Use Spot Metering when shooting white birds, as the shot will come out evenly exposed on the bird for the most part. Aim the camera at the bird, press shutter half way down, which meters the light on the white feathers then fire away. Not sure how to help with the photo, only on how to take the shot.

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Jan 7, 2012 13:21:37   #
snowbear
 
I agree with swamp gator and fstop22: the bird is overexposed because the meter is probably looking at the whole scene, and the darker background covers more of an area than the swan. This can also happen with shots of waterfalls.

If you meter for the swan, the background will likely be dark (the opposite of here). If you have the time, I'd try to meter for the swan (spot or center weighted), then bracket shots for one to two stops either side. You should be able to selectively adjust the levels in post processing (use layers and a mask) to get things close to equal. Alternatively, you could try HDR/Tone mapping the set of exposures (may not work well since the swans are moving.)

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Jan 8, 2012 08:55:34   #
Cappy Loc: Wildwood, NJ
 
snowbear wrote:
I agree with swamp gator and fstop22: the bird is overexposed because the meter is probably looking at the whole scene, and the darker background covers more of an area than the swan. This can also happen with shots of waterfalls.

If you meter for the swan, the background will likely be dark (the opposite of here). If you have the time, I'd try to meter for the swan (spot or center weighted), then bracket shots for one to two stops either side. You should be able to selectively adjust the levels in post processing (use layers and a mask) to get things close to equal. Alternatively, you could try HDR/Tone mapping the set of exposures (may not work well since the swans are moving.)
I agree with swamp gator and fstop22: the bird is ... (show quote)


Snowbear: That's what I do and generally it works out.

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Jan 8, 2012 09:10:39   #
nat Loc: Martha's Vineyard, MA
 
Thanks, everyone. There are lots of swans wintering over here so I will have ample opportunity to practice what you suggested.

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Jan 8, 2012 09:12:50   #
ephraim Imperio
 
nat wrote:
How can I adjust my settings to bring out the feather patterns? As you can see, this swan looks like a big white blob. Thanks in advance


Spot metering is the best solution. But if you can place as many focus point as possible, you will get details on both the subject and the background as well. Please click "download" button to see a high res of the photos to get a better idea.





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Jan 8, 2012 09:42:06   #
nat Loc: Martha's Vineyard, MA
 
Interesting, thanks. I will definitely use more focus points. Makes sense.

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Jan 8, 2012 12:56:55   #
Turbo Loc: Raleigh, NC
 
Bracketing ( if conditions permit ) is another option.

I have shot swans with -2 F stops and the exposure was about perfect.

Another option is to shoot in RAW, so you have much more latitude while processing it later

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Jan 8, 2012 16:24:03   #
rob s Loc: La Mesa, CA
 
Opening the original images as RAW files may allow some recovery as well. Worth a try.8-)

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Jan 8, 2012 17:35:54   #
nat Loc: Martha's Vineyard, MA
 
It's too cold to shoot in the RAW. So I'll try your other suggestion.

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Jan 10, 2012 08:07:53   #
belwj Loc: Berkshires, Ma
 
snowbear wrote:
I agree with swamp gator and fstop22: the bird is overexposed because the meter is probably looking at the whole scene, and the darker background covers more of an area than the swan. This can also happen with shots of waterfalls.

If you meter for the swan, the background will likely be dark (the opposite of here). If you have the time, I'd try to meter for the swan (spot or center weighted), then bracket shots for one to two stops either side. You should be able to selectively adjust the levels in post processing (use layers and a mask) to get things close to equal. Alternatively, you could try HDR/Tone mapping the set of exposures (may not work well since the swans are moving.)
I agree with swamp gator and fstop22: the bird is ... (show quote)


Won't spot metering only on the bird render the bird as grey?

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Jan 10, 2012 10:27:43   #
ephraim Imperio
 
belwj wrote:
snowbear wrote:
I agree with swamp gator and fstop22: the bird is overexposed because the meter is probably looking at the whole scene, and the darker background covers more of an area than the swan. This can also happen with shots of waterfalls.

If you meter for the swan, the background will likely be dark (the opposite of here). If you have the time, I'd try to meter for the swan (spot or center weighted), then bracket shots for one to two stops either side. You should be able to selectively adjust the levels in post processing (use layers and a mask) to get things close to equal. Alternatively, you could try HDR/Tone mapping the set of exposures (may not work well since the swans are moving.)
I agree with swamp gator and fstop22: the bird is ... (show quote)


Won't spot metering only on the bird render the bird as grey?
quote=snowbear I agree with swamp gator and fstop... (show quote)

No! It will render the bird white as shown in this example where I spot meter the bird as shown by the position of the bracket. Please click "download" button to see better at full res.



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Jan 10, 2012 17:16:08   #
fotogk Loc: Tuftonboro, NH
 
nat wrote:
It's too cold to shoot in the RAW. So I'll try your other suggestion.

Try that in NH and you will get a little more blue in your image.
:oops:

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Jan 10, 2012 17:25:39   #
nat Loc: Martha's Vineyard, MA
 
I'm trying to think of a line that includes the words ' New Hampshire dairy air', but I'm stumped! :lol:

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