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How to shoot in heavy woods
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Oct 9, 2019 09:16:11   #
dsmeltz Loc: Philadelphia
 
ggab wrote:
Perhaps this is clear to everyone else and it's just me, however, What makes the pictures subpar for identifying the birds?
1- Too dark?
2- Too many branches in the way you can't get the birds in focus?
3- A combination of the above?
4- Something else?

Thanks


Yes. Any or all of these. BIF is one of the toughest forms of photography. The reason the Audubon's drawings are so good is he could get the birds to sit still in good lighting. He did that by shooting them, taking them home, mounting and posing them. The modern methods of capturing images of birds is a little bit different.
I try BIF every once in a while and have some success but do not consider myself great. However, Steve Perry (a UHH member) is quite good. You might want to ask him.

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Oct 9, 2019 09:31:50   #
bamfordr Loc: Campbell CA
 
I didn’t see it in others’ replies, but with BBF on my old Canon 7D & 100-400 lens, once I get an acceptable exposure set up, manual focus is my essential additional tool. Lots of clear pictures of branches and leaves with auto focus. For bird ID, once focus is solid, Lightroom let’s me adjust contrast, shadows, etc. to try to ID.

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Oct 9, 2019 09:49:00   #
ggab Loc: Northern Virginia
 
dsmeltz wrote:
Yes. Any or all of these. BIF is one of the toughest forms of photography. The reason the Audubon's drawings are so good is he could get the birds to sit still in good lighting. He did that by shooting them, taking them home, mounting and posing them. The modern methods of capturing images of birds is a little bit different.
I try BIF every once in a while and have some success but do not consider myself great. However, Steve Perry (a UHH member) is quite good. You might want to ask him.
Yes. Any or all of these. BIF is one of the tough... (show quote)


I am not even sure the OP was talking about BIF, hence my questions.
He mentioned Heavy woods. Typically in "heavy woods", BIF is not possible due to all the branches you have to shoot through.
I was trying to get clarification of the OP's issues since there aren't any pictures.

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Oct 9, 2019 09:59:13   #
camerapapi Loc: Miami, Fl.
 
If you are using AUTO with a basic ISO setting like 200 I am sure you forgot to note the exposure in the monitor or viewfinder. Wildlife photography in general is going to require a high ISO setting except when shooting in sunlight. Even so I keep my ISO at 400.

In the woods where the light levels are so low it is a necessity to raise the ISO speed of the sensor especially if using a slow lens like yours. The D40 lacks good noise performance because its technology is old. It is fine in good light.
For wildlife a fast lens and setting the ISO between 400-800 is a good start. For birds in flight higher ISO settings are needed to stop action.

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Oct 9, 2019 10:09:12   #
gvarner Loc: Central Oregon Coast
 
Your camera has only 10mp and a max ISO of 1600, not a good combo to shoot in low light. You need to upgrade.

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Oct 9, 2019 10:13:08   #
ggab Loc: Northern Virginia
 
camerapapi wrote:
If you are using AUTO with a basic ISO setting like 200 I am sure you forgot to note the exposure in the monitor or viewfinder. Wildlife photography in general is going to require a high ISO setting except when shooting in sunlight. Even so I keep my ISO at 400.

In the woods where the light levels are so low it is a necessity to raise the ISO speed of the sensor especially if using a slow lens like yours. The D40 lacks good noise performance because its technology is old. It is fine in good light.
For wildlife a fast lens and setting the ISO between 400-800 is a good start. For birds in flight higher ISO settings are needed to stop action.
If you are using AUTO with a basic ISO setting lik... (show quote)

"For birds in flight higher ISO settings are needed to stop action"
I am sure you meant shutter speed.

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Oct 9, 2019 10:37:29   #
agillot
 
i use a older non dedicated flash , together with the BETTER BEAMER .[ GOOGLE IT ].its like shooting in sun light .

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Oct 9, 2019 11:03:38   #
olemikey Loc: 6 mile creek, Spacecoast Florida
 
Cat Islander wrote:
I went for a trek through some dense woods this morning and evening. I saw probably a hundred birds. Some were the usual suspects but others were Yankee invaders that I did not recognize. I tried taking pictures with my Nikkor 18 - 300 f/3.5 but because of the low light and maybe my old D40x the pictures below sub par for identifying the birds.

What is the trick for shooting in these low light situations?

Cat Islander
Take only pictures,
Leave only footprints


I use that same lens on a D90, D71 & 7200....it does work better on the newer sensors, with better AF system, etc. That said, as Bill De indicated change some settings to "gain light". I do a fair amount of walkabout in the woods type shooting, it can be challenging, esp. with a closed in canopy. A strobe or some type of portable work light can help, I also use a reflector. Some might laugh, but I use one of those folding auto windshield aluminized reflectors, works great if you can get any sun on it, you can positon it any way you want, folds up reasonably compact, and is cheap. Some folks don't like strobe for wildlife, but try one, and/or a slave unit if you have one, and you will get many more keepers. Two offset will be much better than just one, but one is better than none!!

If you intend serious birding, a longer lens is in your future, but that is a bridge to cross another day. Don't waste any money on a teleconverter for that lens and the D40X, trust me, waste of time/money.

The "Snow birds" are finally showing up in my yard, Painted Buntings, Catbirds, Varios, assorted Finches, bug eaters/seed eaters, etc....when the rain stops I'll be back out with my gear!!!

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Oct 9, 2019 12:10:10   #
cahale Loc: San Angelo, TX
 
And use manual focusing.

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Oct 9, 2019 12:13:25   #
CHG_CANON Loc: the Windy City
 
cahale wrote:
And use manual focusing.


When our OP fails to get anything, hopefully they'll consider instead what most everyone else does: configure the AF to a single point or expanded single point with continuous auto-focus. Then, place that AF point on the bird's eye (head), let the camera / lens continuously focus while they compose and then capture in bursts.

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Oct 9, 2019 12:13:32   #
Canisdirus
 
cahale wrote:
And use manual focusing.


Birding? ... good luck with that.

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Oct 9, 2019 12:48:26   #
dsmeltz Loc: Philadelphia
 
ggab wrote:
I am not even sure the OP was talking about BIF, hence my questions.
He mentioned Heavy woods. Typically in "heavy woods", BIF is not possible due to all the branches you have to shoot through.
I was trying to get clarification of the OP's issues since there aren't any pictures.



the setting issues for BIF and birds that are "Yankee invaders" are similar and birds flitting from tree to tree are in flight.

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Oct 9, 2019 12:54:23   #
olemikey Loc: 6 mile creek, Spacecoast Florida
 
I did fail to mention I only use the shorter lenses for close in work, like near my feeders/birdie viewing area. 400 and longer for further away. I have an advantage of being able to get close without using a blind, so I can actually fill the frame with the small birds on a lens like yours, in the woods it would be tough, even using the 1.3X crop mode (on the D71/7200) would still leave a 300 with a small to very small subject, or would need a blind/feeding station. I have found that even with a strobe, if you sit long enough, close enough, the birds get used to you....of course, the Blue Jays, Grackles, Black Birds, Cardinales (and the squirrels), etc. all know we feed them, so they actually look for me and follow me around, the little snow birds/song birds are more timid, but they only see us in fall/winter. I can actually call the Blue Jays and they will fly in from other yards (the squirrels know the call too, so I carry extra peanuts)!!!

Keep at it, you will get lots of good info and suggestions on this site, and be patient, and realize the limitations of your gear (rather than fall prey to frustration), with birding you have to crawl before you can walk! Anyway, enjoy and keep at it, we will all try to help you get there, well, most of us!!

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Oct 9, 2019 12:58:33   #
CHG_CANON Loc: the Windy City
 
The longer you read UHH, the more expensive it gets.

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Oct 9, 2019 13:00:31   #
olemikey Loc: 6 mile creek, Spacecoast Florida
 
dsmeltz wrote:
Yes. Any or all of these. BIF is one of the toughest forms of photography. The reason the Audubon's drawings are so good is he could get the birds to sit still in good lighting. He did that by shooting them, taking them home, mounting and posing them. The modern methods of capturing images of birds is a little bit different.
I try BIF every once in a while and have some success but do not consider myself great. However, Steve Perry (a UHH member) is quite good. You might want to ask him.
Yes. Any or all of these. BIF is one of the tough... (show quote)


Steve Perry's website is a treat, check it out "BackCountry Gallery", I believe. Steve Perry is on here often, I think he is in Costa Rica or some such right now, probably happily shooting up a storm, and teaching folks how. Another is Doug Gardners site (He did the "Wild Photo Adventures" series on TV) and has a good website.

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