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How and where to take great bird pictures.
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TOPIC: B.I.F: Dealing with Glare

B.I.F: Dealing with Glare 1 year 5 months ago #1150

  • Bruce Terrill
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Hi Guys,
I'm very new to Birds In Flight photography and every outing this year I have had to try and get my head around one singular problem;GLARE. Doesn't matter if it's a lovely sunny day or an overcast day with the sun behind it, it has always been there for me to try and get my head around. What I am, and everyone else of course, dealing with is a singular subject with the rest of the frame being and extremely bright, or glarey day and I can't get my head around the correct settings for an excitable, usable outcome. What I usually end up with is a very dark subject, almost silhouette and the skies are always very nearly blown out highlights on the Histogram. The Histogram gives me one singular column of color and that is right over near the right hand side, close to being blown out. When the picture is put into Lightroom it is unsaveable because the bird, when adjusted through the Highlights and Exposure settings is very streaky and grainy. Now I'm not talking about a bird that was 50-60 meters away either, I had one Whistling Kite that kept coming back each time I called it in and at one stage tried to land on the end of my lens while it was pointed skywards trying to get it in the frame!!!
Firstly, I started out with Aperture priority, Auto ISO and Matrix metering, trying to adjust for Exposure Compensation and then I switched to Manual, S/S 3200, Ap at 6.3 and auto iso running to 4000, after continued sadness I tried 2500 S/S I think and F7.1 and also Matrix. Am I wrong in thinking that Matrix metering is a joke, that it's alright under P mode for kids at parties and the rest of the time it's pathetic or what am I screwing up? I know that it's me, because there are so many great BIF photos everywhere you look, taken under the exact same conditions that are doing my head in, so help please?
Thanks for taking the time guys,
Bruce

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B.I.F: Dealing with Glare 1 year 5 months ago #1154

  • Glenn Pure
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I'm no expert by any means on BIF photography but have had a few good results. The key message about setting exposure is that everything has to be manually set (aperture, shutter speed and ISO). If any of these are on auto, you are likely to have trouble with underexposed subject as the camera will expose for the background most of the time. Simply meter a subject in similar light (eg a tree 20 metres away), set your aperture, shutter and ISO accordingly. Then fire off a few test shots to see how they look, preferably of a bird flying past but you can try the same tree you set the exposure on. After that, simply fire away once the birds appear. You will probably need to do a bit of work in post-processing to flatten out the tonal range (see my recent tip in the newsletter).

Hopefully others more expert in BIF will be able to provide more detailed advice, but I think the basics above are what you need to start with. Also, have a read through Ian Wilson's BIF article in the latest newsletter, of course.
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B.I.F: Dealing with Glare 1 year 5 months ago #1155

  • Peter Gower
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Bruce,
Don't use matrix metering in this situation. You are trying to photograph the bird, expose for the bird.
Matrix metering will not do that. Try centre weighted with about 1 stop compensation or even spot metering.
With spot metering you may get flare around the bird if the background is extra bright.

If you are shooting into the sun or even slightly towards it, maybe it would be best to give it a miss and try
for a position with the sun behind you. You can always try but don't expect the result to be worthwhile without
the sun behind you.

You can also try what Glenn has suggested, and should get similar results. What I am suggesting should work in
most situations when you don't have time to change camera settings.

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Last edit: by Peter Gower.

B.I.F: Dealing with Glare 1 year 5 months ago #1156

  • Bruce Terrill
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Thanks Glenn for your stellar advice, reliable as always. . .
Bruce

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Last edit: by Bruce Terrill. Reason: Spelling

B.I.F: Dealing with Glare 1 year 5 months ago #1158

  • Peter Gower
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Bruce,
Matrix metering is good when you want to get an overall exposure for the whole scene.
It is not designed to be selective and expose for just one main subject.
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B.I.F: Dealing with Glare 1 year 5 months ago #1160

  • Bruce Terrill
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Hi Peter,
Thanks for the info on the Matrix system, although I rarely use it, it must have been left on from some bush photography?
Bruce

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Last edit: by Bruce Terrill. Reason: spelling
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