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  1. #11
    Senior Member
    spb_stan's Avatar

    Re: Sharper Focus

    More light lowers the need for detail robbing hi-ISO settings. Those birds are not moving very fast so why give up so much light gathering that is prevented by 1/2500. The further you are away the slower a maximum shutter speed needed to reduce displacement of the detail do to movement.A bird 5 feet from you moving quickly has more arc of displacement than the bird making the same movements 100 feet away.
    Proper Exposure is the key to sharp looking images assuming camera shake and subject movement are reasonably under control.
    By setting your metering to Spot mode, and using only the centermost focal point, you will blow out the brighter sky but the subject will be better exposed. Try it in Program mode or Shutter priority Auto Exposure mode and set the shutter speed to one appropriate for the speed of movement and distance. 1/800 would have been more than fast enough for those birds, maybe 1/500. Turn off VR for any speeds 1/500 or faster. Set the ISO to a value that has acceptable noise, 1000 or so, and lower if you are going to crop at all.
    Get closer so the subjects fill the frame. All these steps will result in sharper more detailed images

    › See More: Sharper Focus
    Thanks/Like Robin W Thanks/liked this post

  2. #12
    Senior Member
    Danno's Avatar

    Re: Sharper Focus

    I have taken some similar shots near Taylorsville Lake in central Kentucky and it is tough to get the Eagles to come close. But I started always using the tripod with my D7200 and 200-500 Nikon lens. That helps some but this time of year and that time of day it is hard to have enough light to get a good shot.

    I set D7200 up similar to yours I do use auto ISO with the max set to 2000. I run the rest in manual. If the birds are sitting still I try to run the shutter down low, since I am on a tripod, and that helps.

    I do need to get over to Taylorsville Lake. My friend that used to take me can no longer do so. This is a good time to catch the Eagles.
    Thanks/Like Robin W Thanks/liked this post

    "The natural man must know in order to believe; The spiritual man must believe in order to know. " ~ Aiden Wilson Tozer ~ "The Dwelling Place of God"

    Nikon Z 6 Nikon, Nikkor Z 50 mm f/1.8S, Z 85 f/1.8S, Z24-70 f/4S, Z14--30 f/4S
    Nikon D700 w/Grip, AF-S Nikkor 200-500 mm f/5.6E ED VR, Tamron 28-75, Tamron 70-200 F/2.8


  3. #13
    Senior Member

    Re: Sharper Focus

    Robin is out of town with limited internet access until next week. I'll pass these tips on to her.

    Thanks for the help!

  4. #14
    Senior Member
    Woodyg3's Avatar

    Re: Sharper Focus

    Don't be discouraged. There is a learning curve, and wildlife photography is difficult.

    When you are shooting at great distances, it is very hard to get the focus spot exactly on your subject. This also stretches your camera's autofocusing capabilities to the limit. The hard truth is that the only way to get really good wildlife shots is to get close. MUCH more easily said than done.

    Keep at it, and have fun!
    Thanks/Like Robin W Thanks/liked this post
    Woody Green

    Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose

    D500, D7200, D7100, D70

  5. #15
    Senior Member
    SkvLTD's Avatar

    Re: Sharper Focus

    DX as a whole and 7200 were never ISO-queens, so I'd definitely keep it as low as possible.
    Thanks/Like Robin W Thanks/liked this post
    Df silver, D600, D5100, X-Pro1 ||| Sigma 12-24 f/3.5-5.6 v1 | Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G | Sigma 24mm Super-wide II f/2.8 | Nikkor 45mm AI-P f/2.8 Silver | Nikkor-H 50mm f/2 | Nikkor-S 55mm f/1.2 | Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR | Tamron 90mm SP AF f/2.8 Macro (E72) | Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR I | Fuji 18mm f/2 XF R | Fuji 27mm f/2.8

  6. #16
    Super Mod
    hark's Avatar

    Re: Sharper Focus

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel View Post
    It seems to me like your images were under-exposed (not enough light hitting the sensor). When shooting dark subjects against light background, one has to push the exposure in order to get proper details in the shadows.
    Yes, Marcel nailed it. The way I learned it is this...when a scene is overly bright (such as this with reflected water or snow), you need to override the camera's settings and go BRIGHTER aka overexpose. When a scene is overly dark (or darker than medium grey), you need to override the settings and do DARKER aka underexpose.

    So the axiom I learned is: When it's bright, go brighter. When it's dark, go darker.

    When you post process images that are dark, and you want to make them lighter, noise gets added. It's something that happens when shadows are raised. There are types of software that aid in noise reduction so you can overcome a lot of that. However, if you shoot at really high ISO's. you also lose some detail. Keep your ISO as low as possible and compensate either by adjusting your shutter speed or aperture.

    If you are not familiar with the concept of exposure triangle, all 3 things (ISO, shutter speed, and aperture) work in tandem with one another.

    Sounds like you have an area with more wildlife where you can continue to experiment. Have fun with it!
    Thanks/Like Robin W Thanks/liked this post
    Cindy - D750, D500, D7200
    and My 2020 Thread

    Where the Spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art
    -- Leonardo da Vinci

  7. #17
    Senior Member
    Stoshowicz's Avatar

    Re: Sharper Focus

    Auto Iso- is usually used in conjunction with exposure compensation , otherwise white snow looks gray , add +2 or +3 exposure compensation , and then add some contrast in post. But the distances look to be pretty long and the lighting not so wonderful , so you gotta take what you can get.
    Thanks/Like Robin W Thanks/liked this post

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  8. #18
    Senior Member
    spb_stan's Avatar

    Re: Sharper Focus

    Once you understand how the meter sees the world, it becomes pretty clear what is happening. A scene often has more light intensity range than what can be recorded by the camera, from the very darkest to the very brightest part of the scene is 12-14 stops, or doubling in intensity 12-14 times. So the meter is calibrated to a midpoint between the blackest black and the brightest the camera can capture and is scaled by our perception of light and dark. The midpoint between the brightest and the darkest in our perfection is middle grey and in light intensity that is about 18% along the scale of deep black at 0% and the brightest being 100%. Think of mixing white paint and black paint. One might assume that equal parts of white and black would be middle grey, but we are much more sensitive to small changes in the low energy end of the luminosity scale than the high end because all our senses are logarithmic in scale instead on linear. If you started adding a small amount of black to the white paint, you would notice a darkening much quicker than is if adding a little white paint requires a lot more white to reach what you see as about mid why between white and black middle grey. Meters are doing the same thing, assuming the midpoint in exposure will be 18% black and 82% white. Shooting a scene that is very bright like snow on a sunny day or a white wedding dress will almost always come out dull, grey and not white. We know the scene is supposed to be very bright but the camera doesn't so we trick it into setting exposure TRIAD settings to overexpose by the meter's calibration but we see it is snow and it is supposed to be bright.
    Same with taking a portrait of someone with a deep tan or black skin will almost always be overexposed and look unrealistically bright. So we purposely underexpose skin that is supposed to look darker by dialing in a stop or two of negative compensation. Most of us probably use full manual all the time so we simply set the meter point a couple stops underexposed for dark subjects and a couple stops over the meter center line for snow or bright white scenes. It is easier to go full manual in these cases than using auto-exposure modes because it is too easy to forget compensation is still one when changing senses because the meter does not function in auto modes.
    Thanks/Like Robin W Thanks/liked this post

  9. #19
    Senior Member

    Re: Sharper Focus

    Thank all of you for the wonderful tips. I have a lot to try. I will let you know how it goes. I am going out Sunday to try again to get a decent picture of some eagles. What PP software do most of you use?
    D7200, D810, D500, Nikkor AF-S 24-120mm f/4G ED VR, A-S Nikkor 85mm 1:1.8 G,
    Tamron 150-600mm G2, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 G2, Tokina 100mm 2.8 macro

  10. #20
    RIP :(
    Don Kuykendall's Avatar

    Re: Sharper Focus

    Quote Originally Posted by Robin W View Post
    Thank all of you for the wonderful tips. I have a lot to try. I will let you know how it goes. I am going out Sunday to try again to get a decent picture of some eagles. What PP software do most of you use?

    Lightroom and Photoshop
    Thanks/Like Robin W Thanks/liked this post

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    D750***D7100***24-120 f/4 ***70-300***Tamron 150-600***Tokina 16-28 f2.8***50mm f/1.8***Photoshop/Lightroom CC

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