Friday, 31 January 2014

Changing the ISO

Today I decided to follow the advice of some literature I've been reading and changed my ISO back to 100, instead of keeping it up higher, (800 and even 1600, because of photographing birds).  I wasn't really happy with the exposure on my images, so I shot the whole session today with ISO 100.  I was very happy with the results, the shots don't seem so harsh.  I've been shooting early in the morning when it's still cool, but the sun is still very bright and harsh as it usually is in the Aussie summer, and often I am aiming at the sky.  I am however mostly walking in shady areas.  So I never really was sure about the exposure.  I stayed with Aperture Priority and shade or cloudy for the white balance, but taking into account that I am often shooting up to the sky, I have found the ISO 100 has given me much better results.  I especially noticed it with the koala - yes, it's still in the same tree, still way up but in a different branch so I was able to get more open shots of it.  He noticed me and kept his eye on me the whole time, even when I tried to change position.  They can suffer harassment from some people and from dogs.  A kind person had left a plastic ice cream container of water at the bottom of the tree for him - they don't usually drink water but in heatwaves such as we have now they will gladly do so.
Koala  optical zoom ©Christine Linton
Technical details: Aperture Priority, F/2.8, shutter speed 1/10, ISO 100, AF 23 area, white balance - cloudy.

Koala optical zoomed x24
Technical details: Aperture Priority, F/2.8, shutter speed 1/4, ISO 100, AF 1 area, white balance - cloudy
I was focusing on his eyes here, but being far apart, I went for the closest one (his right one).
©Christine Linton

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Focus on eyes

I've been trying to get better focus on eyes in the birds that I do get close enough to.  Two challenges I find here.  First is actually setting the focus on the bird when it is moving about.  Trying to remember to set the auto tracking.  Secondly the usual one of holding the camera still enough.  I have now bought a tripod, which I can set up ok, but don't plan on taking that along on every jaunt combining a walk with bird photography.  I want to plan a day out with the tripod, so I can start to feel comfortable using it.  Maybe I should start by setting it up indoors by the window and wait for the lorikeets to descend on the nectarine tree.  I keep going outside my comfort zone with this new camera so here is the next - using a tripod.

This photo was unfortunately not shot using a tripod, but the eye focus wasn't too bad.  At least I am managing to hold the focus on the eye for longer before I get the shakes.
Ibis - trying for eye focus©Christine Linton


Out looking for flying bird shots this morning, I just happened to glance up a tree (hoping for a sleeping owl) and glimpsed a brown lump - went back and found this koala.
koala in Klemzig©Christine Linton
There was only one place where he could even be seen, he was so camouflaged by the gum leaves, so I couldn't get a better angle.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Optical zoom vs. Digital zoom

I'm posting this photo because I used the digital zoom to capture the shot, 96x digital zoom.  It isn't really great for quality because of the digital zoom rather than the optical zoom; it looks to me more like a painting than a photo.  That is why I thought it rather interesting, seeing the difference in the digital zoom.
Sparrow, using 96x digital zoom©Christine Linton
Technical details: Aperture Priority, F/2.8, shutter speed 1/2000, ISO 800, AFauto 1 area, white balance - daylight.

If you compare to the Galah below, although the sharpness of the Galah is not perfect because of having no tripod, it is  better than the sparrow.  The technical  details are all identical to the sparrow above.  This was shot at 24x Optical Zoom.  I had turned off the digital zoom after seeing the results with the sparrow - great to be able to see so close from a distance, but not what I want in a photo.  My next step is to get a tripod to sharpen up my focus.
Galah, using 24x Optical zoom©Christine Linton
I have been looking on the internet for information about the difference, and found these two pages which explain clearly; the first one has 2 photos to compare (you can enlarge your page with the browser zoom tool to get the detail clearly).

The second page also explains well.

Optical zoom is the one to work with for best results, but the digital zoom may well be useful if it is impossible to get close enough and a poorer quality photo is your only chance to get something at least.  (I speak strictly as a beginner learning, not as an expert).

Sunday, 26 January 2014


My big love is birds, and it is so challenging to get good close-up shots of them.  I finally managed to get this Rainbow Lorikeet feeding in a tree down the road.
Rainbow Lorikeet©Christine Linton
Technical information: Aperture Priority, F2.8, shutter speed. 1/800, AF, ISO800, white balance - shade

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Learning more

One of the things I always do when I take up a new interest is to research as much as possible online as well as in books; here are two links that I have found to be both useful and interesting.  The first one is a site by Rob Sheppard - I recently read his book "The Magic of Digital Nature Photography" from which I learnt a lot.  On his site he has lots of helpful information.

The other one I have just found is an Australian site, with lots of valuable advice, with even more detail included:

backlit hibiscus©Christine Linton
Technical details: Aperture Priority, F2.8, shutter speed 1/2000, ISO 400, AF auto 23 area, white balance -  shade

Hibiscus and backlighting

One of my favourite flowers is the hibiscus - so many beautiful varieties, singles, doubles, the colours!  So I've started a project of photographing all the glories of this delightful flower.  Yesterday evening I walked my local area where many hibiscus are in full flower, though many seem to be past their best - it's been so hot and dry, I know they like sun but they also like lots of water.  The photo I am posting today is one that I took backlit by the sun, because I could see the veins in the petals this way.

back of hibiscus flower, back lit by evening sun©Christine Linton
Technical details: Aperture Priority, F2.8, shutter speed 1/2000, ISO 400, white balanace - daylight, AF auto focus.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Photographing nature - a beginners perspective

Hi to all those who are interested in the world of nature, art and digital photography.  I am new to anything other than a basic camera, so having just upgraded I am discovering a whole new world.  I am finding close-ups of flowers and birds flying are my current favourite aspirations - still working out all the dials but getting there.  I'll start by posting a photo of a ginger lily stalk growing outside my door - it has a dew drop still on it, which I didn't see until I downloaded to the PC.  It is about three inches tall.
dew drop on ginger lily unfurling leaf, 7.30 am©Christine Linton
Technical details:  Aperture Priority, F2.8, shutter speed 1/320, ISO 400, white balance - daylight, focus: auto, 1 area.

This thriving patch of ginger lily is only just over a year old, and the first flower bud is in the process of opening.  I am photographing it daily so I can try a time-lapse progression when it is fully open.