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      07-19-2011, 09:09 PM   #1
M_Six
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Cropduster, Pt. II

The same cropduster I shot a few week ago also sprays for mosquitos for the county. When he buzzes over the neighborhood, he is seriously low. Usually just a few feet above the trees. I heard him start his runs tonight and I threw my 50mm f1.4 on my nice cool camera and ran out into the sauna we're experiencing. After a few very frustrating minutes trying to keep my lens clear, I was able to grab a few pics. Keep in mind it was about 8PM and I was only partially successful keeping my lens fog-free. These shots are also uncropped, so with a 50mm lens, you can see how low he is. The noise is awesome. Like a Stuka dive bomber.

First pass over my house. Those near trees are just on the edge of my yard.



His return pass.





Then he came across my house at 90 to his previous course as he headed back to the airport. Practically looking straight up as he passed overhead.

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      07-19-2011, 10:06 PM   #2
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Crummy light. Next time, you might try a trick I on birds in flight when the sun is on the wrong side. Shoot at +1 or +2EV. That'll was out the sky, but you'll get good details under the wings.

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      07-19-2011, 10:29 PM   #3
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I was shooting on +1EV. Except for the last pic, they're badly fogged. I did the best I could recovering what was there. This pic below is an unadjusted RAW file converted straight to jpeg. But yes, the light did suck. The sun was completely set.

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      07-19-2011, 11:17 PM   #4
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just for fun.... hope you don't mind...
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      07-20-2011, 07:12 AM   #5
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just for fun.... hope you don't mind...
Cool. Looks like an old newspaper shot.
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      07-20-2011, 10:36 PM   #6
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Cool. Looks like an old newspaper shot.
kinda what i was hoping for

figured it suited the age of the plane.
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      07-21-2011, 11:14 AM   #7
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I was shooting on +1EV. Except for the last pic, they're badly fogged. I did the best I could recovering what was there. This pic below is an unadjusted RAW file converted straight to jpeg. But yes, the light did suck. The sun was completely set.
I don't understand what's going on there with the fogging. The BG should be blown out and the plane over exposed, but then your bring the level down in RAW conversion to get the plane looking right with a bit of underwing detail.

Here's +1EV at work:


Bald eagle sub-adult harrassed by American crow by dcstep, on Flickr

Canon 7D, 500mm, f/8, 1/1250 second at ISO 800.

Here's another, with the BG blown out:


American Kestrel changes trees. by dcstep, on Flickr

Canon 7D, 500mm, f/8, 1/1000 second at ISO 800.

The first one of the juvenile eagle shows really nice blue sky because it was still well before noon. The sun was higher than the bird's back, but I was shooting away from the sun as the bird flew almost directly overhead.

The one of the kestrel was around 9 a.m. but with the bird in shade and trees behind it, but with open sky behind that.

Some random thoughts about digital EV management:

It's ok to blow out a BG if the subject is interesting and large in the frame. It's more important to get details of the subject than to expose properly for the average scene. If it's a static subject, then try HDR, but for planes and wildlife, that's not often practical. If the subject has major white areas or bright colors like yellow or red, then you need to consider 0EV or even -EV particularly if there's direct light on those areas. With subject such as black and white birds or animals in direct sun, you'll need to chose between blowing out highlights or losing all shadow detail. I shoot Aperture Preferred, but the same concepts apply to Shutter Preferred, Manual or fully Automatic (EV adjusted).

I'm still wondering about your foggy RAW file. What camera is that? It should look a bit overexposed before RAW conversion, but that fog is something that I don't see in my files.

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      07-21-2011, 11:16 AM   #8
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Oh, I re-read your first post. You lens was fogged. That'll result in a foggy RAW file. Duh... sorry.
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      07-21-2011, 11:29 AM   #9
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In this weather it sux trying to go out to shoot. It takes 5-10 minutes for the lens to acclimate so it's not fogging up. Same deal with driving around with my gear in the car. If I stop to get out and shoot, I have to deal with the condensation. I don't have a trunk in the X5, so the whole vehicle interior is cool and so is the camera.
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      07-21-2011, 11:34 AM   #10
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The +1Ev is working well. I use it often, especially indoors. It really does help with noise. I can see where it can blow out some whites. In this pic of my cat, her very white fur is blown out in spots near the bottom of the frame just left of center. Not much noise for a 1600ISO shot, though. Better to have reduced noise, IMO.

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      07-21-2011, 11:39 AM   #11
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In this weather it sux trying to go out to shoot. It takes 5-10 minutes for the lens to acclimate so it's not fogging up. Same deal with driving around with my gear in the car. If I stop to get out and shoot, I have to deal with the condensation. I don't have a trunk in the X5, so the whole vehicle interior is cool and so is the camera.
I deal with that all the time, using my M3 as a shooting-blind. You have to set the cameras on the seat and roll the windows down as your cruise. Here in Colorado I often shoot when it's near 0-F. I turn on my seat warmer, but ride around with the widdows down, hat on, gloves or mitten on and all my gear ready to go. In summer, I do the same, but it's not as much of a problem due to our typically low humidity.

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      07-21-2011, 11:44 AM   #12
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The +1Ev is working well. I use it often, especially indoors. It really does help with noise. I can see where it can blow out some whites. In this pic of my cat, her very white fur is blown out in spots near the bottom of the frame just left of center. Not much noise for a 1600ISO shot, though. Better to have reduced noise, IMO.
NOBODY, except another photographer, will look for the noise in the BG. Women will melt over all the details in your beautiful cat and swear that you're a genious and they've never seen such a beautiful cat. IME, details and cute trump noise every time.

Be realistic about noise and photography becomes much easier flexible. Concentrate on the subject. The lens can see more than our eyes usually see. When you provide a more in-depth view of the familiar, your audience is wowed. This is a perfect example.

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      07-21-2011, 01:20 PM   #13
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The +1Ev is working well. I use it often, especially indoors. It really does help with noise. I can see where it can blow out some whites. In this pic of my cat, her very white fur is blown out in spots near the bottom of the frame just left of center. Not much noise for a 1600ISO shot, though. Better to have reduced noise, IMO.

Great shot mark!

you have to be carefull with the condensation, because it happens inside of the camera body and lenses as well as the outside. you have to let them acclimatise as DC was mentioning. I've read somewhere that people put their lenses in zip lock bags to keep the moisture levels from changing too much.

if you're in and out of the cold to warmth a lot, this may be a consideration for you.
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      07-21-2011, 01:22 PM   #14
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I also leave some of those silica bags from boxes sitting in the bottom of my camera bag to help control the moisture levels in the bag

I know this sounds OCD, but i unpacked a box one time, saw one sitting in the bottom of the box, and just threw it in the bottom of my camera bag, now i think i have 3 in there.
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      07-21-2011, 01:59 PM   #15
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I also leave some of those silica bags from boxes sitting in the bottom of my camera bag to help control the moisture levels in the bag

I know this sounds OCD, but i unpacked a box one time, saw one sitting in the bottom of the box, and just threw it in the bottom of my camera bag, now i think i have 3 in there.
I need to do that. I have enough of them lying around to choke a horse. Not that I have anything against horses.
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      07-21-2011, 02:05 PM   #16
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Great shot mark!
Funny thing about that shot....I was right in the middle of reading an article about paying attention to your background when setting up a shot when my cat jumped up on the end table next to me and started her staring bit (Means "I want food now."). I had my camera out already, so I upped the ISO and fired away. It was only afterward that I realized the only focused shot where I caught her looking straight at me also had the white square of my wife's LCD monitor in the background.

Lesson learned.
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      07-24-2011, 01:20 PM   #17
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Good conversation, I just found it.
Mark, would one of those battery operated portable fans moving air over your lens help or would the condensation form anyway?
That day it was probably bug spray and not condensation. As for your cat, I'm sure you could just PS out that screen and I've found that a well exposed high ISO pic shows better than a lower ISO exposed rough. I wouldn't have guessed you used that high of speed.

Dave, I always have the black bird/plane issue when shooting them all my opportunities seem to be mid day. I'll try starting at +1 or 2. Thanks for the enlightenment.
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      07-24-2011, 01:59 PM   #18
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Good conversation, I just found it.
Mark, would one of those battery operated portable fans moving air over your lens help or would the condensation form anyway?
That day it was probably bug spray and not condensation. As for your cat, I'm sure you could just PS out that screen and I've found that a well exposed high ISO pic shows better than a lower ISO exposed rough. I wouldn't have guessed you used that high of speed.

Dave, I always have the black bird/plane issue when shooting them all my opportunities seem to be mid day. I'll try starting at +1 or 2. Thanks for the enlightenment.
No, it was condensation. It was in the high 90s outside with dew point temps near 86. Inside my house it was a comfy 74 and dry. Taking a cool camera out into that sauna was guaranteeing condensation. Same thing happens to my sunglasses when I get out of my car.

Dave's tip about shooting +1EV or +2EV works wonders with high ISO. Give it a try. Here's one I shot last night at 6400ISO.

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      07-24-2011, 09:45 PM   #19
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Dave, I always have the black bird/plane issue when shooting them all my opportunities seem to be mid day. I'll try starting at +1 or 2. Thanks for the enlightenment.
Dark is surprisingly hard, but +EV is the solution there. You'll often lose BG detail, so then you'll need to fill the frame with the subject. Direct sun makes it harder.

Even though this was in direct, bright sun, I shot at +1EV. It's hand held at 700mm, so I needed shutter speed and used ISO 800, but the point is the plus EV to bring out detail in a really dark bird. Still, even with that, the harsh shadows under the head have little detail:


European starling on signpost by dcstep, on Flickr

Another shot at +1EV in direct sunlight:


Crow! Crow! I'm over here. by dcstep, on Flickr
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      07-25-2011, 10:54 PM   #20
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nice shots guys!
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