Monday, 27 June 2011

A weekend of mixed fortunes


With my Mk IIn now being replaced by the Mk III, I was eager to take it out for a trial.  One of the reasons for getting this was due to its famed high ISO performance and with the day being dull and dizzily it was a perfect time to put it to the test.  For the first part of the morning, I comfortably shot at 3200 and even 6400 with amazingly little noise and no banding – roll on dark, dingy winters (though not just yet).  With some encouragement of some nuts, the Grey Squirrels where very obliging and even a Jay got in on the act.


Jay – 1/400 f4.5 ISO 3200


Having walked around for a while and finding nothing much else about, I decided to have a go at some of the ‘smaller wildlife’ that was flying and crawling round me.  I’m not a macro photographer, but it’s surprising just what there is around our feet and it’s not until you get down and have a really good look that you realise this.  I think on another day, I will go out equipped especially for macro as I really needed a tripod.  At 1-1 distance, the depth of field was millimetres.  I found myself focusing at the minimum distance and then firing the shutter at the right moment as I breathed in and out!  To get any kind of balance between depth of field and shutter speed, I had to up the ISO to 1600 – not ideal for macro.



A much brighter, warmer day (I think this is what they call summer!) so, a trip to the coast.  Lots of fledglings still being fed by their parents mainly Sparrows, Starlings and Buntings, as a result of which they were much more approachable.  For the first time this year, I was able to get the ISO down to 400 or less and still get a fast shutter speed and stop down a bit for extra depth of field.


An opportunity to test my cameras autofocus and my own skills with some gulls in flight, came later.  This is a technique that definitely takes a lot of practice and experience.  Just keeping the bird in frame long enough for the cameras focusing system to lock on is hard enough but then you have to keep it in frame so it can keep it in focus!  I found the focusing limitations were down to my own ability (or lack of) to do this and need a lot more practice - and then there’s the various combinations of in camera settings to choose from.


The reason why this blog is a little later than I had planned is that I had a bit of bad luck – my computers hard drive died on me, as did my backup hard drive, all within a twelve hour period of each other!  I’m sure I am not simply cursed with some kind of hideous bad luck, rather than the mini heat wave we’ve been having recently causing the drives to conk out.  The good new was that all my original photographs taken in RAW during the last six years, were backed up on a backup, backup.  The bad new was that everything else I had was on the other two drives, including my ‘processed’ files for my website and blog – that’s a lot of years of work.  I’m sure the true nature of the disaster won’t be completely felt until later as I start to miss other things that have been lost.

1 comment: