Katie's Journal

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Photos of the Wing

by @ 8:08 pm on August 13, 2005.

Jim kindly shared the secret of the photoshop script he uses to create the frame around his photos, Mike’s Framing Scripts. We both use the free (basic) version at the moment. It’s easy to use, and has more options than I’ve even tried to figure out at this point. But I think it adds some very nice class to the photos, and I’ll have to go back and add frames to the photos of my first post to snaz it up a bit.

So credit having been given where credit is due, on to my photos of the wing. We’ve been seeing a few humming birds flying around the back yard, and a few days ago we purchased a new humming bird feeder. Today I was able to capture one of the little buggers in a decent enough picture:

Hummingbird

Obviously the glare on the glass of the feeder sucks, but the dang little birds prefer to land on the off side of the feeder, where it’s hard to avoid the sunlight. I’d like to be able to do a picture of just the bird, without the feeder, but today even at max zoom I wasn’t close enough to get the bird large enough in the frame to be able to crop the photo down to just the bird. Okay, technically I could have cropped it that much, but the bird starts to get out of focus and pixely. Apparently, I need more pixels. How much for that 16 mega-pixel camera again?? More than I have, I’m sure. So I think a viable solution will be to switch to my super-zoom lens (it goes up to 300mm), and tote my tripod out there. We’ve seen the birds every morning for the past few days, so hopefully they’ll continue to show up regularly so I can keep at my pictures. I’ll also need to go to manual settings of some sort, I think. It seems that automatic does well when you’re not zoomed much, but doesn’t seem to up the shutter speed to account for the zoom, and I end up with a lot of blurry photos. Granted I may not have the steadiest hand in the world, but I try to hold still, and I have a really nice Nikon Vibration Reduction lens. I do really like how the above picture turned out, and if it weren’t for the glare on the glass, I’d be thrilled with it, I think. I like how the background blurred out. I shall continue in my endeavor to capture some excellent photos of this little creature, and hopefully will end up with something really awesome.

I also thought I’d share another photo of a winged creature, this time a butterfly. A little over a week ago I was on my way out to the pool house when I noticed a hoard (if three butterflies could be referred to as a hoard) of butterflies on one of the potted plants out back. I ran for my camera, and shockingly enough they were still there when I got back. Many of the photos came out just slightly blurry somewhere – one of the wings would be a little blurry, or some such thing. Perfectionist that I am, that bugs (excuse the pun) the heck out of me. Again, I think it’s largely due to too much zoom that the automatic setting doesn’t up the shutter speed for. Two of the butterflies were mostly black, and they didn’t seem to mind me taking photos of them. The third was mostly yellow, and he was a little more skittish, so my best photo turned out to be of one of the black ones:

Butterfly

I think I’d like this photo a little bit better if it had entirely the green plant as a background, instead of going to the red of the bricks on the right side. I had a photo like that, but one of the wings was a little blurry, so I elected to go with this one instead. If you’ll notice in this photo, the zoom was 120mm, but the shutter speed was only 1/80 sec. While this photo turned out lovely, I believe the actual rule of thumb is a minimum of 1 over the focal length (a nice explanation of this can be found at dpreview.com), which in this case would have been 1/120. Then you have to account for the fact that most digital cameras have a multiplier of 1.5 (again, a nice explanation of this can be found at dpreview.com), which means that the 120 was really more like 180. So the shutter speed really should have been at least 1/180. Instead it was 1/80. In the first photo (of the humming bird) it was even worse – 1/40 at 120m, instead of 1/180. So next time I go for pictures, I’ll set the shutter speed myself, and see if things turn out any better.

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