Sunday, August 08, 2004

Wetlands Challenge

shutter speed 1/200; aperture f16;
ISO 800; focal length 300;
exposure bias -1.33
Our three-week old bicycles have not been going to waste. Thank goodness, as they have been a major expense. It's not just the initial cost, but also the various accoutrements: lock, air pump, mirrors, carriers, bags, helmets, padded shorts and what have you.

Several of our excursions have taken us through a local wetland conservation area where we have noticed a number of herons (I guess they're blue herons?) along with the typical fowl: mostly mallards and Canada geese. We usually spot three or four per trip, and although Sue always carries her little camera wherever we go, it doesn't come close to having enough zoom power to photograph these birds.

So, last night, I lugged my SLR with its various lenses plus my tripod out there. I did this by car, of course, but once on site, I had to shuffle around by foot in fading light with all of this useless, burdensome equipment. All I really needed was my camera with my telephoto lens. Yes, a tripod is a good idea, especially when you are using a telephoto, but no self-respecting bird that I have yet met will sit still and pretty while I fumble around with my tripod. I suppose that, unlike Mr Amateur Shutterbug here, real photographers scout out the area, set up the tripod in a likely spot and wait for however long it takes. Personally, I felt like a clueless, primetime nitwit lugging all of this equipment around for no apparent reason.

Well, I finally saw one (a heron) in the distance, zoomed in and snapped. The above picture is the result — sort of. You see, Mr Amateur Shutterbug here had left the exposure compensation at -1.33 stops from a previous experiment. For those who have no idea what that means, it means that I was underexposing the photo dreadfully, not letting enough light in. What came out was a rather dark photo. I have done what I can with it in Photoshop to make it tolerable, but it's pretty grainy.

What I need is practice — lots of practice — and any advice that will assist this poor bumbling, neophyte.

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