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Photography Question 
Choo Choo Love
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/15/2004
 

How to capture geese in flight at sunset


I have a Canon digital Rebel XT and a Tamron 28-300 mm telephoto lens. I'm a beginner photographer and I'm trying to capture geese flying in formation at sunset or after sunset.

Tonight, I set my camera to shutter priority. When it was set at 1/4000 the photos turned out black! So I set it lower to 1/1600 or lower but most of the images came out fuzzy. I also set my camera to continuous focus but it didn't take 3 shots per second, only one shot (as far as I can see as most of the photos came out black!).

Has anyone been successful capturing geese or swan (or any large bird) flights at sunset or after sunset? If you have, I'd appreciate your advice on camera settings, etc.

I also tried using a tripod but it was hard to do as the geese would fly out of range and I couldn't move the camera up and down to focus on the flights.

Your assistance is greatly appreciated! Thank you for taking the time to read this and help me with my problem.


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9/12/2005 7:04:45 PM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  hey choo,
that capture is very rare?it doesen't matter what camera you have or your lense!but i'll work on it,
sam


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9/12/2005 9:11:09 PM

 
Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  There simply was not enough light for the settings you chose (1/4000 and probably f/5.6). You should have seen in the viewfinder meter scale that you were at least -2 stops underexposed. The camera was limited by the lens maximum aperture and could not open it wider to compensate for the extremely fast shutter speed you chose.

Try again in Av mode. If the shutter speeds are too slow, try panning with the flight of the birds, or set a higher ISO to get faster shutter speeds.

Continuous focus (AI Servo, p. 71 of the manual) is a separate setting from Continuous Drive Mode (p. 78).


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9/13/2005 7:17:17 AM

 
Choo Choo Love
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/15/2004
  Thank you, Sam and Jon, for your feedback and advice.

Jon: Sounds like you have the same camera? That really helps me. Last night, I set it to AI Servo with an ISO of 800 but I guess the shutter speed was too high and it was underexposed, as you appropriately described.

When you pan with the flying birds, do you use a tripod? I had a hard time following them on a tripod. They kept flying out of range too swiftly.

Thanks once again. I'll try many more times.


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9/13/2005 7:56:20 AM

 
Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  No, I don't have the same camera, but I do use an EOS camera. I have read the manuals for most EOS cameras, and there is a lot of commonality throughout the models. Ask a question about the flash system and I'll point you to http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/, an overview so good that Canon should include it as a booklet with every EOS and flash they sell, or at least print that webpage address in the instruction manuals. ;-)

It is easiest to pan when handholding the camera. You can do it while mounted on a tripod, but controls have to be loosened a bit to allow you to move the camera freely, and it has to be set you your eye-height so you can continuously see through the viewfinder as you pan. A ball head works better for this than a 3-way (pan/tilt) head.


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9/13/2005 11:08:15 AM

 
Choo Choo Love
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/15/2004
  Thanks for all that information, Jon. I'm going to read the stuff about flash on that website thoroughly. Will save it to my favorites page. That is incredibly helpful for me because I cannot tell you how many times I've had problems with flash.

Thanks once again!


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9/15/2005 8:26:54 PM

 
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