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Author Topic: Gulls over the Colorado  (Read 4912 times)

Bob Buchanan

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Gulls over the Colorado
« on: February 29, 2012, 01:19:14 AM »
HERE is the beginning of my Birds in Flight Flickr album. I began practicing with moving 18 wheelers, then toy helicopters, then big airplanes -- and am now finally beginning to get the hang of BIF. Thanks, Tom Seiler, for the tips on view finder and initial mm on the 100-400mm Canon. Have a long way to go, but it will be fun exploring this new media.

BTW, if you single click a second time on either thumbnail, you will get the image framed in black.
« Last Edit: February 29, 2012, 09:41:54 AM by Bob Buchanan »
Bob (fulltimer - Rocklin, CA residency)
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Wizard46

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #1 on: February 29, 2012, 07:13:54 AM »
Great pics.
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Bob Buchanan

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2012, 01:33:31 AM »
Added THIS gull to the album today -- and am getting better at hitting the eye or beak with single spot metering. Am still using the AI setting but with slow burst for now while concentrating more on tracking.

The McDonald's in Bullhead has one of two Road Runner visitors everyday between 4 and 6PM - but only one each day. Am told one is a male and the other a female. They sit on the window ledge and peer into the restaurant waiting for someone to leave. As soon as the door opens, they jump from the ledge to the paper stand beside the door - hoping for a french fry or crumb from a big mac.

THIS one had just out wrestled a sea gull for a french fry -- it was no contest.  Road runners are really quick. He beat the french fry to death as if it were a small snake and proudly displayed his head feathers. Once the head feathers are raised the red, white, and blue markings can be seen as well.

HERE is the other one the day before sitting on the ledge looking in the window. He/she then turned just his head. I was pretty far away with a long lens at the time. I thought at first it was the same one, but was told it was the other one. I also read the Road Runners are loners unless they mate - then they mate for life.

It was amusing then as he left the scene -- he didn't fly away, just ran like the cartoon character. I read they can hit running speeds of over 20mph. And prefer running to flying when catching pry.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2012, 01:41:29 AM by Bob Buchanan »
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Roadhappy

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2012, 01:57:53 AM »
Great pictures,

Just bought us a Cannon Rebel T3i.  Haven't spent anytime with it yet but it looks so complicated.  ???

Hopefully my DH and I can figure it out and get some great pics like we see on this forum.

Robin
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SeilerBird

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2012, 08:17:54 AM »
Excellent shots, Bob. For your information those are not really sea gulls, there isn't such an animal. They are all Ring-billed Gulls. If you are shooting AI Servo then you are in the right mode. But if you really want to get serious about shooting BIF then you need to learn how to shoot using back button focusing. You won't like BBF for the first week but after that you won't be able to figure out how you ever got along without it.
Tom Seiler & 3 mountain lions: Tarzan, Jane and Cleopatra
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Ron from Big D

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2012, 11:42:05 AM »
Bob:   You got great detail in the Road Runners.   I haven't had time to look at all your albums, but will do so.  Glad you are back shooting seriously.

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Jim Johnson

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2012, 03:18:57 PM »
Tom, thanks for you new screen name.  I have never taken the time to research the background of that road when I go by it but now I know.
Jim

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Jim Dick

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2012, 03:21:29 PM »
Bob,

Nice! I almost caught a great shot of a Roseate Spoonbill the other day. It was taking off really close. It's on facebook but isn't focused the way I would like. I need a lot more practice.  :)
Jim

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Bob Buchanan

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2012, 11:02:39 PM »
Great pictures,

Just bought us a Cannon Rebel T3i.  Haven't spent anytime with it yet but it looks so complicated.  ???

Hopefully my DH and I can figure it out and get some great pics like we see on this forum.

Robin

Thank you, Robin!!

The Canon Rebels are great cameras.  I have an earlier Rebel XT that I used for a number of years and loved it.

Begin shooting, posting some images here, and asking for feeback. There are a number of very qualified photographers on this forum that will help you grow with your new camera.
Bob (fulltimer - Rocklin, CA residency)
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Bob Buchanan

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2012, 11:22:04 PM »
Excellent shots, Bob. For your information those are not really sea gulls, there isn't such an animal. They are all Ring-billed Gulls. If you are shooting AI Servo then you are in the right mode. But if you really want to get serious about shooting BIF then you need to learn how to shoot using back button focusing. You won't like BBF for the first week but after that you won't be able to figure out how you ever got along without it.

Thanks, Tom -- appreciate the feedback. I am definitely out of my element here  :)

Have changed the names on my pics to the proper gull name for these guys. I looked at all the species listed - and that a lot of gulls. Would the Ring-bills be found on the coast are all of them inland on rivers such as the Colorado here?

I use the back button (I call it the star button), but not in AI Servo for these types of shots. My setting for the button is to allow me to focus, say, on a person, then move the composition without changing focus or exposure settings from the primary interest of the shot. Will have to check it out for BIF stuff.

Shall we call you zeyezicksBird now?  8)

Hope all is well there . . . and thanks again.

« Last Edit: March 05, 2012, 11:27:48 PM by Bob Buchanan »
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Bob Buchanan

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2012, 11:43:04 PM »
Hello Jim and Ron -- thanks so much for the feeback!! Sure missed you at QZ this year. Do mark your calendars for next year. Ron, the lady's at the Bakery asked about you . . . :)

Yes, the focus is a bit soft on my album cover gull, for now, but for now it is close enough. Am happy just to begin getting the tracking down for any kind of image. I plan to change it out as soon as I get a better one. Actually, I was trying to show movement in the last one I posted and do like the results. The only segment close to good focus is the head, beak, and eyes. Was actually just trying to show movement against the background that I couldn't do against the sky. Got the idea from a shot done by a Flickr BIF pro guy. To be humbled in any area of photography, I just go to pics by others there of what I am trying to do if out of my element. Wow!! But it's also nice to have Tom Seiler here as well for BIF feedback.

Yes, the Roadrunner is in great focus - but then he was standing still for me. Tried to get him to take off but he "ran" away instead. So what did I expect from a Roadrunner?   :) I have a few more of him so will probably make that a separate album. Nice story about him and the Bullhead MacDonald's.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2012, 07:50:38 AM »
Would the Ring-bills be found on the coast are all of them inland on rivers such as the Colorado here?

Yes they are. The Ring-billed is the most common gull in North America and it is one of the easiest to identify since it is the only gull with a black ring around the beak. There are 26 gulls listed in Sibleys as being residents of North America. But only about 6 of them are common to the US so it is pretty easy to tell them apart once you start noticing the differences.

Tom Seiler & 3 mountain lions: Tarzan, Jane and Cleopatra
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Bob Buchanan

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2012, 09:41:32 AM »
Yes they are. The Ring-billed is the most common gull in North America and it is one of the easiest to identify since it is the only gull with a black ring around the beak. There are 26 gulls listed in Sibleys as being residents of North America. But only about 6 of them are common to the US so it is pretty easy to tell them apart once you start noticing the differences.

Thanks, Tom.

BTW, wanted to make clear my response concerning AI Servo while doing BIF. I wrote:

I use the back button (I call it the star button), but not in AI Servo for these types of shots. My setting for the button is to allow me to focus, say, on a person, then move the composition without changing focus or exposure settings from the primary interest of the shot. Will have to check it out for BIF stuff.

And see that may be misleading. As mentioned in earlier post, when doing BIF I am shooting in AI Servo with the lower setting on burst speed - but don't use the back button as yet. When shooting, e.g. a portrait, I will use the back button to allow me to set the focus and exposure on my subject, but then move the camera to change the composition while keeping the focus and exposure previously set.
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Ron from Big D

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2012, 07:19:01 PM »
Bob:  I have a hard time believing the ladies at the Bakery remember me.  How did this come about?

Here is a couple images you might enjoy.

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Larry N.

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2012, 08:16:19 PM »
Beautiful shots, Ron.
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Ron from Big D

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2012, 03:06:20 PM »
Thanks Larry.

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Bob Buchanan

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2012, 10:52:08 AM »
Bob:   You got great detail in the Road Runners.   I haven't had time to look at all your albums, but will do so.  Glad you are back shooting seriously.

Have gathered my Roadrunner images HERE into one album, Ron. The first one was taken from inside with my Samsung Charge smartphone while the rest with my Canon 50D and 100-400mm long lens.

Do a second single left click to view any thumbnail with black framing.

Really like the images you've posted here - nice detail. Were all done with tripod? Do you have any BIF images done with your 100-400mm. "Sharp" is much harder to come by when the subject is not touching the ground and moving at 20 or so mph. But I'm learning this new use of my longer lens.

Sorry, was only kidding about the ladies in the bakery -- just trying to intice you and Shirley into returning to Qz next year.  :) Please remind her how good the apple fritters are in Q.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2012, 10:58:15 AM by Bob Buchanan »
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tstumpf

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2012, 11:28:34 AM »
Nice pics Bob. The road runner pics are great. Liked the gulls with the mountains in the background as well.

Quote
But if you really want to get serious about shooting BIF then you need to learn how to shoot using back button focusing.

What is back button focusing?

-Roni

SeilerBird

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2012, 12:32:46 PM »
What is back button focusing?
BBF is an option offered by both Canon and Nikon on their DSLRs. All digital cameras focus when you push the shutter button half way. But for sports, action and wildlife that sucks. So in the late 80s Canon bowed to the pressure of the action photographers that were complaining about this by coming up with BBF. You go into the menu and find the right option to separate the focusing from the shutter button and put it on the * button on the back of the camera, which is operated by your thumb. So to take a photo you focus with the back button (*) and then snap the photo with your index finger.

Now that sounds really stupid to use two fingers when one would do if you have never tried it before, but there is a huge amount of benefits doing it that way. Canon has two focusing modes (actually three but AI Focus mode does not work well enough to be considered) AI Servo and One Shot AF. You use One Shot AF if you are photographing a stationary object. Once focus is achieved you can keep holding the shutter button half way and the focus is locked, allowing you to wait for the perfect moment or to do a focus/lock/recompose thing. For moving objects you would use AI Servo, in which the focus is continually updated on a moving object.

Now here is the problem. To switch between modes means menu diving, which means removing your eye from the viewfinder and then activating the menu. Cumbersome. With BBF you push the * button once and release it and you are in One Shot AF. Push the button and hold it and you are in AI Servo mode. No removing your eye from the viewfinder and no menu diving. This is extremely useful in situations where you have a perched bird that you are focused on and suddenly he takes flight. With BBF it is a very simple matter to change modes.

The same thing can be done with Nikons but i don't know the proper terminology.

But most photographers have been focusing by pushing the shutter button half way down most of their life so it is hard to convince most that there are real advantages to BBF. The only way you can experience the advantages is to switch to BBF and force yourself to use it for at least a week so that it becomes natural to you. For that first week you will certainly miss a few shots when your muscle memory takes over.

I learned about this at a Canon Workshop in Yellowstone about 6 years ago from a guy named Lewis Kemper who is one of Canon's Explorers of Light. Lewis worked for 12 years under Ansel Adams at Yosemite. The only bummer about switching to Sony is that Sony doesn't offer that option yet, but I am hopeful it will be offered in the future.

One of the biggest advantages of BBF for me is that if you want to focus on a subject and wait for something to happen you don't have to keep holding down the shutter button. One push and it is locked. There are other advantages but I haven't used the system in two years so I am a bit foggy.
Tom Seiler & 3 mountain lions: Tarzan, Jane and Cleopatra
September photos
https://picasaweb.google.com/108464110929132780547/September?
My portfolio:
http://picasaweb.google.com/108464110929132780547/MyPortfolio

Bob Buchanan

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #19 on: March 12, 2012, 12:40:30 PM »
Nice pics Bob. The road runner pics are great. Liked the gulls with the mountains in the background as well.

What is back button focusing?

-Roni

Thanks for the feedback, Roni -- I appreciate that. Am getting a lot of positive feedback on the shot of two gulls with the moutains back drop. Will probably do a canvas print of that one. It was nice of the two gulls to stay in almost the same vertical plane for focusing.

The Back Button takes automatic focusing (AF) away from the shutter button. Normally, we press the shutter button down halfway to get AF, then all the way down to fire the shot. Canon first introduced BBF in 1989 if I recall and it now on most all of their SLR's, including all of the Rebels.

The back button is located on the back of the camera and is pressed using the right thumb. It can be programmed in different ways in my 50D according to what type of shots are being taken. My primary use is for portraits or other shots where the focus point is off center - and I am using a single center focusing point. If I place my center focus point on the subject and press the back button for AF vs. the shutter release button, I can then move the camera for a better composition that will take the originally centered object away from the center. When I finally take the shot, the shutter button will no longer set the focus so I can take as many pics as I like and the focus on my main object of focus will not change.

When shooting moving subjects such as BIF, the AI Servo (artificial intelligence) feature is also used. If in a burst mode (shooting many frames per second), the camera is AF-ing as the subject under my center spot focusing moves with and stays on the subject. If I lose track of the object, I can release the back button to stop AF - otherwise focus can quickly shift to blue sky or a cloud in the background. The shutter button is still doing the metering and taking the shot whereas the back button shifts the AF to a separate button. On one hand tricky to get used to, but on the other, makes shooting moving objects an easier task.

I see Tom Seiler has posted and can better explain the BIF usage of BBF. I am just beginning to work with BIF and am just beginning to use the BBF in that media whereas as Tom is primarily a BIF photographer and swears by BBF-ing. Also, if you Google the subject, you will find many articles on it's usage.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2012, 12:56:28 PM by Bob Buchanan »
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SeilerBird

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #20 on: March 12, 2012, 01:04:58 PM »
If in a burst mode (shooting many frames per second), the camera is AF-ing as the subject under my center spot focusing moves with and stays on the subject.
I need to clear something up about this Bob. Whether you are using BBF or normal focusing the auto focus is continually interrupted every time the mirror moves out of the way so a shot can be taken. Canon uses a predictive focusing algorithm to guess where the focus is going to be next once it has focused successfully on the first few shots. The nice thing about this is that while doing a burst if you do lose focus it is possible to regain focus without lifting your thumb.   
Tom Seiler & 3 mountain lions: Tarzan, Jane and Cleopatra
September photos
https://picasaweb.google.com/108464110929132780547/September?
My portfolio:
http://picasaweb.google.com/108464110929132780547/MyPortfolio

tstumpf

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #21 on: March 12, 2012, 02:38:23 PM »
I've had a Canon 40D for 3 years and have never hear about BBF. Trev bought the camera for me as a birthday gift. At the time, I knew nothing about photography or the camera, and wasn't able to take classes, so having to learn it all at once on my own, has been difficult for a technically naive person.

I'll have to check this out. Thanks guys!

-Roni

SeilerBird

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #22 on: March 12, 2012, 03:32:35 PM »
I've had a Canon 40D for 3 years and have never hear about BBF. Trev bought the camera for me as a birthday gift. At the time, I knew nothing about photography or the camera, and wasn't able to take classes, so having to learn it all at once on my own, has been difficult for a technically naive person.
You are welcome, Roni.

BBF is a well kept secret. It is not something a casual photographer could use or would even want to know about. For standard photography focusing with the shutter button works great. But for the professionals and advanced amateurs it is fairly common knowledge.

If you read the entire 40D manual cover to cover then you will not see a single word about BBF. It is very cryptically described. Not all Canons use the same settings to get to BBF. Here is the settings for the 40D:

Menu C - Function IV-1 - AE Lock/Metering + AF Start

or

Menu C - Function IV-2 Enable

The first setting the * button locks both exposure and focus. The second setting, the one I used, just locks the focus.
Tom Seiler & 3 mountain lions: Tarzan, Jane and Cleopatra
September photos
https://picasaweb.google.com/108464110929132780547/September?
My portfolio:
http://picasaweb.google.com/108464110929132780547/MyPortfolio

Larry N.

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #23 on: March 13, 2012, 09:37:41 AM »
For the Nikon D90, go to the "pencil" icon in the menu, then to f4 (assign AE-AL) and select AF-ON. Then the AE-AL button will focus the camera and the shutter release button has no effect on focus.
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tstumpf

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #25 on: March 13, 2012, 03:15:29 PM »
Thanks to all of you. This information is very helpful  :).

-Roni

SeilerBird

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #26 on: March 13, 2012, 03:20:54 PM »
Roni - If you decide to try BBF please check back in week or two and let me know what you think.
Tom Seiler & 3 mountain lions: Tarzan, Jane and Cleopatra
September photos
https://picasaweb.google.com/108464110929132780547/September?
My portfolio:
http://picasaweb.google.com/108464110929132780547/MyPortfolio

Bob Buchanan

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2012, 06:10:26 PM »
Canon uses a predictive focusing algorithm to guess where the focus is going to be next once it has focused successfully on the first few shots.

Yes - I should have been more clear. That's why they call it AI "Artificial" Intelligence.  :) Have worked with computer models to predict over the years - e.g., to compare crap table betting strategies as a classroom example and with my work with the Bur of Reclamation.
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SeilerBird

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #28 on: March 13, 2012, 06:20:38 PM »
That's why they call it AI "Artificial" Intelligence.  :)
Thanks for that bit of trivia, Bob, I did not know that. I always wondered why it was called AI.
Tom Seiler & 3 mountain lions: Tarzan, Jane and Cleopatra
September photos
https://picasaweb.google.com/108464110929132780547/September?
My portfolio:
http://picasaweb.google.com/108464110929132780547/MyPortfolio

tstumpf

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Re: Gulls over the Colorado
« Reply #29 on: March 14, 2012, 08:55:26 AM »

Quote
Roni - If you decide to try BBF please check back in week or two and let me know what you think.

Will do that. Thanks.

-Roni