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  • In flight exposure

    I acquired a Canon 7D for Birds In Flight (BIF) shots and very pleased I am with the AF performance in these cases, but exposure can still cause a problem when the bird is against the sky. I have a preset which applies a exposure compensation value of + 1.33. This works well in sunny conditions for a medium tone bird but is not enough for a dark bird and too much for a light bird (Gull). The compensation needs to be greater against an overcast sky and the situation with different depths of colours in birds is even more difficult. So I have gone back to basics and do it totally manually using a Weston Master with incident light readings to guide me. Pretty successful so far but I am limited by the need to maintain a shutter speed of 1/1000 sec for decent feather detail and f7.1 or so to get enough DoF. So the only variable I have available is ISO, however I have not run into trouble so far with noise.

    How many have found the need to return to manual non TTL metering for specific subjects, I'd be interested to hear other's experiences.

    Regards

    David

    Canon 7DII, Sigma 150-600mm Sport, Sigma 18-300mm, Sigma 8-16mm, National Geographic Expedition Carbon.

    "It is better to light a single candle than curse the darkness" - Confucius (551479 BC)

  • #2
    Re: In flight exposure

    Birds in flight are often taken very quickly. You certainly don't get time to think about it. Wondered if you have ever tried shutter speed priority with auto iso
    -------------------------

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    • #3
      Re: In flight exposure

      I'm not a bird photography specialist but I have found that in the end unless you want a blown out sky I have to use the adjustment brush in Lightroom to bring up shadows to avoid silhouettes. Usually works well.

      Ian
      Founder/editor
      Digital Photography Now (DPNow.com)
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      • #4
        Re: In flight exposure

        Yes I do use that setting for other types of bird photography but for birds against a sky (or a very dark background) TTL metering is not accurate enough. On a fast moving target it is impossible to get spot metering on the target and anything else takes too much of the light or dark background into account. Actually unless you have a rapidly changing cloud cover, the light levels change very little over a period so it isn't necessary to change the settings very often - this morning I was out for 1 and a half hours and the EV value changed only one third of a stop which is hardly significant. It actually takes me 5 seconds to look at the meter and another 5 to change the ISO rating, so it is not as slow as many may think. I've always argued that the ideal facility on a camera would be a switchable incident light meter that could be used instead of TTL, but being a quirky old eccentric living in the past no-one has listened to me.

        David

        Canon 7DII, Sigma 150-600mm Sport, Sigma 18-300mm, Sigma 8-16mm, National Geographic Expedition Carbon.

        "It is better to light a single candle than curse the darkness" - Confucius (551479 BC)

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        • #5
          Re: In flight exposure

          Another conundrum: Using incident light readings on manual mode I can get correct exposure on all objects that are subject to the same lighting conditions, i.e. not under a tree. However if I lock the auto exposure setting on an object that doesn't include sky and then reframe on an object that has a substantial amount of sky around it I get a gross over exposure - even if that object is subject to the same lighting conditions as the original and the settings are identical! What is going on here?? Help.

          David

          Canon 7DII, Sigma 150-600mm Sport, Sigma 18-300mm, Sigma 8-16mm, National Geographic Expedition Carbon.

          "It is better to light a single candle than curse the darkness" - Confucius (551479 BC)

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          • #6
            Re: In flight exposure

            With experience you can judge how much exposure compensation a shot needs and dial it in without taking your eye from the viewfinder.
            Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it. Terry Pratchett.

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            • #7
              Re: In flight exposure

              Originally posted by David M View Post
              With experience you can judge how much exposure compensation a shot needs and dial it in without taking your eye from the viewfinder.
              Yes David I agree totally, but the point I'm making is that with incident light readings no compensation is required under stable lighting conditions.

              David

              Canon 7DII, Sigma 150-600mm Sport, Sigma 18-300mm, Sigma 8-16mm, National Geographic Expedition Carbon.

              "It is better to light a single candle than curse the darkness" - Confucius (551479 BC)

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              • #8
                Re: In flight exposure

                I just don't see the point of using an incident light meter when you can dial in exposure compensation for your TTL metering.

                I used incident metering for years when shooting medium and large format but don' recall ever using it with a camera with TTL metering.
                Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it. Terry Pratchett.

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