Tuesday 13 July 2010

Trip Report - North Uist - The Out takes

Well if we are all honest, we all have our cock ups while out taking photographs, and I am no different.

I bought a really nice little guide book (link below), which was duly read up before we left Stratford.  Thinking that would be useful while we were there, particularly for some of the non wildlife interest such as the various stone circles, burial mounds etc.  Well, I suppose it does help if you pack it and take it.  Oh well, at least it isn't worn out for next time.

As mentioned in the Trip Report Day 1 - Part 2, we went out with the MV Stardust to get some White Tailed Eagle images.  The biggest mistake here was being seriously overgunned in the lens department.  It only allowed me to get approach shots of the bird, rather than the fish take, as the bird came so close to the boat.  The 70-200 zoom was needed not a 500 prime.

And just why is it that always the best image in terms of how the subject presents it self is always the one you cock up?

In the sequence I took, this was the best angle of the bird - great wing spread and angle, legs down and a fab tilt of the head - just a shame I cocked up

On the second morning, I got up early and went out looking for some early birds. I had a stunning close by sight of a Short Eared Owl at one end of the Committee Road, but as I was driving at the time, and had a car behind me, it was just a great sighting.  At the far end of the road, I saw another one, quartering across the moor.  Stopping the car, I planned my approach.  The 7D and 500f4 was in the passenger footwell ready to go, I reached across, just by the gear stick and switched it on while watching the road ahead.  Silently rolling the car down to a convenient layby, the bird set down into the moor.  This was going to be great.  With the car stopped, silently opening the door and crouch walking towards the edge of the road, with the car acting as a silhouette breaker, there was my subject.  Great size in the frame - the camera was already set to default C2 mode,  static bird, so I didnt need to waste time checking settings.  Raising the viewfinder to my eye, it looked great.  Pressing the shutter button, nothing happened, no lights in the viewfinder.  I switched the camera on and off again - still nothing.  What the ****!!  Then it clicked - the batteries were on the widow cill back at the lodge in the chargers.

Sneeking back to the car, and lifting the tailgate, I switched to the 1Dmk3 body.  Every little sound I made seemed to amplify and I was sure the bird would fly.  Retracing my steps, I got this image.

Shame about the grass strand over the eye

One of the great delights of the 7D has been the C1, C2 and C3 settings.  This makes it really easy switching between different types of scne, whether your bird is static or flying, against a clear sky or cluttered background, or static against a background.

On the Thursday, we had been to Balaranald at the seawatching point getting images of sea birds in bright light.  With the bright light and whites of the bird, I had dialled out any exposure compensation in my C3 setting (birds against clean sky) to protect the highlights.

On the Friday, we were presented with a male Hen Harrier carrying a vole coming towards the car.  We had to move quickly.  Getting the car into a passing place, we hopped out with cameras ready.  Quick check of dial to C3, and click click click.

It was when I reviewed the rear screen my heart sank.

The metering had worked perfectly.  Evaluative metering, at zero compensation gave me a great 18% grey sky  - I needed to be back at my default settings of about 1 1/2 stops over exposed with the EV comp dial.

The image I posted at the time was a bit of a rescue job in Capture One and with some noise processing and I got this, purely as a record shot to show the bird and prey, but nothing special really.  A reminder to reset the default settings at the end of the day

You will note that that the well known 'Sod's Law' dicatates that all thse cock ups were on signature species.  Why don't they happen when you are photographing a Meadow Pipit or something like that.  Or is it that they do, but you don't notice it and it just becomes another 'Delete image'

Right well that's enough honesty for now - I can't remember any other cock ups. although I am sure there were plenty more

Back next time with some constructive tips


1 comment:

  1. Martin

    Loved your trip reports..in fact so much we are planning to go there next year, so please post your final chapter...