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Ryan Berger

first pics with new xti

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LDB:

First, good stuff. Thanks for sharing.

Second, which brand lens and at what focal length? What were your shutter speeds, aperatures, iso settings? We need those to really help you with the C&C you requested.

Third, they all appear a bit dark, because you were stuck with a cloudy day and flat light. That can be fixed a bit in post processing by adjusting the "levels" slider or bumping contrast just a bit, but not so far that the highlights are blown out.

Fourth, except for the in-flight shot, it appears you are a good bit higher than your subjects, and those looking-down shots aren't as intimate as when you get right down on their level and shoot them eye-to-eye. Takes more sneaking to do that a lot of times, but I think you will like the compositions better if you do.

Fifth: None of the images are really sharp. You can sharpen some in pp without making them look oversharpened. Lens quality varies depending on brand and $, but even the low-end lenses are capable of better sharpness than this. Without knowing your lens focal length and iso and shutter speed and aperture, it's a bit of a guessing game, but it looks like you may not be holding the camera steady enough for the shutter speed you've got. If you're at iso400 that should give you decent shutter speed on those subjects, even on a cloudy day. Then it becomes a matter of making sure your technique develops so you're steady as you can be. A monopod or tripod will help that a lot, as will other steadying techniques if you don't have the 'pods along.

Keep shooting and keep sharing. And have a blast! grin.gif

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I just left the camera on auto the first trip out, got it at 3 yeaterday and took it out as soon as I was home at 4.

the lens is a real cheapy, I will post up the specs when I get home,, it is like a 70-300 or something I got it for under $250 I plan on upgrading to the canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM after a few months as I found them online for around $1350

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Cool, I'll look for those techs when you can post them.

You'll like the 100-400L IS. It's my go-to wildlife/bird lens, and is the best combination of flexibility (zoom range), quality and price you can find in a piece of Canon L glass. When you get it let me know. There are a few tips that can make you a more effective shooter with it right out of the box. No need for you to learn everything through trial and error when the experience of others offers shortcuts. grin.gif

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here is the scoop on the current lens

Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III

any ideas on where to start to get decent pics is greatly appreciated

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LDB, that's not a bad lens. There are worse 75-300s out there. Just keep shooting.

Here are a couple more tips: Keep your shutter speed as fast as you can and your hand as steady as possible. For bombing around and in most situations, I shoot in Av mode, which is aperture priority and is on your pre-set control dial. And then I spin the other dial to make sure my lens is wide open, which will automatically give me the fastest shutter speed at that iso. If you shoot in the P or full automatic modes, for example, the camera often stops the lens aperture down a bit automatically, which drops your shutter speed.

When handholding, I always try to brace my elbows against my body or my knees. Laying down on your belly also allows you to steady the camera better, and, of course, you should be cupping the lens from underneath with one hand, not grabbing it from the side/top. Rocks and trees also make great braces.

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Looks like the same spot I was taking pics a couple weeks ago. Over by 3M, baseball field?? I just got a nikon d50 for christmas. Lots to learn, that's for sure. Good luck.

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Nice pics. I find myself in the same boat. Last night I just bought the Nikon D80 with the 18-135mm lens. My lens i really want to get (when I can get it) will be an 18-200 mm VR (image stabilization) lens.

One tip I've read and seems to be true as I look at your pics. The auto mode will consistently underexpose pics with lots of snow. Thus if you are shooting in an auto mode, you should select the +/- and bump up the exposure to perhaps +1.

Just experiment with it.

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Carl,

These shots are properly exposed. They appear a little dark because it was a dark day. Look at the first image, in particular, and you'll note that the birds, which are the subjects, are exposed correctly, and in doing so the snow highlights are blown out. You can see a few slightly blown out highlights in the second and third images, too, but that's nothing to worry about in this case. And all of them show shadow areas with good detail.

It's not the camera's creative or automatic modes that are responsible for underexposed subjects surrounded by snow, but the metering system. If the metering system is set to average the whole scene, you'll get underexposed subjects when surrounded by snow. The same can be true with center-weighted metering if the subject isn't large enough. If the camera's metering system isn't sophisticated enough to properly expose a subject with a harshly contrasted background, then you can switch to manual and alter exposure there.

The metering options vary with the camera model, and one should always check the manual to become familiar with which metering should be chosen under what circumstances.

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I agree with Steve on the exposure they look good to me. Remember also unless you are using a calibrated monitor it is very hard to judge exposure and color. A slight levels or curves adjustment would lighten the photo overall if that is the look the OP was looking for. Real nice shots for the first time out.

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One thing nobody mentioned was the composition. Have you ever heard of the rule of thirds? Never center your subject. It should normally be in about 1/3, and down or up about 1/3. You never want a duck swimming out of the photo. In this case, you would want 2/3 of the space in front of the duck. Other than that, nice shots.

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