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Mark David
57 followers -
Main work as a photographer, with skills in wildlife photography and training people in photography
Main work as a photographer, with skills in wildlife photography and training people in photography

57 followers
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Mark's posts

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This kind of shot explains why I still prefer using an SLR camera to take photos.

Although the camera in my mobile phone has the advantage of being with me all the time, it would struggle to lock focus on a fast-moving distant object like this Osprey carrying a fish. And the wide angle lens on a mobile phone camera would make the bird appear as a tiny dot in the distance.

SLR cameras allow you to attach telescopic lenses and come with super-speedy continuous autofocus. So sport and wildlife photography becomes a joy instead of an exercise in frustration.

This shot was taken using a 100-400mm lens (at 400mm), shutter speed priority at 800th second, f/13, ISO 400. By using fast-burst mode I could fire off a sequence of shots to get the one I preferred.
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Just when you think you've seen "little", nature goes and shows you something littler.

These ants were just over one millimetre long from end to end. In fact, until I'd taken these shots I wasn't even sure I was dealing with ants. They were so small I had to use a trick just to locate one in the viewfinder. You see, photographing very small, moving critters is difficult. It's similar to trying to centre a very distant bird in a long telescopic lens - if your aim is just a tiny bit out you'll never find your subject.

Thankfully there's a trick I use that helps a lot with the smaller ants: Just use your finger to draw a small circle with water on the clean surface of a dinner plate. Put the ant on the dry patch inside the circle and then you've got it walled in by a sort of moat where you can locate it in the viewfinder.
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You might be surprised what cameras can pick up during long exposures.

This tree frog was on a glass window in near darkness on an especially dark (cloudy) night. A hint of light leaking out of an adjacent room gave me just enough illumination to see the little guy and manually focus on it.

With the camera mounted on a tripod, I used a 40 second exposure, with ISO at 320 and the aperture set at f/4.5.

The resulting image needed a little bit of correction to the colour temperature - the glow from the adjacent room was tinged with too much yellow for my liking, so I just dragged the colour temperature slider in Lightroom a little bit towards the blue end.

Now I suppose I could have used a flash, but I just don't like using flash on frogs because of their sensitive eyes. And the glare from the flash would most likely have just bounced right back off the glass into the lens. Far better in these circumstances to simply use a long exposure.

It's easy figuring out how long the exposure should be. Just take a few test shots trying different amounts of time until you get something you're happy with.
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At my website I describe image stacking. Image stacking combines multiple exposures into one shot to get a technically superior image.

Well, now photographer Levon Biss has taken that to a whole new level. Using a microscope lens and 8,000 - 10,000 shots per image, he's producing spectacularly detailed, high-resolution images.

The PetaPixel photography site shows some examples and has a great little video about it.

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Sometimes the richest colours can be found in the weakest light.
The disk of the sun was mostly over the horizon and so my camera was struggling to capture this pair of Tawny Frogmouths. I could have used a flash, but that would have flooded out the image with boring white. So I opened up my aperture as far as it could go (f/5.6), kept the flash turned off, and cranked up the ISO.

By using ISO 1,600 I was able to get the shutter speed up to 500th second - easily fast enough to work hand-held with a 400 mm lens.
The light only lasted about half a minute - the most beautiful light often goes quickly. But it was more than enough time to get this shot.
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I've never met a Jumping Spider I didn't like. Problem is, most of them are tiny.

This little guy for example was on the knuckle of one of my fingers and was so crazy small I needed my special macro lens to fill the frame with it.

The lens I used was the Canon MP-E 65. That's an unusual lens. There's no autofocus and because you're taking things to extremes you can get quite a lot of diffraction blur. So it can help to open it up a bit more than you might normally use for macro. This one was taken at f/10.
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Photographers know that there are situations where you can't always get outside to clean your windows. Flying in a plane is one example that springs to mind. So how do you restore the clarity and contrast in your photos that window grime takes out? If you have access to a RAW photo editor then I wrote a new article to explain one way of doing exactly that.

http://www.mdavid.com.au/photography/throughglass.shtml

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Baz Anderson is a long-term buddy and an extremely talented photographer. Here's one of his shots taken while working in India. I recommend having a look at his work.

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A really good trick to know in macro photography: if your subject is nestled into a white background like this young Lynx Spider, then crank up the strength of your flash a bit.

That's because the camera 'sees' all that white background and assumes something must be wrong. It figures the scene must surely be overexposed to explain all that white and so it keeps trying to make things darker. So you end up with grey - not white - petals and an almost black, underexposed spider.

So I turned up my flash a stop and a half for this shot. That restored the whites in the petals and let us see the subtle colours in the spider.
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Swan Lake.

No seriously, I took this photo 5 years ago. I'd do pretty much everything differently now.

For example, that blown-out (over-exposed) patch in the wings: that's caused by having way too much dynamic range for what my camera can handle. Huh? I talk about that at my website.
http://www.mdavid.com.au/photography/dynamicrange.shtml

And all that ripple texture on the water - I think it distracts from the swan. So now I'd set my camera to Aperture Priority mode with the biggest aperture (smallest f-number) my lens can manage, and watch those background ripples blur away to the point where you can't even see them.

Little changes like that make big differences to how your photos turn out. That's why it's great to know your way around your digital SLR cameras.
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