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Janet Wilkins <[log in to unmask]>
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SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 6 Aug 2008 07:55:50 -0500
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It's much easier to get sharp photos today with digital than it is or was with film. Still, lenses are heavy and difficult to hold still enough to get reasonably sharp photos (even for reference), especially the longer lenses such as a 400mm vs a 70-300 mm zoom. And, you can do a lot to correct for sharpness and color in photoshop but the programs still can't work miracles. I'd get the tripod too.

Just my two cents worth.
Janet P. Wilkins

>From: Gina Mikel <[log in to unmask]>
>Date: 2008/08/05 Tue PM 04:54:59 CDT
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Re: [SCIART] TAN: recovered terns

>Bruce, Your post was very helpful.  It sounds like what you're saying is that if you were to photograph bats, which are about the same size as the small birds you refer to, you would use the 400mm lens?  I used a 70-300mm zoom but it just wasn't close enough.  The bats were about 40' overhead.   I'm not much of a person to take classes, generally just like to learn by doing.  I've bought a few books.  A lot of what most photographers need is not applicable to me.  I'm not looking for the photographs to be the end product.  I want to use the photographs as references for illustrations. So it's immaterial to me whether the background is in focus or fuzzed out if the thing I'm trying to capture is the veining in the wings of a dragonfly.  The rule of thirds, bokeh, and a lot of the other terms aren't applicable.  I'm wondering if it's better for me to spend my $ on a telephoto lens than a better tripod, for example.  I don't want sharpness in the photos as much as I want close-in detail (or are they really one and the same?) Gina   ----- Original Message -----   From:  Bruce Bartrug    To: [log in to unmask]   Sent: Thursday, July 31, 2008 9:33   PM  Subject: Re: [SCIART] TAN: recovered   terns  
>  ...But knowing how to get close enough to the birds one wants to   photograph is the key to getting good photos of any bird, including flying   terns.  Robert Capa's imperative to struggling war photographers -- "If   your photos aren't good, you're not close enough" -- also applies to wildlife   photography in general, but especially birds in particular, as they are quite   small animals.  I have a 400mm lens that I've mostly used from blinds to   get within the 10 to 15 feet one needs to get decent photos of smaller   birds.  In this particular case I noticed a whirl of terns at a certain   juncture along a rock jetty, one that occurred about an hour before high tide   in the mouth of a tidal river.  At this time in the tide cycle, bait fish   are periodically forced to the surface, either by larger fish (mackeral,   bluefish, striped bass?) or by the currents.  This lasts about an hour,   and during this time I could stand on the top of the jetty and take photos of   the birds as they glided along waiting for the fish to resurface, or whirled   and dived on a school of hapless minnow-sized fish.  So I was usually   about 30 feet to 30 meters from the bird I was photographing...