Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Capturing Motion

The theme of this post is capturing motion. Two things that have really gotten me into this type of photography- #1 My digital SLR and #2 My photography class that I'm taking right now at Columbus State. I had completely ignored moving subjects until I took this class!

Now, I'm not perfect, and my hardware certainly has some limitations, but I certainly enjoyed capturing movement at Hoover Dam and Blendon Woods Metropark this past Sunday.

When I went to Blendon, there were two serious wildlife "shooters" there. Of cameras, not of guns. They each had bigger lenses than I, so I had a we bit of lens envy shall we say? Well that all ended this evening when I picked up my rental lens for Florida. More specifically, the Canon 400 mm 5.6L. I'll be shooting this with my Rebel XTI, and I can't wait to get pictures with this lens. Florida, here I come. That being said, Megan and I are wicked busy getting ready for this trip. And to make things really complicated, Megan is driving to N.E. Ohio for an interview on Friday, and either coming back Friday night or very early Saturday morning. Throw in Jym Ganahl's prediction of a "possible" six inches of snow Friday night/Saturday morning, and our 11:00 a.m. flight, we are just a we bit busy trying to get everything ready! But it will most certainly be worth it! For now, I hope you enjoy these cold images of Ohio. Here we have a ring billed gull, Canada geese, Scaup (I hope you enjoy this montage), a pair of redheads, and finally, a black duck.

P.S. Today at my monthly Goodwill browsing session during my lunch break, I picked up a $100.00 Canon scanner that does film and slides, in the box, wrapped in plastic, with the AC adapter and USB 2.0 cord for a whopping $9.99 plus tax. I plugged it in and the lamp comes on, now I'm downloading the drivers and we'll give it a whirl!(I should be packing!).


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  1. Tom - these are stunning photos and great you are taking this photo class! You using a DSLR or SLR? Anyways the pictures turned out great!

  2. Tom- DSLR- Canon Digital Rebel XTI

  3. Nice! I especially like the last duck photo- wings look almost purple. :-)

  4. Tom,

    Some great shots. I particularly like the first goose and the black duck. A couple of these are reminiscent of some of the waterfowl art of Manfred Schatz. I have one of his Canada Goose prints that always reminds me of some of my birding adventures.

    What lens were you using for these?

    Dave Wendelken

  5. Great landing goose! I love it! Nice find on the canon scanner and you can rent lenses?!? Really!

  6. Megan- Thank you, the Black duck does have some purple in its wings!

    David- Interesting, I'll have to take a look at his work.

    For these shots, I used my ancient (I bought it seven years ago for my Elan IIe and I am ready for an upgrade!) Sigma 70-300 F4-5.6 DL Macro Super. I set my ISO on the camera to 400 and shot at f8. Anything below F8 gets really fuzzy. I was handholding, but resting the tripod on the edge of the blind. I was shooting from a public blind at a frequently visited pond in a suburban park.


    Yes, this is one of the greatest things about buying a Canon or Nikon DSLR. You can rent lenses in many big cities. I haven't found a place here in Columbus, so I'm trying out a place called Lensrentals.com, which is owned by Roger Cicala from Tennessee. They ship the lens to you Fed Ex. So instead of paying $1100 bucks plus tax for this lens, I'm paying 110 or so to rent it for two weeks, and that includes shipping. Pretty cool, isn't it?


  7. I like your geese especially. The landing and honking one. I have done lots of what you are doing and found it really time consuming. Or it was for me. I used to go places and just set with the camera ready and an extra battery and shoot, like geese coming in to land or to take off, but it only happened once every 15 minutes or so and often I would find myself not in position.

    I only learned recently that I could rent lenses. I never thought of it until someone from Columbus told me about it. She uses a Nikon.

    Anyway, good luck on your trip to Florida.

  8. Nice work, Tom! I liked the "running" goose best I think. I suppose the principals in motion photography are simliar to throwing a football. You have to lead your subject - only with a lens instead of a spiral!

  9. Tom,

    My favorite - that goose in mid-splash down.

    Forgive, but I've a poem that came to mind. I excerpted one stanza:

    " The friendly banter doesn’t go a-fowl
    ‘til after landing - at the baggage carousel.

    You do inspire me to learn a bit more about my camera.
    They honk and fan and show a hissing tongue
    to a fellow traveler just recently their chum..."

  10. Love the geese! Have fun w/the 400 f/5.6 - that's a very popular lens for flight shots around here, and I'm sure you'll get great use out of it! It should be quite considerably faster and sharper at any aperture than your Sigma 70-300 (I have the same Sigma that I bought as my first telezoom). For flight shots I find it easiest to use Tv mode, peg the shutter at an appropriate speed (say 1/1000, but it varies depending on how fast the bird you're photgraphing flies, and if you want to get a panned background effect), and dial up the ISO to get the aperture I want. I look forward to seeing what you capture in FL!

  11. Coming to Florida, are ye? For bird photography, eh? Let me recommend Orange Lake. I live on the shore of it, and can tell you the bird life here is positively prehistoric.

    Sandhill cranes calling all day, and some nights, too. Bigmouth hawks (aka red-shouldered), barred owls and GH owls call during the day and occasionally at night. Bruce even has a wild barred owl visiting his campfire every nite that will literally take a white mouse off your head without scratching that punkin head of you'rn.

    The lake still has a thousand ringnecks, more coots, all the wading birds that live in north Florida, and bald eagles.

    If it's alligators you want to photograph, try the southbound roadside of US 441 where it passes thru Paynes Prairie just south of Gainesville.

    Wild turkeys are still eating the cabbage palm berries outside my RV at Sprotsmans Cove RV Park in McIntosh.

    What else do you want to see?

  12. Great shots. We're going to have to start calling you "Action Man". I particularly like the goose landing, too.

    I hope the snow we're receiving here in the Ozarks isn't indicative of the amount you will receive in Ohio.

  13. Abe-

    So far renting the lens has been relatively painless and I'm amazed at the quality of the images that I have been getting compared to my sigma lens. I look at squirrels in a whole new way now through this lens! I'll post some shots soon. I was at the blind about an hour until it was time for dinner. Fortunately, the geese were very territorial and they were constantly harassing each other.

    Dave- The technique that I've been using is to pan with the bird and fire the camera away. The camera movement and the bird movement sort of cancel each other out, and then the background is blurred, but again, all depending upon your shutter speed, like Adam suggests.

    Cathy- How creative, especially since I'm about to travel! What type of camera are you using?

    Adam- Tried the TV mode this evening, and that worked really well. I was shooting in low light and hand holding, so I set the shutter speed for 1/640 with an ISO of 800 and this combi blew away anything that my Sigma could do at 400 ISO and even lower. Great tip, thanks a million.


    Sounds like a great places that you have described! I will get to them. Someday. Probably not on this trip though. We're flying into Punta Gorda and heading straight to Sanibel Island to meet up with my wife's parents. Thank you thank you thank you for the great information.

    Marvin- Well, it looks like we're going to get at least 5 inches. As long as our plane can get out, I'll be happy. Welcome back. I missed seeing views from your part of the world!


  14. Tom, these are just wonderful! And good job on the Goodwill deal! Don't you just love it when you come across things like that? :-)

  15. Nice pictures! I love the goose that is landing with the mouth open. Cool shot and action. Very nice post.

  16. Great motion photos!!! I felt as if I were there, watching the scene unfold.

    Great good will find.:D

    Hugs, JJ

  17. Awesome shots! I love the Canada goose coming in for a landing (or is it running along on take off?)

  18. Kylee- Thanks a bunch. Yeah, I was ecstatic when I saw the scanner at goodwill. I've been looking for a scanner that will do slides and film for a long time!

    Mary- Thank you very much.

    JJ- Thanks! It was fun to watch everything that was going on on the pond that day. Tons of waterfowl action.

    Lana- The goose actually is running across the water, trying to intimidate other geese!

    Thanks everyone!


  19. Beautiful photos. Thought it was a black duck - didn't think you guys got many of those out there.

    Great work. Get well soon.

  20. Cool stuff. I love taking photos of ducks on the James River here in Virginia. And geese flying towards the rising sun are some of my favorite subjects.