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First Photos - Canon T4i + Sigma 100-300 f/4 (1 Viewer)

Rapala

Well-known member
I just received the Canon T4i and Sigma 100-300 f/4. Right out of the box I find the AF on the Sigma extremely fast and the zoom/focus rings very smooth. For being over 3 pounds the lens is very well balanced and solid. The Canon's controls are easy to use and I've taken a few pictures so far. All shots were handheld and taken in Manual. I've been keeping the shutter speed at 1/1000 or higher to eliminate shake. For birds in trees and brush I've been using the center AF point, and for BIF I've used auto focus points. The images were shot in large JPEG format, (Not quite sure about how to process RAW yet) and are crops of the original. I set the ISO to a max of 1600- thoughts? AF mode is set to Al Focus- is Al Servo suitable for perched birds as well as well as moving birds?

I have attached a couple of my first (and best) photos so far. EXIF information is below. Both pictures have been resized to the maximum size that BirdForum will upload. I will post more photos for critique when I have time.

In the photo of the Robin I noticed very strange bokeh, with grainy horizontal lines. I do have a UV filter on for protection- is this the cause of it? I have seen great photos taken with this lens, so I'm unsure what the cause of it is. Thoughts on both?

Northern Harrier- 1/1250 f/5.6 ISO 320

Robin- 1/1250 f/5.6 ISO 400

Thanks

(If any of you are seeing links from certain phrases to strange items on shopping sites I apologize- some sort of virus is on my computer: It's getting taken care of.)
 

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JoeRawles

Feathers Wild Bird Care
I'd guess the background on the Robin is just down to the light and the texture of the ground, perhaps a lower angle still may have created a more pleasing bokeh? Highly doubt it has anything to do with the filter! Otherwise look pretty good to me!
 

Rapala

Well-known member
Thank you Joe. Does anyone have any comments on the settings I used? I plan to go to Whitefish Point soon, so I will soon have more photos for critique.
 

Rapala

Well-known member
A few more from today. I have switched to Al Servo AF instead of Al Focus. These photos have minor edits in Photoshop in brightness, saturation, and hue. All are 30%-40% crops. I'm still seeing double in the bokeh- any ideas? Thanks for any input on my progress
#1- 1/1000 f/7.1 ISO 250
#2- 1/1000 f/7.1 ISO 200
#3- 1/1250 f/5.6 ISO 125
#4- 1/1250 f/5.6 ISO 125
#5- 1/1000 f/5.6 ISO 320
 

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Rapala

Well-known member
A few recent photos from Seney NWR;
1. 1/640 f/5.6 ISO 1600
2. 1/640 f/5.6 ISO 1600
3. 1/800 f/5.6 ISO 250
 

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Rapala

Well-known member
Thank you anij

So far I have been shooting exclusively in large fine JPEGs. To shoot in RAW (I understand it yields better quality), do I need a program such as Adobe Lightroom to process the the photos rather than a photoshop program such as PhotoImpact Pro or CS2 (Yes, the freebie they released. I'd rather determine what I'd really use and need before paying for a more recent program)?

Also, when cropping images what ratio should I crop with (ie- 4x6, 5x7, 8x10) so that I can resize it for printing as well as posting on the web?
 
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Tsunamispeakershawks

Well-known member
Thank you anij

So far I have been shooting exclusively in large fine JPEGs. To shoot in RAW (I understand it yields better quality), do I need a program such as Adobe Lightroom to process the the photos rather than a photoshop program such as PhotoImpact Pro or CS2 (Yes, the freebie they released. I'd rather determine what I'd really use and need before paying for a more recent program)?

Also, when cropping images what ratio should I crop with (ie- 4x6, 5x7, 8x10) so that I can resize it for printing as well as posting on the web?

You should have gotten a program (DVD that came together with your camera) that allows to process RAW formats, but IMO it is not worth the efforts and the time. Now I have point and shot camera, but I used to use SLR. I did shot RAW but only in an exceptional circumstances like for example to photograph meteor showers or red hot lava entering the ocean.

I am not sure what do you mean under your second question. When I crop my images in Adobe I do not think about ratio, I only think about the composition and/or about bringing my subject in. You could post any image on the WEB. Some sites will restrict the resolutions, some will not, but image resolution has nothing to do with the ratio.

Printing? Why to print images now, when you could share them on the NET? I used to travel to exotic, remote places, I took thousands of the images on film camera, and spent so much money to print them... But back then I had no digital camera. Now when I do, I practically stopped printing pictures at all. Still, if you want to print your pictures crops has nothing to do with the size of printed images.
 

davholla

Well-known member
If you don't mind using Linux darktable is quite a good free program for dealing with raws. It will take about 5 hours to install and learn to use but then it is fine.
 

nartreb

Speak softly and carry a long lens
If you're looking to frame your prints for display, printing in sizes that will fit in standard frames is rather important. It's always possible to buy/make custom frames, or to cut custom matting that will fit an odd-size photo into a standard frames, but that gets to be a big pain when you have a whole gallery wall to fill.

Here's a list of frame sizes you can probably find your local art store (in the USA), and you can certainly find online:
http://www.frameusa.com/blog/most-popular-picture-frame-sizes/

Notice how if you do the division, the ratios are all over the place, but many fall into one of these groups:
-perfect square (1:1)
-close to 35mm film (3:2)
-close to compact camera sensors (4:3)

So, the easiest way to ensure your photos are frame-ready is to use one of those three aspect ratios. Most photo-editing software has an option to guide your cropping to preserve the previous aspect ratio: if your photo starts out 3:2, the cropped version will also be 3:2.

Unfortunately, the most affordable frames are usually the ones that don't exactly fit the ratios above. (5x7, 8x10, 11x14...). If you're on a budget, it's a good idea to leave your cropping extra "loose" until you've decided what frame to use. If you're using an online printing service, their website will usually allow you to adjust the cropping for each print size of each image.

Don't forget to leave some space around the subject so the edge of the photo can be covered by the edge of the frame/mat.
 

Rapala

Well-known member
Several more from a trip to the southwest over the summer (AZ, NM, up to CO). Most photos (except for the Mexican Jay portrait) have local sharpening done to the bird. Noise reduction has been done to the background of all except the ducks, and a lesser amount of reduction done to the actual bird. Shadow/Highlights, Color Balance, Levels, and Contrast have been adjusted on most as well.

How do I apply my name to a photo and save it to apply the same to multiple pictures, so that it's in the same spot, same opacity, and color on every photo? I've seen some photographers here on BF with this on their photos and I was wondering how to do it. I have CS2 BTW. Thanks
 

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Rapala

Well-known member
The two Sanderling photos in this set were shot in RAW and processed in DxO Optics. The rest were shot in JPEG.
 

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