Now that I am back home, I can edit my images on a bigger, better monitor and evaluate my pictures better. It will take me days (maybe even weeks) to go through all the images I took on the Wildlife Model Workshop. I spent several hours yesterday, downloading, keywording and editing images. I threw away over 1200 pictures and I have only looked at one or two species!
Photographing wildlife at the game farm allows you to fine tune some of your photographic skills. I was concentrating on using fill flash to add a catch light in the animal’s eyes and to bring out a few more details in their fur. I have found from past experience that when using fill flash on animals the flash needs to be extended at least a foot above the camera to prevent the equivalent of red eye in the animals. In order to do this my camera/flash setup was rather interesting. I did not take a picture of the setup while at the game farm, but here is the setup when anchored in my car as I photographed bluebirds at my house.
The only difference at the game farm was that instead of using the Vacu-pod to mount all this to the car, I was mounted on a monopod, and instead of my heavy BH_55 ball head, I was using a Feisol CB-50DC carbon fiber ball head.
I was shooting in manual mode, first establishing an exposure based on the ambient light trying to get my shutter speed as fast as possible to prevent blur without getting the ISO too high. Once I established the exposure, I set the flash to High Speed Flash, ETTL with a -2 flash power setting. This allowed just enough light to add catch lights to the eyes without overpowering the natural light in the scene.
Even with all this setup and the additional battery power pack, the flash does not recycle fast enough to keep up with the frame rate of the camera, so there are many shots where the flash does not fire. Since the exposure is the same, these images look good but do not have the bonus of the fill flash. Here is an example of two images, one where the flash did not fire and one where it did. Can you see the difference?
I am about half way through the coyote session and here are a few of my favorites so far.
1/500 sec; f/13; ISO 1000; 600mm; fill flash
1/640 sec; f/10; ISO 640; 256 mm; fill flash
1/640 sec; f/7.1; ISO 400; 150mm
1/640 sec; f/7.1; ISO 800; 200mm; fill flash
1/640 sec; f/7.1; ISO 400; 309mm; fill flash
1/640 sec; f/13; ISO 800; 273mm; fill flash
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