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Longimanus
7th April 2017, 09:31 AM
Hi

I need some advice, last night I got out and saw my first owls and tried my best to get some shots, but got home and was a bit disappointed, but as they say, practise makes perfect.

So I need some help with my settings, I was using the following
Cf tracking, 500/1, f5.6, auto ISO restricted to 1600, 300mm pro + tc
I found it really hard to lock on to the owl, and most of the shots are very soft

Any advice on what to change?

This is a work in progress and I'm willing to put in the hours to do this 😀

Growltiger
7th April 2017, 10:25 AM
Suggestions
Lens should be wide open.
Don't use tracking, follow the owl yourself.
Allow ISO to go to 3200.

All of this should allow a faster shutter speed, which is perhaps why they are soft. 1/500 is too slow, an owl tends to move.

If the owl is sitting not flying, then use S-AF and single focus point, which is the very fastest and most accurate focussing there is. Keep releasing and pressing the shutter release.

Bengeo
7th April 2017, 10:57 AM
Also use minus exposure compensation as Barn Owls are quite light and it is easy to over expose them against darker backgrounds.

Longimanus
7th April 2017, 11:03 AM
Andy

Many thanks for the tips, really appreciate it,

I will be giving this a go in the next couple of evenings

bredman
7th April 2017, 01:27 PM
Not sure what camera you're using em1?

I would advise on using electronic shutter, the barney will hear you otherwise and from a considerable distance, and avoid coming closer. Also avoiding shutter shock with this lens.

And yes shoot the lens wide open and without the TC (get closer :)).

If you have a potential nesting site try not to spook them too much or they may vacate the area as they wont have laid yet. In another month or two they'll be busier and bolder and you'll get better results with the brighter conditions, also they will be active earlier in the day.

I have a bunch of Barnowls on my recent Flickr, ranging from good to bad, just scroll down a bit, there is something like 20 altogether. Taken with the 40-150/2.8, some with the TC. Exposure can be tricky as suggested, i quite like this one despite its flaws and my amateurish pp

https://c1.staticflickr.com/8/7300/27841308836_07a46ae6f9_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/JqeZ99)Wild Barn Owl Looking Down (https://flic.kr/p/JqeZ99)

Longimanus
7th April 2017, 03:47 PM
Pete

Thanks for the info, I'm well away from where the owl is said to be nesting, it's quite a bold owl as it deals with dog walkers all the time as I've been told. There was also a short eared owl last night, but the barn owl stole the show!

Can't wait to go back

Longimanus
7th April 2017, 03:48 PM
And sorry, I'm using an EM1 MK2

bredman
7th April 2017, 04:31 PM
There was also a short eared owl last night, but the barn owl stole the show!

Can't wait to go back

I'd be keen to bag the shortie, a good bird for West Sussex and much rarer, i suspect it will move northwards soon.

And sorry, I'm using an EM1 MK2

I have the mkI which in burst mode sounds like a machine gun on a quiet summers evening. Barn owls don't like it at all :)

If you get a good shot, feel free to post it up *yes

GyRob
7th April 2017, 08:34 PM
I would think pro capture low ,keep as still as possible and quiet ,CAF at leased 1/1000sec if the light lets you .
try and hold off till the owl gets closer .
Rob.

Longimanus
7th April 2017, 09:16 PM
Cheers for all the extra info, I'm hoping to get out tomorrow, I will keep you updated

Short eared owl would be great, it was too far away though ��

DavyG
7th April 2017, 10:48 PM
I'd strongly disagree about using the lens without the TC, I use my 300 with the MC-14 almost all the time,mit's a great combination.

Unless you have a very confiding bird that lets you get close don't take the TC off, the lens/TC combo at f5.6 produces great results.

I look forward to seeing your images.

Dave

bredman
7th April 2017, 11:33 PM
I'd strongly disagree about using the lens without the TC,

Maybe things are tighter with the 300 on the MkII, but shooting the 40-150/2.8 + mc14 on the MkI as the sun approached the horizon the AF accuracy went down the toilet. My keeper rate jumped from less than 10% to 50% when i stopped using it. I admit i lost confidence with it and have hardly used it since, even in better light. I'll find out soon enough, i just got a 300/4 and a MkII will soon follow.

If the light is failing i just don't rate the mc14 on AF, removing it makes a big improvement and worth a try if results are poor.:)

DavyG
8th April 2017, 09:49 AM
Maybe things are tighter with the 300 on the MkII, but shooting the 40-150/2.8 + mc14 on the MkI as the sun approached the horizon the AF accuracy went down the toilet. My keeper rate jumped from less than 10% to 50% when i stopped using it. I admit i lost confidence with it and have hardly used it since, even in better light. I'll find out soon enough, i just got a 300/4 and a MkII will soon follow.

If the light is failing i just don't rate the mc14 on AF, removing it makes a big improvement and worth a try if results are poor.:)

I'm sorry to hear of your experience with the 40-150 & MC-14 on the E-M1.

I used this lens/TC combination on my E-M1 almost all the time, until I bought the 300mm pro, and never had a problem with it.

I've used it to photograph BiF and static subjects in a number of different lighting situations however, I don't recall using it in almost twilight conditions, that may be the reason our experiences differ.

I wouldn't give up on this combination, it may be worth trying it out in good lighting and see if this restores your confidence in it.

The E-M1 II and the 300mm shouldn't be compared to the E-M1 and the 40-150, they are very different.

I use my E-M1 II with the 300mm and MC-14 constantly and have been delighted with the results, I've even had comments from friends, who are far better and more experienced photographers than I, that they are a tad envious of my m4/3 setup and the results it produces.

I look forward to seeing the images your Mark II and 300 combination produce.

Dave

TonyR
8th April 2017, 10:01 AM
Try to shoot the barn owls in the morning. On occasions wher it rains overnight and on the previous evening, barn owls can't hunt. They don't like getting wet and can't hear their prey. When this happens, they may be forced to hunt in the morning. That means increasing light as opposed to the decreasing light of the evening so you don't feel so up against the clock.

Here's one of mine.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/P2012754_s.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/92545)

Longimanus
8th April 2017, 10:07 AM
Try to shoot the barn owls in the morning. On occasions wher it rains overnight and on the previous evening, barn owls can't hunt. They don't like getting wet and can't hear their prey. When this happens, they may be forced to hunt in the morning. That means increasing light as opposed to the decreasing light of the evening so you don't feel so up against the clock.

Here's one of mine.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/P2012754_s.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/92545)

That is stunning Tony, nice one!

wornish
8th April 2017, 12:23 PM
I'm sorry to hear of your experience with the 40-150 & MC-14 on the E-M1.

I used this lens/TC combination on my E-M1 almost all the time, until I bought the 300mm pro, and never had a problem with it.

I've used it to photograph BiF and static subjects in a number of different lighting situations however, I don't recall using it in almost twilight conditions, that may be the reason our experiences differ.

I wouldn't give up on this combination, it may be worth trying it out in good lighting and see if this restores your confidence in it.

The E-M1 II and the 300mm shouldn't be compared to the E-M1 and the 40-150, they are very different.

I use my E-M1 II with the 300mm and MC-14 constantly and have been delighted with the results, I've even had comments from friends, who are far better and more experienced photographers than I, that they are a tad envious of my m4/3 setup and the results it produces.

I look forward to seeing the images your Mark II and 300 combination produce.

Dave

Plus 1 for the 300mm + MC-14 they work superbly well together.

bredman
8th April 2017, 01:25 PM
I'm sorry to hear of your experience with the 40-150 & MC-14 on the E-M1.

I used this lens/TC combination on my E-M1 almost all the time, until I bought the 300mm pro, and never had a problem with it.

I've used it to photograph BiF and static subjects in a number of different lighting situations however, I don't recall using it in almost twilight conditions, that may be the reason our experiences differ.

Absolutely. I was referencing very low light crepuscular conditions. It's surprising how much the light falls even when the sun is still showing but low in the sky.





The E-M1 II and the 300mm shouldn't be compared to the E-M1 and the 40-150, they are very different.

I use my E-M1 II with the 300mm and MC-14 constantly and have been delighted with the results, I've even had comments from friends, who are far better and more experienced photographers than I, that they are a tad envious of my m4/3 setup and the results it produces.

I look forward to seeing the images your Mark II and 300 combination produce.

Dave

Im interested to see the MkII AF performance in comparison to the MkI. And yeah, i should dust off the mc14 :)

Longimanus
9th April 2017, 09:13 PM
Thanks to all your advice I have been back to see the owls this evening and am chuffed with some of my images, I still need to improve compositionally but the setup suggested has worked a treat, many thanks to all

Here is my image from tonight:

https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2855/33782889272_09f3dde1d9_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/Tth919)
Majestic (https://flic.kr/p/Tth919) by Life@F8Photography (https://www.flickr.com/photos/1975longimanus/), on Flickr

mack100
10th April 2017, 05:26 PM
Really interesting stuff here, thanks all.