I suppose that it doesn’t matter
Since I recently purchased the Canon 5D Mk IV, I’ve had a chance to see the possibilities of what my photos will look like from now on when I use that camera when compared to the 7D Mk II camera I have been using. I find myself with my bank account drained again, while I would rather have the money to travel to places besides Muskegon. So, I’ve been asking myself, “Was it worth it?”.
I’m not really sure yet, although the details that I see in the images that I’ve shot with the 5D have truly amazed me.
The thing is though, readers of my blog or people who see my photos on Facebook can’t see the same level of detail in the images that I can, because I reduce the quality of the images before I post them anywhere on the web. You’ll have to trust me when I tell you that the fine details in the fibers covering the skipper is well beyond what I would have gotten using the 7D camera.
And, that image was shot at ISO 10000, and while there is some noise in the image, it’s not so much that I felt the need to use Lightroom to reduce the noise, which would also reduce the fine details at least slightly.
There’s another reason to love the better higher ISO performance of the 5D, I can manually raise the ISO somewhat to boost my shutter speeds which results in sharper images as well. Seeing a pair of green herons at dawn yesterday is a perfect example.
You can tell that the light was still low from how wide the heron’s pupils are.
I was shooting this heron with the settings that the camera came up with, but I won’t bore you with the exact exposure settings, this is boring enough to most of you. I saw that my shutter speed was slower than I would have liked, but that I could raise the ISO two full stops without getting noise with the 5D, so I did, and that meant that my shutter speed was two full stops faster as well.
So, here’s the second heron as it bobbed in the wind above the first heron.
There’s no way of knowing, since I didn’t change settings back and forth, but I doubt if that last photo would have been as sharp if it had been shot at a slower shutter speed because of the heron’s movements.
Color accuracy is another reason to love the 5D…
…as this color was one that I’ve had trouble with all of my crop sensor cameras in the past. And once again, I love the fine details when I moved closer.
A sidenote, ever since I began thinking of testing focus stacking software to extend the depth of field that I can get in my images, it’s been windy every chance that I’ve had to be out with the camera. To use the focus stacking software, I would think that you the images would need to be shot from the same place, with the subject in the same place, and the wind has made that impossible. I wasn’t even able to get a good image of this English plantain due to the wind…
…even though it was sheltered from the wind by a rock. I could see the flower parts vibrating in the breeze even as I held the stem of the plant with my free hand.
I suppose that none of this matters, since I’ve made the purchase and there’s no going back. It’s up to me to make the best of the situation that I’ve put myself in. There are still plenty of opportunities for me to get very good images from the places that I’m limited to now by my budget, I just have to look a little harder, and work a little harder, especially at putting myself in the right place at the right time.
I sort of did that the day after I began this post and wrote what I have so far, along with the photos that I put in this post to this point. On my second day off from work, I arrived at the Muskegon County wastewater facility well before sunrise. It was a foggy beginning to the day, so as I waited to see what the sunrise would bring, I saw this scene…
…and thought that it would be a good chance to try the new 5D out on long exposures. (By the way, there’s a flock of sandhill cranes in the reflections of the trees on the opposite shore to the right side of that image.)
On the plus side, somehow or another I guessed correctly how long to leave the shutter open, 1 minute and 10 seconds. I haven’t done very much photography in that low of light, so how I got it right first shot is beyond me.
On the negative side, I had the great idea of shooting a video to record all the birds singing at that time of day. However, it was so dark that I plugged the external microphone into the wrong jack of the camera, so I got video with no sound. I’ve said plenty of times that sunrise is the best time of day for birding, and if I had been able to record the sounds of the birds, I would have been able to offer audible evidence of that. Just a few minutes later, the birds had quit singing, and had begun looking for breakfast. That is also a good thing, as the birds are actively searching for food, and by mid-morning, they are ready for a nap, and therefore harder to find.
The video that I shot did turn out well, other than no sound, so that was another plus.
I had high hopes that as the sun rose and began to burn through the fog that I’d have the magic light that I’m always searching for, but it didn’t happen, again. A couple of years ago, it seemed like I was finding it often, that must run in cycles.
Anyway, as I sat there waiting to see what the sunrise would bring, waiting to see what the cranes would do around the same time, I saw the bucks that I had spooked without getting a photo the previous week on their way home to bed for the day.
The third buck was already out in the farm field there.
These photos are extremely noisy, but I put no effort into removing the noise, because I wasn’t close enough to get a good image anyway. The ISO setting required was well beyond what I could have used with the 7D though, and I was able to get photos of the deer with the 5D that would have been impossible with the 7D, especially when the bucks were trotting.
In fact, I got two at once.
They could tell that I was there…
…and I even got a shot of all three together.
If I had been using my tripod, as I should have, then I could have gone lower with the ISO and to a slower shutter speed when the bucks paused to look at me, especially if I had been using the portable hide. However, behind me as I shot the deer, the sandhill cranes were beginning to dance and stretch their wings as the light slowly increased…
…and once again, there was a great blue heron in with the cranes that was also joining in the action.
A few of the cranes flew off from time to time, and some of those returned a short time later.
Every time that I think about setting up the portable hide to get closer to my subjects, I face the same question, where exactly do I set it up.
I’m getting a handle on the path that the deer take as they cross the farm field to get to a swale where they spend the daylight hours, so I could arrive before dawn, and be set-up to wait for them. However, with my luck, the deer would take a different route home if I did that, and I wouldn’t be able to see the cranes from there.
The cranes have decided to use the man-made lake as their place to spend the nights this year, so I may be able to sneak up on them before dawn and set the hide up and get closer to them. But, that would mean that I’d miss the deer.
And, you never know what’s going to appear when in nature, for an eagle made a low pass over the lake…
…and out of nowhere, two coyotes ran along the shore behind the sandhill cranes…
…but by the time I saw what was happening, the coyotes had already passed the flock of cranes.
I have a lot more poor photos of the wildlife that I saw while I waited to see what the sunrise would be like, flocks of Canada geese and mallards flying past, a wood duck landing in the lake, and a northern cardinal flying across the lake, but I think that you get the idea, there was something that I could have photographed almost everywhere I looked that morning at that time of day. Around sunrise, the entire animal kingdom seems to be active, which is why it’s my favorite time of the day.
But, one more example shot as I was testing the 5D to see how well it could track a bird in flight in very low light…
…if you look in the bottom right of the frame, you’ll see a green heron in flight, it’s hard not to see plenty of wildlife at sunrise.
Okay, I should know by now that many people will find the photos above that I shot in very poor light interesting for their content. And I should know by now, that when the sun shines…
…and I stand quietly, partially hidden in the brush…
…that I’ll get very good images, even if they are of a common species of bird.
And, I never know what I’ll find to photograph while standing in the brush…
…I might find insects rather than the bird I’m waiting to see…
…as I did in this instance.
I said earlier that catching magic light must run in cycles, the same must be true when it comes to which species of birds that I see, and which ones I can get close enough to for good images. I’ve been trying to find and photograph green herons well for the past few years, and most of the time when I’ve found them, they were out of range. Not so this summer, they’re everywhere.
That was shot with the 5D, 100-400 mm lens, and 1.4 X tele-converter. Since the heron seemed comfortable with my being so close, I swapped the tele-converter to the 2 X for these next three.
I have to focus manually when using that set-up, and my shutter speed gets slower due to the loss of light with the extender…
…but I like the bit of motion blur in that last one as the heron fluffed its feathers…
…and I can follow that image with one that’s very sharp. I’m not sure why it is, but the 5D works even better with the 2 X extender than the 7D does, and I had no qualms using that extender with the 7D. I see almost no loss of image quality at all when I view these full size on my computer. Maybe it’s because the 5D has more resolution than the 7D does to begin with?
Okay, I know that my current dissatisfaction with going to the same places shooting about the same subjects all the time is being driven by the need that I feel to explore my more creative side when it comes to photography.
Also, to shoot more photos in other genres than just birds and wildlife, such as landscapes or night photography. I may get my chance next weekend, as that’s when the Perseid meteor shower occurs. And as luck would have it this year, it’s also during the new moon, so the light from the moon won’t interfere with shooting the meteors. It would also be a good time to attempt to shoot the Milky Way, so if the weather forecast looks good, I think that I’ll give it a try.
I really need an attitude adjustment, for I feel like I’m in a slump when I’m not. Purchasing the 5D has made another jump in the quality of images that I’m shooting, but at the same time, I’m also experimenting more often, and the results aren’t always what I hoped that they would be. Sometimes, I know that when I press the shutter release, as with this photo.
When I was preparing to shoot that photo, I knew that I wouldn’t be happy with it, I really wanted bright blue sky behind the sunflowers rather than unattractive grey clouds. A bright blue background would have created more of a color contrast between the yellow flowers and the sky, making the image much better. Also, I couldn’t get the composition exactly as I wanted it because of the lens that I had to use. The lens was the 70-200 mm, which is a fine lens, but it wasn’t wide enough at 70 mm for the way that I wanted the image to look. I could have gone to the 16-35 mm lens, in fact, I did look the scene over with that lens, but it was too wide. So, I more or less gave up on that and just shot that photo as another failed experiment for future reference. I probably could have done better if I hadn’t taken the attitude towards the scene that I did.
With a slightly wider lens, I would have gotten closer to the flowers, and lower, so that the trees and open field in the background wouldn’t have been distractions from the flowers. Oh well, I learn from even these failed experiments, and one of these days, everything will fall into place for me.
That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!