Getting ready

20121130_121520__DSC6420_FEric and I are both getting pretty excited to be on the way to New Mexico for several days of photography. We have been studying the work of others who frequent the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge more frequently than we do. Some photographers like Arthur Morris or Laurie Excell visit annually and stay for days or weeks. Looking at their images online, expecially when they include any info about how the photo was taken or what the camera settings were can be really helpful. For me, looking at websites frequently means that I follow links to recommended sites and find new material by people I’ve never heard of before. Arthur Morris provides a store front for products he uses and to some books he and others have written. Browsing Arthur’s store I found an ebook by Robert O’Toole that was written to describe recommended settings for wildlife and bird photography by people using Nikon cameras. I went to Robert’s website and was blown away by his images. OK, he knows how to make a Nikon camera perform. I bought the ebook. Even though I’ve been shooting with Nikon’s for years I was quickly impressed by how little I really knew about the settings that give maximum advantage to bird photography. The same principles will apply to soccer or bike racing so they are good to learn and, hopefully, master. I mounted up a lens on both Nikon bodies and experimented in the living room with Auto ISO and different focus methods recommended by O’Toole. I realized that I needed a bird to model for me as I tested myself so I headed to the neighborhood pond. I won’t say I’ve even come close to mastering the ability to shoot in manual mode and adjusting ISO to get proper exposure (sounds a bit weird, eh?) and using Auto ISO has never been in my bag of tricks. I can say that I am really impressed with the lack of noise I get at high ISO using his settings as a guide. I’m even more impressed by the D800 as I use it and learn how to achieve focus. The detail in the files is amazing. Here are some samples from the pond session today. I’m sure I’ll be back there a few more times before heading to the Bosque. Can’t wait.

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