Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Random Trek (with a fellow photographer friend)

Well, that's what I like to call it, because if you ask her (my friend – Swati) she would say we went for bird watching! And the reason for difference of opinion? Well – We both had 35mm equivalent of 100-400 lens - me, with my reliable and fast ZD 50-200 and she with with her Canon EF 100-400. But the big difference was the bodies. I had my old E-330 and and she had EOS 7D! .

So the advantage she had was 2 fold. She could crank up her ISO and thus get a decent shot of birds without worrying about the noise, i.e. was able to shoot at fast shutter speed. Also her lens had IS (Image Stabilization), which ensured that she didn't have to worry about camera shake, especially when using longer focal length.

I, on the other hand, didn't have either of these. My E-30 had gone for repair, and my E-5 was in transit (both have in body IS). And I was not sure of the high ISO performance of my E-330 (which incidentally had max ISO rating of 1600). So i decided to play it safe by keeping the ISO around 800 and shooting at max aperture. Also, the morning was overcast which made it impossible to get fast shutter speed in shades with above settings.

Having said this, I think I made a blunder. I made a mistake of not trusting/testing the ISO limit of my E-330 . I was too afraid of getting too much noise. In the process, I ended up getting with quite a few shaky photograph pics of the birds (which i had to discard). As you may be aware E-330 doesn't have in body IS, and a 50-200 on it doesn't make the whole thing light. As a result, you have a lot of camera shake with lens fully extended, which could only have been negated by fast  shutter speed. But for most shots in shade, I was not able to get fast enough shitter speed with ISO 800 (even with aperture wide open), ISO 1600 may have fared better . So in the hindsight, I did not make a very wise decision of not testing the ISO limits of E-330.

Bottom Line A very wise advice from a very unwise man – If you have to make choice between shaky picture and a grainy one – always go for the latter, crank up the ISO as much as you can to get fast shutter speed. Remember – A grainy picture is a thousand times better than a shaky picture.

So we started our day with rendezvous at the regional engineering college (VNIT), Nagpur. This college is surrounded by marsh lands and lots of dense trees, like a mini forest. So its has lot of bird population of various kinds. I am not an avid bird watcher, I wouldn't know a crow from an owl. But the people who gathered there seemed to be very excited about spotting quite a few of them (they were refering to bird watchers guide and making notes). I tried to follow Swati’s lead and point and click wherever she was pointing and clicking, but unfortunately after a few shots, I realized that it was becoming tedious for me to get decent non-shaky pic. I was frustrated! So in order that I don't waste an opportunity which i had for some good photography, I decided to do some random clicking! and hence the name for this blog – Random Trek :-)

Here are some of the shots I took on that day! Hope you enjoy them.

At the entrance of the college a MiG-23 fighter plane. 5 frame HDR from single RAW (+2 to -2EV) in Photomatix Pro (Base RAW ISO 400, 1/80, f/5) Mig-23
Another view of MiG-23. Same HDR processing as above. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
My friend - the ever calm photographer – Swati


A Lantern! Kept finding interesting things to click once I stopped worrying about the birds! :-)
A loner! B&W processing in CS4. Added grain
F/7.1, 1/2000, ISO 800
The National Cadet Corps – Girls battalion on march. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
A Young bird watcher :-) OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Serious bird watchers! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Labourers on their way to start another day at work OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Yeah…. we are still in the wired world, still! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Only one decent bird catch. Not sure which is this.
F/5, 1/2500, ISO 800.
An interesting art in front of one of the buildings… OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
And finally…I thought trash bin IS for the trash! no? OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Nice, carefree trek… loved it!