Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Tips needed for shooting pelagic birds from boats

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    somewhere in rural Australia
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    2,278

    Default Tips needed for shooting pelagic birds from boats

    Need some advise from the much more experienced members on shooting pelagic birds from boats.
    I will be doing my very first SOSSA Pelagic trip in October (September if places become available as I am 5th on the waiting list), and was wondering if members of the forum with much more experience in shooting on these trips can advise me on which is the best equipment and technique to use on these trips.

    While shooting in the Arctic (on the big boats and on the zodiacs... http://www.diverkevin.com/ArcticAnta...1_R3xkw6m-A-LB), and fishing boats in Hokkaido, I was able to shoot with my 600mm on the tripod. This is only because there is enough space on board and the water is not too rough. I also shoot handheld with my 300mm f2.8 from the zodiacs and smaller boats in Scotland with poorer results.

    I assume that space is premium on the SOSSA trips and the seas would be rougher. Hence I would probably have to adopt the handheld method. I do have the 100 - 400 mm lens, (and the 300 mm f2.8 which is sitting in my dry cabi in Singapore... sigh!) which would give me the advantage of focal length flexibility at the expense of image quality.

    Can anyone advise me what is the expectations and the best equipment set and techniques to adopt during the SOSSA trips.

    Thank you

    Eric
    Last edited by Eric Tan; 07-08-2011 at 02:27 PM.
    Eric SJ Tan
    Mountains & Beyond

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    12,866

    Default

    I haven't been on a pelagic but I think the 100-400mm will be your best bet Eric.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Hamilton, Victoria
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    5,996

    Default

    G'day Eric,

    If I had a 300/2.8 'd be using it in conjunction with a 1.4X. You have, of course, the option of taking the 1.4X off. While this will not give you the flexibility of a 100-400 I suppose it comes down to what's more important; picture quality or versaltility. Robert Royse in the USA uses his 300/2.8 exclusively on pelagics and his shots are amazing.
    www.roysephotos.com
    Whatever you choose just be prepared to have lots of failures

    cheers
    Rob

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    lord howe island
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    746

    Default

    I would go with the 100-400mm Eric, I'm no expert but I'm on the water more than most. I find 1/1600 to be a good shutter speed in TV mode. I find if you are using burly the birds will come in close, so I'm getting away with the 70-200mm. Jack.
    Jack Shick
    Sea to Summit Expeditions

    www.lordhoweislandtours.net

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Central Coast, NSW.
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    6,408

    Default

    I agree with Rob, as you are likely to produce a better quality image with the 300mm f/2.8. I would also think that the 300mm would be quicker to focus, which can be a critical element given that most of your images will be flight shots. The 300mm f2.8 will also give you more flexibility with low light that can often be an issue at the start and end of full day pelagics. Due to the length of the average pelagic you will have the opportunity to change lens at some stage. For instance I prefer my 70-200mm zoom for close in work and portraits.
    In your circumstance I'd take the 300mm, 100-400mm and 1.4 TC. Start with the 300mm f/2.8 and see how you go. I've completed about 10 pelagics here and overseas and have now settled on using; 300mm, 70-200mm and a 1.4 TC.. I have the tried the 80-400mm Nikon zoom , but found both the focus acquisition and image quality to be lacking.
    Make sure you take some basic lens cleaning gear in case you get spray on your lens.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    somewhere in rural Australia
    Image Reposts
    Yes, with details
    Posts
    2,278
    Thread Starter

    Default

    Thanks to all of you for your valued advice. I really appreciate this
    Eric SJ Tan
    Mountains & Beyond

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Sydney
    Image Reposts
    Please ask
    Posts
    12,285

    Default

    Agree with Gerard for sure. I have really enjoyed using my 70-200 f4 IS with a 1.4x. Often on the way back in in the afternoon you will have terns and gulls especially right over your head. I have also used both my 300 f4 and 500 f4 with great results on that boat depending on the conditions of course for the 500!
    I shoot manually as the birds are constantly going above and below the horizon which gives wildly different exposures if you are in any auto mode like Tv or Av. You will find you will have two different settings that you will change between : one for white birds eg Albatross, and one for dark birds eg Shearwaters. Especially late in the afternoon the light reflecting off an albatross is incredibly bright and easy to overexpose.
    Can you please invent a miracle drug for me to ban seasickness Eric?
    Cheers, Dave

    www.davidstowe.com.au WORKSHOPS

    Aus Life List IOC= 684 - Grey Honeyeater
    "So God created every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:21


Similar Threads

  1. Cameras on Boats
    By Ashy Drongo in forum Techniques and Educational
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 03-12-2009, 06:56 PM

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •