Escape to Nature Photography workshops
I can't believe we are over half way through March. I will make this newsletter a two month version, March & April.
March has been a busy month and April will be even more so. I was able to teach a few programs this month, something I always enjoy.
The Alamance County Camera Club, Alamance County, North Carolina. These folks are always a real treat to present too. They are a smaller group but they have some great photographers who produce some great work. This group asks a lot of questions, and I hope the answers were helpful and prompted further learning.
The Myrtle Beach South Carolina, Carolina Nature Photography Association, (CNPA). division. Annette and I had a great time visiting these folks. This was my first live presentation of 2022, (no zoom). CNPA groups I have taught at throughout the years are alway amazing with the knowledge they have in photography. Their warm welcome is typical of true southern hospitality. I will be proposing an adventure workshop trip with this group very soon.
I have taught and presented to the Florida Camera Council in the southern part of the west coast of Florida in 2018. This year it was all virtual but their event lasted from Thursday to Sunday. I had the privilege to be invited to participate in two presentations for them. This group is always eager to learn, offering many, many questions. I am still getting followup email questions which I am always happy to answer. I am already looking forward to 2023 and hoping to get invited back.
Nikon Z6 & Z6II
On Facebook and last month I was bragging on my Nikon Z9 and how it was a game changer. I received several emails reminding me that not everyone wants to afford a Z9 or can afford a Z9. They asked that I not forget about the Z6, Z7, Z7II & Z6II, or other manufacturers for that matter. I don't always have access to other manufacturer equipment to test, but I am working on loaners in the future so I can share what I find.
Here are some Z6 & Z6II images. Both the Z6 & Z6II are great cameras for landscape, as well as wildlife and birds in flight. My choice with these cameras is to shoot in Dynamic Autofocus, in continuous shooting, (either H or H*). This allows me to shoot short bursts and keep my subject in focus.
Dynamic Autofocus mode keeps all the sensor points active. The user focuses on the subject, if while tracking the subject, the subject moves off the main focus point briefly, one of the other points picks up and maintains that focus. While using this mode, trust the camera and don't release your autofocus button. If you do you will have to acquire focus again and start the continuous autofocus all over.
I shoot in short burst for two reasons. The first, our camera and our bodies are mechanical devices. They are susceptible to vibration and can cause a good autofocus lock to go bad. It also gives the autofocus a chance to acquire and re-acquire during the burst shots. The second, shooting in bursts means I might capture a moment or expression I may have missed. Shooting 5-12 frames continuous goes quick. The Z6II shoots at 14 fps. One of those may be sharper and/or capture something different from all the rest. Then I can pick the one or two images that are the best.
My Settings for Birds in Flight
No matter what make or model camera you are shooting, if you are having trouble capturing sharp birds in flight images, try these settings and see if they help.
When an eagle is going by at 30 MPH, there is no way to hold the auto focus sensor on the eagle's eye. I have found that targeting just behind the head or shoulder works for me. But to keep that eye sharp we have to rely on depth of field. I choose an aperture setting of f/7.1 to f/8. If I want to freeze the action, I choose a shutter speed of 1/500 sec or faster, typically 1/800 sec is my goto. If I am in a program mode such as Aperture Priority, I'll pick the ISO I need to get my exposure at 1/800sec.
April 20 to 24, I'll be teaching at the Florida Birding & Photo Fest. Check out their page and join us on one of their many events.
May 1st to the 4th I will be teaching a group on birds in flight at the Alligator Farm Rookery. This event is full with a waiting list.
I will also have the details and sign up information for two more workshops 2022. In July, we will look for bears at Alligator River, NC, as well as shoot the Milky Way over Bodie Island Lighthouse in the Outer Banks. October 2022, we will look at fall colors, a few waterfalls and elk in the Smokies. The details will be posted by the end of April.
We, that's all for now. Hope you all have a wonderful Easter.