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Practice makes perfect and we need a lot of practice

Back To Camp DuBois

Molly wanted to return to Camp Dubois with her 40D. I went with the 30D and the 600EX-RT flash. We were early for the tour of the fort so we went into the museum proper. The guys working the desk remembered Molly from last week ( hey…she is a looker) and we met a fellow there that is a photographer also. He asked if we wanted to see some photos he took on the grounds and we said yes.
What a treat. We saw some of the best macro/closeup photos. Photo after photo–all clear,sharp and all Nat Geo quality.

He was working, so I am not going to post his name(just in case), but he took Molly and I on a tour of the area. He pointed out all sorts of insects, that frankly, I would have walked past and never seen. He showed us fungi that was obvious once he showed us but would escaped our notice otherwise. He stayed out in the fort a bit longer than usual so Molly and I could get our still life shots. Before we left, he peeled back some wood and showed termites–something neither of us had ever seen. Just as we were about to head back to the truck, I noticed a lizard/salamander–I’m not sure but it stayed still while Molly took a few shots. It is part of her Pied Piper and wildlife powers. Wildlife doesn’t spook when she gets near them.

After seeing what she did with the old lens she was using, I might have to seriously look at a macro lens for her to use.
It is only money right??? LOL

All images taken with a Canon 40D and 35-80 zoom (old film lens) and click for larger version as almost always.


and more rain
and more rain
and more rain
and more rain
and I think you get the picture

but since this is a photo blog–
here is one of my old favorites
Hope you will like it also

bill coatney-egret

Catching up and Camp DuBois

I’m sidelined with a physical ailment so I thought I’d try to catch up a little with the back ups and all the maintenance of having two photographers sharing a computer.

It has been a busy couple of weeks. I organized a photo walk for the St Louis Camera Club at Fairmount Park. Thirty five photographers attended and had a great day at the horse races. Last Wednesday was the last club meeting of the year. It was the annual awards presentation. No, I didn’t qualify for any but I always think it is a good thing to honor those that did.

Molly had talked about doing a ‘scouting’ trip at a couple of places close by in Illinois. I am out of the picture for a while and told her go for it. Wanting to travel light Molly took our point shoot Nikon–yes, I said Nikon (dark side equipment) and hit the bricks. She had contacted the people who give tours at the Lewis & Clark replica fort and was there when they opened. She also photographed at the official Lewis & Clark museum. She did pretty well with the little camera. Next time it will be with ‘proper’ equipment LOL.
Lots of details to photograph.

Here are 3 that I thought you might like to see. As always, click for larger image.

A Quick Sunday Shoot

No photo safari on Saturday. We had business in Farmington and then chores took up the rest of the day.

So, this morning, Molly wanted to do a quick drive around Columbia Bottom before the weekly grocery shopping trip. So off she went. I didn’t know she left the 600 and took the 500 instead….with no 1.4 extender. The difference between the focal length of 840mm (600+1.4) and 500mm is quite pronounced.

Here are 3 images.
I continue to be amazed at how she can get images that make birds look so good. Look at the Grackle and all the colors. Even the ubiquitous Red Wing Blackbirds — male and female look ‘artsy’. What is it they say–make the commonplace look unique and the unique look commonplace?

As always click for larger

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Canon 7DMKII– Impressions

Frequent readers are aware that I normally shoot a 1DMKIIN with right around 550,000 shutter clicks. They also know that it has been stuck in ERROR 99 for several weeks and it looks like time to replace it.

My dream camera is a 1DX but until Molly and I sell the house, it is out of the question price wise (roughly 6K). That leaves the 5DMKIII and the 7DMKII. I’ve shot the 5DMKIII and truth be told….it is probably the best all around camera I have ever shot. For my style of photography, the only drawback is the 6.5 frames per second max frame rate. That camera produces some of the smoothest, detailed files that I have ever worked on…….and at insanely high ISO’s. I shot a night race at Fairmount for Paulette and had to crank the ISO up to 10,800. I told Paulette that I would try and make her a 8×10 of the starting gate sequence but I wasn’t going to give her false hope that it would turn out. Brought the files into the computer. Ran Imagenomic’s Noiseware on default Night mode and WOW!!!! Cleaned up and printed with NO noise and no loss of detail that I could see. Again…great camera. With our long lens, we would gain in image quality (22 something mp versus the 8mp (1DMKIIN) and 40D (10mp)but not get any ‘effective reach’ via crop factor.

You all know I am a speed freak when it comes to frames per second and shutter speed. The 7DMKII runs at 10 frames per second(fps) vs the 1DMKIIN’s 8 fps. They both have buffers that will roll 21 RAW frames before hitting the wall. These days, having a camera that will help keep shutter speed up in poor light is expected for bird photography. To me that means ISO 800 and above. The old camera could shoot at ISO 800 but I only shot it at that ISO as an emergency thing. Standard was 400 ISO and in really good light I would drop it to 200 or 320.

When the 7DMKII came in from Lensrentals, I realized that this was a camera that was smarter than me. I was able to set it it up for center point AF,RAW capture and ISO 400. First time I decided to ‘hammer’ the shutter it went through those 21 frames real quick. I normally don’t hammer a shutter but I needed to know 🙂 . After a cloudy day of shooting, I thought the 400 ISO wasn’t too shabby but the shutter speed results from adding Exposure Compensation didn’t help me. I was going to Fairmount Park for the races and I prayed for sunlight since I normally like 1/2500 of a second to make sure I froze the action and a cloudy day would mean a ‘fight’ to hit 1/2500.
I got the sunlight– no problems. Not really fair to compare 22 something mp file versus a 8mp file. I had to skip a day to continue the trial and shot these Thursday. Cloudy,dodged rain and thought I would just go for broke. I set the ISO to AUTO and I rarely set anything to auto and proceeded to start photographing. Got home and noticed the images looked a little bit grainy…..not bad but definitely not 1DMKIIN 400 ISO smooth. I was starting to be disappointed until I noticed the ISO was 1600. The 7DMKII’s 1600 looked better than the 1DMKIIN’s 600 ISO. Ran the images through Imagenomic and I have to admit they clean up pretty well. I even found some that were at 2500 ISO but I screwed up the image–missed focus (the 7DMKII’s single point focus is real ‘tight’ and as my friend Sam Hampton always told me …a pro never shows you his culls 🙂 ).

Anyway….here are 3 that I thought weren’t too bad. I have the info in the captions. Note the Bunting was at 400 ISO ( before I switched to Auto ISO) and has a bit of blur–bird moved. Shot it right before a good little rain shower.

Click thumbnail for larger image–

For a 1.6 crop body with 22 + megapixels, I would expect some noise but all in all—this ain’t bad–better than the old camera–especially when the old camera is stuck in ERROR 99. Might have a new one by fall.

As always YMMV.