Long Shot – 140/365

While this shot of a rose in our garden is neat, I’ve had to “embrace” the softness inherent to the capture during editing.

I’m not adverse to a bit of soft and gentle, however as you probably know by now, sharp, dark and moody are more the style I’m trying to develop for the images I’m making.

This evening I put my long lens on, as I call it, my Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6, grabbed a chair and went to sit in the garden. Of the two lenses I have, this one I use the least, by some margin, for me it’s just not as forgiving as my other lens.

I wanted to try and get a little better at using it though, so I decided to try and capture some shots of the birds busying themselves about in the back garden.

I hit quite a few snags, which strange as it may seems, I liked, I want to get better at using my long lens.

I had trouble with getting the exposure I wanted, the sun was patchy and bright, so with the birds always on the move I had to change my settings a lot to match the light.

Also, I haven’t got a tripod yet, so being fully zoomed in to 300mm, hand held and with no image stabilisation, holding a sharp image was difficult.

Believe it or not, I put the camera strap down over my shoulders, as it was a snug fit when I held the camera to my eye, and it helped me hold things steadier.

The girls had come out to play, so that made things even more interesting; they were excited to see some birds, but just a tad too noisy for the birds to settle anywhere near us!

Another issue I came across with exposure was the shutter speed, I cranked it up to 1/3,200, to try and freeze the action, and get a sharper image. However that obviously meant I had to dial up the ISO and had to have the aperture as wide as it would go at 5.6f.

All this led to introducing quite a lot of noise, and still the images aren’t as sharp as I would like.

It was a great learning curve though, so when the birds had all disappeared, I turned my attention to some bees and wasps buzzing about on a patch of ivy to carry on experimenting.

This was closer to me, however in a dark corner of the garden, so again it posed a fresh challenge on getting a clean exposure.

Though they’re not sharp, I do like these bee and wasp images, they’ve got a vibe that I really like.

Learnings – well, despite these not being my best photographs, I really enjoyed trying to photograph the birds. It was nice listening out for them, then trying to find them hiding in the trees. It was kind of relaxing.

It also forced me about a million miles outside of my comfort zone, and I had to really push to even get the images I did.

I think my next purchase will be a tripod, that will take the shake out of the shot, and help with the sharpness, though I do like the hand held “run and gun” approach. I think it helps me move and look for a shot, and of course it’s pushing me past my capabilities which is the only way you learn to do anything.

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