I headed back over to Fort Desoto for some critter shooting and chanced upon several White Ibis.
I was shooting with my D4 and the 200-400mm with the tele-convertor/Tc1.7, which gives me a 650mm lens(400X1.7) at F/6.7 (F/4X1.7). A few things to remember, the D4 sensor can now support up to f/8 when autofocusing. However, when you add the TC1/7 to the 200-400, both 3d and AAA no longer work at f/6.7. Yet when you add the TC1/4 to the 200-400 it will still AAA and 3D. This info is important if you are doing work trying to capture images in flight. The D4 and 200-400 are very good at tracking and following dark objects (ie Birds) on a blue sky in AAA mode. Today, I was shooting on the ground, so a tc1.7 still allows D21 or D51 focus points. The other thing is that at F6.5 I was not going to worry to much about bokeh, so here is where I put the D4 in shutter priority mode, dial in shutter speed 680 to 1000, then turn on AutoISO. I have for many years used aperture priority however with birds you need shutter speed and in mid-morning to mid day light you are not going to have noisy shadows. Anyway the ISO bump is only 300 over the base of the D4’s ISO 100.
I had to hit you with the technology part of the Image and I’m not finished. When you use larger tele convertors you are also gobbling up depth of field. That is the beginning of focus to the end of focus. The birds above are on the same plane of focus so they look quite sharp, however if I was to shoot them straight on from beak to eyes, the DOF without tc 1.7 would be 4 inches, with the TC on only 2 inches. I remember my first week of shooting here at Desoto a few years ago, I had the TC 2.0 on my 70-200 and thought I had broken something because all my images seemed out of focus. In reality, Moose Peterson explained to me it is a common misunderstanding and is now explained in the TC manual at the prodding of Nikon by Moose.
So with all this tech stuff, what’s a poor boy to do ?
- Use your 20o-400 with T/C1.7
- Select and setup up for a shutter priority at 1/680 up thru 1/1000 sec
- Turn off VR if above 1/1000 sec
- Set Aperture to F/6.5
- Set D4 to Auto-ISO
- Continuos High (9 frames sec)
- D21 or D51 focus points
- Matrix or spot Metering (I use matrix on overcast days)
- picture control – Vivid (with critters I do not do any Post Production)
- white balance – usually cloudy or shady
I enjoyed working my senses, head and gear for this image. I wanted to get more than one Desoto white ibis in the frame as they tend to be social critters. The refection in the water was a must. I had to have the sun at my back and to their feathers and eyes. I wanted them in their foraging environment. My checklist gives me four layers of information and creates as Boston Globe Pulitzer prize photographer Essdras Suarez teaches, ‘A sophisticated image”. Then Click.