Sunday, October 10, 2010

Maine Fall Foliage and Wildlife

We spent 9 wonderful days in Northern maine enjoying the scenery and looking for wildlife.  We saw coyotes, foxes, spruce grouse, ruffed grouse, deer and of course-Moose!  We did not see as many moose this fall as we normally do as there was quite a bit of foliage left in the woods at the beginning of the week and the moose were not frequenting the ponds and rivers as much as they normally do this time of year.  We had a couple of days of little to no wind and clear skies so there were some opportunities for photographing some awesome reflections.  I am certainly glad I had experimented with doing HDR photos this summer so I could put the techniques to good use this trip.  Photoshop CS5 handles doing HDR composites very well without any plugins or additional programs being required.

This is an HDR composite of three photos: -2, -1 and normal exposure.

This is also a composite HDR image made up of three shots: -2, -1 and normal exposure.

It is very important to use a tripod and to focus the camera before starting and then put in manual focus and make no further focus adjustments -then take the 3 to 7 shots with various exposures about 1 stop apart.  

I also found that the use of a camera with the ability to take pictures at higher ISO was a definitive advantage to get some shots that would otherwise have been missed.  Early morning is often a great time for seeing moose and light is at a minimum then.  Elevated ISO helps keep shutter speeds up with long lenses to prevent blur.  here is an example of an image shot at 4000 ISO:

600MM lens; 1/50; f4; ISO 4000; Image stabilization off; 6:36 am

It was barely light when the above image was captured.  The scene looks bright as the histogram was right of center which is important to control noise when taking images at high ISO.

The above image was taken during the time of "Golden Light".  It gives images a pleasing quality. Shadows are controlled with the low sun angle. This image was taken at 840MM; f7.1; 1/1250; ISO 400.

Occasionally we get lucky when taking images.  A spruce grouse caught me by surprise and there was no time to setup tripod -so I grabbed the 600 and turned IS on and spun the ISO to 1000 and cranked the aperture wide open (f4).  I am surprised that the shot turned out as the shutter speed was 1/60 and I was handholding over my knee.  Here is the result:

Later I had the opportunity to capture a spruce grouse when I was ready with tripod.  He cooperated well:

Tripod mounted 600; f5; 1/30; ISO 400; IS turned off

We saw six different bull moose with the following being the largest we photographed:

Check out for a slide show of more photos from the trip.  

Until next Time!

Jim Borden


Cheryl said...

You have beautifully captured Maine's wonderful outdoors. I loved the photos of the mountain and the moose. I have lived here all of my life and have never had such a great view of moose as yours!

peacefulgirl said...

These are so beautiful!! The next to last photo is especially brilliant. Well done!

Anonymous said...

Those photos are overwhelmingly good.The depth and quality of the details amazes me. Wish I knew what you mean by HDR. I realize it is a composite of several takes, but I have no idea how.
The -2 that EV? And such a high ISO still giving a sharp image.

JimB said...

-2, -1 etc are exposure compensation values--I shoot in aperature priority and adjust exposure comp manually. To do HDR one shoudl use photoshop cs5 or photomatix to combine multiple shots of one scene

Thanks for comments


Friend of HK said...

Beautiful scenery and lovely wildlife! So different from Hong Kong, where I live!