March 25th, 2011

Creative Photography with Pelicans

The whole week in Greece the weather was the only disappointment. It was cold and the light was subdued: although photographing in overcast is not always bad, certainly in midday hours. Whilst I was photographing with my new and amazing zoom lens (the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L) I started playing with some other lighting technique: using flash as main light. Ambient light was bad but I set my camera to receive even less, going to a setting of EV-2. If I would take an image with this setting without flash, the image would practically turn black.

These two Dalmatian Pelicans were photographed with my new Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens at 105mm, mounted on my favorite Canon EOS 1D Mark IV: camera set at 1/200 @ f7.1 and ISO50, using a metering compensation of EV-2. On top, the Canon Speedlite 580EX II set at 0.

We used fish from the local fishermen to attract the pelicans and getting them close was not difficult. In fact, once close, they would put up quite a fight right in front of us. The image below was created by hand holding the camera just over the water’s edge.

This image was created using the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens at 28mm with the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV and the Canon Speedlite 580EX II set at 0.
Like the image above, the camera settings were 1/200 @ f/7.1 and ISO50, metering compensation set at EV-2.

Finally, when using a deliberate low shutter speed, somewhere in the range from 1/4 to 1/10 of a second, one can always try and create images with movement blurs.

As soon as a fish was thrown in the middle of a waiting group of pelicans, all of them would try and catch the fish, by jumping up high. This image was created with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens and the Canon 1.4x EF Extender II at 280mm. The exposure was set at 1/10s @ f/13 and ISO50.
Find more images from the Greece IPT here.

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