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Old May 30th, 2009, 12:48 AM   #1
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Lesser Kestrel - hovering (Vimeo)

Clip – Lesser Kestrel hovering Lesser Kestrel, Sony PMW EX3, Nikon 600 f5.6 on Vimeo

Hi all,
I do wildlife filming and use the EX3 with a few Nikon SLR lenses – mostly the Nikon 200-400 f4 AF VR, Nikon 80-200 f2.8 and the Nikon 600 f5.6 MF. The lenses are mounted on the camera via Mike Tapa’s adaptors. ( Mounts and Adaptors )
Finding the subject when using long telephoto lenses can be a bit tricky. Keep in mind that a 600mm SLR lens behaves like a 3200mm lens on the EX3 due to the crop factor. It becomes almost impossible when shooting flying or hovering birds against the sky with no other object to use as a reference.
I use two methods in order to find the subject in the viewfinder:
1. For a static object I use the two hot shoe mounts. When looking trough the two mounts I place the target in the centre, then looking through the viewfinder I move the lens up till I see the target.
This is a good way for static objects but it is not very useful for moving ones like birds in flight.

2. For a moving object I use the viewfinder. First I have to “calibrate” the viewfinder with the lens using a static object. The way to do that is to find a static object which is small enough in the frame – place it in the middle of the frame in the viewfinder and lock the fluid head. Once the object is in the middle of the frame I find it looking at it with my left eye outside the viewfinder and by moving the viewfinder up and down and to the sides I try to get the picture I see through the viewfinder with my right eye to unite with what I see outside the viewfinder with my LEFT eye. Once this was achieved I lock the viewfinder and ready to go.
Now when following a moving target like a bird in flight I first use my left eye looking at it outside the viewfinder and then my right eye through the viewfinder to get the two images unite.

I am terribly sorry for the far from elegant description – this is the best I can do with my limited English.
Please feel free to ask questions – I promise you that both techniques really work as you can see in the attached clip. I will upload another clip of a hovering Pied Kingfisher soon.
Please note that no processing was applied to the clip and it looks on Vimeo quite different than what it looks on my Mac – a bit washed out and considerably softer.

Cheers,
Ofer Levy
Ofer Levy Photography

Last edited by Ofer Levy; May 30th, 2009 at 01:28 AM.
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Old May 30th, 2009, 01:13 AM   #2
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Awesome images there Ofer. It's interesting how the bird's head seems to remain completely stationary. Nice shots mate.
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Old May 30th, 2009, 03:33 AM   #3
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Excellent shots! Congratulations.
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Old May 30th, 2009, 05:30 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Elgar View Post
Awesome images there Ofer. It's interesting how the bird's head seems to remain completely stationary. Nice shots mate.
Fantastic shots indeed, we are actually seeing something new, not just a close up.

Well done Ofer
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Old May 30th, 2009, 12:42 PM   #5
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Terrific footage of this beautiful bird, Ofer. The slight slow motion, along with the perspective of the 600 mm lens makes for very intimate footage.

Jerry
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Old May 30th, 2009, 08:02 PM   #6
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Thank you for your kind words guys!
Hi Jerry, its great to see you here !!
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Old May 31st, 2009, 02:43 AM   #7
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Fantstic!
This is difficoult. I am stuggeling with the same problem myself. Well done.
I wish I had the gyro this birds have. Watch the head of the bird in this clips. Totally still, while the body moves to compensate for the wind.
Sachtler, please make me something like this. And please make it cheap.

-arnt
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