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Old November 22nd, 2006, 10:49 PM   #31
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Brendan,

if there was anything I dislike about my canon cameras it would have to be the focusing of them on flying birds!!
I think one should absolutely get a fu 1000 view finder (for xl2 or h1)!!! Consider it as part of the expense!! I did not and now wish I had.

If I had my druthers i would have an h1, eos adapter/ 100 400 lens
I would have a rons rail, rons sight, top shelf triopod, The usal nicities. that would make up about your 20 grand!!
would likly need a loan for petrol to go filming then!
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Old November 23rd, 2006, 05:40 AM   #32
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[QUOTE=Dale Guthormsen]Brendan,

if there was anything I dislike about my canon cameras it would have to be the focusing of them on flying birds!!
I think one should absolutely get a fu 1000 view finder (for xl2 or h1)!!! Consider it as part of the expense!! I did not and now wish I had.

I have yet to see a fu 100 viewfinder but so far, Dale, you are coming up with answers I am looking for ...

If I had my druthers i would have an h1, eos adapter/ 100 400 lens

Again I believe you though I'm not attracted by the weight of XLH1

I would have a rons rail, rons sight, top shelf triopod,

Here's where I see serious limitations to my hopes of shooting birds in flight. Ronsrail (or Don DesJardin's equivalent) is probably the greatest thing for ensuring rocksteady footage of horizontal flight and I do need that, but the birds don't give a damn, they fly from all angles and at all angles. The mainly horizontal field of view permitted by the ronsrail is suited to sports where the participants are on a fixed horizon ... the law of gravity has ways of keeping all athletes/horses/polar bears/waterfowl etc near the floor... even in clips of golf footage when we see the ball flying through the air the flight path is usually predictable at pro level.

Please tell me I'm all wrong and that ronsrail works on a spring platform that means I can shoot the bird gliding gracefully over my head without falling slowly backwards (& probably falling sideways at the same time) ??


I would love to hear more on this last point hoping others would be interested as well ... I just don't want to settle for fixing "big cam with super lens on immovable tripod + extensions" and wait for the birds to return to a favourite perch or nest ... why? ... because some of the most beautiful images of birds in action are lost; we're failing to get the better messages across; we fill our screens with horizontal vistas, images, interviews, soundtracks, post-production, graphics ... might as well be watching humanoids on telly ...
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Old November 23rd, 2006, 11:42 AM   #33
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Brendan,

I spent a month in Costa Rica in '92 with my Canon L1 (Hi8)with 2x extender, so I was up in the 1500mm (equivalent) range. I must say that the difficulty in capturing those awesome moments where lighting, composition and (the animals) cooperation come together are why we do it.

If it was easy... it wouldn't be so special when it does come together.

Incidentally, I am going back to CR in January for a month. I'll be taking the H1 this time. I'm just waiting for my EF adapter. I have a 70-300 4-5.6 EF lens

In '92 I opted for a lighter tripod. This time I'll take my Manfrotto 503/525. Also this time around I'll spend a lot more time on audio.
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Old November 23rd, 2006, 09:34 PM   #34
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Ken,

Curiously, when you say more time working on audio, ae you taking a recorder and a shootgun or a small dish type mic? or just turning up your good mic?
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Old November 24th, 2006, 12:38 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Guthormsen
Ken,

Curiously, when you say more time working on audio, ae you taking a recorder and a shootgun or a small dish type mic? or just turning up your good mic?
Shotgun Senn ME66 25' of XLR cable
Wireless Senn G2 (might pre-mic a popular bird hangout) I can also use both and mix the two.

I would like to bring a parabolic dish, but I doubt it.

Anything is better than an on camera mic. Last time I made a 27 minute doc, and I consitently heard that people (esp birders) wanted to hear bird calls etc. Camera lens = 2000mm while the camera mic reaches about 20 feet.

The audio in a tropical rainforest can be very intense, especially at night.
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Old November 24th, 2006, 04:04 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Diewert

... the difficulty in capturing those awesome moments where lighting, composition and (the animals) cooperation come together are why we do it.

If it was easy... it wouldn't be so special when it does come together.

Incidentally, I am going back to CR in January for a month. I'll be taking the H1 this time. I'm just waiting for my EF adapter. I have a 70-300 4-5.6 EF lens

In '92 I opted for a lighter tripod. This time I'll take my Manfrotto 503/525. Also this time around I'll spend a lot more time on audio.
If I was not a bird-watcher I would have no idea of and presumably no interest in videoing big birds in flight ... but having spent happy hours studying wing control (quite unknown to NASA) and plumage detail at speed through very good glass I would like to share those many "awesome moments" with everyone ... all help would be appreciated.

Ken, I look forward to any specific comments from experience with your Manfrotto, for example, Have you already made up your mind not to pan or tilt in the dim light of the rainforest? What's Manfrotto like for pan or tilt away form the rainforest? How little of the time do you expect to handhold the XLH1? And between ourselves, isn't it a fact that your just scooting off to CR to make us all drool with envy? Seriously I'm half-thinking of going to CR sometime soon and I would also be thankful to hear about birding sites and modest accommodation in any remote areas you visit ?
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Old November 24th, 2006, 11:58 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendan Marnell
If I was not a bird-watcher I would have no idea of and presumably no interest in videoing big birds in flight ... but having spent happy hours studying wing control (quite unknown to NASA) and plumage detail at speed through very good glass I would like to share those many "awesome moments" with everyone ... all help would be appreciated.

Ken, I look forward to any specific comments from experience with your Manfrotto, for example, Have you already made up your mind not to pan or tilt in the dim light of the rainforest? What's Manfrotto like for pan or tilt away form the rainforest? How little of the time do you expect to handhold the XLH1? And between ourselves, isn't it a fact that your just scooting off to CR to make us all drool with envy? Seriously I'm half-thinking of going to CR sometime soon and I would also be thankful to hear about birding sites and modest accommodation in any remote areas you visit ?
Brendan,

I live on the Wet Coast of Canada. The wet is OK but this time of year it doesn't get much over +10 C. Though born here, I spent 7 years on the North Island of New Zealand, so I'm a bit of a sissy in the cold. The trip is really a family vacation. My wife and I have a 10-year old son (kind of a Steve Irwin jr) and a 3-year old daughter. That's why we scouted a particular beach village where we will pretty much stay the entire time. They have a bird count near the village of 300 or more, as well as abundant wildlife (monkeys, gators etc), and one of the most importantant turtle nesting beaches in the world. Also for the non-squeamish, the insect life is simply amazing.


Re: the Manfrotto, I have the 525 legs with the 503 head. The head is the ball type (so you can quickly swivel it to level), As long as your frictions are set right it is very good. I have a bad habit of tightening it to lock more often then I should, so then when I return to pan/tilt, I have to tweak the tensions to set them right again. One caveat, the 503 head has an annoying habit of the screws underneath it loosening. It's a simple fix but it requires removing the head from the legs and tightening the slotted screws with a small screwdriver.

For the cost, weight, portability, stability, I've been happy set up. I will really see how it works when we put the EF 70-300 on. That put's it at a little over 2100mm in full zoom. As Jacques mentioned earlier, that focal length (2100mm) is really only usable when a bird is perched, preening, or feeding. I would expect some beautiful shallow DOF with it though.

I have the dual rear battery mounts which adds weight to the rear of the camera and balances it nicely (on both the tripod and my shoulder). I have shot some very reasonable footage from my shoulder, though for anything othan full wide, a tripod is far better to use. I don't know if it's the HD or the wide screen, but I find any camera movement is more noticeable with this cam when playing back. Maybe that's just me.

I have rarely seen dim light in the tropical rainforest. On the contrary, I find that you need the filtration from the canopy to offset the harsh tropical light, especially near midday. Of the 27 miutes that I finished with the last time I went, 90% of it was shot from 5am to 7am or in the fading light of the evening. Another point, based on my experience, I saw far more birds on the outside edges of the forest than actually inside the forest. The canopy is where the action is. From inside the jungle you would have to shoot straight up. Ideally you find a ridgeline (or clearing) of a falling slope, which puts the canopy near eyelevel. Now that puts you in the full sun, that's why midday 9am-4pm is pretty much a write-off, unless you can find some interesting stuff in under the canopy.
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