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Wildlife Photography Using a Laser Trigger

Wildlife Photography Using a Laser Trigger

Hi, this is Jay P. Morgan. Today on The Slanted
Lens we’re going to photograph wild animals with our laser trigger with MIOPS. Wild, ferocious
animals. So stick with us, see what we got. [MUSIC] The business coaching class is starting once
again. Sign-up for our free call, it’s March third. Get on with us. Spend an hour and a
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today. [MUSIC] So the wild crazy creatures we’re about
to photograph… are hummingbirds. I’ve been wanting to take pictures of hummingbirds
for a long time. Don’t judge. So I set everything up to be able to make it happen. The first
thing I needed was hummingbirds. I put a hummingbird feeder just outside the window here in my
kitchen. We’re remodeling this kitchen so I can kind of do whatever I want in here right
now. Secondly, I realized that the birds were all around this thing, and not where I wanted
them. I wanted them in one place. So I taped off the other two holes in the feeder so there
was only one hole they would come to feed at. And that made it perfect. They were right
where I wanted them so I could photograph them. Now let’s take a look at our camera setup.
We’ve got a Mark III inside the house, with a 90mm macro lens. It’s that Tamron 2.8
macro lens. Very sharp lens, great lens. So we put that inside, leaned the camera in with
the tripod, so it’s close to the window. Now we put our laser outside on the lawn.
It’s about ten feet away, and it’s having to go through the glass, which is not a problem.
And we aimed that right at the laser trigger. The first time we did it we aimed it straight
at the laser trigger. And the birds are coming in underneath it. And we’re realizing, well
we’ve got to get that laser so it’s going to cross the path where the birds come in
to feed. As we lowered the laser outside, that path got lower and lower in to where
that laser went straight through the spot where the birds were coming in to feed and
then they would fire our trigger every time. So it’s important to get that laser in the
right place. So camera inside, laser outside, we’re ready
to start shooting. But in the background I’ve got these big white blurbs that I didn’t
want. So we cut some branches off from a tree. Brought them in on c-stands, kind of covered
up one of the blurbs. Then we had a — a production vehicle back there. We put branches on top
of that. And now we’ve got nice, soft foliage colors all through the shot. And it looked
very pretty. So it’s just a matter of dressing that frame. Very easy to do. So now let’s take a look at our light. Very
simple lighting. We’re exposing for outside. Because that’s my whole background, is just
outside. But then the bird’s very dark. So I brought a vector light inside- an LED.
Brought that up really close to the window, put it on the right power setting to give
us a nice kind of balance on light so it opens up the bird and makes it look nice up front.
By exposing for the background then bringing our vector light in, to kind of brighten up
the bird, it gives us a nice balance and we’re ready to shoot. But let’s talk about the
camera settings. And that’s the next thing. Camera settings. I set my ISO at 1250. I set
it at 1250 because I really needed depth of field for the bird, and secondly shutter speed,
to try and stop the bird. I first started at a 50th of a second at 7.1 because I thought
well I need a lot of depth at field for that bird, he’s moving around. Problem is he’s
moving around so fast it was hard to get anything that was very sharp. But I did actually, the
image I used with this was one of those shot at 50th of a second 7.1. But it really worked
out better when I went to 500th of a second at 4.5. Now I have not as much depth of field,
but the shutter is going to stop the bird a little better. These birds are moving so
fast that the shutter’s not going to stop them. But a 500th of a second shutter is gonna
have a much better chance than a 50th of a second. So now let’s look at the MIOPS though.
The one thing we did with the MIOPS is that when the bird crossed the laser we set the
MIOPS to take seven frames. So the bird comes in, trips the laser and it just goes click,
click, click, click, click, click. It’s not a motor drive, it’s not on motor drive
mode. It’s just the camera’s shooting as fast as it can. One, two, three, four.
So you get the bird moving around. And they kind of stay for a minute or two as they kind
of hover in there. And so they just click, click, click, click, click when they do those,
uh, seven different shots. So the nice thing about this setup is that
I don’t have to stand here all day to try to get these photographs. I’m gonna go back
and work at my desk and every so often I’ll hear the click, click, click of the shutter
going off and I know I’m getting more birds. So that’s the nice thing about this setup.
So we’re going to let this sit today. See the shots we get. I’ll check in every so
often just to see what it looks like. But in the end we’ll look through those, find
the best one, take that in to Photoshop and do some editing. It’s been awhile since
I’ve calibrated my monitor. So before I get started on these images I’m going to
calibrate my monitor with my Datacolor Spyder5PRO. That’ll give me confidence that the color
is going to be correct and the images are going to look right. Alright so I’ve picked
my favorite image in Bridge and brought it into Photoshop so it opened up here in Camera
Raw. Several things that are going on here. We don’t need this laser, obviously, got
to get rid of that. And its kind of — the color’s a little pasty. SO we’re going
to do a couple of things to it. First off is, I’m going to start by pushing our blacks
just a little bit. I’m gonna bring them back, almost twenty, eh, about twenty-eight.
That’s gonna give us a nicer look there. Somewhere in there. The birds feels a little–
has a little more presence there. Looks really nice. I’m now going to take my clarity,
I’m gonna kick the clarity up just a little bit. I’m going go up to about 14 to 15 is
usually here I start out. Whereas the feathers are gonna start to feel nice. And it’s gonna
give us a nice sense of the, uh, the birds feathers. That clarity really does a nice
job for any kind of detail like that. And our vibrance now–. Our background is really
boring. I mean if we kick our vibrance up. Get it up into thirty-four. You know, we now
have a nice vibrant background with our bird. It looks really nice. We’re losing a lot
of his wings. We’re gonna have to do something about that. We can kick our saturation up
just a little bit. Maybe to like, 14, 15. No, way too much. Bring it back into about
14 I think it’ll look really nice. So now we’ve got a nice saturated image. I’m
now gonna go up here. And I’m gonna take the — and I love doing this. I do it in a
lot of my images. But I’m going to take the gradation here and I’m gonna take gradation
from the top and I’m just gonna gradate that top. So we get a little darker at the
top and it to a little lighter at the bottom. And so I’ll play with that a little bit
and just see where I like that. You know as far make sure we’re leveling the top. There
we go. I mean, we can take — pull this thing way down but it’s gonna get in front of
our bird and start to darken his head. So I’m gonna bring it back up and just let
it start to darken then top. Now when I’m in this layer I can look at that exposure
and I can make that either bright or darker. Depending on what I want to do with it. So
I’ll find a spot where I feel like it’s comfortable. It’s going to — to work with
what we have, uh, below. And now make it too, stand out too much. It’s pretty bright right
now. So I’m gonna bring it back just a little bit here. And exposure comes down just a little
bit. That just gives a nice little something on the top. So we’re gonna go back to our
image now. And I’m feeling like we’ve got something going there. It’s no– nice
gradation there’s some things we’re gonna want to do. I’m gonna open it in Photoshop,
take care of those. First off in Photoshop we would definitely go here to over, underneath
the pa– and use the patch tool. I’ll just get rid of this whole mess right here with
the Patch tool. Circle that. Gives me an outline. As I move it over it’s gonna move it over
and get rid of all that stuff. I’m gonna decide what I want to have there. And deselect
command-d. And it’s kind of got rid of that corner. Everything’s so mottled anyway that
it kind of, uh, it just blends in. It’s pretty nice. I’m gonna leave that one ‘cause
I think I’m okay with it. Uh, it’s not too bad. But now our laser thing here. I can
try the patch tool on the laser. Uh, it’s gonna do some there. But it’s g– also gonna
leave a red kind of, uh, kind of glow around it if I’m not careful. Let’s try that
and just see what we get. If I go towards the wing, I’m now gonna be using the wing
area and I’m gonna want to line those lines up as much as I can so that it feels comfortable
in there. Let’s just see what that looks like. It’s not terrible but I see a little
bit of that red glow around it. I’m gonna want to take and just go in and play with
that a little bit here. So I’ll probably go up underneath the clone stamp tool and
I’m just gonna take and just lightly probably about 30%. I’m gonna just go in and I’m
gonna just give me a little bit–. Take some of that red out with that tool. There’s
a little bit of red in it but there’s a little bit of red in here as well. The bird
has some of that in his wings you can see it kind of going through. So that looks very
nice. Okay so the last thing I’m gonna do with this image is I’m going to create a
curves adjustment layer. So I’m going come over here and create a curves adjustment.
Gonne come up in my little box here. I’m gonna pull this down a little bit. Make it
a little darker. That’s nice. I’m now gonna click and the curve’s layer, command-I
we’ll go to black. So now I’m going to start to paint black in. I’m just — I’m
going to take my opacity. If it’s at 100% I would bring it down to about 60%. I don’t
want to use too much. I’m just gonna slowly paint in this wing. Just make it a little
bit darker. And try to do nice smooth, all the way out. Some of that in there. It just
starts to define the wings just a little better. Looks, uh, looks a lot nicer. So there’s
our image of a hummingbird. Let’s take a look at it full screen. So this was fabulous. I learned a couple of
things. Those settings, I didn’t need as much depth of field as I thought I did. But
I needed a faster shutter. This kind of reminds me of a poem. And, well, you’ll know the
artist. And you’ll recognize it. Because you’ve probably all heard it several times.
“A little birdie came tapping, tap, tap, tapping at my windowsill. I coaxed him in
with crumbs of bread. And then I smashed his little head.” So on that note, keep those
cameras rollin’, keep on clickin’. The Slanted Lens business coaching class is
back. People have been asking me, “When are you gonna do it again?” Well it’s
time, we’re gonna start. March 3rd. Get on our free call, it’s an hour and a half
free call. We’re gonna teach you the daily routine for success and then we’re gonna
get ourselves started. We’re gonna grow our businesses. So it’s back. The Slanted
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1 thought on “Wildlife Photography Using a Laser Trigger”

  1. Be sure to prune your trees and cover up your trailer to get a snapshot of a hummingbird. Way too much effort went into this.

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