Went out on my first Photography Field Trip with the Nature Photography club – it was to Orana Park, our local Wild Animal Park. And I decided to take my tripod as it was a howling norwester and I thought I might need the support and I could do with the practice.
Had a great time, got to meet some lovely people (I had only been to a couple of meetings so only knew the lady who organised it of all the people there) and I think I got some nice shots (still processing them in LR2). And I learnt lots on the trip as well!
Here are the things I managed to get right 🙂
– dressed for the occasion with good footwear
– bought sunscreen and a hat and remember to apply
– bought camera with memory card and tripod
– got there mostly on time
Here are the things I need to learn from:
– take a bottle of water in my backpack on a hot sunny windy day! – luckily there were water fountains here and there, but this was a silly thing to forget
– take a tighter fitting hat with less brim on a windy day – mine kept flying off and I nearly lost it into a pond a couple of times – the tripod was a handy arm extension to pin it down and grab it
– take tripod out of carry bag and leave bag in the car – the bag is just a bit big to fit in the top of my backpack and then its unecessary weight
– buy a monopod – much easier for walking around with – doesn’t give the same level of stability, but for what I was getting it would have done the job nicely
– remember to use the Manual Focus option on your lens in situations that require it – like trying to focus on a lioness thru fence wire
– one of the NP ladies who walked around with me for a bit gave me the above advice and also showed me how to easily change the type of focus method my camera uses – REALLY useful tip I had not got around to discovering for myself
– put the tripod BH lock knob on the left hand side of the tripod – you are probably using your right hand to focus with the camera, and this makes it LOTS easier to move and focus quickly
– REMEMBER TO LOCK THE HEAD BEFORE LETTING GO OF THE CAMERA!!! or your camera does the heart stopping flop forward and if you are extra lucky like me, crushes your finger by falling on it !
– when camera is on tripod remove neckstrap around neck – could be disastrous if you forget its there and step away from the tripod (I didnt do this, but I was > < this far away from it before I realised what could happen)
– shooting on a hot blustery windy day is hard work and tiring. Eat a good breakfast beforehand. I didnt and by 1ish I was so tired I came straight home and had a nap. Was possibly a little dehydrated as well *sigh*
– put camera height a little lower on tripod so you can see the screen on the top easily
– CHECK CAMERA SETTINGS ON GETTING IT OUT AND TURNING ON FIRST THING – I didn't do this and its a useful thing I had read somewhere as good practice, and I learned the hard way why on this shoot as I didn't do the check, and I ended up shooting in Av mode with ISO 1000 – not a *major* issue but all my pix are much grainier than they needed to be because I forgot this first step.
Other good things I got out of the day:
– I totally adore my 70-200mm F4 IS lens, its fantastic, and not at all too heavy to carry around for a couple of hours walking
– if you stand on tippy toe and lean allllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll the way forward, you can stretch out from the first barrier, and rest your lens hood on the top of the glass walls of the meerkat enclosure and get the shot of the meerkat that you otherwise wouldn’t have got as the glass was in the way – probably works for the otter enclosure as well, and Im sure you aren’t sposed to
– I found the gibbons/monkeys fairly uninteresting – and the endless hooting from one of the gibbon family was *incredibly* loud and annoying – I felt sorry for the staff having to put up with that on a daily basis
– if you wait until after the immediate excitement of an animal feed, everyone else departs for more exciting areas, and you get LOTS more space and time to take photos without tripping over children and prams, tho I did find that asking politely before setting up and taking up space meant I had no issues (that I was aware of)
– the ducks were incredibly used to humans – not tame so much as habituated, one of them jumped up on the lunch table next to ours and took a bite out of the sandwich of the lady while she was trying to eat out of it herself, and I have some fabulous pix of this – it hung around long enough for us to laugh and point and then a couple of us grabbed our cameras.
– be patient, wait just a little longer and you might just get the opportunity for a better shot
– Lightroom2 is really cool but *quite* involved – I am currently fumbling my way through it, starting with the pix I took on this field trip, so a photo post is coming but might take me a few days. Probably followed up by a series of Lightroom2 posts as I begin to figure it out – but I have a sekrit weapon! Scott Kelby LR2 book which is so far an excellent resource, and Im really glad I bought it!
So far I have setup a catalog, and a collection, and learned out to pick out keepers and rejects and how to discard the rejects and save hard drive space, and edited my first image (the meerkat above)