Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cormorant Camera Challenge

CormorantWell, I was able to test my newest camera settings yesterday, and I had quite a bit of success. I decided to go to the smallest nature park, so that my trip wouldn't have to be as long. If the new settings were messed up, I wanted to find out before I had too many pictures.

The main thing I changed this time was the ISO setting. Before the ISO was set to 400. That was much too high for getting anything I needed to use the zoom. It gave all of my pictures an awful grainy look. So I changed the ISO down to 200 and lower. The camera decided what was appropriate, but never went over 200.

That seemed to do the trick of fixing the graininess! I'm now very close to what I want from the camera. The colors are good now. There is no blur or graininess. But I do have one problem still. The lighting is too glaring for me. I think I need to turn down the contrast a little bit. It actually looked like that outside yesterday, but I want the light to be less harsh. I'll give details of my settings when I get it all fixed.

CormorantOkay, on to the story of this bird in the pictures here. When I got to the park yesterday I saw that one of the two Cormorants had come back. As a matter of fact this one has been there for the past three days. The other one only shows up some of the time.

I have run through this park like a crazy person three times now so I could get every angle possible for pictures of this cormorant. I took this shot above from the fishing platform. That was the easy one. All I had to do was go down the walkway and then calmly take a few pictures.

After I was done there, I ran back up the walkway like a madman. I hurried through the park, ignoring everything else, until I found an old deer trail that leads down a hill to the water. I had to crash through several bushes, and I almost fell in the water. It's deep even by the shore. I finally balanced myself against a tree so I could get the pictures of this bird.

CormorantYou might notice white specks in every one of my pictures today. They are those flying fuzzballs with the seeds on the ends. Those things were everywhere the last few days. I tried to get a shot of them a few days ago. They were so thick that they looked like a cloud. The camera decided it had other plans.

This is something else I learned. The automatic mode, where I can get several pictures in a row very quickly, wasn't moving quickly at all. I was beginning to think there was something else wrong with the camera. There was! It was actually the memory card.

The camera manual said to do a low level format on it. That did the trick! Now it's as fast as ever. It was just clogged up with old junk. I always delete pictures off of it when I transfer them to the computer, but I didn't know to do this. I guess that's a good lesson for anyone. Do a low level format on the memory card every once in awhile.

Enough for today! My camera adventure is going great so far. Pretty soon I hope to come to an exciting conclusion with it.


  1. I'm going to test out the ISO setting on my little camera..

    (Giggle a bit at the part when you almost fell in the water. didn't know that!)

    Beautiful pictures of cormorants!

  2. It is interesting to follow you thrugh the picture shooting session. I shall better wear short pant next time.

    (The trick on low format may help solving my problem too).

  3. I actually have never done the low level format, but I sometimes do format my memory card again after deleting all the pictures, I just thought it may help to have a newly formatted memory card :) . thanks for these information you shared. i too am experimenting with my shots, i usually do not increase my ISO since like you, it gives me grainy picture, unless i do not have tripod and it is really very low light, then, i increase ISO while decreasing shutter speed and exposure enough for me to handle without shaking just to keep the memory with me.

  4. Ratty: I will try putting my ISO to 200 to see if it changes what I don't like in my photos, too...I will give you feedback if it changes for me...thanks for the tip!
    I just tried changing my shutter speed on my camera to catch a hummingbird in worked! I will be posting them tomorrow!

  5. Icy BC - The ISO settings work great for me so far. I got some of my best pictures today.

    The funniest thing about me almost falling in the water is that I can't swim well, and I'm terrified of the water. :D
    It was worth it for the pictures though.

    Rainfield - My newest camera settings are working great now. I'll give a good update after testing them for a few days.

    The format thing is working great for me too.

    Betchai - You got the format idea right from the beginning. :)
    Low light and other lighting problems are the only things I have left to correct now. So far this stuff is working great for me.

    The Retired One - So far ISO 200 is working well for my camera. The important thing is to experiment whenever possible. All of our cameras will have different results. I'm glad your experiments are working.

  6. Good photos, I love the cormorants such interesting birds.

    I love to experiment with the camera as much as possible. My latest obsession is macro and just recently B&W.
    Have a great rest of the weekend,

  7. SquirrelQueen - Macro on the camera is one of my favorite things. I've been playing with that one for a little while now.

  8. I lost a camera once by falling in the water. Fortunately it wasn't a real expensive one. Thanks for the heads up on low level format of memory card. I didn' know about that Thanks

  9. Joe Todd - That's exactly what I was worrying about, losing my camera. I got lucky to find out about the low level format.

  10. Ratty- This "story" about your camera settings is very interesting. My new camera is giving me fits and I need to learn how to make it take the pictures I want better. I'm learning some of the same things as you, but I need to work on them at home because doing it on hikes with the mosquitoes biting me is not the right place!

  11. Sharkbytes - I practiced at home with mine too. I used a stuffed Scooby Doo toy that I put in another room, and zoomed the camera in to it. It actually helped a lot. I got most of my sttings that way. My settings are far from perfect yet, but they are the best I've ever had them.