Photo of the Day: Prairie Dogs

I spent a hot afternoon at San Francisco Zoo today, and seeing these little Prairie Dogs was the best part of my day.  Due to the heat, most of the Zoo's animals were resting in the shade, but not these guys.

These two were hanging out sharing their bits of straw.

Well worth the visit in the heat!

This was shot at ISO 800, 80mm, f/5 at 1/800 sec on my 75-300mm lens.

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Hummingbird Photography

These tiny little hummingbirds are trying to make me go crazy! I think they are succeeding too, because despite all these shots I am still not entirely happy.IMG_2231

I have become kind of obsessed with photographing them, and my sole purpose at the moment is to get a perfect clear shot of one of these tiny speeding humming birds in flight with all their beautiful colour showing.

How amazing is the colour in this one!IMG_2428

I am starting to feel like capturing both flight and colour is impossible! I just spent 2 hours in the garden trying to achieve this with no luck.

I have been testing out my lenses and different settings and haven't quite got it right yet.

Most of these shots were taken with my 75-300mm lens on Shutter Priority at 1/1000 -1/1600, ISO 800 in full sun. Despite these tiny birds being the fastest I have ever seen, I think my long lens is the culprit. Its quite difficult to keep the lens still enough to get a shot of a moving object.

Anyway, I still have a week left here in Oakland, so I'm not giving up yet!

Wish me luck!IMG_2188

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While I was patiently sitting and waiting in the hot sun to get the perfect shot, Jasper was stealing my water.. IMG_2423

5 Steps for Perfect Action Shots

Today's post is a quick tutorial on how to take action shots with your Canon dSLR. It can be really frustrating when you take photo's of your pets (or any fast moving object) and you think you have gotten an  awesome sharp shot, then you open it and find it all blurry!

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Here's 5 steps for sharp action shots

Before you do any of these steps make sure you and your subject are in bright sunlight (or bright overcast light like I was today). You won't be able to use high shutter speeds in low lit cloudy/rainy conditions.

1. Switch your camera on and turn the mode dial to Tv (shutter Priority)

You want to control the shutter speed here, but the camera will take care of everything else in this mode

2. Set the shutter speed to 1/1000

At this speed your camera should be able to capture your fast moving subject with no blur

3. Switch your AF mode (you will find AF button on back of camera) from One Shot to AI Servo

Turning on AI Servo will automatically continue to focus on moving objects

4. Set ISO to 100

ISO 100 will make your camera less sensitive but will also capture images with minimal noise

5. Make sure your cameras focus point is in the middle

There you go! 5 steps for sharp action shots.

The shot above was taken with exactly these settings and the dogs were running fast!

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