Photos By Meta - Boone NC Commercial Photograhers and Website Photographers

Photos By Meta – Learn Meta’s Camera Settings and Digital Photography Methods for Various Situations

Meta’s Camera Settings and Methods

In this section, you’ll Learn Meta’s Camera Settings and Digital Photography Methods! Many Professional Photographers, like Meta, are often asked what Camera Settings and Digital Photography Methods they use to capture various situations, for shooting:

Hummingbirds

Macro Photography

Fireworks

Whale Watching

Sporting Events

Waterfalls

Sunsets


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Meta’s Camera Settings and Photography Methods

Photos By Meta - How To Shoot Hummingbirds
How To Shoot Hummingbirds – 1/4000th No Flash

How to Shoot Hummingbirds – Meta’s Hummingbird Camera Settings and Methods

Serious Nature Photographers, like Meta, want their Hummingbird wings frozen, not blurred, which requires some high speed photography techniques. Hummingbirds beat their about 200 times per second, which makes this difficult.

Meta’s Sony a77 II Camera can shoot up to 1/8000th of a second, but at that high speed, the amount of light is greatly reduced, requiring wide open apertures of f/1.4 or f/2.8 (reduced depth of field) and a much higher ISO (more added noise). If you have enough direct sunlight, you can get lucky and freeze the hummingbird’s wings (Photo: Left). This photo was shot at 1/4000th of a second in direct sunlight, using Meta’s older Sony a65 Camera. This shutter speed was fast enough to freeze the hummingbird wings in direct sunlight, but the photo was as not as colorful as the photo taken below.

Photos By Meta - How To Shoot Hummingbirds
How To Shoot Hummingbirds – 1/250th 3 Flashes
There is a much better way to shoot hummingbirds and still freeze their wings, using a Reduced Flash Power Technique and Multiple Sony HVL-F43M Flashes. This technique uses the high speed of the flash to freeze the wings, rather than the high shutter speed of the camera. The shutter speed used is only the native 1/250th of a second (Photo: Left).

The Secret to the Reduced Flash Power Technique is to reduce the power of all the multiple flashes down to only 1/16th power level, which fires the multiple flashes at about 1/16,000th of a second, which is fast enough to freeze the Hummingbird wings. The multiple flashes also light up the hummingbird iridescent feathers for a more colorful photo.

Since the multiple flashes are freezing the hummingbird’s wings, and not the camera’s high shutter speed, this Reduced Flash Power Technique works in full or partial shade, and never in direct sunlight.

Photos By Meta - How To Shoot Hummingbirds
How To Shoot Hummingbirds – 3 Flash Setup

Meta’s Internal Flash Method

Meta uses her Sony a77 II Camera’s Internal Flash to trigger her 3 Remote Sony HVL-F43M Flashes, positioned around her Perky Pet Red Glass Hummingbird Feeder, which are all set to 1/16th Power Level (Photo: Left).

Meta used 3M Double Sided Tape to hold the 3 Remote Sony HVL-F43M Flashes on the railing. A specially modified Perky Pet Red Glass Hummingbird Feeder was used (Photo: Left), which has 3 of the 4 feeding tubes blocked with 1/4” Rubber ClosetMaid End Caps, so the Hummingbirds can only drink on the feeding tube where the camera is focused.

Meta’s High Speed Sync Method

Meta’s three Sony HVL-F43M Flashes also support High Speed Sync Mode, so she also uses 2 Remote Sony HVL-F43M Flashes positioned on both sides of the Perky Pet Red Glass Hummingbird Feeder, on flash stands or tripods, and 1 Master Sony HVL-F43M Flash mounted on top of her Sony a77 II Camera. All of the multiple Sony HVL-F43M Flashes are set to High Speed Sync Mode, 1:1 Full Power.

High Speed Sync Mode will fire the flashes at any camera shutter speed, up to 1,8000th of a second, and is not restricted to the native flash speed of 1/250th of a second. The Sony a77 II Camera’s Internal Flash does not support High Speed Sync, so the Internal Flash is not used in this method.

Camera Equipment Used

Lens: Minolta 50mm f/1.4 Prime Lens or Sony 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens
Exposure: Manual
Focus: Manually Focus on center of the hummingbird feeder glass bottle
ISO: 100
Aperture: f/16 to f/22
Flash Power: 1/16th Power Level or High Speed Sync at Full Power

TipA Camo LensCoat RainCoat is used to protect the camera and lens from any Hummingbird pee. The Tripod is then camouflaged using an inexpensive XXL Camo Long Sleeve Shirt. Meta triggers the camera using a hard wired Remote Shutter Release attached to a 5 meter long 2.5mm Stereo Extension Cable.
Perky Pet Hummingbird Feeders in Action

Hummingbird Feeders and No Mess Hummingbird Nectar

Meta attracts the most hummingbirds with her 8 oz. Perky Pet Red Glass Hummingbird Feeder. The bright red glass attracts the hummingbirds, without the use of red dye. Meta cleans her feeder twice a week using a Baby Bottle Brush with Nipple Cleaner.

For Hummingbird Photography, Meta often modifies her Perky Pet Red Glass Hummingbird Feeder by blocking 3 of the 4 feeding tubes with 1/4” Rubber ClosetMaid End Caps, so the Hummingbirds can only feed on the 1 feeding tube, exactly where her camera is focused on. Meta’s first Hummingbirds show up in Western North Carolina Mountains around mid April, in the same spot where the Hummingbird feeder was last year, which suggests it’s the same bird.
Photos By Meta - How To Shoot Macro Photography
How To Shoot Macro Photography – 100mm Macro

How to Shoot Macro Photography – Meta’s Macro Photography Camera Settings

Meta loves Macro Photography, which involves using her Special Macro Lens, either the Sony 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens or the Sony 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens. Meta uses her 50mm for the Bee, but uses her 100mm for the Bee’s Face (Photo: Left).

Achieving a Wide Depth of Field (the area of the subject in focus) is the biggest challenge in all Macro Photography. You’ll need to stop down your Aperture to about f/11 to f/16 to Widen your Depth of Field. This smaller aperture reduces the amount of light hitting the sensor, so adding a Polaroid LED Ring Light, LED Headlight or LED Flashlight to your Macro Photography is highly recommended. Adding external lights also helps keep your ISO lower, to avoid added sensor noise.

Meta uses her Monopod with her Polaroid LED Ring Light, and slowly moves it back and forth, taking multiple shots in Burst Mode High. The Monopod is easier to use, transport and setup on Remote Hiking Trails, than a Heavy Duty Tripod.

Meta’s Macro Photography Tips – What’s In Meta’s Macro Photography Field Kit Bag

Meta’s Macro Photography Field Kit Bag consists of a small App House 8 Pouch, (Photo: Left) which perfectly holds her Polaroid LED Ring Light, plus all of her Macro Photography Supplies and Extra Energizer Lithium Batteries listed below.

The App House 8 Pouch can attach to Meta’s Digital Holster 20 Bag, Cotton Carrier Harness or Think Tank Photo Belt. It’s a tight fit, but Meta packs in all of these Macro Photography Supplies into her App House 8 Pouch:

Classic Kids Scissors – To trim vegetation and small grass out of the way.
Small LED Flashlight – Increases Light and Wides Depth of Field.
Bens Deet Wipes – For Mountain Chiggers and Deer Ticks.
MagicFiber Lens Cloths – Keeps Your Lenses Clean.
• Morning Dew Spray – 10ml Leak Proof Spray Bottles filled with water, stored in a zip-lock snack bag.
• Extra Batteries – 6 AAA Batteries for LED Headlight – 8 AA Batteries for Polaroid LED Ring Light – 1 2032 Battery for Remote Control.

Meta’s Macro Photography Gear also Includes:

Cotton Carrier G3 Camera Harness (Photo: Left) for hands free hiking.
LED Headlight – For hands free lighting of her Macro Photography Subjects.
Monopod – For shooting Macro Photography on the Remote Hiking Trails.
Garden Knee Pads – To get down and closer to her Macro Photography Subjects.

Camera Equipment Used

Macro Lens: Sony 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens or Sony 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lens (50mm for the Bee | 100mm for the Bee’s Face)
Exposure: Aperture Priority or Manual (Aperture for Widest Depth of Field | Manual to Quickly Increase Shutter Speed for Flying Insects)
Focus: Manual (Auto Focus rarely works in Macro Photography and will be all over the place)
ISO: Try to keep your ISO under 1600 (Adding External Light will help lower your ISO for less sensor noise)
Aperture: f/11 to f/16 for the Widest Depth of Field
Shutter Speed – 1/125th to 1/250th of a Second – Use a Sony Remote Shutter Control. (Use 1/1000th of a second for Flying Insects)
Shutter Mode: Burst Mode – High (Get as many photos as quickly as possible)
Filter: UV Filter
Photos By Meta - How To Shoot Fireworks
How To Shoot Fireworks

How to Shoot Fireworks – Meta’s Fireworks Camera Settings and Methods

Shooting Fireworks involves guessing where the fireworks will appear, and setting up to shoot in that location. You have two options to decide upon – Freeze the Shot Hand Held or use Long Exposure on a Tripod. If you use a Tripod, use a Remote Shutter Release for stable results.

Camera Equipment Used

Lens: Minolta 50mm f/1.4 Prime Lens
Exposure: Manual
Focus: Manual to Infinity
ISO: 100
Aperture: f/5.6 to f/8

Long Exposure Shutter Speed – 6 Seconds to 12 Seconds with MFNR Turned On
Filter: ND8 to Avoid Over Saturation.

Hand Held Shutter Speed – 1/125th to 1/250th of a Second.
Photos By Meta - How To Shoot Whales
Whale Watching off Santa Barbara, CA, 300mm

How to Shoot Whales – Meta’s Whale Watching Camera Settings and Methods

Shooting Whales at the end of March from the Condor Express Whale Watching Boat off Santa Barbara, California, has a lot of factors to consider and plan ahead for. Once you’re on the whale watching boat, you can’t go back for anything you left behind at the dock. You’ll have the vibration of the boat’s engines to deal with, the constant up and down motion of the sea, salt water spray on your camera and lens, possible sea sickness, and then the sudden appearance of whales, which require a fast shutter speed (1/1,500–1/2,000th of a second) to freeze all of the whale action.

Meta doesn’t recommend bringing your expensive 70–200mm f/2.8 white lens on board, due to the potential of getting splashed with salt spray, which can easily destroy the lens. Instead, she used her inexpensive Minolta 75–300mm f/4.5–5.6 Lens, (Big Beer Can Lens) set at 300mm, protected with a LensCoat RainCoat.

Camera Equipment Used

Lens: Minolta 75–300mm f/4.5–5.6 Lens. Whale Watching Boats in the U.S. have to stay back 200 feet.
Exposure: M Mode.
Focus: Automatic on Center Spot.
ISO: Auto ISO to quickly and automatically adjust when switching to faster shutter speeds.
Aperture: f/5.6 to f/8.
Shooting Mode: Burst Mode at 10 to 12 fps to capture all of the action.
Shutter Speed: Hand Held at 1/1500th to 1/2000th of a second to freeze any action and to avoid blurred shots.
Filter: Circular Polarizer helps to cut the sun glare and to see below the surface of the ocean.
Camera Gear: Meta wears her G3 Cotton Carrier Harness in Camo to keep her hands free.
Camera and Lens Protection: A LensCoat RainCoat can protect your camera and lens from sea spray..
Photos By Meta - How To Sporting Events
1/4000th of a second, ISO 4000, f/4.0, 200mm

How to Shoot Sporting Events – Meta’s Baseball Camera Settings and Methods

Shooting sporting events, like baseball games, depends a lot on your seating location, camera angle, plus obstructions, like the chain link safety fence. These baseball shots were taken high up over 3rd base with a Vintage Minolta 70–210mm f/4.0 Lens “Beer Can” Lens, but were able to get these great home plate stop action shots, freezing a 100mph baseball in mid air!

Camera Equipment Used

Lens: Minolta 70–210mm f/4.0 Lens.
Aperture: f/5.6 to f/8.
Exposure: M Mode.
Focus: Manual Focus with Focus Peaking Enabled.
ISO: Auto ISO to quickly and automatically adjust when switching to faster shutter speeds.
Shutter Speed: 1/2000 to 1/4000th of a second.
Photos By Meta - How To Shoot Waterfalls
How To Shoot Waterfalls

How to Shoot Waterfalls – Meta’s Waterfalls Camera Settings and Methods

Shooting silky smooth waterfalls usually involves Long Exposures with a Neutral Density Filter, to avoid over saturation. To determine the correct shutter speed, Meta often counts how long the water takes to cover the distance of the shot, and then uses this for her exposure time. Typically 2 to 4 seconds works very well for most small waterfalls. Always use a Tripod with a Remote Shutter Release for stable results.

Camera Equipment Used

Lens: Minolta 24mm f/2.8 Prime Lens or Minolta 50mm f/1.4 Prime Lens
Exposure: Manual
Focus: Manually Focus on the side Rocks or Trees that are not moving
ISO: 100
Aperture: f/11 to f/16
Shutter Speed: 2 to 4 Seconds
Filter: ND8 Filter to Avoid Over Saturation During the Long Exposure
Photos By Meta - HDR Photography
Aurora HDR Photography – Standard vs. HDR

How to Shoot Sunsets – Meta’s Sunsets Camera Settings and Methods

High Dynamic Range Photography or HDR Photography works for High Contrast Photos, such as Sunsets and Sunrises. HDR Photography involves taking 5 bracketed shots, at various shutter speeds, then using special post production software, such as Aurora HDR. Always use a Tripod with a Remote Shutter Release for stable results.

Camera Equipment Used

Lens: Minolta 50mm f/1.4 Prime Lens
Exposure: Manual
Focus: Manually Focus
ISO: 100
Aperture: f/16 to f/22
Filter: ND4 Filter to Avoid Over Saturation During the Sunset

See Meta’s HDR Photography Section for her HDR Camera Settings.

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Contact Meta Gätschenberger

Photos By Meta

Boone NC Commercial Photographers
PO Box 1571
Blowing Rock, NC 28605
1-828-265-2730

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Photos By Meta - Boone NC Commercial Photographers and Website Photographers

Website Photos Courtesy of Meta Gätschenberger, Award Winning North Carolina Nature Photographer.

Photos By Meta

Meta Gätschenberger is an Award Winning Photographer from Blowing Rock, NC. Visit Meta’s Photo Gallery at Photos by Meta.
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