Bad weather does not necessarily mean bad photos

Friday, March 5, 2004 — St. Adrian of Batanea
Updated on December 8, 2022

Maybe somebody put the spell on me: the latest time I have been out taking photo with decent weather was at the beginning of January. Since then, if I’m busy with my work the weather is mostly fine; if I’ve got some free time the weather is certainly bad. Anyway the serious wildlife photographer won’t be put down by this.

Nikon D100 + Nikkor 300mm ƒ/4D ED-IF AF-S @ 600 mm, 1/800 sec @ ƒ/8, -1.00 EV, ISO 500, beanbag.

Sua altezza reale (Cygnus olor).

So, today, on the shores of Lago d’Iseo, after complaining about some miserable, dull photos of greater grebes, I searched for swans — and luckily I found them. Then I searched for a perspective that gave me a dark background (the shadow of a bridge) and at last I was able to get some good photos — I even rated some as top keepers. The bright white of the swans against the dark shadow made for a high contrast, requiring just a bit of level adjusting to darken blacks, and the almost black & white look prevented the images from looking dull. Moreover the swans were pretty much tame, so I was able to do a couple of intimate portraits.

Nikon D100 + Nikkor 300mm ƒ/4D ED-IF AF-S @ 600 mm, 1/800 sec @ ƒ/8, -0.67 EV, ISO 360, beanbag.

Cigno reale (Cygnus olor).

I only had troubles with the light meter. These are the classic subjects where spot metering is the best, but I had troubles in keeping the sensor on the birds, since they was swimming quite fast; and I was so stupid that I didn’t think of getting the good exposure and lock it. So I had a few burned out photos, and on others I had to do some heavy correction in post-processing (even +1 stop). Anyway I’m pretty pleased by the results.

Nikon D100 + Nikkor 300mm ƒ/4D ED-IF AF-S @ 600 mm, 1/800 sec @ ƒ/8, -1.00 EV, ISO 320, beanbag.

Cigno reale (Cygnus olor).