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How take a picture of pets?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by Hugo, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. Hugo

    Hugo Mu-43 Regular

    34
    Sep 28, 2011
    I'm a new owner of Panasonic GF2 with 14mm f/2.5 lens. I’m trying to capture the moment when my rabbit is jumping in the air. I thought my 14mm should be able to take indoor pictures without using flashlight. So I set my shutter speed high and use the burst mode. Unfortunately, the pictures are extremely dark and the object is blur. I know when the shutter speed is high it won’t allow enough light to come in. but if I set it low, it won’t capture a fast moving object. The IA mode is not helping. The pet scene under the IA mode has a low shutter speed which I believe it is for standing still pets. Is there any way I can achieve this by changing the setting?

    Thanks!
     
  2. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    jumping rabbit.. indoors without a flash....forget about it.... no camera/lens will do that.

    best you can do is throw some more light on the problem.... enough to get at least a 1/500 at f2.5 but even then shutter lag and your reaction time are all fighting against you

    sorry

    K
     
  3. Bokeaji

    Bokeaji Gonzo's Dad O.*

    Aug 6, 2011
    Austin, TX
    going...

    "OMG GONZO SIT STILL! OMG NO YER NOT IN TROUBLE, STOP LOOKING SAD! OMG JUST LOOK AT THE CAMERA! NO, DONT LIIIICK THE CAMERA! UUUUUGH!!!!"

    ...is NOT how to do it... check that off yer list ;)
     
  4. s0nus

    s0nus Mu-43 Veteran

    424
    Dec 13, 2010
    Chicago
    Burst mode will definitely help with timing the shutter release.

    As Kevin mentioned, throw more light at the problem to get those shutter speeds down!
     
  5. PENpal

    PENpal Mu-43 Veteran

    384
    Feb 15, 2011
    C'mon , Mozart... one more try..Jump! P1013191.JPG
     
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  6. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA

    [ame=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCI18qAoKq4]Monty Python Bunny Scene - YouTube[/ame]

     
  7. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    Debi
    As the other posters have said, you will need more light.

    Also try increasing the ISO setting. You will be getting more noise but it might not be noticeable if all you are going to do is post the pics online. I would recommend starting with ISO 1600 and see if that helps a little. You will need to get off iA setting.
     
  8. Tom Swaman

    Tom Swaman Mu-43 Veteran

    There is an old technique for photographing active rabbits and red-eyed tree frogs in mid air. First you put the animal in the freezer. Then you attach some invisible wire and suspend the frozen animal. Then you take a hair dryer and gently sublime the surface ice from the animals fur. Then you take the photo. Then you publish this on the cover of WILD ANIMALS PRESERVED or some other appropriate journal, not LIFE, of course.

    If all else fails, I suggest you get down to the rabbits level and shoot with a focallength of between about 50mm to 100mm(mft equivalent) at about f/4 to f/5.6 and a shutter speed between about 1/800th sec. and 1/2000th sec. Shoot approximately 1500 shots on a bright sunny day between 8:00 A.M. and 10:00 A.M. or between about 1:30 P.M. and 3:00 P.M. with the sun at between about 15 degrees to 35 degrees to the crown of the rabbits nose with your focus sharp on the eye closest to you. From your effort, you may have one good sharp image if luck is on your side. Oh yes, this is where the indoors comes into play. You can view your image inside rather than outside.

    Hugo, please pardon my humor or not so humorous and I appreciate what you are trying to do. Seriously, you ought to get yourself, possibly rent a longer focal length lens than 14mm, read a whole loot on pet photography and decide whether to do yours outside in good daylight or inside with an electronic or IR-shutter tripper/light tripper. The latter might work best indoors and might give you a relatively high yield of good images. Suffice it to say, what you want to do is tricky and relatively difficult. Yes, I know from first hand experience.

    Good luck,
    Tom
     
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  9. Hugo

    Hugo Mu-43 Regular

    34
    Sep 28, 2011
    Thanks for all your responses! Now I have enough excuses to tell my wife why I can’t get better pictures after upgrading from the old point and shoot to GF2…..

    Tom:

    I though the longer the focal length = higher the F-number = less light to come in. That’s why I thought my 14mm f/2.5 may have a chance to shoot in insufficient light with higher shutter speed. Am I getting it all wrong? I’m new to DSLR so please bear with me.

    Thanks,
     
  10. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    Hugo, you are correct in your understanding of the lower the f number (the aperture....not the focal length), the more light will get in. Try putting your camera into Aperture Priority mode and set it to 2.5. Set the ISO to 1600 as Sprinke recommends and turn on some lights, open the drapes and hopefully all that will be enough to result in some shutter speeds around 1/250 (which should hopefully be fast enough to freeze the action. Then you need to time it right, too. Anticipate the shot and shoot slightly sooner than you think you need to. Burst mode will help, too. Share your winners here when you get one.
     
  11. s0nus

    s0nus Mu-43 Veteran

    424
    Dec 13, 2010
    Chicago
    Not quite. I'm also new, but this is how it was explained to me, and it clicked:

    The F number describes the width of the aperture - the variably sized hole that lets light through the back side of your lens and hit your sensor. Think of it like a valve, and light like water. You can control how much water you let through per unit time by controlling how much you open up the valve (the f-stop) AND by the duration of the time you leave it open (shutter speed). When viewed on a continuous scale, there are an infinite number of combinations of these 2 variables that will lead to the same amount of water in the tub (amount of light hitting your camera sensor). In reality, you have finite choices with most cameras for both aperture size and shutter speed. Nonetheless, there are still many combinations that can lead to the same exposure.

    The smaller the F number, the bigger your aperture (the more open your valve is), thereby letting in more light, thereby allowing you to have faster shutter speeds.

    On most less expensive zoom lenses (those that are variable focal length, allowing you to zoom in and out while you, the photographer, stands still), the largest achievable aperature is greater on the wide end of the zoom, and it gets slightly smaller on the long end. This is not true for all zoom lenses, however.

    So, in a way, you're right. For your particular lens, you're probably better off shooting wide in order to get gain those few extra stops, and ultimately shave those few fractions of a second to help freeze that image of the hopping bunny.

    I hope that helps.

    --

    Edit: Luke beat me to it.
     
  12. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    On that sensor you can punch the ISO up to 2000 and still rescue it, especially if you don't mind doing some post work (RAW is best). So try somewhere between 1600 and 2000, go shutter priority, and you might be able to underexpose a stop and adjust it afterwards too.

    A little fiddly? Yes. But it's that or turn on a damn light.
     
  13. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    Correction.....turn on SEVERAL damn lights. The reading lamp bulb that is 40 watts with a shade over it will do NOTHING.
     
  14. ssgreenley

    ssgreenley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    509
    May 12, 2011
    I've been trying to take decent photos of my rabbit since I got my epl2 in April. These are the best I've gotten and neither is great. Some advice: 1) if your rabbit is comfortable outside, you'll get better light and a more interesting background. 2) everyone else has given good advice on getting your shutter speed down, I'll add that you should manually pre-focus to where the rabbit is, as that's only going to further slow things. 3) Get low for a more interesting shot, but not too low, as your rabbit WILL run over and bite the fisheye convertor you were only trying out and planned to return!
     

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  15. Tom Swaman

    Tom Swaman Mu-43 Veteran

    Hugo,

    The reason I recommended the longer foval length was to give you what is known as working distance. You need to be able to get the light between you, the camera, and the rabbit without your shadow crossing the rabbit.
    I specifically recommended near optimum f/stops(lens aperture) to give you some reasonable depth of field and yet not cut down too much on outdoor light. You also need to gonsider the direction of travel ov the rabbit. If the rabbit is coming heas-on towards you as opposed to across the camera frame, you may be able to shoot at a slower shutter speed.
    Hugo, pet photography is what you make of it. Like most other things you make, practice makes perfect. Honestly, look at one to three good pet photo books and then practice, practice, practice. After you have seen one to three good pet photo books, you wil know more than you will need to do the rest and turn out great work that pleases you if you practice. The rest of the hundreds of pet photo books are probably not worth reading, but well worth looking through to get ideas for pictures you like and how you might want to photograph your rabbit.

    One other caution, watch out for bright lights around animals. These can get hot, spook animals, cause unwanted reflections, be hard to manage photographically and force an avoidance response from the animal. This is one of the reasons I suggested the angle you need between the rabbit and the sun loght outdoors.In my opinion you may be overall better off with outside lighting and photographing your rabbit within the confines of a portable animal pen/corral. Furthermore, you can shape the pen to force the rabbit to remain somewhat in the area you desire. Furthermore, grass green is a neutral color for both light and dark animals.

    Lastly, you have one other problem to watch when photographing small animals. These animals are often against a colored surface. Colored surfaces reflect light. This reflectance from counters, floors, etc. cast ugly, generally unwanted and often strong color casts on the animal. Depending on the picture you elect to capture you will need to develop a work around for this color cast. Yes, this can be done in PP by a good master of Photoshop, etc.

    Now Hugo, you ought to have a whole lot of ideas to consider and a long term hobby to debelop and a whole lot of fun and personal satisfaction ahead.

    Best of success, it is worth the effort,
    Tom
     
  16. anidel

    anidel Mu-43 Regular

    166
    May 13, 2011
    Twickenham, Uk
    You can also help by using a tripod (to at least eliminate YOUR shaking). Of course if that is feasible with the rabbit jumping around!

    Moreover try using the flash (low power perhaps) and, as people suggested, higher ISO.
     
  17. Hugo

    Hugo Mu-43 Regular

    34
    Sep 28, 2011
    Gee! you guys are great and helpful!! I'll try this week and see if I can improve my skill. Thanks a lot!!
     
  18. Hugo

    Hugo Mu-43 Regular

    34
    Sep 28, 2011
    Guys:

    I took your advices and start taking some pictures. I also invested a Panasonic 45-200mm f/4.0-5.6 lens. Below are some pictures I took over the weekend. The first two I use my 45-200mm. The last two are 14mm pancake. Tom, I didn't buy the 50mm to 100mm you recommended coz I'm waiting for the Lumix G X Vario PZ 14-42mm which theoretically can fill the gap between my pancake and 45-200mm lens. Anyway, guys, need your comments and suggestions. Grade my photos. I'd like to know what I did and how can I improve especially from the perspective to utilizie those lens that i bought...

    P.S. I didn't use tripod.

    Thank you!

     

    Attached Files:

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  19. ssgreenley

    ssgreenley Mu-43 Top Veteran

    509
    May 12, 2011
    No shots of the rabbit?
     
  20. Hugo

    Hugo Mu-43 Regular

    34
    Sep 28, 2011
    Not yet. He just won't stand still.