How to Click Super Sharp Images of Wildlife with a Nikon D500 camera?

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How do I click super sharp images of birds with the Nikon D500 camera and the 200-500mm lens? In this video, I’ll teach you all the camera settings that go into clicking awesome photos of birds and wildlife.

I’m Girish Menon and I just show up on your screen and start talking about photography. I offer you free photography tips that will help you to click better pictures. And I release a new video every week, so please subscribe so that you don’t miss out.

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Canon 100-400mm II IS USM review in 2022 for Wildlife Photography

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Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II IS USM review for bird and wildlife photography. Is the Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II IS USM lens relevant today, in a world of mirrorless cameras and lenses? That’s the question we’re addressing in this review. Canon is also now a formidable player in the world of mirrorless cameras. So it’s reasonable to assume that Canon will not release an update for their 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II IS USM lens for DSLR cameras.

Watch what happens when you attach a Canon 1.4x III extender to the Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II IS lens. The other questions that we’re also asking are whether the Canon 7D Mark II and Nikon D500 are relevant in a world of mirrorless cameras.

In the following videos, I address these questions individually: Is the Canon 7D Mark II relevant in 2022 and is the Nikon D500 relevant in 2022.

I hope this Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II IS USM review has helped you. Please see www.girishmenon.com to know more about the photography workshops and wildlife photography tours that I offer!

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Is the Nikon D500 worth buying for wildlife photography in 2022?

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Is the Nikon D500 relevant for bird & wildlife photography in 2022? Bird & wildlife photography needs gear that’s fast enough to meet challenges. In a world of mirrorless cameras, are DSLR cameras such as the Nikon D500 and Canon 7D Mark II good enough to click sharp pictures of birds and wildlife?

I have a 5-point checklist to decide whether a camera is good enough for wildlife photography and they are, the number of autofocus points, autofocus speed, burst speed, buffer size and image quality.

Now before we talk about each of these in detail, I want to tell you that the camera has excellent build quality. It is weather sealed. So you can use it briefly in light rain, and its’ dust resistant. 

If you read the specs, they’ll tell you that this camera has 153 focus points. And that 99 of them are cross type focus points. 

But what you should know is that only 55 out of those 153 points are selectable by the user. And only 35 out of those 55 are cross type focus points.

On the other hand the D500’s biggest rival, the Canon 7D Mark II has 66 focus points, all cross type.

Cross type focus points are able to focus faster and more accurately than non-cross type points. You can rely on them to nail focus every single time. 

I always choose my autofocus area as “single point”, and select the relevant point where I want maximum sharpness. I align that focus point with the eye of the subject. 

You must also know that the focus points on the D500 that fall along the rule of thirds are not cross type. Which is a bummer when I want to align something along the thirds. But it’s not always that the eye of the bird needs to be along the thirds. And even though there are no cross type focus points at the thirds, we have non-cross type points there. That’s better than no focus points at all.

The autofocus speed is fast. With some practice, you should be able to nail focus on your subjects even in challenging situations.

The camera has a 20.9 megapixel sensor. And can click 10 frames per second which is exceptional. 

It has a buffer size of 200 RAW images. So as long as you have a fast enough card, which you should when clicking wildlife, your camera shouldn’t slow down because its buffer is full.

When clicking pictures of birds in flight, for example, we need shutter speeds in excess of 1/2000th of a second, sometimes even 1/4000th. That means higher ISO values. The image quality is exceptional, even at 1600 ISO.

The Nikon D500 camera checks all boxes and that’s why it’s still one of the best cameras you can lay your hands on, even in 2022. 

The thing that makes it most appealing is the Nikon 200-500 mil lens. This lens has a fixed maximum aperture value of 5.6 through the entire range of focal lengths. The 500 mil focal length is extremely essential when clicking pictures of birds. Canon, unfortunately never considered providing an affordable 500 mil lens for DSLR cameras whereas Nikon offers two, the 200-500 and the 500 5.6 prime lens.

But the Canon 100-400 Mark II lens is much smaller and lighter, ideal for jeep safaris if you’re going to click tigers, leopards, rhinos, and other mammals.

Please see www.girishmenon.com to know more about the bird and wildlife photography workshops and tours that I teach and organise

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Attractive Behind the Scenes Bird Photography with Nikon D500 and 200-500 mm lens

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I all began in December 2020. I started putting together short videos about my wildlife photography experiences. I used to stay up all night to record my narration videos.

Up until that point, I had never stayed up all night ever. Not even if I had an exam the next day. Consequently, I fell ill. Once I had recovered, and that took a while, I had to figure out alternate ways of recording my voice-over.

So I went into the nearby jungle and filmed with an OSMO Pocket. You see, my apartment is on the first floor of a noisy street. So recording during the day isn’t an option.

There are many challenges with using an OSMO Pocket. The lens isn’t wide enough. So I have to use this wide-angle lens adapter that sits over the main lens via magnets. The audio adapter that lets you connect external microphones to the OSMO Pocket is out of stock. So they gave me a third-party adapter. I only just realised that it doesn’t work! The on-board mics did the recording, which turned out okay, but not as well as a directional mic would. I just got a mic that connects directly via USB-C, so that’ll solve that problem next time I’m out filming.

If you’re into vlogging, I recommend getting the GoPro HERO 10 Black. It’s a bit pricey, but will serve you well for at least a decade.

I put together this video, it’s the second video with my narration recorded on the OSMO Pocket. I recorded 2-3 videos that morning. I think they’re all still very sketchy with things that need to be ironed out. But I wonder if that’s really required or if I’m over thinking. I reckon this is my worst video production till date—it’s a behind the scenes look at me clicking a bee eater.

Please watch the video and lmk what you think.

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Proven Bird Photography Tips with Nikon D500 Camera & 200-500 Lens

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What’s your favourite subject in wildlife photography? I’ll tell you mine… clicking pictures of small birds gives me more satisfaction than any other subject. Because it’s very challenging to photograph these small birds. You need to bring in all your knowhow… your composition skills, your artistic ability, you need to bring all of that to the table to get successful photographs.

But when I get successful photographs of small birds, good setting, good light, nothing gives me more joy!

This is a behind the scenes look at photographing small birds such as Bushchats and Stonechats from a boat in Kumbhargaon near Bhigwan. Photographing small birds is always a challenge because they are always on the move. So we need to be technically sound to get sharp photos of small birds. In the video I talk about focus point selection and the use of a bean bag for photography.

I teach photography courses via Zoom. You can participate in my courses from anywhere in the world. See https://www.girishmenon.com/ to know more about my photography courses for beginners and semi-professionals.

I also teach a Smartphone Photography workshop called “Develop your creative eye” that will turn you into a better photographer, photo editor, and visual communicator.

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Canon EF 1.4x III Extender review using Canon 7D Mark II and Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 Mark II

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I was walking towards the jetty at Kumbhargaon near Bhigwan in India to photograph birds. It would be the day when I will use the 1.4 extender for the first time—It’s a Canon 1.4 extender Mark III on a Canon 100-400 Mark II lens. Now my 400 millimeter 5.6 lens is a 560 F8 lens, 1 stop down.

I will be able to autofocus at F8 on a Canon 7D Mark II body using the centre point and four assist points.

Now I know what you’re thinking—it’s a bad idea to use an extender on this lens—but I have a plan. I’m going to photograph birds in flight against the bright blue sky when the sun’s out. So that way I won’t need a ridiculously high ISO for a fast shutter speed.

I’ve never done this before so I’m looking forward to seeing the results; so let’s watch the video.

I have more wildlife vlogs on my Youtube Channel, The Open Image.

Learn photography with Girish Menon

I teach photography online via live video calls—not pre-recorded videos that you sit and watch by yourself. You can be based anywhere in the world, own any camera, and still learn photography from me—HOW COOL IS THAT!

Please see www.girishmenon.com to know about the courses that I offer.

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Bird photography | Bharatpur bird sanctuary

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Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is a man-made wetland, was owned by the Maharaja of Bharatpur. In the second half of the 1800s the Maharaja used to hunt birds here, now it’s a protected national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is one of the richest bird parks in the world.

In January, we see more species of birds than in any other month. One can easily spot over a hundred and fifty different species in just a few hours!

I like to visit Bharatpur in the third week of January. The park is less crowded at that time of the year because the holidays are over and people are back to work, school and college. In January we see more species of birds than in any other month. One can easily spot over a hundred and fifty different species in just a few hours!

One afternoon I was walking along a little mud trail along with my guide, Govind. We were looking at cormorants drying their wings. But Govind wanted me to see something else…there was something small and black sitting on the trail in front of us!

It looked at us and flinched. It was a nervous couple of minutes for all three of us but eventually we settled down. The creature felt at ease and started walking round without a care about our presence.

Govind identified the creature as a juvenile painted stork. Juvenile painted storks look so much different from adults.

It sat there with bent feet and feathers tightened inwards. It looked cold. Like a small child running a temperature with no adult supervision.

Many hundred painted storks had made nests on top of bare trees. Trees that grew out of the wetlands to our right. Each nest had at least three chics in it. 

So then why was this little bird separated from the rest? Was it injured? It could walk, but will it ever fly again?

Govind assured us that it would. He said that the bird must have fallen from its nest into the water. It will be able to fly once its wings dry up. The water had made its wings heavy.

Lots of people had come to see birds in Bharatpur that day. So Govind suggested that we hang out with this little stork to ensure that nobody touched it, picked it up or injured it. It seemed to feel safe around us.

I was fully kitted out in a winter jacket and hood, yet I was freezing. I wondered how long it would take for the bird to dry up. 

30 minutes later, nothing had changed. It would walk for a couple of minutes and rest then walk some more and rest again. We clicked some photos and filmed some videos.

And then suddenly without warning, it flapped its wings and started to fly. It did a lap of honour, circling above us two times, before taking off for the skies and back to the safety of its nest.

Govind and I had the brightest smile on our face.

The lesson I learnt from this is that it is best to leave an injured-looking bird or an animal alone if I don’t know what’s wrong with it. I could do more harm than good because I’m not an expert in this field. 

I often remember this juvenile painted stork whom I named Eric and wonder where he is right now. Painted storks don’t migrate very far. So perhaps I have seen him all grown up on my subsequent visits to Bharatpur, but I don’t recognise him. I’d like to think that Eric always recognises me and remembers our afternoon together. I don’t know if it’s a he. It could be a she, she could be Erika! 

Being out in nature  makes us feel better emotionally, contributes to our physical wellbeing, reduces blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.

Learn photography with Girish Menon

I teach photography online via live video calls—not pre-recorded videos that you sit and watch by yourself. You can be based anywhere in the world, own any camera, and still learn photography from me—HOW COOL IS THAT!

Please see www.girishmenon.com to know about the courses that I offer.

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Bird photogrphy | Spotted owlet at Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary

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I had a Nikon D7200 camera with a 200-500 lens — and not a single photo was sharp. I had shutter speeds in excess of 1/1000th of a second, I tried holding the camera in different ways, using a monopod, adjusting my stance, pressing the camera harder against my cheek but the photos did not improve. The stabilisation on the lens couldn’t be faulty, could it?

In spite of being kitted out in thermal innerwear, a warm jacket, two pairs of gloves on each hand and a faux fur aviator hat on my head, I was still cold. 

Bhupendar showed up outside my hotel on time, at 6 o’clock. It was still dark and we were the first people to roll into Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary that morning. There was a thick fog in the air, and we couldn’t see very far into the distance.

There was no bird activity anywhere around us. Birds start getting active once the sun is out—because that’s when insects start coming out of their burrows to feed and birds can prey on them!

The occasional creaking sounds of Bhupendra’s pedals disturbed the silence as we continued to roll along the thoroughfare waiting for the sun to come out. 

When it got brighter we saw a spotted owlet sitting inside a hollow branch of a bare tree.

It looked very comfortable sitting there, and seemed unlikely that it would come out on a morning like this. I stood there making a few photos hoping that it would hop out—even if it were for a few seconds. I stood there under the tree and turned in the opposite direction to look at some green pigeons. 

“LOOK…LOOK…” there was a buzz in the air!

Our little owlet had flown out and perched in the open on the adjacent tree. And I gathered my wits and started clicking some photos, it did a little jig, as if it were grooving to a dance number of the nineteen nineties.

Wonderful! However my photos were not!

I had a Nikon D7200 camera with a 200-500 lens—and not a single photo was sharp. I had shutter speeds in excess of 1/1000th of a second, I tried holding the camera in different ways, using a monopod, adjusting my stance, pressing the camera harder against my cheek but the photos did not improve. The stabilisation on the lens couldn’t be faulty, could it?

It was a beautiful day for photography but I couldn’t make a single decent photo—and I couldn’t understand why! All my photos were out of focus.

A few months later, I went to Bandhavgarh National Park to see tigers — and even there I couldn’t get the sharpness that I expected out of my lens—no matter what I tried.

It was only when I got back from this trip that I realised what the problem was—it was the poor quality ultraviolet filter! I cannot tell you enough how important it is to use a good quality UV filter—what’s the point in using cheap filters on good lenses? It’s like driving around in a Ferrari with flat tyres!

I have more wildlife vlogs on my Youtube Channel, The Open Image.

Learn photography with Girish Menon

I teach photography online via live video calls—not pre-recorded videos that you sit and watch by yourself. You can be based anywhere in the world, own any camera, and still learn photography from me—HOW COOL IS THAT!

Please see www.girishmenon.com to know about the courses that I offer.

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