Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Summer Bucks-It's Not All About The Megapixels

Whitetail Antlers Are Fully Developed By Early August

The antlers on the mature whitetail bucks are  completely grown by early August and  many of the larger ones will lose the velvet by the end of the month.  Pennsylvania Bull elk lose the velvet even earlier with most of them shedding by mid-month.  Because of this, early August is a favorite time to travel to Shenandoah National Park to photograph bucks in velvet at Big Meadows, since it is good to be in Pennsylvania Elk Country a bit later on to document the shedding of the velvet.

I was recently going through my files from 2006 and reworking some of the better photographs.  Doing so brought to mind a statement that Jim Borden made in a recent post about the quality of a photograph not being all about megapixels.  He was talking about noise in that particular instance, but it still made me think about just how good images from the old Canon 10-D could be when the light was right and everything else came together.  It was only 6.3 megapixels and had severe noise problems in low light, but I held on to it for more years than I should have because of the expense of buying video equipment.  Both the 20-D and 30-D were much better at handling nose, but I passed them by and didn't upgrade until the 40-D came out in the fall of 2007.  The following summer the 40-D malfunctioned at the peak of the fawn photography season, and I bought a refurbished 30-D  to fill the gap and I used it and the 40-D about  equally until the 7-D came out.  The bottom line: however, was that I forgot just how good the 10-D actually was until I started through the 2006 photographs and redone some of them in CS5.  I am not quite sure whether it is because earlier versions of Photoshop did not produce as good results as CS5 does or if the main difference is that I understand Photoshop better--it likely is a combination of the two.  One cannot crop the images as severely as the higher megapixel cameras without the image falling apart, and perhaps printing large enlargements would show a significant difference, but it was a good camera for it's day and it did not have the focusing issues that the 7-D can have under certain situations.

Here is another Shenandoah buck from the same day.  This is not the largest buck I have seen in the park, but he was very impressive.  I don't think the photograph is as good as the first one, because of the right side of the face being shadowed. 

An Outstanding Shenandoah Buck
Be sure to visit Jim and Joan Borden's blog JJ Wildlife Photography for excellent photographs and writing.  Jim is a seasoned, experienced outdoorsman and photographer with an excellent understanding of the technical aspects of photography as well as a deep knowledge of wildlife behavior.  A visit to his blog is time well spent.

Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.


Ruth Hiebert said...

I love the look of these magnificent creatures.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photos.

Anonymous said...

Nice photos, Willard. I've had similar experiences with my older Nikon camera-the D70. I got some good images with that camera and I still use it as my backup camera today. Like you, I am learning more about the software all the time, but I still believe there is nothing better than getting it right in the camera.

V.L. Locey said...

Wonderful images Willard!

Unknown said...

I really enjoyed reading this post and am pleased you have seen the same things with the digital cameras as I have related to megapixels and megapixels/noise. Many photographers are caught up in the equipment race and fail to realize as you point out that photography is about the photograph!!!

Also -thanks for the "plug". :)