View Full Version : Overcast, rainy bird shots

11-12-2006, 11:38 AM

Looking for some settings help. Here's the setup, I just got a Canon S3. Trying to shoot birds at a birdfeeder through a window maybe 8-10 feet away. It's cloudy/raining outside. Auto and sports mode no good.

Here's an example of manual settings with the best results.


File Name IMG_0167.JPG
Camera Model Name Canon PowerShot S3 IS
Shooting Date/Time 11/12/2006 11:37:48 AM
Shooting Mode Manual
My Colors Mode Off
Tv (Shutter Speed) 1/250
Av (Aperture Value) 3.5
Light Metering Spot
ISO Speed 400
Lens 6.0 - 72.0 mm
Focal Length 63.1 mm
Digital Zoom None
IS Mode On
Image Size 2816x2112
Image Quality Superfine
Flash Off
White Balance Auto
AF Mode Continuous AF
Contrast Normal
Sharpness Normal
Saturation Normal
Color Space sRGB
File Size 3483 KB
Drive Mode Single-frame shooting
Owner's Name

If I set the ISO lower than 400 the images are too dark.

Any tips on how to get better exposure at lower ISO to reduce noise, yet keeping the shudder speed fast enough to freeze those quick little birds?


11-12-2006, 01:43 PM
As a former S3 owner attempting essentially the same thing as you are, I also struggled with the quallity I was able/unable to get taking hummingbird pics in less than ideal conditions. We tried the camera on a tripod and remote camera control through our laptop.
We even purchased a Raynox DCR-1540PRO and lensmate adaptor here
to help out. It did make a difference, but still not to what we wanted.
Without a bright sunshiny day, or if the subject was in the shade the pics were somewhat disappointing, especially when cropped.
All in all, that is not a bad pic for the conditions you had to work with, especially through a window. Have you tried some post processing using zoombrowserEX? You may be able to lighten it up some. It won't change the fact the bird moved it's head at the time the pic was taken though.:mad:
FWIW, we ended up going to a DSLR to get the results we wanted.
The S3is is a great camera with a lot of flexibilties, especially for the price. But it does have some limitations.
Here is your pic.
Taking a liberty here with your pic, here is your pic lightened up some.
17214 No other pp was done.
Hope this helps some,

11-12-2006, 02:45 PM
Thanks Ron,

I guess today, lack of light is the enemy. Looking at the pics, I did get some better than that one, no blurr, on the same settings. Played with lower ISO, F-stop/aperature, white bal and metering but I guess it is just a lack of light and fast subjects. I guess today I'll just have to find some slower subjects like my kids or dogs. So far I'm really liking the S3 though.


11-13-2006, 03:03 AM
well windows aren't made of optical quality glass and likely have a layer of grime on both sides so avoid shooting through them as much as possible. otherwise it seems you are doing the best you could with camera settings under your conditions (not including the post processing part).

11-14-2006, 07:13 AM
Maybe it's a stupid idea. but maybe you could try to place a mirror between the birdfeeder and your window? Maybe reflected light could lighten up the subject? ;)