Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mount Evans Goats

When I was with the NANPA group in the afternoon session, there was only one billy goat that showed up at the summit of Mount Evans. Fortunately, we got to hang around another day or so. On one of several visits to the top, a small herd of nannies and kids showed up at the bathroom area. The work crews put a de-icing salt on the walkway and the animals come in to get their salt intake. The top of Mount Evans is made up of piles of rocks - so the setting just behind the pathway is a natural setting for them.

This particular group had some yearlings as well as some new kids.

This year's kids are small, soft and look cuddly (no, I would not try it!) They stay pretty close to their moms and have a cute clear bleat when mom is too far away.

They get interupted from their salt lick as people need to go to the bathroom and retreat up the pile of rocks.

Because I was shooting in the morning, the light was coming from behind the goats, so I tried a different technique using fill flash. I did not want an obvious flash look to the photos. I'm still working on being able to use fill flash consistently. What I've learned so far is that you want your exposure settings as they would be if you were not using flash, but you have to have a shutter speed that will work with your flash unit. I was varying my shutterspeed hoping to do some stop motion - I checked and the shutter speed varied from 1/125 to 1/300. I was shutter shutter priority and I'm pretty sure I played with the exposure compensation to make sure I was not blowing out the whites. I used the ETTL (Evaluative through the lens flash metering) and I set the compensation on the flash to minus 1 1/3. Granted my batteries were probably old, but I think the fill flash worked in this situation. You don't see harsh lighting, but you do see good details in the faces in spite of the back lighting. Photo Notes has a good section on flash photography that is worth studying. I've looked at it before, but I need to keep studying this so I can have fill flash figured out better than I do now.

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