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Thread: Are you hummbody?

  1. #1
    Marie Hass's Avatar
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    Are you hummbody?

    Hummingbirds are engaged in turf wars around our feeders. This curious one hovered in front of my camera lens until the shutter clicked.

    Shot aperture, F8. Shutter speed 1/250, ISO 400, 200mm with my 7d and f70-200 F28 lens.

    Are you hummbody?

    As always, please c&c. I cloned out a metal plant hanger behind the bird, and a wrought iron hanger and blue ribbon on the right side of the picture. I cropped a bit to a 14X10 aspect ratio. The background was blurred on its own.


    Sorry for the delay getting the original posted. My other half is recovering in the hospital after surgery.
    This is the original photo. No editing.

    Are you hummbody?
    Last edited by Marie Hass; 27th June 2011 at 01:19 AM. Reason: added original

  2. #2
    jiro's Avatar
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    Willie or Jiro is fine by me.

    Re: Are you hummbody?

    What a shot, Marie. At first when I look into this image of yours, what immediately caught my attention was the bright background (not to mention the intriguing title). Since it was brighter than the subject, my eyes really wandered a lot scanning the whole frame before I eventually fixed my attention to the bird. All in all, I like the subject, the contrast, the bokeh, and the composition. Perhaps the only negative point that I would have against it would be the use of a very bright background overpowering your subject.

  3. #3
    Marie Hass's Avatar
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    Re: Are you hummbody?

    Perhaps the only negative point that I would have against it would be the use of a very bright background overpowering your subject.
    Thank you for responding, Willie. That was truly the part that gave me fits. I tried to isolate the background and tone down the brightness, but when I did, the hummingbird did not stand out. Is there another approach to this? Let me go back and post the original so we have something else to look at. I will be back in a bit.

  4. #4

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    Re: Are you hummbody?

    Hi marie, you have the potential for a really good shot. I would imagine they give you plenty of opportunity for another shot.

    When the bird is backlit like that, you need to either reflect some light on the bird, or use some fill flash. That way you can expose for the background and the hummingbird.

    I really don't like using flash for wildlife because their eyes do some really funky stuff when lit by a flash. Another option is to move your feeder to a more suitable place. An area where the birds will be lit from a crossing light. I like the light to be about 30 degrees to one side or the other.( In other words have the light coming from behind you and to the side. )


    Back to your image, at first glance, is see a good composition. (you did a great job there. Not so easy either with a moving subject such as this). As willie said , the background is overpowering the hummingbird. The hummingbird itself looks very soft (slightly out of focus) and is in need of some contrast . Because of the backlighting, it is a little dark as well.

    Looking at your exif, you shot at f/8 (which is good because of how close you were, your depth of field will be much narrower) 1/250 second is kind of slow, but i've gotten good shots as low as 1/50 second. It depends on what your after as far as wing movement. With slower speeds, its going to take quite a few shots to get one keeper.(its really luck when you catch one just right, but it can be done.). ISO 400, i usually shoot around iso 800 to get as much shutter speed as possible and then use a little noise reduction in post . (The higher shutter speeds will also give you a much sharper image as well)

    I did a quick edit on your image,which helped a little, but I would make some of the suggested changes and try again. I think you'll get a much better shot with a little practice.

    Are you hummbody?

  5. #5
    Markvetnz's Avatar
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    Re: Are you hummbody?

    Easy solution - Fill flash. Could try spot metering on the bird, or process 2 images from the raw capture and use a layer mask to brighten up the bird and then blend the 2 together. Nice photo.

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    Re: Are you hummbody?

    Must be great to watch a humming bird hovering like that. Well captured. I just checked to see how fast their wings beat and depending on the species it can be from 12-90 beats/sec. amazing. To avoid the background problem maybe you'll get another opportunity from a different position but you have to take a shot when you can.

    I see you have the Canon 70-200 f2.8,Marie. I bought this lens last year for my US trips - low light, hand held but I never needed it for that reason and it's quite heavy so much so that this year I borrowed a neighbour's f4 which is a very good quality lens too and much easier to carry. I was thinking of selling the f2.8 and getting the f4 - it's a third less weight. 99% of my photography is off a tripod so shutter speed isn't an issue really. I just feel I made a mistake. The f4 IS weighs 760gms. against 1570 for the f2.8. Do you (or anyone) have any advice ?

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    Re: Are you hummbody?

    Great capture! I had background problems with them also ,I simply moved a chair to the yard giving me a different perspective. Having shot these birds I know theres a lot to contend with.Are you hummbody?

  8. #8
    Marie Hass's Avatar
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    Re: Are you hummbody?

    I have finally added the original picture to the beginning post. Thanks to everyone for such wonderful commentary and critique!

    I do have wonderful opportunities to shoot these guys. Based on commentary, I think I will move the feeders so I can shoot 360. (Thanks, James) Right now the feeders are on my front porch, which is only 6X10. Very limited shooting options, with not so great backgrounds.

    John, I don't know what to tell you re: lenses. There are a lot of members here more qualified than me. I do know the 2.8 gives me great pictures, but as you say, it is not for free holding for extensive periods of time.

    Mark, I never considered fill flash or pp 2 images. Thank you. I will try that next time.

    Steve, your commentary was extremely helpful and detailed. Your edit was an improvement - now tell me what you did?


    Thank you Willie, for helping me get started.

    Marie

  9. #9

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    Re: Are you hummbody?

    Steve, your commentary was extremely helpful and detailed. Your edit was an improvement - now tell me what you did?

    The first thing that hit me was your image lacked contrast. I added contrast be using unsharp mask. A large radius and small amount of sharpening will add contrast. I used a radius of about 4 (because you resized the image./ if it was the original , i prob. would have used a little larger radius ) and an amount of about 0.40.

    The next thing i noticed was the image (subject) was a little dark. I brightened it by dodging and burn. Making a duplicate and filling the dup with 50% gray and setting the blend mode to overlay. Then use a brush (set to white or black) to brighten or darken the image. I set the brush to white and an opacity of about 20, and painted over the hummingbird to brighten it a little bit.

    Next, i sharpened the image with unsharp mask to add a little sharpness(which the image was lacking).

    Basically , you look the image over and decide what it needs and then make the changes. (get as much as you can "in" camera)

    Hope this helps.

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