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Thread: Bird Photography...Photographic Style C&C Appreciated

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    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Bird Photography...Photographic Style C&C Appreciated

    After using/practicing with the DSLR I purchased in October last year I have noticed my picks to rejects improving. Now that I am comfortable and understand the camera and system I am trying to work on style and composition in my photography. I beleive photographers shoot what is available to them. While Florida doesnot have sweeping landscapes it does have numerous wetlands and wildlife. Therefore I am concentrating on birds. Now that I am shooting some photographs that are technically good I am trying to develop a style to my photography. I would appreciate opinions concerning the style/appearance, composition, and feel of the images posted below. Any and all comments would be welcomed.

    Bird Photography...Photographic Style C&C Appreciated

    Bird Photography...Photographic Style C&C Appreciated

    Bird Photography...Photographic Style C&C Appreciated

    Bird Photography...Photographic Style C&C Appreciated

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    Re: Bird Photography...Photographic Style C&C Appreciated

    Joe, you have done some really nice work here. I too enjoy photographing birds, and I have a sense of how much effort if generally required to get a good photograph. Here are my comments. Please keep in mind that I am pretty much a novice, so you should probably listen more to others. I like the composition of photo 1. And the bits of grass add interest and information to it. It looks to me as if the lighting didn't allow you to really capture the true color of the birds? Still a beautiful shot. What species?

    I like the Spoonbill. You have managed to light it up in a rather "drab" environment. The osprey is a beautiful photo. Really nice that you got it carrying a fish. Focus is very good for a flying bird. I too have been photographing osprey. I keep thinking that the photos would be better if there was something else included. I got a couple where the edge of the nest shows up and I think that helps. However, I would be very happy to get one of the quality you have posted here.

    Your last photo is very attractive. Having it centered seems like a good way to go. The focus in this image does not seem as sharp to me as the second and third images. I am not sure if it is a focus issue or if you had to remove some noise. Chances are that the real photographers in the group will say it was neither.

    Bottom line, thanks for sharing the photos. I do enjoy seeing the work of others who have common interests.

    chuck

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    Re: Bird Photography...Photographic Style C&C Appreciated

    Beautiful shots and you are coming along nicely imho.

    As for style - it is a very personal thing. How you see the subject and how you project it is very personal so whatever we say is basically meaningless.

    Myself I have no fixed style - there are some basic pp steps that I will always do for birds but the end product will be to show the bird at its best. A closeup will obviously be different from one that incorporates its environment.

    The 4 shots you have posted are all excellent. Maybe #1 could do with a bit more space around them. #4 try to mute the green/yellows, these colours tend to be a bit too overpowering sometimes.

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    Re: Bird Photography...Photographic Style C&C Appreciated

    Hi Joe,

    I agree with Bobo (spooky, second time I said that in 1/2 hour) - I'm not sure wildlife and birds can really have a 'style' as such, beyond consistently shooting high or low key, which will soon get limiting and potentially frustrate nature lovers because they cannot see some detail they are interested in. So that only leaves imposing a 'trademark' border, as many here do, for all their shots as a means of displaying a style.

    These are four quite different shots, if I may;
    #1 looks to me like it needs a little anti-clockwise rotation, I think it is down on the right. It might benefit from shaving a fraction off the left side compositionally, but I like the groupings of birds. With shots like this, I have occasionally 'thinned out' grass stems if I felt there were too many (not saying there here, just mentioning a technique I use).

    #2 no suggestions, you nailed it

    #3 ditto - much better than most of mine are, was it as close as the 165mm focal length suggests?

    #4 what Bobo said, plus I'd have trimmed a tad off the right hand side to de-centre it

    Hope that's helpful, but do bear in mind that 'stylish' is the last word anyone would use to describe me

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    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Re: Bird Photography...Photographic Style C&C Appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by Teton Chuck View Post
    Joe, you have done some really nice work here. I too enjoy photographing birds, and I have a sense of how much effort if generally required to get a good photograph. Here are my comments. Please keep in mind that I am pretty much a novice, so you should probably listen more to others. I like the composition of photo 1. And the bits of grass add interest and information to it. It looks to me as if the lighting didn't allow you to really capture the true color of the birds? Still a beautiful shot. What species?

    I like the Spoonbill. You have managed to light it up in a rather "drab" environment. The osprey is a beautiful photo. Really nice that you got it carrying a fish. Focus is very good for a flying bird. I too have been photographing osprey. I keep thinking that the photos would be better if there was something else included. I got a couple where the edge of the nest shows up and I think that helps. However, I would be very happy to get one of the quality you have posted here.

    Your last photo is very attractive. Having it centered seems like a good way to go. The focus in this image does not seem as sharp to me as the second and third images. I am not sure if it is a focus issue or if you had to remove some noise. Chances are that the real photographers in the group will say it was neither.

    Bottom line, thanks for sharing the photos. I do enjoy seeing the work of others who have common interests.

    chuck
    Hello Chuck,

    You are right about the lighting, overcast and lifting fog and early morning. The bird is a Lesser Yellowlegs, there is also a Greater Yellowlegs...the distingushing difference is the length of the beak. The Spoonbills and other wading birds frequent shallow water here with a mud bottom, not great for a vibrant water color...so I tried to play that down and enhance the color of the Spoonbill. When I shot the Osprey, my wife and I were sitting on a bench resting. I noticed it coming towards me and switched the camera from aperature priority to shutter priority (when shooting birds I always have either 1/1600 or 1/2000 set for the shutter speed in Shutter priority). I got off four frames as it approached.

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    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Re: Bird Photography...Photographic Style C&C Appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobobird View Post
    Beautiful shots and you are coming along nicely imho.

    As for style - it is a very personal thing. How you see the subject and how you project it is very personal so whatever we say is basically meaningless.

    Myself I have no fixed style - there are some basic pp steps that I will always do for birds but the end product will be to show the bird at its best. A closeup will obviously be different from one that incorporates its environment.

    The 4 shots you have posted are all excellent. Maybe #1 could do with a bit more space around them. #4 try to mute the green/yellows, these colours tend to be a bit too overpowering sometimes.
    Thanks Bobo, advice well taken. My thoughts are like yours to show the bird at its best. I want the viewer to see detail that most times one does not seed. I also shoot birds in their environment but most times wading birds have nothing but water as an environment. So what to do, my approach is to try to make the bird stand out from the water, so ones eyes are drawn to the bird. The Yellow Rumped Warbler (#4) does blend into the yellow/green background. I will work on the background. Thank you for viewing and commenting.

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    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Re: Bird Photography...Photographic Style C&C Appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Hi Joe,

    I agree with Bobo (spooky, second time I said that in 1/2 hour) - I'm not sure wildlife and birds can really have a 'style' as such, beyond consistently shooting high or low key, which will soon get limiting and potentially frustrate nature lovers because they cannot see some detail they are interested in. So that only leaves imposing a 'trademark' border, as many here do, for all their shots as a means of displaying a style.

    These are four quite different shots, if I may;
    #1 looks to me like it needs a little anti-clockwise rotation, I think it is down on the right. It might benefit from shaving a fraction off the left side compositionally, but I like the groupings of birds. With shots like this, I have occasionally 'thinned out' grass stems if I felt there were too many (not saying there here, just mentioning a technique I use).

    #2 no suggestions, you nailed it

    #3 ditto - much better than most of mine are, was it as close as the 165mm focal length suggests?

    #4 what Bobo said, plus I'd have trimmed a tad off the right hand side to de-centre it

    Hope that's helpful, but do bear in mind that 'stylish' is the last word anyone would use to describe me
    Hi Dave,

    I read your comments and appreciate you taking the time. If sometime you could explain high key vs. low key, terms I have trouble understanding. As for trademark borders, I believe they detract for the image...the image should stand on its own until it is printed, then maybe a border depending on the type of reproduction.

    In image #1 there was nothing to straighten the image on per se...no horizon, no waterline, just a grouping of birds in a shallow flat of water. So other than enhancing the compostion by rotating I did not...I shall revisit and consider it, easily done.

    The image in #3 was shot at 165mm. My wife and I were sitting on a bench taking a break...I saw the Osprey approaching. I switched from Aperature Priority to Shutter Priority and got off four frames. I struggled to shoot birds in flight until one day a light bulb went off in my head. Duh...use Shutter Priority dummy. From that time on when shooting birds I always have Shutter Priority set at either 1/1600 or 1/2000 depending on the light. More than fast enough to stop birds in flight, unless they are small and very fast. Works for me...if you do not use it your might try it.

    The Yellow Rumped Warbler is easily de-centered.

    Your comments and veiwing are much appreciated.
    Last edited by jprzybyla; 5th April 2012 at 08:57 PM. Reason: typo

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Bird Photography...Photographic Style C&C Appreciated

    Hi Joe,

    Quote Originally Posted by jprzybyla View Post
    If sometime you could explain high key vs. low key, terms I have trouble understanding.
    I did a google on "high key wildlife example" and found this chaps work, this page shows some examples; http://www.craigjoneswildlifephotogr...hy/2010052161/

    While here is an example of a "low key wildlife image", albeit not exactly wildlife!
    http://www.nwpphotoforum.com/ubbthre...t&Number=37813

    Quote Originally Posted by jprzybyla View Post
    In image #1 there was nothing to straighten the image on per se...no horizon, no waterline, just a grouping of birds in a shallow flat of water. So other than enhancing the compostion by rotating I did not...I shall revisit and consider it, easily done.
    Ah, but you have lots of subjects and reflections - if the camera is level, they should be one above the other.

    I have enlarged and snipped a section of the image, I then drew lines starting from the tip of an identifiable point upwards, just touching the 'real' (non reflected) tip of the object and continuing on for some time to show the angle - note they all slope the same way? If the shot were level the red lines would be vertical.

    Bird Photography...Photographic Style C&C Appreciated

    If when you do a crop in PP, just drag a vertical edge against one of these points, then move mouse outside the crop box and rotate until the reflected and real points align on the crop mask edge, I'm not explaining this very well, am I?

    Another screen grab will help;
    Bird Photography...Photographic Style C&C Appreciated

    Then, after the angle is set, drag the crop handles out (on all four sides) for the composition required.

    Helps to do it on something further apart normally, but as you can see, it is possible, even with a bit of gras at an angle or the forehead of the bird on right here.

    Hope that helps,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 5th April 2012 at 09:56 PM.

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    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Re: Bird Photography...Photographic Style C&C Appreciated

    Thanks Dave, I looked at the websites briefly and bookmarked them for later in depth viewing and reading.

    Lesson learned my friend...never considered what your example showed, but from now on I will be attentive to reflection(which I love shooting). Below I have applied your example to straighten the image.

    Bird Photography...Photographic Style C&C Appreciated

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Bird Photography...Photographic Style C&C Appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by jprzybyla View Post
    Thanks Dave, I looked at the websites briefly and bookmarked them for later in depth viewing and reading.
    I haven't - honestly, they were just the first examples I found of images, that's not to say they may not be worth reading though.

    Looks like you made your rotated shot a bit more high key too
    It could be pushed further still I think.

    Glad to help,

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    Re: Bird Photography...Photographic Style C&C Appreciated

    Joe I too love to shoot birds, I dont really feel I have a certain style (besides "fluttr the shuttr" and hope for the best) but I do see styles in the way some here handle there images and I have tryed to copy that myself ,sorry Bobo but I would like my birds to look more like yours. lol . Bottom line is I really like the way you have presented your birds Joe.

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    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Re: Bird Photography...Photographic Style C&C Appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by jamn4ex View Post
    Joe I too love to shoot birds, I dont really feel I have a certain style (besides "fluttr the shuttr" and hope for the best) but I do see styles in the way some here handle there images and I have tryed to copy that myself ,sorry Bobo but I would like my birds to look more like yours. lol . Bottom line is I really like the way you have presented your birds Joe.
    Thanks James, your viewing and comments are greatly appreciated.

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    Re: Bird Photography...Photographic Style C&C Appreciated

    Joe, I really can't add much to what has been said, all good points and tips. I to sometimes wonder if there is a certain "style". I agree with the guys, for birds/animals in general a style would be fairly difficult to establish outside of a particular PP style or as mentioned all high or low key. I do however think we each have our own way of framing, shooting and amounts of DOF that we get comfortable with and this intern gives us a particular look or feel that likely only we really see as the difference compared to others shots of the same subject are neglidgable. Your images are looking great and that is not always an easy thing while chasing these fine feather friends.

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    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Re: Bird Photography...Photographic Style C&C Appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by jeeperman View Post
    Joe, I really can't add much to what has been said, all good points and tips. I to sometimes wonder if there is a certain "style". I agree with the guys, for birds/animals in general a style would be fairly difficult to establish outside of a particular PP style or as mentioned all high or low key. I do however think we each have our own way of framing, shooting and amounts of DOF that we get comfortable with and this intern gives us a particular look or feel that likely only we really see as the difference compared to others shots of the same subject are neglidgable. Your images are looking great and that is not always an easy thing while chasing these fine feather friends.
    Thanks Paul, your viewing and comments are appreciated. I went into your website and looked at your images. I see a similarity with our work. Thanks again.

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    Re: Bird Photography...Photographic Style C&C Appreciated

    Joe referring to the only water scenes - try to go low and do try to get the reflection. The other option is to get the ripples.

    One thing if you go really low there is the real chance of light reflecting off the water that may kill the shot. I find a CPL useful sometimes but usually forget so have to go around if possible to kill those pic killing reflections.

    @James - LOL, Thanks for the confidence booster but I am the worst possible example to try to copy.
    Last edited by Bobobird; 6th April 2012 at 05:24 PM.

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