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Thread: Crowned Cranes in B&W C&C please

  1. #1
    davidedric's Avatar
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    Crowned Cranes in B&W C&C please

    Hi,

    I am trying to learn more about B&W photography, starting by seeing which of my images would work (and quickly realising that I have to see the B&W image before I shoot!). However, I would appreciate any feedback as to whether this image "works". I appreciate that the birds are not pin sharp, but they are as good as I could get with my technique and kit, and I do think as an image it has merits.

    TIA

    Dave

    Crowned Cranes in B&W  C&C please

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Crowned Cranes in B&W C&C please

    Hi Dave,

    It works for me as a composition, although I do feel the darker cloud in lower right corner is just that bit too dark.

    The EXIF says 1/1000s at f5.6 at iso 125 on a Canon 600D at 300mm.

    The birds aren't sharp, it shouldn't be camera shake or subject movement at that shutterspeed.
    I suspect there is some over exposure on their bright bits and that never helps sharpness, possibly focus isn't quite there.

    I'm sure, if this wasn't a significant crop, it could be further improved with more PP experience applied, both sharpness and the dark cloud issue.

    This works well for me in B&W because it is a simple and strong composition; diagonal subject placement and no other distractions like trees, distant birds, etc.

    I have an engineering background and feel compelled to draw a line through the first and last birds and have that line go into the corners of the crop (especially the lower left) - but that's just me

    Having played a little by dragging the Lytebox image around into the corners of my screen, I wonder if losing a few pixels off the bottom edge would slightly improve the composition?

    Hope that helps,

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    tbob's Avatar
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    Re: Crowned Cranes in B&W C&C please

    Definitely has merit from a compositional point of view. The problem might arise because black and white, at least to my mind, depends on texture and contrast. Varying shades of grey pique your interest and hold it. Some images are stark black and white to emphasize lines and silhouette. The cranes are too small individually and too lacking in structure to grab me and I follow the line quickly down and out of the image.

    I hope someone who has more experience with black and white chimes in because it is not a genre I use very much and the may have a better gut feeling for the image and more artistic advice.

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    Fit's Avatar
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    Re: Crowned Cranes in B&W C&C please

    I like the composition but think, overall, it's too soft. The bright whie spots on the head stand out to the point of distraction

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    davidedric's Avatar
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    Re: Crowned Cranes in B&W C&C please

    Many thanks for the feedback. I'll try moving things around a little. I was trying a vignette to get more focus on the birds, but I think I overdid it. I think I will try a graduated ND filter bottom right and top left where I'll have more control.

    I know the birds are soft - I was very disappointed when I got back home and could seem them properly. I'm sure it's partly technique, but as said it shouldn't be motion blur at that shutter speed. I'm not one to blame my tools, but I've also found that my 600D,with relatively few focus points and only one cross point, can struggle to hold focus in this kind of shot. Unfortunately, the birds only appear from their roost few a few minutes at the same time each day, so I can't go back and practise.

    I have an engineering background
    I'm a (lapsed) scientist myself, so less sensitive, but I think you are right on that one

  6. #6
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Crowned Cranes in B&W C&C please

    I don't there's anything wrong with the B & W approach. In fact, this is perfect subject material for B & W.

    I firmly believe that you're right about seeing in B & W. I know lots of people can go out, capture the image and then decide whether or not to make a colour, B & W or both. I can't work that way. When I go out, I'm going out to make B & W images. That's the mindset that's in place. So when I look at a scene, I hope I'm seeing what that's going to look like in B & W.

    I do get some help in that I've got the camera set to Mono, so when the captured image pops us to view on the back screen what I see is the camera's JPEG version of a B & W. That serves as a good aid. When I occasionally come across something that I think might make a good colour image, I change the camera's setting to faithful. Now, some people might call me pedantic .. or something else, but that act of having to change the Picture Style is part of making the mental shift from thinking in B & W to Colour. Of course, it makes absolutely know difference to the data captured as I'm shooting in RAW. But it's just one of my little idiosyncrasies.

    A while back I tried something similar to you, here. Not being a wildlife photographer, I found it really hard.

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