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Thread: Having a go at "The Bird Masters"

  1. #1

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    Andre Burger

    Having a go at "The Bird Masters"

    Now this is a first real go at capturing birds. Got to start it slowly, with a sitting bird.
    Any C&C will be welcome.

    Nikon D200
    F 7.1
    1/800s
    ISO 200
    Manual
    Matrix Metering
    Shot in JPeg

    Having a go at "The Bird Masters"

  2. #2

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    Tim

    Re: Having a go at "The Bird Masters"

    The colors work great. I wonder if there is a way with PP to get some detail out of the eye? I guess waiting for the bird to move his eye into the direct sunlight would work better.

  3. #3
    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Re: Having a go at "The Bird Masters"

    Hello Andre, prettly gull and image. Regarding the image, it lists as being shot in jpeg... if you shoot in RAW format it will give you more ability to post process. Looking at the image in Lightroom 4 histogram there is a small spot on the back of the head and neck that has the white highlights clipped. The Highlights slider was able to tone that down but feather detail may be lost in those two areas. I think your light is as bright as mine in Florida what I do is to have the LCD screen that shows blow highlights set in the camera. I take a photo and check the screen, if I see it blinking I then use the +/-EV control to lower the exposure until there are no blinking blown highlights in an image. In post processing I raise the exposure while watching the histogram staying just short of clipping the white highlights. It works for me, I hope it helps.

  4. #4
    Aforns's Avatar
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    Alfred Forns

    Re: Having a go at "The Bird Masters"

    Hi Andre Good looking pose and pleasing bg. Like how you have more room up front than behind the bird

    Couple of suggestions that might help. Try setting up with the sun more to your back, light is coming hard from your right and the front face area is a bit dark. Would also try waiting for the bird to have its beak slightly toward you. This will make the tip of the beak and eye in the same plane so both will be in focus ... the middle part might not but will not be noticed.

    Focusing wise would shoot wide open and place the sensor on the head area. If that area is sharp the rest will be pleasing. It is a balance of blurring the bg or having more detail in the bird. I think here blurring the bg is more important.

    Last but not least ... light ... need to have softer light for any bird with white feathers. Did well with exposure but still have the dark areas blocked. Light angle wise with the suggested light coming from behind you the eyeball would be lit up and there will be a catchlight, does make the eye look better. Without it sort of looks lifeless.

    Excellent and looking forward to more !!

  5. #5
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Having a go at "The Bird Masters"

    Hi Andre,

    Welcome to the "birders" club

    The only thing I would add to Alfred's points would be to suggest cloning out the nut.

    Yours, the apprentice birder, Dave

  6. #6
    Otavio's Avatar
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    Re: Having a go at "The Bird Masters"

    Hi Andre. Good to know we will have one more bird supplier!

    It is a beautiful seagull and your composition works really well, IMO.

    I would just reinforce Joe's tip regarding the exposure control. I am also a habitant of a place with too much light and that, although many times desireable, is also a challenge when shooting white birds, so, always keep one eye at the exposure (the blinking light or histogram). I use to set the camera to show me the histogram together with the image (play button). If necessary, set the EV down (for black/dark brown birds, you might need to set it up, though).

    And I strongly recommend you to shoot RAW, for better editting.

    Just my 2 cents...thanks for sharing and waiting for more!

  7. #7

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    Re: Having a go at "The Bird Masters"

    Always start easy and what better than gulls (and ducks).

    Good effort on this one. Details are good, background is nice and clean.

    Oh -- and welcome to the club. The start of hopefully a long and rewarding (many times frustrating) endeavour.

  8. #8

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    Re: Having a go at "The Bird Masters"

    I thank you for your kind words and positive input.

    I am not making any excuses, this was shot at the wrong time of day in very bright sunlight. There was no time to wait for a better shot as I had to consider my family, waiting for me. Lesson no 1 – if going out on a shoot do it on your own. Photographers are selfish people.

    I am experimenting with camera settings and therefore I am shooting in Jpeg. If I can get it right in Jpeg it will just be so much more perfect in RAW. That is what I believe.

    I agree with Tim about the eye. Photographers have to be patient.

    As for settings recommended by Joe, my camera is set up to show blown highlights when reviewing the image. Sometimes I do ignore that blinking warning. The reason being that darker areas in the image might get to dark. Very good advice from you, Joe, in RAW it should be a lot better than in Jpeg.

    Thank you Alfred. The sun was actually to my left, a very warm bright South African sun. I realised later on that shooting birds you have to do it with an aperture as wide open as possible. Is this always the case or not? Softer light in the South African midday sun? I have seen a pro using a frame covered with white cloth to soften the bright light. I should have waited until a bit later when the sun is not that bright.

    Dave I thought the nut would add to the image. Think I was nuts shooting at that time of day anyway.

    Otavio I will take you advice at heart and remember next time round.

    Thanks Bobo, I hope to post some more bird images soon.

    Conclusion:
    1.) A lot of very good and useful advice from those who know much better than me.
    2.) Do not go out in the midday summer South African sun to do a shoot – wait until the sun is lower.
    3.) Go out on your own and be patient, wait for the right moment.

    Thanks again for spending time in looking at my work and the effort to C&C. It is much appreciated.

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