Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 23

Thread: Bird Shots - Still learning

  1. #1
    Brownbear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    7,244
    Real Name
    Christina

    Bird Shots - Still learning

    I'm not sure why my bird posts always seem to follow Joe's.. it's just not fair!

    I was pretty happy to get this shot of a black duck in action, as they are challenging to photograph, and I think it is very much improved from my last photos of these guys. I'd appreciate some feedback.

    Manual iso 800 SS 1600 matrix metering Exp +1 A6 (as wide as I can go) Basic edits in lightroom 4.1

    Bird Shots - Still learning

    I caught the reflection of a duck in action, which I rotated right side up. I'm not sure if this is just a silly thing to try and photograph or if it has merit?

    Bird Shots - Still learning

    A goose in flight

    Bird Shots - Still learning

    I can't seem to capture any detail in the feathers for birds in flight? And I'm also still trying for eye contact

    Robin on a branch.
    I shot wide open but the background was still pretty wild, even after I fixed all the purple branches so I blurred the background... I know my selection is not perfect as I'm still learning to edit but I would like to know if I have the right idea by trying to blur the background or does it just look poor.

    For the Robin, same camera specs as above but SS was 2000 because the light was better

    Bird Shots - Still learning

    Bird Shots - Still learning


    After this post I'm going to take a break from these postings and just practice on my birds for a while.

    All feed back appreciated. Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    RogerCook's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Los Angeles CA
    Posts
    650
    Real Name
    Roger

    Re: Bird Shots - Still learning

    Very nice shots #1 is excellent, #2 I think is good too I like the idea and the color of the feet showing up, #4 it's hard to capture the things you want I believe you have to be close and have perfect lighting, #5 don't blur the background.

  3. #3
    Brownbear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    7,244
    Real Name
    Christina

    Re: Bird Shots - Still learning

    Thank you Roger. Very helpful. No more blurred backgrounds.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,732
    Real Name
    james

    Re: Bird Shots - Still learning

    very nice series Christina.

  5. #5
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Glenfarg, Scotland
    Posts
    20,025
    Real Name
    Just add 'MacKenzie'

    Re: Bird Shots - Still learning

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    I caught the reflection of a duck in action, which I rotated right side up. I'm not sure if this is just a silly thing to try and photograph or if it has merit?
    Of course it has merit. It is imaginative and demonstrates the skill and craft of looking. How many people would have seen that image? Not many.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Ontario (mostly)
    Posts
    6,625
    Real Name
    Bobo

    Re: Bird Shots - Still learning

    A tad too dark but good.

    About Joe - we cannot compete against the million birds he has.

  7. #7
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Windsor, Berks, UK
    Posts
    16,326
    Real Name
    Dave Humphries :)

    Re: Bird Shots - Still learning

    Hi Christina,

    I read in another thread you have moved from iPhoto to LR4 and was missing the Curves step from your processing workflow at the moment - I see that more here than there - to be honest, they are all a bit dark in the mid-tones.

    I like the reflection shot because it is different, but I think you can get more from it.

    Personally I am a "Levels", rather than a "Curves" person, so I can't help much - I tend to go to Levels (Ctrl+L in CS5) and pop 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 or similar in the grey/mid-tones value until it 'looks right'

    I am about to upgrade to CS6 - and get the same ACR you have in LR4, so maybe I'll go a bit wonky on the processing too

    Your cloning on the Robin's twigs and branches is good, but it somehow the Robin gained a dark halo around it

    I too need to improve my capture techniques, even when using the 1000mm FFE Nikon P510 (in lieu of a long telephoto lens).
    Keeping up with Joe is a full time job
    But I'm sure we can narrow the gap.

    Cheers,

  8. #8
    Brownbear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    7,244
    Real Name
    Christina

    Re: Bird Shots - Still learning

    Thank you to all for your kind comments and advice, and for letting me know that my bird is a bit dark... I have a few variations of him... I thought so, and should of known but was swayed by the richer colours.

    I didn't notice the halo. Thanks for pointing it out. I have to learn more about adjusting midtones.

    Ah, Joe's bird photos are an inspiration (As are others)... And given more time and practice I hope to narrow that gap one day.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Ontario (mostly)
    Posts
    6,625
    Real Name
    Bobo

    Re: Bird Shots - Still learning

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Keeping up with Joe is a full time job
    But I'm sure we can narrow the gap.
    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    Ah, Joe's bird photos are an inspiration (As are others)... And given more time and practice I hope to narrow that gap one day.
    That assumes that Joe stops where he is...

  10. #10
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Washington, USA
    Posts
    1,126
    Real Name
    Matthew

    Re: Bird Shots - Still learning

    I didn't notice the halo.
    The halo is actually the bird itself, blurred in the background. It is not caused by other adjustments you made.

    Thank you Roger. Very helpful. No more blurred backgrounds.
    I disagree that you should simply decide not to blur backgrounds based on this one result. Never exclude a technique or possibility based on one result. Each photo and situation is different, so it may work better in other photos. Also, it will depend on practice and implementation of the blur. In this case, the problem is that the blur is too strong, thus making it appear unrealistic, and also including the blurred bird as noted above. For this photo, I think you could replace the entire background with a solid blue color which is an average tone/color from the sky. I'd crop in tighter on the bird though.

    In other photos in the future, blurring might work. (only blur if you think it will improve the photo. some backgrounds, when decently out of focus, add to the image as opposed to detract from it) It depends on how blurry the background already is, and how much contrast is present in the bg of the photo, among other things. Typically I have found that backgrounds of more uniform tones/colors tend to blur the most effectively. I try varying amounts of blur until I find what looks natural but still reduces distraction. Sometimes a photo just doesn't work blurred, and sometimes the background is just plain bad and can't be saved. Finally, as you improve editing, you should practice advanced techniques when blurring, such as cloning in background color behind the cutout bird, so when you blur the background, you don't get the halo. Hope this helps.

    BTW, I like the reflection photo. Unique, grabbed my attention, made me think for a moment. At first I though the bird was underwater. Go ahead, laugh!

  11. #11
    Brownbear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    7,244
    Real Name
    Christina

    Re: Bird Shots - Still learning

    Dear Bobo... It appears that I'm a dreamer and you're a realist (:

    Kidding aside I truly appreciate that Joe and you, Otavio, Roger, John, Kathy Li (Sorry, if I missed anyone but I can't remember all the names of the fantastic bird photographers) take the time to post and share your photos on this forum. They are truly inspirational and viewing them is a great learning tool as they let me know the quality that I should strive for.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bobobird View Post
    That assumes that Joe stops where he is...

  12. #12
    Brownbear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    7,244
    Real Name
    Christina

    Re: Bird Shots - Still learning

    Hi Matt,

    Thank you for advising in great detail. I will save for future. I'm finding it extremely difficult to select around birds and hairy critters as I find that I lose all the little stray feathers on birds, and also the tufts and little wisps of hair on animals. I like the idea of the blue sky, and will try again sometime in the future when my skills improve. I have a lot of photos of birds and critters from Mexico with backgrounds that I would like to enhance one day.

    Good to know. Right now cloning in a background colour behind a cutout bird sounds like an impossible feat, but one day.

    Thank you. I find it interesting that the reflections of the black ducks show up in the dark water. Someone told me that these ducks are related to penguins. Thanks for making me smile.

  13. #13
    jprzybyla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Lakeland, Florida
    Posts
    3,073
    Real Name
    Joe

    Re: Bird Shots - Still learning

    Hello Christina, I looked at your posted images and read the responses. I do not see anything wrong with your images as shot with the camera, what I do see as a deficiency is technique capturing birds and post processing skills. Regarding the robin, the background was bad. I would suggest two things to consider, maybe a step or two one way or another would have yielded a more pleasing background. The other is to find a pleasing background, pre-focus on a branch or leaf nearby and wait hoping the bird will move there. I have done a quick edit of two of your images as an example, both were underexposed for my eyes. The question can be asked, how do I get the correct exposure... train your eyes to see it. I look at every website I can of bird and nature photographers (notable, successful, accepted photographers). I study how their images look and try to emulate that in my work.

    In editing this image basically all I did was to lighten the exposure and change the crop a tad to center the bird.

    Bird Shots - Still learning

    In the image of the robin I lightened the exposure, sharpened slightly and cropped tighter. The tighter crop eliminates much of the distracting background. I might have tried to clone out the out of focus branches but the image was small being a jpg that I did not have much to work with. If I had done that I would have made a selection in Photoshop Elements of the bird and major branch the chosen Select Inverse from the pop-up menu by right clicking on the selection. I would do that to prevent any work I do from changing the bird and major branch.

    Bird Shots - Still learning

    I would suggest you work on your post processing skills and training your eyes to see the correct exposure when working up an image. Here is a link to the videos use to learn Lightroom 4.

    http://en.elephorm.com/photography/lightroom.html

    If the price has not changed there are 17 hours of videos for $50.

    A great website for looking at others images and work is: http://www.naturescapes.net/

    Hoping the helps.

  14. #14
    Brownbear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    7,244
    Real Name
    Christina

    Re: Bird Shots - Still learning

    Hi Joe,
    Thank you so much taking the time to advise and your edits. Truly appreciated and very helpful. I feel very fortunate to receive all this advice. Yes, I'm learning the hard way about backgrounds, and changing position, and exposure, albeit perhaps a bit too, slowly. I've also learned to use a higher iso and faster shutter speed since joining this forum.

    Thank you for the link to the course. I have been considering taking a course to speed my learning up, I'm just not sure yet if in class or on-line will be better for me. $50 is a great deal so I will check it out.

    Here is my duck edit which is lighter, as edited in Elements and closer to the original shot. The dark duck came from Lightroom 4.1.. How did you know that the duck needed to be lighter? ie the ducks are a dark black so I found the decision confusing. Also why did you center the crop when everyone seems to say to stay away from centering things?

    Bird Shots - Still learning

    I can't upload raw files to photobucket so please accept my apologies for that. I wonder if anyone would be inclined to take the time to edit one of the following photos. (If you send me a private message I could email the raw photos, I think) Just so I can see what can be done or not.

    These birds are very shy and elusive birds, coming out only during the early morning hours, usually hiding high up in the trees, and once in a while on a telephone line, hence the background and shooting up instead of at eye level. I have lots of shots of these birds but they need help and I'd like to see if it is possible to lighten them up to show the beauty of the bird. Their tails are magnificent. (Sony alpha dslr 200, Aperture priority 5.6, iso 100 (I know better now)

    Original Jpegs

    I think this one is too dark to be saved?

    Bird Shots - Still learning

    I'm hopeful that I could save these with edits?

    Bird Shots - Still learning

    Bird Shots - Still learning


    My edits

    Bird Shots - Still learning

    Bird Shots - Still learning
    Last edited by Brownbear; 7th April 2013 at 04:07 PM.

  15. #15
    Shadowman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    31,158
    Real Name
    John

    Re: Bird Shots - Still learning

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    Hi Joe,
    Thank you so much taking the time to advise and your edits. Truly appreciated and very helpful. I feel very fortunate to receive all this advice. Yes, I'm learning the hard way about backgrounds, and changing position, and exposure, albeit perhaps a bit too, slowly. I've also learned to use a higher iso and faster shutter speed since joining this forum.

    Thank you for the link to the course. I have been considering taking a course to speed my learning up, I'm just not sure yet if in class or on-line will be better for me. $50 is a great deal so I will check it out.

    Here is my duck edit which is lighter, as edited in Elements and closer to the original shot. The dark duck came from Lightroom 4.1.. How did you know that the duck needed to be lighter? ie the ducks are a dark black so I found the decision confusing. Also why did you center the crop when everyone seems to say to stay away from centering things?

    Bird Shots - Still learning

    I can't upload raw files to photobucket so please accept my apologies for that. I wonder if anyone would be inclined to take the time to edit one of the following photos. (If you send me a private message I could email the raw photos, I think) Just so I can see what can be done or not.

    These birds are very shy and elusive birds, coming out only during the early morning hours, usually hiding high up in the trees, and once in a while on a telephone line, hence the background and shooting up instead of at eye level. I have lots of shots of these birds but they need help and I'd like to see if it is possible to lighten them up to show the beauty of the bird. Their tails are magnificent. (Sony alpha dslr 200, Aperture priority 5.6, iso 100 (I know better now)

    Original Jpegs

    I think this one is too dark to be saved?

    Bird Shots - Still learning

    I'm hopeful that I could save these with edits?

    Bird Shots - Still learning

    Bird Shots - Still learning


    My edits

    Bird Shots - Still learning

    Bird Shots - Still learning
    You did much better than I did this weekend. I especially like the dark one that you think you can't save. That wing span and tail feather is a near perfect silhouette.

  16. #16
    Brownbear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    7,244
    Real Name
    Christina

    Re: Bird Shots - Still learning

    Thank you John. I'm saving these (and several others like these in trees) for the day that I am more competent at editing or decided they aren't worth editing because I did a lousy job photographing them.

    I could clone out the wire, expand the canvas, reposition the bird but as soon as I try and start lighten the exposure, shadows so one can see the bird, the photo looks horrid... noise etc.. I'm going to try and find a better one in terms of showing this bird.. They truly magnificent birds.

    Here are a couple of better shots of the bird, not great because of the background, focus and distance from the bird but hopefully they show it is a beautiful bird.

    Bird Shots - Still learning

    Bird Shots - Still learning

    Bird Shots - Still learning

    And here is my edit of the flying bird which lacks the detail and rich colour of the above, and I so wish I could edit this one to look good but I suspect it is not possible because the bird is unexposed?

    Bird Shots - Still learning
    Last edited by Brownbear; 7th April 2013 at 11:50 PM.

  17. #17
    kaneohebud's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Oahu, Hawaii
    Posts
    824
    Real Name
    Bud Ralston

    Re: Bird Shots - Still learning

    Christina:
    I'm fascinated. What kind of bird is the blue, white and black one with the crested top? Is it some sort of jay? I'm going to be on Vancouver Island and in Banff/Lake Louise in September. Would love to get some shots of these.

  18. #18
    Rhoads238's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    505
    Real Name
    Jason

    Re: Bird Shots - Still learning

    Hi christina,

    That reflection shot is great. I'm not into birds, so I usually won't comment on photos of them. It has a neat graphic quality to it. I would be tempted to use content aware move to put it inch it a little closer toward the center of the frame. It looks a little tight in the corner for me. Well done though.


    -Jason

  19. #19
    Shadowman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    31,158
    Real Name
    John

    Re: Bird Shots - Still learning

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    Thank you John. I'm saving these (and several others like these in trees) for the day that I am more competent at editing or decided they aren't worth editing because I did a lousy job photographing them.

    I could clone out the wire, expand the canvas, reposition the bird but as soon as I try and start lighten the exposure, shadows so one can see the bird, the photo looks horrid... noise etc.. I'm going to try and find a better one in terms of showing this bird.. They truly magnificent birds.

    Here are a couple of better shots of the bird, not great because of the background, focus and distance from the bird but hopefully they show it is a beautiful bird.

    Bird Shots - Still learning

    Bird Shots - Still learning

    Bird Shots - Still learning

    And here is my edit of the flying bird which lacks the detail and rich colour of the above, and I so wish I could edit this one to look good but I suspect it is not possible because the bird is unexposed?

    Bird Shots - Still learning
    Try adjusting the color temperature and see if it makes a difference. You may have to make other minor adjustments, but it's worth a try.

  20. #20
    Clactonian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    The Essex Sunshine Coast
    Posts
    1,173
    Real Name
    Mike Bareham

    Re: Bird Shots - Still learning

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Hi Christina,

    I read in another thread you have moved from iPhoto to LR4 and was missing the Curves step from your processing workflow at the moment - I see that more here than there - to be honest, they are all a bit dark in the mid-tones.
    Christina, the Tones curve in LR works in a similar way to iPhoto. Have you tried using the little tool found top left of the Tones Curve panel? Click on this and then move across to that part of your image that you wish to adjust and drag either up or down to lighten/darken that tone. You will see the results of that adjustment on the curve and sliders beneath. You can repeat this in as many parts of your image as you wish. It's very useful.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •