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Thread: Waterfowl

  1. #1

    Join Date
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    mat

    Waterfowl

    I was inspired by (or should that read envious of ?) all the fantastic bird shots that I see on an almost daily basis here on CIC
    I immediatley discovered how much harder it was than I had realised.
    I also discovered that there are fewer birds about when you are all prepared with a fancy 200mm lens than when you take a walk with your P&S !
    Both these shots needed to be heavily cropped and upon closer investigation clearly needed sharpening, the latter I found very difficult to achieve well and I realise that a much lighter hand on the focus ring is needed at the point of capture, but you can only work with what you've got at the end of the day, as they say.
    I thought some of you more experienced birders might be able to offer some advice/ critique and I hoped that some of the less experienced ones (like myself) might be tempted to go out and do better (that's a challenge by the way !)
    Thanks for viewing
    mat

    Waterfowl

    Waterfowl

  2. #2
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Dave Humphries :)

    Re: Waterfowl

    I immediately discovered how much harder it was than I had realised.
    Welcome to the club Mat

    #1 looks like it needs a counter-clockwise rotation to me, if the subject is the brace of ducks, there's a lot of 'non-contributory' stuff in front, although it gives context
    EXIF Canon 5D Mk.II at 400mm f/10, 1/320s, iso100

    #2 is over sharpened (probably more of a crop too), also over exposed (the bird is blown)
    EXIF Canon 5D Mk.II at 320mm f/8, 1/400s, iso100
    Subjects like this (Egret?) are always going to be rarer than ducks and geese

    A question; are you shooting RAW?
    (You need to be if you're going to crop aggressively)

    I leave sharpening of shots like these until after I have downsized and then apply UnSharp Mask at 80-120% 0.3px with a threshold of 0 or 1 if I can get away with it, higher if noise is an issue (due excessive to cropping), but every picture is different, hence the span of settings I use.

    What PP software are you using?

    General tips;
    Be patient, don't be in a hurry when shooting
    Observe their behaviour, get yourself into a good position for range and light angle, then wait quietly for them to return to the area

    Good luck,

  3. #3

    Join Date
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    mat

    Re: Waterfowl

    Thanks Dave, yes I'm shooting RAW for exactly those reasons and I'm using PS3 which is old hat but seems to do the things I ask it to do. It feels like I should upgrade to a newer version but I just don't have the 's now that I've given up the hurley burley of London and pitched up on the side of a mountain in France !
    I used USM at ( I think) 200%; 0.5 px; and threshold somewhere higher due to excessive noise.
    Your tips all make sense and field craft is something else to learn. Luckily I fired off the shot of what I thought was a heron as it flew off and didn't come back despite my hiding amongst the wet grass for an hour !
    here's the original (no PP just converted to JPEG in order to use tinypics)
    Waterfowl

  4. #4
    jeeperman's Avatar
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    Paul

    Re: Waterfowl

    Mat, I am in agreement with Dave on all accounts. Also, 200mm can be difficult for bird images. It can be done, but will require extra patience and stalking ability. Keep at it. Everytime you make a descent capture while out for birds you will get better, and also realise how much that 400mm down at the camera shop is calling your name. It's a steep and very slippery slope you have stepped onto! Welcome!

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