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Thread: Bird Photos - Still Working on them

  1. #1
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Bird Photos - Still Working on them

    Matrix metering and either Aperture priority 5.6 or Manual A 7- A 10 iso 400 -800 exposure comp +.7 iso 400-800

    I'd be most appreciative of all feedback, especially focus, exposure, colour and composition but all feedback is truly appreciated including which ones you like or don't like.

    These I edited in LR setting the white and black points, and using mostly a reverse S curve hoping to bring out more detail in the swan (I just learned this). I also selectively darkened the background behind the swan (also a first for me using LR and I think I did a pretty good job?)

    I found choosing, picking the white balance for the swan very difficult... ie; I did not know if it should be cooler or warmer. I also found choosing whether to increase the exposure for the swan challenging because when you increase the exposure detail seems to be lost.

    I made one mistake in that when I downsized for uploading for posting here, I tried Photoshop Elements bulk express for the entire folder and hit auto sharpen which introduced noise into the background.

    Here are my photos

    Bird Photos - Still Working on them

    Bird Photos - Still Working on them


    I think the composition is odd?

    Bird Photos - Still Working on them




    Fluffy

    Bird Photos - Still Working on them


    Bird Photos - Still Working on them


    Bird Photos - Still Working on them


    Is the swan underexposed?


    Bird Photos - Still Working on them


    Bird Photos - Still Working on them


    Bird Photos - Still Working on them


    Bird Photos - Still Working on them

    And him I forgot to sharpen after downsizing.

    Bird Photos - Still Working on them


    And for this one I just want to know if it is possible to photograph birds on the tops of tall trees. I have no means to get closer to these herons but I hope you can see from the activity of these herons why I keep trying. Perhaps it is time to give up?

    Bird Photos - Still Working on them

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    terrib's Avatar
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    Re: Bird Photos - Still Working on them

    Hi Christina,

    I'm no bird expert, but I'll tell you what I think on these. I think fewer pics per post might work better or at least number them so they are easier to identify.

    Goose 1: I really like this one. I think the exposure and composition are both good. You've got detail and light in the eye which is good.

    Goose 2: It's probably personal preference but I'm not liking this composition as much. The out of focus tail keeps drawing my eye from the head.

    Gull: I would agree the comp is a little odd. It's pretty though and looks sharp but it's a little bright which I think caused you to lose some detail.

    Fluffy: I like the first shot. For some reason the out of focus tail doesn't bother me so much on this one. I think it is a creative composition that works. The other two shots of this bird - the focus or DOF is bothering me - I'm not sure which.

    Swan: I like the composition and background on the first shot the best but the second shot seems to have the best detail in the feathers. I don't think it looks underexposed.

  3. #3
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Bird Photos - Still Working on them

    Hi Terri,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Yes, for future I think I will do one photo at a time.

    Goose 2 - Good to know because although I like it because it is unique the out of focus tail means it does not work. And that is likely what is odd with the other gull photos as well. Good for me to know. Fluffy... Sometimes cuteness makes up for all Thank you.

    Swans.... thank you.

  4. #4
    Suzan J's Avatar
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    Re: Bird Photos - Still Working on them

    Hi Christina: I too, am trying to improve at wildlife photos. Some folks on this site make it look too easy! I'm not a technical wizard, so I can't help much on that front, but I do like the composition of the "second goose" and "fluffy". The angle is more pleasing that a flat side shot. I tried to take a picture of an owl in a tree similar to your blue heron shot (standing on a road and pointing the camera up at the bird and sky) and got the same dark, almost silhouette, look. The sky was too bright in the background. Someone suggested that I try spot metering on the bird in that type of condition. It would bring out detail in the bird, but likely overexpose the sky. I suppose it depends on how important the subject is to you. if you are prepared to blow out the sky, a severe crop, filling as much of the frame as possible with the bird, might be workable. Unfortunately, my owl has not returned so I have been unable to try that suggestion. Do NOT give up on shooting herons! Keep practicing and one day everything might "click". (Pun intended)

  5. #5
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Bird Photos - Still Working on them

    Dear Suzan,

    Thank you for your critique, comments and recommendations. And for your encouragement... It is likely that I will try again one day... It's not easy but I'm learning to wait for the birds to fly into the light, and sooner or later they will have to come down lower... I think spot metering would be too, hard to do on a flying bird but I'll give it a try.. It'll be good practice...

    Here is hoping that your owl returns one day, soon.

  6. #6

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    Re: Bird Photos - Still Working on them

    I just want to know if it is possible to photograph birds on the tops of tall trees


    Time of day and direction of light are key. (flash is usually not an option) Also , use spot metering and manual mode.



    If you look at your photo, you need more light on the bird , and less light on the sky. Position the sun behind you and shoot in the evening or early morning. Or shoot a crossing light in early morning. (slightly backlit, but not dirtectly). Shoot on a cloudy day with the sun behind you.

  7. #7

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    Re: Bird Photos - Still Working on them

    Christina,

    Ignoring composition for the moment, which is your favorite and why?

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    Re: Bird Photos - Still Working on them

    Christina I like swan no. two. I think because how well you where able to expose all that white.

  9. #9
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Bird Photos - Still Working on them

    Hi Steve,

    Thank you for advising and analyzing... Your specifics are very helpful. It is difficult to spot meter because I don't know from which direction the active heron will arise, but I will try and choose the best lighting spot and wait.


    I photographed these all these herons about one hour after sunrise and the most activity is in the back lit tree, so I am going to return twice, once early afternoon for brighter light, and once late afternoon for better light and hoping that that tree will be front lit.

    My typical strategy is to try Aperture priority to see how well lit the bird is but it always chooses too slow a shutter speed. Next I switch to manual, adjust the settings and up the shutter speed as much as possible.

    Here are two shots with side lighting, shot Manual, Matrix metering, Exp comp +.7

    SS 1250, A F6 (about as open as I can go) and iso 500 and 720. And I still have problems and I think it is because the high iso drains all the colour out of the photo, and I try not to go above iso 800 (max 1000) with my Nikon D80.

    The birds are still too dark, and the shutter speed is still to slow (Ie. not sharp enough).

    Bird Photos - Still Working on them


    Bird Photos - Still Working on them

    I will try again in different light and post if they turn out any better. Thank you.


    Quote Originally Posted by Steve S View Post
    Time of day and direction of light are key. (flash is usually not an option) Also , use spot metering and manual mode.



    If you look at your photo, you need more light on the bird , and less light on the sky. Position the sun behind you and shoot in the evening or early morning. Or shoot a crossing light in early morning. (slightly backlit, but not dirtectly). Shoot on a cloudy day with the sun behind you.

  10. #10
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Bird Photos - Still Working on them

    Hi Mike,

    Thank you for your reply... The heron would be my favourite if I could manage a decent shot because its' landing on a tree top and has a branch in its' mouth.

    Choosing a favourite from my own photos is exceedingly challenging because it seems like I can't nail everything perfectly in one shot. Hence my posting to help me learn to analyze my own photos.

    I like goose #1 for the rich colour, glint in the eye and focus.

    I like the 2nd swan for the detail in the feathers (thank you James for sharing your thoughts) but that said I think I like the 2nd to last swan best because of the composition and he/she is looking at me.

    But to choose a favourite, very reluctantly I would said Fluffy, because it is a unique view of a seagull of being a cuddly creature, the colour is good, I can see the detail in the feathers and it provides a sense of movement?




    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    Christina,

    Ignoring composition for the moment, which is your favorite and why?

  11. #11

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    Re: Bird Photos - Still Working on them

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    Choosing a favourite from my own photos is exceedingly challenging because it seems like I can't nail everything perfectly in one shot.
    Indeed, that's what makes photography challenging. Considering that you're photographing birds, that makes it even more challenging.

    Continue improving on positioning yourself relative to your subject and the light, mastering your equipment, determining how you want your photos to look and then mastering your post-processing software to achieve that look. Ain't photography fun?

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