Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 21

Thread: Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated

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

    Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated

    I'm happy with these duck shots in that I like the moments I captured, and I think (hope) they are sharp enough.

    I had challenges with not blowing the white underside of the wings so I metered off of the sand.

    I tried to blur my backgrounds by shooting wide open and getting down as low as possible but I'm still not happy with my backgrounds so I think I have to learn to choose nicer settings. Matt if you are reading this, I just could not lie down on the ground because it was at a busy park full of people and I would have been trampled.. (Next time I will find a more secluded spot)

    I edited in LR, moving the white and black points, sometimes adjusting curves just a wee bit, setting WB and sharpening just the duck. In Elements I erased some spots and branches and used the blur brush on the background (that brush doesn't seem to have much effect)

    Manual SS 1600 A 5.3 iso 540-720 Exp. Bias +.3


    Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated


    Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated


    Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated


    Reds a bit blown but still...


    Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated

    And one hawk in flight... I just wasn't fast enough not to clip the wings.

    Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated


    Thank you as always. I hope that all the kind folks who have been advising me see some improvements in these shots.

  2. #2
    Digital's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Carrollton, Georgia (USA)
    Posts
    2,164
    Real Name
    Bruce

    Re: Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated

    I am not a wildlife photographer, except when I am at the zoo. I do like these photos especially the fact that the fowl (duck) was in motion in all these shots.


    Bruce

  3. #3
    Cantab's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Canada (west coast)
    Posts
    1,279
    Real Name
    Bruce

    Re: Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated

    Christina, a really good set of photos packed with action.

    I'm completely mystified what the first mallard was doing! Is the second photo a hard landing? The last photo looks like a turkey vulture rather than a hawk.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    6,945
    Real Name
    Dan

    Re: Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated

    Hey, Christina. You nailed the technicals on these. Also got nice catch lights in every one except the one with the wing in front of the eye (a no-no after you start to build a bit of a portfolio by the way). Good job on the sharpening too. You didn't mention how long your lens was. It looks like your DOF was about as flat as you could go for that size bird (in the second shot it looks like the backside wingtip was just at the edge of DOF).

    IMO the fourth shot is the strongest image. Bird is in a great position, is coming toward the camera, got the catch light in the eye, you nailed it, and the BG is far enough away to be blurred nicely. I know PP isn't your favorite thing but this is an example where it could make a difference. I suggest trying de-saturating and lowering the brightness in the upper left corner. The bright colors in an otherwise neutral image draw the eye. You want to keep people focused (no pun intended) on your BIF, not on the abstract BG.

    The third shot is my next fave. The bird is in a silly position, the green is well exposed on the head, it looks like the duck is looking straight at you, and the techs are good again.

    Yes that is a turkey vulture (aka buzzard) not a hawk. No comment on the buzzard

  5. #5
    Brownbear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    7,244
    Real Name
    Christina

    Re: Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated

    Thank you Bruce & Bruce...

    Just a funny landing, and yes a hard landing.

    Could be or it could be my BIF photography... ie; still working on it!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cantab View Post
    Christina, a really good set of photos packed with action.

    I'm completely mystified what the first mallard was doing! Is the second photo a hard landing? The last photo looks like a turkey vulture rather than a hawk.

  6. #6
    Brownbear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    7,244
    Real Name
    Christina

    Re: Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated

    Hi Dan,

    Thank you so much for your very helpful critique and analysis. Truly appreciated, and it also includes some new things for me to be aware of. My favorite was the first bird for the position.

    It's a Tamron AF Push Pull 200-400 mm lens. Yes, my DOF was as wide as it could be but I thought if I got lower I could blur the background more.



    I will try your editing suggestion on the 4th shot, and post in a couple of days.

    No comments on the buzzard is likely a good thing. I just threw him in there to show that I am working on in-flight shots too.



    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernFocus View Post
    Hey, Christina. You nailed the technicals on these. Also got nice catch lights in every one except the one with the wing in front of the eye (a no-no after you start to build a bit of a portfolio by the way). Good job on the sharpening too. You didn't mention how long your lens was. It looks like your DOF was about as flat as you could go for that size bird (in the second shot it looks like the backside wingtip was just at the edge of DOF).

    IMO the fourth shot is the strongest image. Bird is in a great position, is coming toward the camera, got the catch light in the eye, you nailed it, and the BG is far enough away to be blurred nicely. I know PP isn't your favorite thing but this is an example where it could make a difference. I suggest trying de-saturating and lowering the brightness in the upper left corner. The bright colors in an otherwise neutral image draw the eye. You want to keep people focused (no pun intended) on your BIF, not on the abstract BG.

    The third shot is my next fave. The bird is in a silly position, the green is well exposed on the head, it looks like the duck is looking straight at you, and the techs are good again.

    Yes that is a turkey vulture (aka buzzard) not a hawk. No comment on the buzzard

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    San Antonio, Texas
    Posts
    1,733
    Real Name
    Sergio

    Re: Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated

    A great set Christina, but #1 really makes me smile.

    Sergio

  8. #8

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    northern Virginia suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    19,064

    Re: Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    I thought if I got lower I could blur the background more.
    To clarify that, getting lower produced a different background that includes scenery that is farther away from the subject. Considering that the bird is in focus, you would expect the scenery that is farther away to be more out of focus than the scenery that is closer. If that is the thought process that you used, you're getting the hang of this stuff more and more and using your increasing knowledge of the optics to make a more pleasing photo.

  9. #9
    terrib's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Colorado & Texas, USA
    Posts
    2,022
    Real Name
    Terri

    Re: Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated

    Don't have much to add to all the great stuff already said. I do like the details in the wings on #3 & #4. Colors are very nice.

  10. #10
    Brownbear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    7,244
    Real Name
    Christina

    Re: Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated

    Thank you Sergio, Mike and Terri

    Sergio nice to hear that my ducks made you smile that's a good thing!

    Dan, here is my edit... Funnily enough I found it easier to do in Elements using a layer mask (a first for me)

    Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated

    I think it improves the photo, but I still don't like the background, especially because of that shadow. I'm just going to have to learn to find and shoot nice backgrounds. But I think I will save these and practice my selecting skills because I think they will look cute if I can select just the duck and put it on a plain white background.

    Thank you.

  11. #11
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    Posts
    13,018
    Real Name
    Manfred Mueller

    Re: Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated

    Hi Christina - you really have some lovely shots here.

    You might want to look at cropping a little less tightly when shooting fast moving wildlife so as to not cut off their wings and giving you a bit of flexibility to correct positioning in post. I tend to shoot with a bit of a margin around anything that I shoot so that I can make compositional tweaks in post. I have lots of pixels and throwing a few away is the price I am willing to pay to have a bit more room to edit with.

  12. #12
    Digital's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Carrollton, Georgia (USA)
    Posts
    2,164
    Real Name
    Bruce

    Re: Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated

    Christina, I am glad that I do not take photos of BIF. I do admire those photographers who do. Since I mostly do landscape photography I do not have to so call "track" my subject. If I do I am deep trouble.
    I admire the pics I see on CiC of BIF, and want to encourage you to keep plying your trade.

    Bruce

  13. #13

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

    Re: Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated

    Christina, this is a nice set. You have done everything right.

    Always keep 3 things in mind - subject (obviously), light, background. For camera practice just the subject is fine. For the other 2 it is more than just the camera - you need to look at the scene and pre-visualise what you will get. Once you know that you can get the subject whatever the conditions, then it is time to step back and not take the shot if the light and background are not to your taste. That way you will take far fewer shots but your happy rate will be much higher.

  14. #14
    jprzybyla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Lakeland, Florida
    Posts
    3,073
    Real Name
    Joe

    Re: Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated

    Hello Christina, I have been following this thread. First let me say, nice images. You have to watch clipping off wing tips etc. but that will come with practice. You mentioned that you did not like the background in the third image. I didn't like it either so I changed it. Here is how I did it. I opened your image in Photoshop Elements and using the Quick Selection Tool I made a selection of the duck being careful to select all the edges sometimes zooming in the see the pixels involved. I right clicked in the selection (inside the duck) and from the drop down menu selected Select Inverse. That protects the duck and allows me to work on everything else. Next I used the Clone Stamp Tool (rubber stamp tool) and set the Opacity to 40%. I positioned the brush circle over the color of the background next to the duck and holding the ALT key down left clicked to pick up the color and pattern. I cloned over all that I did not like in the background blending it in with the out of focus foreground. Then in Lightroom 4 I opened the image. Using the Adjustment Brush I masked the duck and cleaned up the edges so I was only working on the duck. I added Clarity of 15, raised the exposure to 10, and added sharpness of 10. Below is the edited image. It all took about 5 minutes. Knowing that you are serious in your photography I urge you to devote time to learning post processing software. It will make your images and photography so much better.

    Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated

  15. #15
    Digital's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Carrollton, Georgia (USA)
    Posts
    2,164
    Real Name
    Bruce

    Re: Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated

    Joe, I am impressed with what you did with PP in PE, and LR. Is there any way using PE that you could have changed the background other than the one you used since this does not look very natural IMHO?
    Or would using the method you used be able to produce such results?

    Bruce

  16. #16

    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    6,945
    Real Name
    Dan

    Re: Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated

    I'm currently on a system that doesn't play well with images on the web so can't see the edits being discussed. I'll take a look later this evening.

    Ditto Manfred's recommendation to leave some space when shooting BIF if at all possible. Not only does it protect wingtips but particularly if shooting handheld it is pretty common to be a bit out of level which may need correction and will cost you a few pixels around the edges.

    Bruce, it's interesting how different peoples' perspectives can be. You indicated admiration for the ability to shoot BIFs. I'm in the opposite camp and admire/envy great landscape photography. After all, shooting BIF we really have no control over the bird, what background it will pass across, whether it looks toward the camera, etc. So as long as we can learn to nail the technical components we have all kinds of excuses as to why we come away with less than perfect shots compositionally. What I struggle with when shooting landscape is the very fact that it's just sitting there. There's all the time in the world to study it and consider options. Perhaps even leave and come back another day when the light is better etc. So if I walk away with a less than perfect shot, who can I blame but myself Yes much harder IMO.

  17. #17
    Brownbear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    7,244
    Real Name
    Christina

    Re: Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated

    Wow! It's sure a treat to come back from practicing photography and find all this wonderful advice!

    Thank you Manfred, Bruce, Bobo, Joe and Dan. I need a little while to review and digest all the info, but be assured that I will.

    Bruce... Landscapes are challenging and I admire your landscape photos and others, greatly.

    Joe, thank you so much for taking the time to edit my photo. It looks wonderful. I will try this in the next day or two and post my version. I prefer to get it in camera because it is far easier but be assured that I am studying and practicing how to edit, and maybe I'm slow at learning it but I'm getting there...

    Aside I have my clone stamp tool in photoshop Elements set on a pattern and I can't figure out how to return it to normal... ?

    Today I took some great seagull in flight shots (well, they are still in camera so I don't know for sure) which I'll post eventually. I bought some fish and chips and became very popular with the birds (and I managed some blurred backgrounds) A heron flew over my head and I managed to grab the shot but my exposure comp was set to -1 (no time to change it) because I was photographing a black dog so it's underexposed... guess that's life!

  18. #18

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

    Re: Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated

    @Dan - did you copy one of my laments about my sucky landscapes??? Sure sounds like me that you are describing.

  19. #19

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    30 miles south of Lubbock TX
    Posts
    317
    Real Name
    Kris Harmon

    Re: Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated

    Love the duck. Especially #4.

    As far as the buzzard goes.....they are Mother Natures trash compactors. They provide a great service to us even though they ain't the prettiest birds in the world.

  20. #20

    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    6,945
    Real Name
    Dan

    Re: Fun with Ducks - C&C highly appreciated

    Hi, Christina. Back on my own laptop and looked at your edit. That's a bit better but still a lot of bright color. Sometimes there's only so much one can/should do. Recognizing what to look for next time is a step forward.

    Now I have to leave you fine folks for a couple of days. Heading out on Prince William Sound for the weekend. Weather looks decent and the eagles should be feeding chicks so hope to stake them out fishing near a nest and see what we can do.

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
  •