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Thread: Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

  1. #1
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

    In the first shot I like the detail that I caught in the wing.

    With respect to the second shot I like that I captured the shot just after he/she caught a fish (from the ocean - not from me) but I think my focus is just a little bit off? I used the adjustment brush in LR to darken the feet, the fish and the beak.

    Manual SS 2500 F8 auto iso 1400 Exp Comp +1 and 51 point focusing...


    Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

    Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

    Critiques always appreciated as I am little concerned about my ability to judge exposure correctly. Thank you.

  2. #2
    PRSearls's Avatar
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    Re: Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

    Hi Christina,

    IMO, both images look too bright. I think your camera exposure was good but you can reduce brightness in post-processing. I took the liberty of making some quick adjustments to your first image. (I hope you don't mind)

    1. I adjusted the color balance slightly toward blue. The file looked too cyan on my calibrated monitor.
    2. In Levels, I moved the black slider to the right to increase black. The mid-tone slider was also moved right to slightly darken the image which also increased color saturation.
    3. I slightly sharpened the image.

    Your focus was good in the first image since it reveals good detail in the feathers and feet. Your 1/2500 sec froze the wings' motion. If you shoot slightly slower, you can use f/11 (or greater) which will give you a slightly greater depth of field which can sometimes compensate for a slight error in focusing. These look pretty good so I'd encourage you to keep practicing.

    Paul S

    Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

  3. #3
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

    Thank you Paul.

    Great advice and a wonderful editing example... Very helpful.


    Will do.

  4. #4
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

    Both are very nice. Did you have to crop much? The first shot is framed so tight that I doubt there was any cropping done.

  5. #5
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

    Thank you John,

    Yes, I cropped both images 40-50%.

    In the first image I caught the gull at the top of the frame (ie; cropped at the bottom)

    In the second image I caught the gull at the far left of the frame (as he was exiting my viewfinder) I've been experimenting with center 51 point focusing and in the 2nd photo I think the focus ended up being on the feet instead of the head and fish.

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    Re: Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

    Nice start, keep up the practice shoot them oncoming.

    No such thing as seagull, common gull

  7. #7
    PRSearls's Avatar
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    Re: Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

    Christina,

    One thing I forgot to mention. When shooting birds with white plumage, be careful not to overexpose since these areas can blow out, especially in bright light. This is easy to do when shooting Bald Eagles with their white heads.

    Paul S

  8. #8
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    Re: Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

    Hello Christina, good captures of gulls in flight. The images are sharp. I tried a quick edit to see if I could recover the feather detail in the bright white areas between the head and wing. When I burned those areas and lowered the exposure they turned to grey an indication of clipped highlights. Here is how I shoot a white bird or a bird with white. You know my settings so I will not go into that. When I see the white bird approaching my left fingers are switching from aperture priority to manual mode ( for a shutter speed of 2500 and aperture of f8 ). My right fingers have pushed down the +/- EV button and my right thumb moves the rear wheel three clicks counterclockwise so the exposure is set to -1 EV. This all happens as I am raising the camera to find the bird in the viewfinder. Practice it even if you don't click the shutter. I should just happen automatically without thinking.

    Back to your gulls... I would have shot them at -1EV, if you did then more under exposure was need to keep the white from clipping. Shooting flying birds happens so fast you cannot look at the LCD display to see what is happening you have to go with what you know from experience.

    You have a tendency in post processing to overexpose slightly. In the case of these gulls about 1/2 a stop. It is your eye that must see exposure when post processing, you can train it to see the exposure by studying images that are correctly exposed.

    Keep shooting my friend, you are getting very close... each time there is improvement.

  9. #9
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

    Thank you Jeremy, Paul and Joe

    Jeremy... No such thing as a seagull? I've always called them such... And what about Johnathon Livingston Seagull? It's a good book

    Paul.... I thought for white, ie snow one must use and exp. comp of +1 so it is not underexposed.. And -1 for black dogs etc... I'm using the same theory for white seagulls? And now I am confused.

    Joe... Thank you so much... I have been exposing to the right, and then increasing the whites with an reverse curve in LR, so this time around (see shots to come) I just decreased the exposure, increased clarity and vibrance, sharpened etc.

    In the first gull images I did use Manual mode and exp. comp of -1 so it is likely my editing. I do use that technique you use but I have not been using it this week because I've been using matrix metering as you do, and the manual says that that technique is to be used with spot and center weighted metering... ?

    I am still trying to follow your guidelines except when I have to change shutter speed, and I went back to single point auto focus because I can focus on the eye and if I miss the eye at least the focus point ends up on the head... That said I will continue to try it but for this next set of gulls I switched back... I will experiment with it again.

    Thank you for all your help.. I'm very happy to hear that you are seeing improvement in my BIF.. I think so too.

  10. #10
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

    Because Jeremy asked me to keep them coming (or was it oncoming - yes, I'm working on that too(...

    Manual SS 2500 A 5-8 Exp Bias... -.33 to +.33 depending on clipping matrix meter, auto iso 500-900

    Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

    For the one below I tried lightening up under the wings with the shadow brush

    Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated


    Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated


    Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated


    My favourites even though I missed the feet (Shooting from a dock above and trying not to make it look like it is from above)


    Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated


    Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated


    Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated
    Last edited by Brownbear; 8th August 2013 at 12:07 AM.

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    Re: Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    increasing the whites with an reverse curve in LR
    I'm confused. If you're referring to the reverse of a standard S-curve, it will darken the whites, not brighten them.

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    Re: Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

    Hi Mike,

    If you lift the bottom portion of the curve in LR up it increases the whites or maybe it is shadows but it lightens it up... I just tried it to double check... ie the corner intersection of the box in the lower left hand corner.

    Yes or ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    I'm confused. If you're referring to the reverse of a standard S-curve, it will darken the whites, not brighten them.

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    Re: Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

    A curve is a curve is a curve regardless of the software application.

    If you lift the lower portion of the curve upward, all of the tones will be brightened at least a little. The dark and mid tones will be brightened more than the white tones but the white tones will be brightened. If you then lower the upper part of the curve to create the reverse of a standard S-curve, the white parts will be darker than before you first adjusted the curve.

    It might help you to step back a few moments and think of the curve tool as a graph made up of two axes. That's because that's exactly what it is. Learn what the values on the X axis mean and learn what the values on the Y axis mean. You'll then understand what any point on the graph represents because every point on the graph is the point at which a line drawn to the right from the Y axis and a line drawn upward from the X axis intersect.

    Then imagine placing two dots anywhere on the graph. Draw an imaginary line between them. That line is part of the curve, even though it's straight because it connects only two dots.

    Now imagine placing 256 dots on the graph -- each dot corresponding with one of the values of zero to 255 on the X axis and with whatever value you choose on the Y axis. Now imagine connecting those 256 dots. Voila! You now have a curve. It's called a curve even if it's straight, such as when you open the curve tool without adjusting it.

    Others could probably explain that better but I hope you get the point that it's really important that you correctly understand the information that the curve tool, which is a very simple graph, is displaying.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 7th August 2013 at 11:19 PM.

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    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

    Mike... That is a great explanation, and I will revisit the information I have on curves and the tutorials in LR.

    I just have one more set of guillimots to figure out, and a bear shot in cloudy weather (still to be taken) before I get back to the editing tutorials.

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    Re: Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated


    Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated


    Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated


    Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

    Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated


    Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated


    Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated
    Christina, in many ways these are very good shots but I noticed that parts of the birds are cut off in most of the images. My guess is this resulted from the same problem I faced in BIF shots at the raptor centre I recently visited: using too long a focal length. As I found to my regret, zooming in and/or being too close to the bird leaves no margin for error in getting the complete bird into the photo. Next time, I'll back off by using a slightly shorter focal length and then, if necessary, tighten the image by cropping.

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    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

    Thank you for sharing Bruce... I will continue working on not clipping bits of the gull (birds in general)... until later.

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    Re: Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post

    I thought for white, ie snow one must use and exp. comp of +1 so it is not underexposed.. And -1 for black dogs etc... I'm using the same theory for white seagulls? And now I am confused.

    Christina there is a big difference between exposing for a subject that is surrounded by or contains a very light (white) or dark background compared to exposing for a subject where very light or dark areas are an important part of the subject.

    They in fact often need completely opposite exposure corrections. If "blinkies" are in the snow when you are taking a correctly exposure + compensated photo of a skier the lost of details in the snow may be an acceptable sacrifice. If the "blinkies" are in the feathers of a bird that is the subject it is very unlikely to be an acceptable sacrifice so the exposure either needs to be taken with no exposure compensation or with a negative compensation depending on the type of exposure reading method being used.

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

    The normal exposure meter reading when using a built-in camera meter is a reflected reading. The reflected readings are greatly influenced by the surrounding areas. If you were to take a meter reading off of a gray card (which is illuminated in the same manner as the subject bird), your exposure would not be impacted by the surroundings. In fact, you would handle the exposure measured in this way, the same as you would if you were using an incident light meter. That is reduce exposure for white or very bright subjects and increase exposure for black or very dark subjects. Although, I fully realize the reasons for increasing exposure of snow scenes and decreasing exposure for the black cat in the coal bin, I am also able obtain correct exposure by use of a gray card or an incident light meter. Now that I think of it, using my camera in the manual exposure mode and my Sekonic meter in the incident mode (and compensating for light or dark subjects) might be just the ticket to nail BIF exposure!

    Jum Nieger of Kissimmee, Florida a professional bird photographer and birding photography instructor recommends using manual exposure off a substitute subject such as grass (IMO The gray card would work even better and I think the incident meter might also work quite well). His rationale is that the bird will often be flying in front of varied backgrounds and you want the exposure to nail the bird. Even when using your camera meter in the spot mode (given that your camera has this mode) you might sometimes be reading a spot other than the bird.

    To be honest, I have not attempted this (YET) but, it does seem like a logical approach to exposure for BIF photography. What do you think?

  19. #19
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

    Thank you Paul and Richard,

    Paul, thank you.. Yes, I've just recently realized that I was misunderstanding exposing for light and dark subjects when they are just a small part of the scene versus when they comprise the majority of the scene. Fortunately most of the time I have been adjusting my blinkies, just thinking I had been receiving contradictory advice. Thank you for noticing that this question still had to be answered. In fact, a kind soul has given me a photographic exercise to do to learn more about this subject and I'm reading up on it, too.

    Richard, I am going to have to read your reply a few times to make sure I understand it... Right now it sounds a bit complicated to me. I think I will print it and study it later, when I'm smarter. Truly appreciated. Thank you.

  20. #20
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

    Posting more common gulls to show that I can photograph them without clipping part of the bird... It is just that I'm usually more fond of the unique positions I try and catch when I clip them... So I will work on that and also the head on shots (which I'm finding very hard to capture) along with exposing over water, and the bright white bits on the head and tail end, which I dodged in LR in the photos with the dark background.



    Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated


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    Seagull in Flight C&C appreciated

    You can see from my collection of gulls that I am practicing on BIF ever chance I get.

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