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Thread: Can this picture be saved?

  1. #1

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    Can this picture be saved?

    It looks so close to a good photo, and it was the best of a bunch of bird photos I took today. I liked the colors, I like the red berry, The bird is out of focus, but not entirely...

    I think that what was happening may have been that I was using a 200 mm zoom lens, hand held, and so I was trying to compensate for jitter by setting the camera to "sports" mode, the idea being to shorten the shutter time. It may be that this forced the aperture to be too far open and made the depth of field nearly zero, if that is the right term. I am pretty sure that I will have to toss this one, but can anybody suggest a way to avoid a mess like this in the future?

    I could crop it vertically to get rid of the extraneous tree trunk to the right, and to focus more attention on the berry and the bird, but then the focus problems just take over.

    And yes, I did touch it up around the bird to get rid of a bright but fuzzy twig that distracted from the main subject, but that is a different issue.

    Can this picture be saved?
    Last edited by tameigh; 25th December 2010 at 02:33 AM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Can this picture be saved?

    FYI:

    Focal Length 250
    Lens EF 555 250 mm f/4-5.6 IS

    f 6.3 1/320 ISO 400

  3. #3
    Skitalez's Avatar
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    Re: Can this picture be saved?

    Not very easy((( a was trying with NOT original size
    Radu Dinu Cordeanu sometimes do good things))

    Can this picture be saved?

  4. #4
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Can this picture be saved?

    Hi Tim,

    Welcome to the CiC forums from me.

    I think you're right, this one isn't going to work, there's just too much against it
    I have many similar shots, so don't worry.

    However, our failures are the ones we learn the most from, there's no point in beginners luck if you can't repeat it.

    You were right to try sports mode, but personally, I still think this won't give the best options and I'd suggest leaving scene modes behind and taking almost complete control.

    I think you need to be closer to the subject, so it is bigger in the frame and you can get a focus point on it, not just the general area resulting in it focusing on the twigs and branches between you and the bird.

    I do these kinds of things and the success rate is low, especially as the little critters never stay in one place for more than a second or two, which really doesn't give time to manually focus. If that's a Canon body on the DSLR, I might (being a Nikonite) have not used the correct Canon terminilogy, if you have any queries, ask us.

    Here's what I do;
    a) Make sure the focusing options are set for single point and continuous servo modes
    b) Use the centre point and re-compose in PP cropping, or if you are close enough, choose another focus point to focus on eye and compose in camera
    c) Shoot RAW for more PP options
    d) Shoot in short bursts of 2 or 3 pictures as fast as the camera will allow
    e) If shooting through woodland like this, also move your position (slowly!) by a just few centimetres and shoot again to avoid the problems of branches in front of subject in at least some pics
    f) Set iso at 400, 800 or even 1600, if this gives noise, I deal with it in PP with a third party application like Neat Image.
    g) I set the camera is in aperture priority mode (Av) and at say f/8 (for slightly better quality)
    h) Set metering to spot mode (if you have it)
    i) Although 1/320 wasn't too bad, due to wind and subject movement, I find I need at least 1/750 or higher for sharp pictures, hence the high iso.
    j) Use exposure compensation dependent upon the bird's colouring (and metering mode):
    with spot metering; dark ones are liable to over-expose, so use -EC (e.g. 0.5 to 1.5 stops) and white ones are liable to under expose, so use +EC.
    with centre weighted, average, matrix meter modes (unless backlit), you need to reverse the above advice for EC
    white ones are liable to over-expose, so use -EC (e.g. 0.5 to 2 stops) and dark ones are liable to under expose, so use +EC.
    k) Use you RGB histogram and chimp shots to check that any small areas of white haven't blown and for colourful bits; no colour channels have blown
    l) Don't chimp too much or you will miss other opportunities, there's a balance to be struck here!

    Hmmmm, half way through that changed from 'what I do' to 'what you should do', but I hope it's useful,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 25th December 2010 at 11:51 AM. Reason: correct typo

  5. #5

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    Re: Can this picture be saved?

    Skitalez,
    Thank you, I think there are a couple of ideas in there I can use. I like what you did with the background. I have access to CS5, since my employer is in a partnership with Adobe, so I am going to work on it some more as an exercise.

    Dave Humprhies, Thank you for your advice. I really know very little, as I have a nice camera, but I borrowed it from my daughter, on account of the free access to Photoshop. I got interested in photography just this summer from doing facebook posts from my camera phone, other than a few general concepts, I had no idea even where to start, aside from sports mode. Your advice gives me a toehold on where to start, especially from the point of view of specific settings instead of general notions. The next sunny day, I will head out again. Fortunately, chickadees are not hard to find around here.

    BTW, what does "chimp" mean?
    Last edited by tameigh; 26th December 2010 at 10:57 PM.

  6. #6

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    Re: Can this picture be saved?

    Can this picture be saved?

    I took your advice on the auto focus point, f stop, and ISO with aperture priority and I got much improved results. I used ISO 1600, and the picture is a bit noisy, but the light was terrible, overcast with light snow falling, and not very bright. Still, it is much closer to what I was looking for.

    BTW, I used photoshop noise reduction, adjusted the levels a touch, and played with curves just a little bit.

  7. #7
    Skitalez's Avatar
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    Re: Can this picture be saved?

    Much better! I like it! A successful arrangement of birds! But for day time time 1600 it is a lot of! In the afternoon time of a shutter is enough fast)) 400ISO is good, I think

  8. #8

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    Re: Can this picture be saved?

    Quote Originally Posted by Skitalez View Post
    Not very easy((( a was trying with NOT original size
    Radu Dinu Cordeanu sometimes do good things))

    Can this picture be saved?
    Hi,
    Because Yegor "call" me I must tell I never push the button in such situation because nothing is happening.To better this shot will be the goal
    1 clean up the bird with clone stamp at 70%
    2 lasso tool as you see and ctrl j
    3 move with move tool to the left to cover that area
    4 rotate it
    5 erase tool at 20% to erase the the margin
    Can this picture be saved?(worked in Adobe PSE,15 min)
    Be A Happy New Year

  9. #9

    Re: Can this picture be saved?

    Hi, All, and especially Tim! This has been an enjoyable thread to read - review - take notes - learn from. Welcome, Tim, from another Vermonter!!! (Hey, all you guys! You know, Vermont is a TINY state and I'm wondering if we have the most members - ratio-wise, that is. )

  10. #10

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    Re: Can this picture be saved?

    Can this picture be saved?

    I tried your suggestions, but also cropped it a bit. The reason I like the picture in the first place was the bird seemed to be looking at the berry, and the colors all seem to work. I agree it is not a great picture, but I have learned a lot from it. Not enough yet though, because today I saw a bald eagle, but I still managed get a stick in the middle of the bird! I didn't work on this too hard because I don't think I can really fix the eagle. Also, I had the ISO set high in the hopes of catching it the instant it took off, and I did, but I just got it from behind, so that was another fail.

    Can this picture be saved?

    Katy, I saw this bird in North Hero today.

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