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Thread: Early Birds

  1. #1

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    Early Birds

    Hi everyone, I saw my first Robin of the season the other day. A day later we had a blizzard and I was wondering what happened to the poor early birds. Today I went for a walk and found a flock of them hanging out in a Sumac grove. I did not know before today that they ate the sumac seeds/berries, but I'm happy to know they have a food source. close by

    Here are a few shots. C & C welcome as always. Exposures did not come out as expected, but I still liked them enough not to trash them. I'm not sure if the exposure porblem was me or the camera - it's been a brutal winter and I think the Nikon might need a tune up, so don't spare the critique. I won't take it personal, I'll just blame the camera.

    #1
    Early Birds

    #2
    Early Birds

    #3
    Early Birds

    #4
    Early Birds


    Wendy
    Last edited by ScoutR; 27th March 2011 at 12:50 AM. Reason: fix URL

  2. #2
    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Early Birds

    Some of these shots can really fool the camera's sensor so yeah, we can blame the camera. I am really impressed with your lens. Does most of your bird shots done with the 18-200 VRII you have? I'm really blown away by the sharpness. I like #1 among the four, btw. Awesome shots again coming from you, Wendy.

  3. #3

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    Re: Early Birds

    Nice pics Wendy, I like your style .I also liked the black birds you shot earlier, I didnt know if it was right or wrong to comment on them seeing they were entered in a competition. I look forward to your spring shots .

  4. #4
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Early Birds

    Hi Wendy,

    Nice series.

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR
    C & C welcome as always. Exposures did not come out as expected, but I still liked them enough not to trash them. I'm not sure if the exposure porblem was me or the camera - it's been a brutal winter and I think the Nikon might need a tune up, so don't spare the critique. I won't take it personal, I'll just blame the camera.
    Nah, you don't get off that easy with me - LR has more than enough ability to correct these exposures to get them all looking more similar than this!

    #1 is a bit dim and possibly over sharpened plus I think the right hand 15% isn't contributing much.

    #2 is definitely a touch too hot on the left hand bird, but I love the pose good composition too.

    #3 is a tad desaturated compared to the others, again good composition.

    #4 is interesting to "separate the birds from the blooms" given their parallel angles, yet again good composition.

    Hope that Helps,

  5. #5
    mythlady's Avatar
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    Re: Early Birds

    I really, really like #2 and #3 -- though I agree that #3 is desaturated, it's a great pic nevertheless. And there's something quite arresting about #2. Well done!

  6. #6

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    Re: Early Birds

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post
    Hi everyone, I saw my first Robin of the season the other day. A day later we had a blizzard and I was wondering what happened to the poor early birds. Today I went for a walk and found a flock of them hanging out in a Sumac grove. I did not know before today that they ate the sumac seeds/berries, but I'm happy to know they have a food source. close by

    Here are a few shots. C & C welcome as always. Exposures did not come out as expected, but I still liked them enough not to trash them. I'm not sure if the exposure porblem was me or the camera - it's been a brutal winter and I think the Nikon might need a tune up, so don't spare the critique. I won't take it personal, I'll just blame the camera.

    Hi wendy, you asked for it.

    Nothing wrong with 1, nice exposure and nice shot.

    #2 had too many artifacts around the blurred sumac and is a little overexposed.

    #3 I like alot, but would prefer to see it something like this................ curves adjustment---saturation with lab color--- contrast with unsharp mask. Perhaps a little tighter crop if its not already cropped too much. Very nice shot.

    Early Birds

    #4 well it's a little over cooked for my taste.
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 28th March 2011 at 07:41 AM.

  7. #7

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    Re: Early Birds

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    Some of these shots can really fool the camera's sensor so yeah, we can blame the camera. I am really impressed with your lens. Does most of your bird shots done with the 18-200 VRII you have? I'm really blown away by the sharpness. I like #1 among the four, btw. Awesome shots again coming from you, Wendy.
    Thanks Jiro: Yes all of my bird shots are done with the 18 - 200 VRII. Wish I could afford the 2.8 version of the same lens but then there's all that weight and the need for a tripod so I try to make the best of what I have. This is a really versatile lens. It's the only one I have right now except for the 55mm that came with the camera and I only use that occasionally for florals so the 18 - 200 is on camera all the time. I find it is pretty good if you get close enough to the subject but (for me) looses sharpness for anything in the distance.

    I think the reason things seemed a bit wonky today is because the sun was out and going in and out of the clouds. I'm so used to shooting on dull grey days that the sun was wreaking havoc with my usually settings. Terrible thing a photographer that can't deal with the sun.

    Thanks again for the feedback
    Wendy

  8. #8

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    Re: Early Birds

    Quote Originally Posted by jamn4ex View Post
    Nice pics Wendy, I like your style .I also liked the black birds you shot earlier, I didn't know if it was right or wrong to comment on them seeing they were entered in a competition. I look forward to your spring shots .
    Thanks James: I really appreciate the feedback and glad you took the time to comment. You are right about the competitions - it's better not to post feedback until the comp ends which a lot of people used to do, but now the comps are moving by so fast that no one (myself included) seems to take the time to discuss.
    I was a bit dubious about the blackbird shots and should have posted them in the regular forum for discussion, but time is very limited for me these days and I don't like posting in the commentary forum unless I think I will have time to follow up on any feedback that I get. Anyway long story short, Thanks again for the feedback.

    Wendy

  9. #9

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    Re: Early Birds

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Hi Wendy,

    Nice series.



    Nah, you don't get off that easy with me - LR has more than enough ability to correct these exposures to get them all looking more similar than this!

    #1 is a bit dim and possibly over sharpened plus I think the right hand 15% isn't contributing much.

    #2 is definitely a touch too hot on the left hand bird, but I love the pose good composition too.

    #3 is a tad desaturated compared to the others, again good composition.

    #4 is interesting to "separate the birds from the blooms" given their parallel angles, yet again good composition.

    Hope that Helps,
    LOL, thanks Dave, I can always count on you. All points taken and I hope I get time to work on them later tonight or tomorrow and will repost with the results.
    I'm not sure what you mean though by getting them to look more similar? Is is because they are posted as a series and therefore I should try to keep the same look?

    Wendy

  10. #10

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    Re: Early Birds

    Quote Originally Posted by mythlady View Post
    I really, really like #2 and #3 -- though I agree that #3 is desaturated, it's a great pic nevertheless. And there's something quite arresting about #2. Well done!
    Thanks for the feedback Elise. I'll be working on #3 and see if I can fix it up. I was really having trouble with all of these shots because of the similarity in colour between the Robins and the Sumacs but I can see where #3 could use a bit more pop.

    Thanks again. I'm imagining some textures with shots like this too. Would these be good candidates (when I finally find some time to work on textures?)

    Wendy

  11. #11

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    Re: Early Birds

    From Steve S: Hi wendy, you asked for it.

    #2 had too many artifacts around the blurred sumac and is a little overexposed.
    yup, the artifacts around the blurred sumac were driving me crazy, but I loved this shot so much I wanted to try and save it. You are also right about the overexposure. I hope it's me and not the camera. I've been so lazy shooting in the same conditions (dull grey with nice diffused light) all the time that I don't know what to do when the sun is out. I will have to get more practice.
    BTW, what are those artifacts called. I always refer to it as chromatic aberation, but I'm not really sure that's what it is. I suppose the cause is the poor exposure???

    #3 I like alot, but would prefer to see it something like this................ curves adjustment---saturation with lab color--- contrast with unsharp mask. Perhaps a little tighter crop if its not already cropped too much. Very nice shot.

    Early Birds
    Ah, Thanks Steve, I like this very much. The crop should not be a problem, I was quite close. I can see I have some more work to do on this series.

    #4 well it's a little over cooked for my taste.
    Yes, this is another one that I really want to save. I find it a bit toasty too, but maybe just a different look? I think I will try to tone it down a bit. There really should be more of a difference in tone between the sumacs and the robin. Anyway, I do plan to go back to work on these, and I really must get out in the sun more.

    Thanks again for the feedback - Love the Heron series by the way, it just gets better and better, you're having a really good year. Keep up the good work.

    Wendy

  12. #12
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    Re: Early Birds

    Oh yes -- have a look at what my friend Cindy Mead does -- she's great with birds and textures.

  13. #13

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    Re: Early Birds

    I love a pic where I learn something. I thought I knew everything to know about robins. I don't have a problem with the desaturated look if #2, I like it, in fact. # 1 almost looks like it was taken in a studio.

    #4 is a little bright for my taste, but I really like it.

  14. #14

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    Re: Early Birds

    Out of all of them, I like #1 the most. She/he looks hunkered down in the grass for protection. Winter... it needs to be over.

  15. #15

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    Re: Early Birds

    Quote Originally Posted by mythlady View Post
    Oh yes -- have a look at what my friend Cindy Mead does -- she's great with birds and textures.
    Thanks for the link Elise, she does beautiful work. I think if I ever get around to learning this technique I will never leave the computer. The more I look at them the more I love these textured shots and I start to visualize what I can do with some of my shots to try and make them more than just ordinary photos.

    Wendy

  16. #16

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    Re: Early Birds

    Thanks Tim and Mary. Tim, I've never noticed Robins feeding off Sumac before, but I have always wondered what they do when it storms after they get here. Now I know what one group does, and I'll certainly be watching the Sumac trees from now on
    Mary, I couldn't agree more about the winter. I love the snow, but enough already and there are a lot of other early arrivals here who feel the same way.

    Wendy

  17. #17

    Re: Early Birds

    Hi, Wendy! It's so nice to see you posting. Of course, I can see why you like each and every one of these shots. I, of course, like them, too! I'm a bit tired, tonight, and am glad that everyone else seems to have done all of the technical critiquey work. I could just sit back and enjoy and, I did! Lovely!

    I feel what Mary does - like you do - like Tim and Debbie. I hope the blizzard didn't leave you buried too deeply. I just saw my first and only robin, two days ago, although, we'd heard him a week, ago. It's coming....

  18. #18
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    Re: Early Birds

    I love how you have caught the birds at different angles, Wendy. Numbers 2, 3 and 4 remind me of Japanese art. Very nice.

  19. #19
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    Re: Early Birds

    Nice Robins Wendy, I agree with Janis, the 3 give me a slight Japanese art feel as well.

  20. #20

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    Re: Early Birds

    Thanks for the feedback everyone. Dave i did try to rework according to your comments, but I just seemed to make things worse.

    I did go back today for a reshoot though and I think I got the exposure better today. Not sure of the composition though so I'd love more feedback, I'm also not so sure about the vignette effect?? All feedback is greatly appreciated.

    #1
    Early Birds
    1/1250s: f5.6: ISO 400: 200mm: Matrix +2/3

    #2
    Early Birds
    1/500s: f8: ISO 400: 200mm: Matrix +1 1/3

    #3
    Early Birds
    1/400s: f8: ISO 400: 200mm: Matrix +1 1/3

    #4
    Early Birds
    1/400s: f8: ISO 400: 200mm: Matrix +1 1/3

    #5
    Early Birds
    1/500s: f8: ISO 400: 200mm: Matrix +1 1/3

    Wendy

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