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Thread: First attempt at High Key

  1. #1
    Frankie's Avatar
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    First attempt at High Key

    I thought I would try something different and have some fun. Here's the result. I welcome and encourage all comments and criticism.
    Thanks for viewing!
    frankie

    First attempt at High Key



    First attempt at High Key



    First attempt at High Key

  2. #2

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    Re: First attempt at High Key

    Very nice Frankie. I really like what you have done. The angles on 2 & 3 work best for me. #1 looks too static like the gull will fall from the sky. I love the PP great job

    Wendy

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    Re: First attempt at High Key

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post
    Very nice Frankie. I really like what you have done. The angles on 2 & 3 work best for me. #1 looks too static like the gull will fall from the sky. I love the PP great job

    Wendy
    Thank you Wendy. The encouragement helps!
    I totally agree with you about the first one. Something about that one kept bugging me and I couldn't figure it out until you hit the nail on the head!
    Thank you again!

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    Re: First attempt at High Key

    I like the second one the best. I think the third one might have looked even better than it does right now if the bird was placed a little lower so that it was in the bottom right portion of the frame. Number two is definitely the winner for me though, it makes lovely use of the available space without being too symmetrical - which is, I think, the problem with the first one. Somehow that first shot looks like the gull was cut out of a magazine and pasted into place. Perhaps you could fix that by softening the edges of the wings by either brightening them or blurring them just a touch? Well done with all three though, birds in flight are not easy, especially from close up.

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    Re: First attempt at High Key

    Quote Originally Posted by Szczur View Post
    I like the second one the best. I think the third one might have looked even better than it does right now if the bird was placed a little lower so that it was in the bottom right portion of the frame. Number two is definitely the winner for me though, it makes lovely use of the available space without being too symmetrical - which is, I think, the problem with the first one. Somehow that first shot looks like the gull was cut out of a magazine and pasted into place. Perhaps you could fix that by softening the edges of the wings by either brightening them or blurring them just a touch? Well done with all three though, birds in flight are not easy, especially from close up.
    Thanks Matt!

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    Re: First attempt at High Key

    Quote Originally Posted by Szczur View Post
    I like the second one the best. I think the third one might have looked even better than it does right now if the bird was placed a little lower so that it was in the bottom right portion of the frame. Number two is definitely the winner for me though, it makes lovely use of the available space without being too symmetrical - which is, I think, the problem with the first one. Somehow that first shot looks like the gull was cut out of a magazine and pasted into place. Perhaps you could fix that by softening the edges of the wings by either brightening them or blurring them just a touch? Well done with all three though, birds in flight are not easy, especially from close up.
    I took your suggestion for the 3rd one. It looks better this way - thank you!

    First attempt at High Key

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    Re: First attempt at High Key

    Reworked the 1st image. C&C greatly appreciated!
    Thanks!
    frankie


    First attempt at High Key

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    Re: First attempt at High Key

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankie View Post
    Reworked the 1st image. C&C greatly appreciated!
    Thanks!
    frankie


    First attempt at High Key
    Looks much better Frankie! Nicely done. But still for me the 2nd and 3rd are better just because the eye seems to be sharper and in better focus Btw, do you use the AI servo for these shots? I fail miserably at focusing when I try to photograph flying birds

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    Re: First attempt at High Key

    Nice job frankie, the edits look much better. I think the third one i would shift the seagull just a little more to the left. The wing is really close to the edge of the frame.

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    Re: First attempt at High Key

    I've always had difficulty capturing birds in flight but you were able to pretty well nail all three. I also love the white on white which really makes the feathers stand out. For positioning in the frame, I would consider using the Golden Ratio for the most important parts of the image.

    Do you have a technique that you finds works well to get the capture so close and crisp?

    As big as the Turkey Vulture is I still had difficulty getting a sharp image so any suggestions would be warmly welcomed!

    First attempt at High Key

  11. #11

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    Re: First attempt at High Key

    Frankie, the re-worked images look tons better. Good job.

    Frank, I downloaded your vulture. I couldn't get any EXIF data out of it so I don't know how it was shot. Nikon's Capture NX2 has a feature to show the focus point in an image, which I tried, and your photo doesn't appear to have one. I've sometimes found (but not always) that shooting birds in flight requires that you turn off the auto-focus after focusing on an object at about the right distance from you. Set sensitivity a little higher than you usually would (I shot the one below at ISO 640) in order to keep the shutter speed as fast as possible.

    First attempt at High Key

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    Re: First attempt at High Key

    Hi Matt, it was shot at 280mm, 1/160sec, F11, & ISO 100. I should have dropped the apeture and increased the shutter speed. I was setup for shooting it sitting on a branch and when it took off, it was flying so fast that I was going nuts trying to keep it in the lens and focus. Consequently didn't take the time to check/change the settings. In retrospect, I should have had the shutter speed set much higher before it launched in anticipation but I didn't think that far in advance.

    Part of what I need to learn is how to more appropriately configure the camera when shooting wildlife. I'm sure seasoned photographers have a better idea how to do this based on what 'might' happen! Do you or Frankie have any suggestions for tracking birds in flight? For example, do you zoom in and fill the frame or zoom back and crop the dead space? Do you have a method of predicting where the bird will be and aim for that spot? I feel like a gunner just learning to shoot moving targets! LOL

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    Re: First attempt at High Key

    Wow! Thank y'all for the awesome comments. I have learned a lot with these three photos!

    Frank: I have no special trick because I'm still learning everything. I use a Canon EOS T1i. The lens I was using was a Canon 75mm - 300mm, and these were shot at 75mm. I had the camera set to the sports setting on continuous shooting. This guy was fairly close, which is why I didn't zoom in more. But I did crop all the photos some. I tend to not zoom in too much to track birds in flight. I find that I lose the birds if I'm zoomed in too much. I've played around using the automatic focus and manual. And all I can say is sometimes they each work.
    I know I'm not much help here. I am still learning a lot and sometimes I feel like I just get lucky.
    Thanks again for the comments and for turning this thread into an interesting subject on photographing birds in flight!

    Matt: What an awesome shot! What kind of bird is that and what is in its mouth?

    Steve: I admire your bird and other nature photography, and I thank you for your comments! I totally agree with your suggestion on the third one and I did move it over some.

    Here are a couple shots of a Kite I took at a flight demonstration at the Center for Birds of Prey in Charleston, SC.


    First attempt at High Key

    First attempt at High Key

  14. #14

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    Re: First attempt at High Key

    Frankie: That kite is absolutely fantastic. I'm deeply jealous. I must get myself to some falconry show or something. In answer to your question, the bird in my photo above is a common starling (sturnus vulgaris) which was nesting in the side of my house..... which brings me to....

    Frank: I have a couple of things I do routinely. 1. I watch the birds for a while to see where they go and what they do. 2. I have learned to use my eyes independently of each other, which sounds odd but I'll explain below. The example above was easy enough. I found where the bird was nesting (a hole made a year earlier by sparrows and redstarts which the starlings made a little bigger) and then stood in the garden and waited. I quickly got to know which side the birds were coming from with food for their young. (Frankie - the thing in the bird's mouth is breakfast for its children). Once I knew the approximate flight path it was easy enough to set the focus using a tree branch at about the same height and distance. After that I switched off the AF. I set the ISO to 640 - in daylight I wouldn't go much higher because noise removal becomes a problem. I tend to zoom in as close as I dare, this largely depends on how fast the birds are and if I have enough open space to track them for a while. If they're quick and in a smallish space I'll use less zoom. I'll crop later if need be. Now the bit with my eyes. I've learned to look through the viewfinder with one eye and keep the other eye open in order to see what's happening around me. This lets me watch the birds coming in at the same time as framing the shot. Give it a try. If you can, try to stay in open spaces so that you can track the bird across the sky and get several shots each time it passes. That gives you more chances of getting lucky.

    This one was close and easy to track and I used the sports setting because I didn't have time to do anything else:

    First attempt at High Key

  15. #15
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    Re: First attempt at High Key

    Frankie and Matt, excellent suggestions! I saw the turkey vulture in a tree as I was driving by and stopped to try to get a shot. He launched, circled once, then flew off. I'll try looking for their habitats to see if I can track their behavior. Thank you both so much for the help!

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