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Archive 2012 · White-rumped Swallow for critique
  
 
gneto
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p.1 #1 · White-rumped Swallow for critique


Hello everyone,

I got lots of good advice for my last image, so I'm posting a new one in the hopes of getting similar help from more experienced photographers. It's a white-rumped swallow (Tachycineta leucorrhoa). This image wasn't taken in the best possible time, so lighting is a little bit on the harsh side, unfortunately.

As before, I'm mostly looking for post-processing critique, but any kind of critique is welcome. Thanks in advance to everyone.




The EXIF for this image says: ISO 400, 300mm, F/4, 1/1600 sec.



Nov 23, 2012 at 11:02 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #2 · White-rumped Swallow for critique


Looking pretty good. I sort of wish you had a bit more dof here however, I think I could deal with the tail going out of focus, but not the feet. This one does have a good background.

White feathers are tough to do, looks like a good exposure. You must have been pretty close at 300 f4 to get such shallow dof. Appears to be 1-2 inches.



Nov 23, 2012 at 11:20 PM
gneto
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p.1 #3 · White-rumped Swallow for critique


Thank for the feedback, Ben.

You just got me on one of my week points: I still don't pay much attention to DoF while shooting. I just go around in aperture-priority mode with my lens wide open, and try my best to get the eyes in focus - this is definitely a habit I need to change, I should be considering increasing the DoF specially when I have the light to do so, and I did have enough light in this case. Shame on me.

I see you know pretty well what you like and dislike about bird photos - wish this was the case for me. Up until you mentioned, I didn't really think much about the feet being in focus or not - just like you mentioned the feather detail in the other post. Now I'm "digesting" these two pieces of information, and re-evaluating everything I shot. It's a good thing, obviously, because now I'll get to form my own opinion and pay attention to things I disregarded in the past. However, at the moment it's a bit embarassing to realise (and admit) I didn't really pay attention to such important detail... well, it's part of the learning process, isnt it?

Exposure wasn't spot-on, I did increase it a bit in post processing (2/3 of a stop). Yes I was really close (and I didn't have to crop this one too much). I was sitting close to these guys (there were at least 4), they got curious and came closer to check me - I just had to shoot.



Nov 23, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Camperjim
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p.1 #4 · White-rumped Swallow for critique


I agree about the DOF. That was the first issue I noticed before reading any of the text. Whites also appear blown out just below the bird's throat.


Nov 24, 2012 at 12:17 AM
ben egbert
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p.1 #5 · White-rumped Swallow for critique


For most birds, you are so far away that DOF is a piece of cake, I calculated you must have been about 20 feet, that's really close for birds.

The ideal is to have the bird sharp in the front and ideally back to the tail with a bit of OOF there acceptable and everything else blurred as you have here. So I would not stop down too far or you will get messy background that is oof but too sharp for a pleasing background.






Nov 24, 2012 at 12:50 AM
sbeme
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p.1 #6 · White-rumped Swallow for critique


I am with the feedback both Jim and Ben have offered.
You might add some vignette to the image as presented, tightening the attention on your subject.
Scott



Nov 24, 2012 at 03:30 AM
gneto
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p.1 #7 · White-rumped Swallow for critique


Thanks for the feedback, Jim.
The whites are not really blown out, as I have detail there, but they are indeed a little hot. I'm gonna try to reduce the exposure locally in that area.
Nothing I can do about the DoF however... (at least nothing I'm aware of)



Nov 24, 2012 at 09:36 AM
gneto
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p.1 #8 · White-rumped Swallow for critique


Ben, I think I'll be definitely paying more attention to DoF from now on.


Nov 24, 2012 at 09:36 AM
 

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gneto
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p.1 #9 · White-rumped Swallow for critique


Thanks for the feedback, Scott.

I already have some vignette in the image, and I'm afraid adding some more would make it too obvious for my taste. I'm gonna play with the sliders a little more, perhaps I can better tune the effect.



Nov 24, 2012 at 09:38 AM
gneto
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p.1 #10 · White-rumped Swallow for critique


Following most of the advice I received (unfortunately I can't bring the feet back in focus):
- I reworked the vignette a little bit, is it too much now?
- I selectively reduced exposure on the bird's chest

I also cloned out some small feathers (more like hair) that was hanging just above his beak, and masked out his feet from a local adjustment I was applying to the 'wood' he sits on top.

What do you think?




Nov 24, 2012 at 09:57 AM
ben egbert
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p.1 #11 · White-rumped Swallow for critique


the white rework is the most noticable improvement and it was worth while. Vignette makes me want to return the lens.


Nov 24, 2012 at 03:34 PM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #12 · White-rumped Swallow for critique


The most recent version is the best and the vignette an excellent choice!


Nov 24, 2012 at 08:35 PM
gneto
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p.1 #13 · White-rumped Swallow for critique


Thank you for your comments, Ben and AuntiPode.

I guess I'll settle with this last version, and perhaps next time I'll get the feet in focus



Nov 24, 2012 at 10:07 PM
gneto
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p.1 #14 · White-rumped Swallow for critique


So, while reviewing some older images I ran across the same swallow in (what I think is) a better pose. Since forums have been kinda slow lately, decided to post it. Thoughts?




  NIKON D3100    300.0 mm f/4.0 lens    300mm    f/4.0    1/1600s    280 ISO    +0.3 EV  




Dec 24, 2012 at 09:27 PM
pinball_pw
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p.1 #15 · White-rumped Swallow for critique


Focusing on the eye is a good choice. Placing the background in the distance will allow you to still blur the background when you step down a bit. That is really a matter of the angle you take while framing the bird. It looks like you have done a good job with that here. Stepping down will help with your DOF and sharpness. Watch your per channel histogram to ensure you aren't clipping highlights. Hope this helps - Paul


Dec 27, 2012 at 11:02 PM





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