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Archive 2013 · Best of this set of bird pictures?
  
 
jvphotos
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p.1 #1 · Best of this set of bird pictures?


Granted that none are exactly masterpieces lol. I'm having trouble choosing which of these is the best from a composition perspective and which is most interesting. (At the bottom you'll see my preliminary choice, which I've already tinkered with very briefly in CS6... I'm only asking because I'm still not sure that's the best one). Same bird, just different angles or positions.

Any thoughts as to why you think the one you chose was the best is the best would be helpful too.. I'm trying to get better at choosing good photographs instead of just getting ones that turn out sharp.


IMG_7704 by spotchicus, on Flickr


IMG_7702 by spotchicus, on Flickr


IMG_7694 by spotchicus, on Flickr


IMG_7692 by spotchicus, on Flickr


IMG_7717 by spotchicus, on Flickr


farmbird1c1 by spotchicus, on Flickr



Feb 14, 2013 at 11:31 PM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #2 · Best of this set of bird pictures?


Just playing around a little, I prefer #7692 - best profile and the first & second are close to having a branch pop form the bird's head.

Scott can answer this better than I, for sure. Re-worked, upsized, lightened back, sharpened, desaturated sky and trees. Whichever way, longer glass would help tremendously, IMO.

My preference is a ~ square crop with the diagonals adding some dynamics, bird positioned asymmetrically using ROT; otherwise for me the image would be static lacking any eye-appeal. Guess I've developed predisposition toward centered subjects as most seem visually boring. Just my opinion.

Regards,

Bob







Feb 15, 2013 at 12:31 AM
jvphotos
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p.1 #3 · Best of this set of bird pictures?


Bob it's funny you should mention the centering thing, right after I posted this a buddy said the same thing. I'm going to work on that for sure. And the longer glass... Although that's going to be a little ways off. I took this with my 28-135 (which I'm now trying to sell) and I have a 24-105 I can use but I'm thinking of getting something wide (just so i have that covered) and a 70-300 or 100-400 when funds allow.

Thanks for the comments



Feb 15, 2013 at 01:44 AM
itchhhh
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p.1 #4 · Best of this set of bird pictures?


I like the pose of the bird in the 1st pic by a long shot. This said, in all of these photos the birds are too far away


Feb 15, 2013 at 01:47 AM
jvphotos
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p.1 #5 · Best of this set of bird pictures?


Yeah they are. He actually let me get really close, 135 on a crop body can only do so much though



farmbird3c4 by spotchicus, on Flickr


I was actually a little pleased with how well this lens did (lack of reach aside) given most peoples' opinions of it. Maybe that's just another reflection of my newb-ness though.



Feb 15, 2013 at 03:23 AM
Karl Witt
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p.1 #6 · Best of this set of bird pictures?


Congrats on approaching these birds!

I spend most of my time on the Nature Wildlife forum so birds and animals are more my comfort zone

I will offer some general guidelines to keep in mind and a suggestive look at a comp too.

First, you will need to get closer, much like your last shot to have some latitude on image quality to work with on the bird, do you best to get as much bird in the frame as you can, it is your subject
Next, the eyes are always the key to an animal image, allow your cropping thoughts to offer more area in the direction the bird is looking, don't worry about the opposite side too much. Build your comp from there, also continue to closely watch the light and be ready to shoot when the light fills the eye to give a nice little catchlight or help fill in shadow area at the eye, the eye is the draw to the bird or any other animal, make it the focal point as much as you can!

Do your best to not center subjects, use the natural rise of the this tree to 'present' your bird. Move left or right to put the bird on the cleanest part of the background that you can, in image #1 if you move to the right and placed that bird in that area to its left where the tow trees form a nice opening it would help, I know these are little things but trust me they all add up

You did the right thing on your last image, that is a good crop allowing the space on the right

So, keep your eyes on their eyes, keep your eyes on their backgrounds, follow their eyes, get a catchlight in their eyes for a very nice accent. Have fun and come over and visit us on the N&W forum for more reinforcement of these concepts!

Best to you
Karl

Pic #2 just to enforce how a cleaner BG can be helpful............












Feb 15, 2013 at 04:12 AM
sbeme
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p.1 #7 · Best of this set of bird pictures?


I think Karl gave the feedback most needed. Bird photography is a fun challenge and can be quite expensive to acquire the equipment that lets you fill enough of the frame by using long lenses. I have the junior edition of a bird photographer's lens: the Canon 100-400. Those that get into this part of photography invest small fortunes for wonderful long glass, often choosing a 500 mm lens!
If you are interested bird photography I would suggest you start with much larger birds and where you can get closer. Or specialized settings. For larger birds, some of the boardwalked areas in the south. Florida has many to offer. Let me know if you want some locations. As far as "specialized settings" I am thinking of feeders carefully placed with clean backgrounds and the opportunity to shoot from a hidden location. You can also try visiting local ponds and lakes for waterfowl which might allow closer approach and some interesting variety.

Finally, DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT look at Karl's work. You will despair!
Scott



Feb 15, 2013 at 12:03 PM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #8 · Best of this set of bird pictures?


Great feedback Karl and Scott - takeaways for everyone!

Thanks guys

Bob



Feb 15, 2013 at 12:56 PM
sbeme
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p.1 #9 · Best of this set of bird pictures?


spotch wrote:
Bob it's funny you should mention the centering thing, right after I posted this a buddy said the same thing. I'm going to work on that for sure. And the longer glass... Although that's going to be a little ways off. I took this with my 28-135 (which I'm now trying to sell) and I have a 24-105 I can use but I'm thinking of getting something wide (just so i have that covered) and a 70-300 or 100-400 when funds allow.

Thanks for the comments


You must be appreciating the IQ upgrade from the 28-135 to the 24-105. I have had both. The 100-400 is a far better choice for birds than the 70-300.
I have had some success with a 100 Macro from some shore birds. Much sharper than my 100-400 at 100 and much faster lens. But limited situations where it can be used.
Here is a 100 Macro image on a crop sensor camera with effective focal length 160 mm


Amazingly, I have also been able to get some hummingbird close ups with a 100 Macro late season as they fatten up for their southward migration. Happy to share them with you. Still, 100 is awfully short for birds.

Scott



Feb 15, 2013 at 01:06 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #10 · Best of this set of bird pictures?


Duplicate deleted

Edited on Feb 16, 2013 at 02:32 AM · View previous versions



Feb 15, 2013 at 08:23 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



cgardner
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p.1 #11 · Best of this set of bird pictures?


The "inside-out" approach I use for cropping is explained in this tutorial: http://photo.nova.org/Cropping/ It also covers other aspects of composition.

In a shot like this the bird is the strong focal point viewers will go to first. The question dictating the cropping decision is where do you want the viewer look next. In other words think in term of "leading" lines leading away from the primary focal point, not towards it. Seems counter-intuitive but that's how people view photos; go to what contrasts the most first (or is seen as most important), then wandering off it to explore the next most interesting thing in the frame.

When max. attention is wanted on the main focal point eliminate all other distractions with a tight crop. When background context is needed to complete the who, what, where, when, how journalistic story framework widen the crop to answer those questions. It's journalism 101.

Edited on Feb 16, 2013 at 02:31 AM · View previous versions



Feb 15, 2013 at 08:34 PM
jvphotos
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p.1 #12 · Best of this set of bird pictures?


Thank you *so much* everyone for all the insight and tips. This has been incredibly helpful... after this thread dies I'm saving the whole thing lol.


I've probably got a while before I upgrade lenses but I will keep working on the techniques so when I do I will be good to go



Feb 16, 2013 at 12:40 AM
Karl Witt
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p.1 #13 · Best of this set of bird pictures?


spotch wrote:
Thank you *so much* everyone for all the insight and tips. This has been incredibly helpful... after this thread dies I'm saving the whole thing lol.

I've probably got a while before I upgrade lenses but I will keep working on the techniques so when I do I will be good to go



Though not always the best alternative, you might try using a 1.4x TC to get more focal length reach in a less expensive way. There are also good values on Tamron, Sigma glass in longer lengths, you may not have quite the focus speed for BIF but the reach for stills will be beneficial. I have used a very inexpensive Tamron 70-300 ($125) for a long time with great results knowing its weak points.

Keep at it and enjoy it and learn with each and every shot and keep sharing

Karl



Feb 16, 2013 at 03:05 PM
jvphotos
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p.1 #14 · Best of this set of bird pictures?


I hadn't thought of off-brand lenses either... I'll have to do more research into those and figure out which ones have shortcomings I think I can overcome and which ones don't. I'm surprised you get great results from the 70-300, I was looking it up and it seems like it has a lot of bad reviews for image quality. Then again, I guess skill can overcome quite a bit of that (or (maybe I spend too much time reading online reviews at the digital picture.com and elsewhere lol!)




Feb 19, 2013 at 03:06 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #15 · Best of this set of bird pictures?


Depending on what your expectations are, there definitely some "off brands" for consideration.

In my quest for "long glass", I went with my Sigma 100-300/4, but also looked at the Tamron 200-500. The focus speed on the Tammy was pretty slow by comparison to the Canon 400/5.6. My Sigma is pretty quick if you aren't asking it to travel from one end to the other. My experience with the Canon 70-300 wasn't the IQ that was a turn-off, but the focus speed that was so slow. I find the Sigma 100-300/4 to be a good blend of speed/IQ/$$. It played nice with its matching 1.4X, but the 2.0X just got to be too soft.

But, if you are wanting focus speed, the long Canon's (100-400, 400/5.6, etc.) are kinda tough to beat, especially on a 1 Series body.

I haven't done much "birding" since I was down in Trinidad, where 300mm was plenty due to the proximity you could approach many species. My current super-tele is the Vivitar 120-600 (manual focus).

Roger (of www.lensrentals.com) brings out a point about long zooms ... you typically wind up shooting them at the long end anyway. From that, the Canon 400/5.6 would be my choice over most others that I'm aware of. Quick, light, great IQ, reasonable $$$ ... holds its value and performs well. Until you need to make the jump to the BIG BOYS that you can't hand-hold, I don't know of anything that trumps the 400/5.6 for reach, IQ and practicality at a $$ for mere mortals. I'm holding out for the 400/5.6 II with IS, wishing for either a 350/3.5 or 400/4.5 but those aren't gonna happen.

Some people use the 300/4 IS with a 1.4X ... which gives you a 420/5.6 with IS. I'm a bit torn between this setup vs. the 400/5.6. Fortunately, long glass isn't my current forte, so I can wait to see if someone will bring out a different solution. BTW, the Sigma 120-300/2.8 OS is worthy, but the $$$ and weight change things a bit.



Feb 19, 2013 at 03:25 PM
sbeme
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p.1 #16 · Best of this set of bird pictures?


What you will need depends on what you will shoot and where. For small birds, 500 mm, usually with a teleconverter on a crop sensor camera is going to be necessary. And cost you dearly.
Many debates of the 300 +1.4 teleconverter vs 400. While I am unhappy with f5.6 on the 100-400, the versatility of the zoom trumps slightly better IQ with the 400 or 300 +1.4x. While most of my bird images are shot at 400 mm, I have many at 280-300 and an occasional situation where I had to back up to 7 feet (minimal focusing distance), shoot at 100 mm for a tight portrait of birds in Florida.

Scott



Feb 19, 2013 at 03:44 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #17 · Best of this set of bird pictures?


sbeme wrote:
What you will need depends on what you will shoot and where.


+1

Subject size and approachability ... songbird in the treetops vs. flamingo at the zoo vs. ducks on a pond vs. owls, hawks & eagles vs. hummingbirds in flowers.



Feb 19, 2013 at 04:00 PM
lighthawk
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p.1 #18 · Best of this set of bird pictures?


RustyBug wrote:
I don't know of anything that trumps the 400/5.6 for reach, IQ and practicality at a $$ for mere mortals.


+1
7D + 400 user here
http://smu.gs/YGr04W

I still wish for more reach. Most shots are hand held, with occasional monopod use.

My evolution :
20D + 70-200/4
20D+300/4 is
7D+400/5.6



Feb 22, 2013 at 06:27 AM
jvphotos
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p.1 #19 · Best of this set of bird pictures?


Roger (of www.lensrentals.com) brings out a point about long zooms ... you typically wind up shooting them at the long end anyway.


I've seen this mentioned before as well. Lot of food for thought in this thread



Feb 23, 2013 at 06:24 PM





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