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Should we expect more from bird photographers?

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Nick_w
Nick_w e2 Member 73903 forum postsNick_w vcard England99 Constructive Critique Points
12 Jan 2013 - 10:56 PM

There are a lot of superb photographers on here that cover many, many genres. Some will stay in the comfort zone, others will try to break the mold. In terms of bird photography, I would find it difficult to think of another slant other than the "bird on a stick" or "bird in flight", and it's not a genre I've much experience with. To try and give inspiration, rather than bemoan the plethora of images of a certain type.

Here are a few wildlife images that I think are different.
http://www.nhm.ac.uk/resources/visit-us/whats-on/wpy/live/2007/popup/10.jpg

Why because it uses a wide angle lens, you may say we don't all go to the Gallapagus, but I saw something similar years ago with a bird of prey with a baited pressure pad.

http://www.ephotozine.com/user/albi-23729/gallery/photo/kf-montage-3-7739257

The timing is just sublime, well executed from someone who really cares about his subject.

http://www.ephotozine.com/user/csurry-3208/gallery/photo/another-artistic-gull-9...

Excellent use of slow shutter speed, the failure rate must have been enormous, but worth the effort.

There's nothing wrong with honing your craft with safe images, it's how to perfect technique. I would suggest get the basics right first, then experiment.

Finally a bit of advice from someone who has ad a similar moan a long time ago, chill, don't worry what others are doing, don't worry how many votes your images get (and btw I honestly believe that your PF will become one of the best on here, but will take time), do your own thing - remember as someone once told me there's a fine line between plagiarism and inspiration.

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12 Jan 2013 - 10:56 PM

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mossy
mossy  146 forum posts England1 Constructive Critique Points
12 Jan 2013 - 11:55 PM

Im a birder first and foremost, only started taking images as a means to support ID, however over the years ive tried to capture something about birds that i see, that may not be apparent to the casual observer. To that end both the enviroment they occupy and JIZZ, are something i try to capture.

Must add i dont consider myself a photographer, and i do venture out and try landscape, and candid occasionally. These days toggers often outnumber birders when a rareity turns up, so its certainly a popular aspect made that way by improved performance and cheaper equipment.

BEVZED
BEVZED e2 Member 71140 forum postsBEVZED vcard United Kingdom
13 Jan 2013 - 7:54 PM

I'd have given my eye-teeth to have captured that one! Best laugh I've had for ages GrinGrinGrin

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2261735/Fat-hawk-Bird-prey-left-sprawled...

AdoubtR2
AdoubtR2  1 United States
15 Jan 2013 - 12:46 PM

This is the first thread that I have ever read at ANY togger forum and it has been enlightening. Thank you to everyone involved. I realize, now more than ever, that beauty IS in the eye of the beholder. Posting photographs, after all, is an effort to gain praise. I am glad that, by chance, I happened upon this thread, early in my venture (I am STILL waiting for my new Panasonic G5 to arrive- my first-ever interchangable lens camera. I've really picked up a great deal of information from this one thread...seriously! What will my motives and inspirations be? I'm a back yard birder with an interest in capturing some of the unbelievable moments that I have observed while on my back deck. My feeders and my favorite "perch"- an eighty-year-old apple tree draw a huge number of byb's and birds of prey. I wish that I had a good camera when I took this one, a few years ago.sharpshinned-with-euro-starling.jpg
Please keep in mind that I knew (and still know)very little about photography but, when the Sharpie "nailed" the Starling against the apple tree and proceeded to mount his prey and I ran for my cheap integrated telephoto, I was injected with inspiration that, now, I can act upon. Please don't comment on the shot. Tongue and thank you all, again, for an insightful read.

joolsb
joolsb  927115 forum posts Switzerland38 Constructive Critique Points
15 Jan 2013 - 6:35 PM

To be frank, the dedication and technical skill that goes into the average BOAS shot are irrelevant. It's the result that's important, not how you got there (unless you used a nail-gun to secure the bird in place… :-0 ). And birds on sticks are dull. Sorry, but they are. It's the sort of thing you might see in a birder's guide and as an aid to identification such shots are perfect. However, on a photography site I want something more. I want to see some characteristic behaviour, a bit of action, some life. Even a touch of creativity as in Cheryl Surry's tern (linked to above). Something that hints at the personality of the photographer. Anything that makes the shot a bit different. Go on, challenge yourselves!

lawbert
lawbert  71720 forum posts England15 Constructive Critique Points
15 Jan 2013 - 8:33 PM


Quote: To be frank, the dedication and technical skill that goes into the average BOAS shot are irrelevant. It's the result that's important, not how you got there (unless you used a nail-gun to secure the bird in place… :-0 ). And birds on sticks are dull. Sorry, but they are. It's the sort of thing you might see in a birder's guide and as an aid to identification such shots are perfect. However, on a photography site I want something more. I want to see some characteristic behaviour, a bit of action, some life. Even a touch of creativity as in Cheryl Surry's tern (linked to above). Something that hints at the personality of the photographer. Anything that makes the shot a bit different. Go on, challenge yourselves!

Well that got the reception it deserved from the BOAS communityWinkTongue

Yet again another tog piping up that nails them nowt's gonna move because it was born of creation or has been stood still for a good many hundred yearsWinkTongue

So with Many Awarded Images joolsb how would you perceive an original bird image?

Cheryls image is very good but many would regard that as a fail......perhaps its her pedigree as a fine photographer that makes it a good image?

mikehit
mikehit  56681 forum posts United Kingdom11 Constructive Critique Points
15 Jan 2013 - 10:34 PM

Joolsb is right. When someone sees an image here, facebook or in the national gallery, all they know is whether the photo is good (in their opinion). Someone who understands what they did to get it will have an extra level of appreciation but at the end of the day it is a good photo or it is not. And a picture that is little different from one in the bird-spotting guides is not going to get the pulse racing. Having said that, most photos in bird spotting books are average to dire which amazes me, and a picture taken with a 500mm f4 has a quality that a 300 does not (usually because of the blurred background).

As has been already said, the idea of a repetitive stream of shots can be levelled at portraits, landscapes and flowers so it is strange that the OP picked on birds in particular.

StrayCat
StrayCat e2 Member 1014919 forum postsStrayCat vcard Canada2 Constructive Critique Points
16 Jan 2013 - 1:50 AM

What about this one Jools?Wink

Denny

p12owe
p12owe  1101 forum posts United Kingdom2 Constructive Critique Points
16 Jan 2013 - 8:28 AM


Quote: As has been already said, the idea of a repetitive stream of shots can be levelled at portraits, landscapes and flowers so it is strange that the OP picked on birds in particular.

I couldn't agree more with those sentiments, I believe the reason I "picked on" birds, is contained within the original post. As a non-bird togger, it was simply the number of awards achieved by those seemingly repetitive shots that puzzled me. Of course, if you look back through the award galleries you will find many other similar examples in different genres. There is a particular photoshopped flower that appeared numerous times in the space of few weeks, with just the colours tweaked slightly. There is a particular style of (in my opinion) rather overcooked landscape that will virtually be guaranteed to do well. Are they good pictures?... yes of course they are. Do they lose something when you've seen the same thing over and over again? In my opinion... Yes.

A bird photographer will understand just how much effort, dedication and expense can go into getting a good BOAS of a particularly difficult species and judge it on that. Unfortunately, someone who concentrates on other genres, might see just another BOAS. I personally prefer to understand something of the photographers personality or viewpoint in an image, but that is just my taste.

Whilst many took my original question to be some sort of personal insult on them and replied in kind by insulting my own admittedly, amateur PF, many others have taken the time to really explore the question and as one new member recently pointed out, these replies have led to a very insightful discussion and a probably a much greater understanding of bird photography for the non bird-toggers.

Nick_w
Nick_w e2 Member 73903 forum postsNick_w vcard England99 Constructive Critique Points
16 Jan 2013 - 8:30 AM

But Denny, they are in a zoo - for me wildlife, should be in the wild (I'm talking photographically), there are hundreds of super examples on here of what can be captured from your kitchen window. I would love to see a few more wildlife images captured in the wild.

I know it's not easy, but that is what sets the likes of Andy Rouse apart from the rest . All the backgrounds look natural, without a heavy degree of Gaussian blur applied. Some of the images I now see are looking like a portrait in a studio, nothing wrong at all in that, many are technically perfect - but for me a non wildlife tog, to get me thinking "wow" it has to have something else. It can be a "BOAS", I've seen brilliant ones, where birds are fighting for territory, feeding their partner/young etc. When everyone stands in wonder over the David Attenborough documentaries, it's always those images captured in the wild that get everyone talking, that show something different about the subject they hadn't seen before.

One final word have a look through Cheryl's PF on here, in fact looking through her PF would do any wildlife tog a world of good, seeing how to progress (shame a lot of her earlier images seem to have gone), get the technicalities right, then move on and get the wow images.

It is a shame wildlife has been singled out, the same arguments could be made for most other genres. There is very little photography, if any that is genuinely unique, to me we should enjoy what we do and it's irrelevant what anyone else thinks.

Last Modified By Nick_w at 16 Jan 2013 - 8:36 AM
GlennH
GlennH  91918 forum posts France1 Constructive Critique Points
16 Jan 2013 - 9:35 AM

The point I suppose is that we often deliver the "it's the final image that counts" cliché, which is somewhat at odds with evaluating every preparatory aspect of a picture when finally judging it. As a once-aspiring wildlife photographer and subsequent garden photographer, there was a time when I became easily offended by derogatory remarks about 'pretty pictures' (nature & landscapes). I found it rather small-minded, and still do to a certain extent, but it's an unavoidable truth that some photos are more craft than art—more recorded than 'seen'. For that reason, some people—especially photographers—are completely switched off by certain genres of photos. In the end we must please ourselves, but it's always healthy to try and get out of your comfort zone I think—one genre might inform another and make you think and see differently, whereas a known formula is personally unchallenging.

Last Modified By GlennH at 16 Jan 2013 - 9:42 AM
StrayCat
StrayCat e2 Member 1014919 forum postsStrayCat vcard Canada2 Constructive Critique Points
16 Jan 2013 - 9:26 PM

Nick, I couldn't agree more that wildlife photography in the actual wilderness is the cat's meow, and that's all I ever did till last June. However, it has been stated many times on this site, by Pete and others, that it's the final image that counts, regardless of where, or how, it was taken. You mention Andy Rouse; I'm a fan of Andy's photography, always have been, and I ended up on this site over 8 years ago via a link on Andy's site. Again, if you follow his work as closely as I do, you will see that he does a lot of his work with captive animals under controlled conditions, as do many of the top pros, including John Shaw. So, where do we draw the line?

Anybody that's been on this site as long as I have knows that I have argued for the idea that wildlife shots should be taken in the wilderness, and my photos up till last June, except for a couple of shots of cattle, including buffallo, were taken in the wild, or of animals or birds that were never held captive.

I have been leaning more and more toward thinking like Pete and company about this. Where would I be able to get shots of penguins, Lions, tigers, snow leaopards, gorillas, plants and butterflies from every corner of the world; it's an impossibility. My post is a way of pointing out to the OP, and anyone else for that matter, that normal mobility and high expense are not necessary to capture some good photos.

As far as birds on a stick are concerned, no two are alike, and because somebody back in the 18th century took a shot of a robin on a stick, doesn't diminish the value of any shot of the same thing taken since, imo. People say landscapes are overdone, or sunsets; does that mean that we should'nt try to take another landscape or sunset shot?

I don't have a favourite photographer listed on here, but csurry was in my slot for years, and I know her work very well. Ask Cheryl how much of her work was done in the wilderness, and I don't mean that to demean her excellent photography.

I hope you don't take this the wrong way Nick, because I know what you mean, however, all of my penguin shots in the past and the future will be taken as the one above was, because I have no desire to visit the Antarctic.Wink

Being one who has done wildlife and captive animal photography, I think I can tell the difference when I see a shot, and I govern my reaction accordingly. Of course we try our best with our shots of animals in captivity, to present them as though they aren't in a cage; it's part of the process. Andy Crouse and John Shaw are top level pros, and as such, I doubt if you'll see them hanging around zoos with their cameras; no, they will go to the animal farms, where for a high price, they will have the animals posed for them by pro animal attendants.

With all due respect, everything is relative.Wink

Denny

StrayCat
StrayCat e2 Member 1014919 forum postsStrayCat vcard Canada2 Constructive Critique Points
16 Jan 2013 - 10:21 PM

p1150064-copy2.jpg

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