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Bird off a stick

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Stepping out of my comfort zone again, a Harris Hawk this time taken at a Bearizona just outside Williams Az.

Any advice on improvements would be appreciatedSmile

Brand:Canon
Camera:Canon EOS 7D
Lens:EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM +1.4x
Recording media:JPEG (digital)
Date Taken:8 Nov 2012 - 11:30 AM
Focal Length:230mm
Lens Max Aperture:f/4.0
Aperture:f/4.0
Shutter Speed:1/2000sec
Exposure Comp:0.0
ISO:500
Exposure Mode:Shutter speed priority AE
Metering Mode:Center-weighted average
Flash:Off, Did not fire
White Balance:Auto
Title:Bird off a stick
Username:losbarbados losbarbados
Uploaded:16 Nov 2012 - 7:27 PM
Tags:Bearizona, Harris hawk bird of prey, Wildlife / nature
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Comments

This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.
Trev_B
Trev_B e2 Member 7101 forum postsTrev_B vcard England61 Constructive Critique Points
16 Nov 2012 - 8:10 PMConstructive Critique!This comment was flagged as constructive critique! 

Hi Andy... birds in flight can be difficult to get in frame and crisp and your shot is reasonably clear. However the composition is very tight in all areas apart from the top of the frame. It's important to leave room in front of the bird so that it has room to fly into and some room below the bird so that the birds head is somewhere near the thirds intersection.

In my mod I have added room in front and below the hawk and remove some above, the image is a little underexposed so I have lightened and sharpened it a little.

Trev

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losbarbados
16 Nov 2012 - 10:51 PM

Thank you Trev, unfortunately I had no spare frame at the bottom of the image - they don't hang around do they!

I can see from your mod that the framing can be improved. I will try to find another opportunity to try again in the near future and see how I get on. The image was in landscape originally so I do have some room in front, I'm never sure whether the room should be at the front or back of the subject, but your advice makes sense and I will take that into future exercises.

Andy

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Focus_Man
Focus_Man  4481 forum posts United Kingdom631 Constructive Critique Points
17 Nov 2012 - 9:40 AMConstructive Critique!This comment was flagged as constructive critique! 

The image is very well caught, but perhaps your original landsacpe format would have been better. The allowance of space ahead is not really something to be remembered, it is something which looks correct and provides compositioanl balance. Have a look at both your landscape and portrait format images and you will immediately see what I mean.

This has been well documented over many past uploads, but I notice that you do not visit this gallery very often. This could prove beneficial because ofthe available advice from a range of emmbers. As I mentioned earlier, you have actually caught the bird very well especially given your narrow DoF available at full aperture. In fact I would have stopped down to f5.6 here, given the 230mm FL your background would still be blurred but you maybe would have had that improved sharpness that would have made the difference between a good shot and an excellent one. The resultant shutter speed of 1/1000sec would still hae been fine for 230mm.

Well done anyway.

Frank

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banehawi
banehawi Critique Team 10777 forum postsbanehawi vcard Canada2778 Constructive Critique Points
17 Nov 2012 - 3:22 PMConstructive Critique!This comment was flagged as constructive critique! 

A lovely shot Andy. The one improvement it really needs as it appears here is sharpness. My guess is that you left out the sharpening step while re sizing, as this responds beautifully to a small amount of sharpening in Photoshop, with a tack sharp eye. In re sizing, after you have the shot re sized, open it again, and apply sharpening as required.

The close shot has the advantage of filling the frame, and the disadvantage of not being composed ideally, - however, it does work as it id if sharpened. When I zoom in, theres also a nice catchlight in the eye that can be enhanced so its more visible by simply touching uo with a 1 pixel white brush.


Ive uploaded a mod, - I did format it as if you had used a landscape mode, - so its a 10 X 8 crop, with the sharpening, a little contrast, the eye sorted out, - you can see that the format adds to the shot.

Its goos as is with sharpening.

regards


Wilie

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Davesumner
18 Nov 2012 - 1:28 AM

Hi Andy,

You really have done well here for out of comfort zone stuff, I take my hat off to you for a shot well taken.

I like Willie's comments here and
Quote: The one improvement it really needs as it appears here is sharpness.

and as usual he is right. For me though the image needs space below and to the right and as the barber said to me the other day "some off the top" Smile I also think that one point that all have missed is that the birds eye needs some dodging to lighten it up.

I've uploaded a mod too (didn't want to miss out here) where I have added bottom and right canvas then just used the content aware fill and a bit of quick cloning (you can take longer on yours) to illustrate the points. I cropped some of the top, dodged the birds eye, added some colour to the beak and wings and then toned down the background. I then of course sharpened.

Unfortunately in Trev's mod when he advised lightening the image, he forgot to mask out the white bits of the bird and they've overexposed somewhat. If you use levels to lighten the image, remember to use the layer mask that is created when you click the levels adjustment and paint over the white tail bits with black to mask them and take them out of the adjustment and stop them overexposing,

Hope this helps

DaVeS

Last Modified By Davesumner at 18 Nov 2012 - 1:36 AM

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losbarbados
18 Nov 2012 - 7:08 PM

Thank you all for your guidance, if I could acknowledge what I have taken from them one at a time....

1) @Frank - It is a (bad) habit of mine to have things at the extreme this is specially evident when I am out of my comfort zone - put me infront of an American football player or someone riding a horse, I know what I want from a shot - anything else and I'm flapping around like a fish on the shore so I go back to default of "I paid a fair wedge to have a large aperture on my camera so I'm jolly well going to use it!" I appreciate that isn't always the case and this is one of those times.
2) @Willie Am I right in assuming that whenever I crop a shot I need to sharpen? It isn't something I usually do, maybe that will improve my standard to the next level? do you know of any tutorials that would help with how much sharpening I should do?
3) @Dave - Thank you for taking the time to upload your version of how to fix the image. I notice you suggest masking the white bits before lightening, would I do this by selecting a colour range (in this case white) inverting the selection then lightening using the curves? or is there an easier way to do this?

Thanks again

Andy

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