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My first shots with my new 55-300m lens produced this photo. I have only had a dslr for 3 weeks and I'm learning the ropes so any pointers would be appreciated.

Camera:Nikon D3200 Check out Nikon Nation!
Lens:Nikkor 55-300mm VR Check out Nikon Nation!
Recording media:JPEG (digital)
Title:Blue tit
Username:Amyleigh Amyleigh
Uploaded:15 Jan 2014 - 11:42 AM
Tags:Wildlife / nature
VS Mode Rating 99 (25% won)
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Comments

This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.
vickyf
vickyf e2 Member 9vickyf vcard United Kingdom8 Constructive Critique Points
15 Jan 2014 - 12:33 PM

The idea and placing of the bird in the frame are great. However, the image is let down by the fact that it appears to be out of focus - a shame because the expression of the bird looks good and there is a catchlight in the eye. Use a tripod/monopod to get images sharp and jack up the iso. The info doesn't say what iso you used but keep practising and you will get some great shots. Also, check out the great bird photographers on epz and see what settings they useSmile

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banehawi
banehawi Critique Team 10986 forum postsbanehawi vcard Canada2983 Constructive Critique Points
15 Jan 2014 - 4:08 PM

Welcome to EPZ Amyleigh.

First thing we need to help you with this is your shot settings, also known as EXIF data, and they are attached to every file. On the upload page, there a link halfway down on the right that says More EXIF data, - click this next time.

In the interim, if you can simple add the focal length, shutter speed, aperture and ISO in a comment, we can start with some tips.

In the interim, if you click on my member name, and then look at my Blog, you will find a lot of tips there that have been put together from the Critique Team. Its a worthwhile read, and may well answer some questions you may have.

Also, let us know which image editing software you are using so we can target feedback for it.

Right now, you know the bird is soft, fuzzy and not in focus, but you dont know why. We can tell you why when you provide the shot details.


Enjoy the site.

I will check back to see if youve provided more information, - and one of the other members can also use that information to provide more assistance in the interim.



Regards



Willie

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Amyleigh
15 Jan 2014 - 8:56 PM

Thanks for your comments so far, data as follows.
ISO 125, F5.6, 300mm focal length, 1/500

The camera was in auto mode, handheld, I cropped the photo quite a bit but no editing other than that. I will definitely read through your blog as I'm keen to learn but fairly clueless at the moment Sad

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pamelajean
pamelajean Critique Team 8829 forum postspamelajean vcard United Kingdom1638 Constructive Critique Points
16 Jan 2014 - 7:07 AM

Hello, Amyleigh, and welcome to EPZ.

Since you are a newcomer, it's impossible to know if you intend to pursue bird photography, but if you do, you will find it to be an enormous learning curve for you.

It's very tempting to try a shot like this, when you have a willing subject who is looking directly at you, but there is a lot of patience required in order to capture a bird without so many twigs around it, which detract from your subject, especially when they cross the front of your subject. This also makes focusing more difficult. You need to deliberately focus on the bird's head and take care not to focus on a branch or twig by mistake, which will render your bird out of focus. There may be a bewildering number of AF points to choose from, but for the majority of shots you only need one Ė the central one, so check the focus points out on your camera.

Then you need the light to be right, so that it brings out the feather detail. Here, your light is coming from the right and the bird's left side is therefore in shadow. A more balanced light would be preferable. The time of day and direction of the sun is important. Earlier in the day is often a good choice, for softer lighting, or even a slightly cloudy day, which would diffuse some of the strength of the light from the sun. Birdsí feathers are very reflective, so harsh light really isnít the best for this type of subject.

You will receive advice about your camera settings in the Critique Gallery, so it's worth coming out of auto mode in order to better understand how to control things yourself. Your shutter speed was fast enough to cover any movement that the bird might have made, but you need to be in control of that and not let the camera make all the decisions for you.

Compositionally, you need to fill your frame as much as possible with the bird to make a more interesting photograph.

Pamela.

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paulbroad
paulbroad  789 forum posts United Kingdom880 Constructive Critique Points
16 Jan 2014 - 9:00 AM

Keep practising. Your problem here is that the subject is the bird, and the bird must thus be sharp and clear. It is not.

You will be on autofocus, I'm sure. Some of the twigs are quite sharp, so I assume the system has focused on the twigs and not the bird. When you have small subjects, you need to set the focus to just the middle point in the viewfinder. Then, to get a good composition, place the spot on the subject, half press the shutter release to focus, keep the pressure, re-compose and complete the exposure. Easy with static subjects, less so in this case.

You must also ensure you do not shake. The longer the focal length used, the faster the shutter speed needs to be. Your 1/500 here should be enough, but I can shake quite a bit! The lens will also perform better at f8.

Paul

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Jestertheclown
16 Jan 2014 - 10:07 AM

Some good advice there.

I too take shots of the birds in my garden but using a D3100 and that 55-300mm. lens of yours and I've had some excellent results.
You need to practise; holding it still is challenging to begin with and a tripod's not really the answer because your subjects refuse to keep still.
Better, if possible, to brace yourself and/or your camera against a tree or, in my case, the (open) window frame.
You'll find too, that the whole thing becomes far more balanced and therefore, manageable, if you use a battery grip but that's probably for another day.
In the meantime, just keep trying. You'll be getting shots to be proud of in no time.

Hope this helps.

Bren.

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Amyleigh
16 Jan 2014 - 10:50 AM

Thanks everyone. Some really useful tips there. The autofocus kept picking up the twigs blowing around rather than the bird and I was unsure of how to manipulate the focus. I am reading my way through a guide but haven't got to that bit yet. I will keep practising, and hopefully I'll improve Smile

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