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Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)

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My very first experiment using a flashgun - taken at dusk in the garden this evening, handheld. Advice very much appreciated.

My thanks to you all for the C&Cs on my last upload Smile Nestlings still doing well and look as though they might fledge tomorrow - a lot of wing exercising going on!

Brand:Canon
Camera:Canon EOS 40D
Lens:EF300mm f/4L IS USM
Recording media:RAW (digital)
Date Taken:27 Jun 2011 - 8:16 PM
Focal Length:300mm 7.7m from subject handheld
Lens Max Aperture:f/4.0
Aperture:f/8.0
Shutter Speed:1/250sec
Exposure Comp:-1/3
ISO:500
Exposure Mode:Aperture-priority AE
Metering Mode:Spot
Flash:On, Fired
Title:Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)
Username:teocali teocali
Uploaded:27 Jun 2011 - 11:08 PM
Tags:Feeding, Garden, Migratory, Nesting, Perching, Spotted flycatcher, Wildbird, Wildlife / nature
Votes:Voting Disabled
Critque wantedCritique Wanted
Has Modifications Modifications Welcome (Upload a Modification)
Awards have been disabled on this photo

Comments

This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.
banehawi
banehawi Critique Team 10986 forum postsbanehawi vcard Canada2983 Constructive Critique Points
27 Jun 2011 - 11:19 PM

Hiya Sylvia, - so long since we crossed paths!

Nice to see this fine example of a successful first time attempt at a flash gun. Was it off flash or on? Either way, its a great shot. I originally thought it might be a little hot on reflected light from the breast feathers, but as my mod shows, I was wrong, - its just fine.


And now over to the "birdie people"....



regards


Willie

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gary_d
gary_d  7575 forum posts Wales13 Constructive Critique Points
27 Jun 2011 - 11:22 PM

I am no expert but it looks good to me. - gary

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teocali
teocali e2 Member 6261 forum poststeocali vcard England18 Constructive Critique Points
27 Jun 2011 - 11:35 PM


Quote: Hiya Sylvia, - so long since we crossed paths!

Nice to see this fine example of a successful first time attempt at a flash gun. Was it off flash or on? Either way, its a great shot. I originally thought it might be a little hot on reflected light from the breast feathers, but as my mod shows, I was wrong, - its just fine.

And now over to the "birdie people"....

regards

Willie

Hi Willi

Yes - it is a while - were away in the USA for the whole of May and its taken me a while to get back into the swing of things! The flash gun, a 580EXII was on the camera. It was literally my first try at using it and I really didn't know what I was supposed to be doing, so set it to ETTL , sync to 1/250 and hoped the camera would do the rest. I know there is so much to learn when using flash and I really feel I must make a start on this now.
Many thanks for your critique and great mod. As you say, the breast feathers did look a bit hot ex camera but a little processing in the RAW editor seemed to take care of that. The eye showed a bit of blue-ish flash film, so I selected it and adjusted the levels and channels a tad in PS, which seemed to work.

Regards
Sylvia

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banehawi
banehawi Critique Team 10986 forum postsbanehawi vcard Canada2983 Constructive Critique Points
27 Jun 2011 - 11:49 PM

Sylvia, - heres the best link to canon Flash you will ever see, - read it and you will learn so much:


http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/



Willie

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RonnieAG
RonnieAG e2 Member 5143 forum postsRonnieAG vcard Scotland112 Constructive Critique Points
28 Jun 2011 - 12:14 AM

Excellent use of flash, Sylvia, the burst over before surprise could register in it's faceWinkWink. Top notch shot..........very well done for a first attempt.
Ronnie.

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Ade_Osman
Ade_Osman e2 Member 114521 forum postsAde_Osman vcard England36 Constructive Critique Points
28 Jun 2011 - 3:30 AMConstructive Critique!This comment was flagged as constructive critique! 

I'm not a great lover of flash when used in wildlife photography I must admit, however I must say you've controlled the flash reasonably well Sylvia all things considered......If it were mine I think I'd have dropped the flash exposure half to a whole stop, but that's easy for me to sitting here looking at the end result.
I think you could improve the shot a little by tweaking the Midtones/Highlights and maybe tweaking the shadow control just to lower the overall harshness of the brightness and contrast, especially on the birds breast because as banehawi states it appears a little hot. I've always found when I need to use flash to under-expose a little always pays off as it's easier to correct than over-exposing, especially when trying to capture feather detail........ As a first experiment, I think I'd be more than happy with the results and reckon this is a great attempt.

Ade

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pluckyfilly
pluckyfilly e2 Member 8317 forum postspluckyfilly vcard United Kingdom33 Constructive Critique Points
28 Jun 2011 - 8:06 AM


Quote: Sylvia, - heres the best link to canon Flash you will ever see, - read it and you will learn so much:


http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/



Willie

I need to learn to so this link will be most useful - thanks Willie

as to your photo Sylvia, I am no expert but looks good to meSmile

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teocali
teocali e2 Member 6261 forum poststeocali vcard England18 Constructive Critique Points
28 Jun 2011 - 8:22 AM


Quote: Sylvia, - heres the best link to canon Flash you will ever see, - read it and you will learn so much:


http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/



Willie

Many thanks for this link Willie - will definitely be studying this - many thanks for the advice. Will keep persevering.
Sylvia

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Gray_ina
Gray_ina  6
28 Jun 2011 - 8:32 AM

Hi Sylvia looks great to me, regards gray.

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Maiwand
Maiwand e2 Member 8Maiwand vcard England69 Constructive Critique Points
28 Jun 2011 - 9:13 AM

Excellent shot Sylvia made even more so as this is the first use of the flash. I am so glad you posted it as I am learning a great deal from the lovely advice notes !!
Ron

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Ray42
Ray42  6 England3 Constructive Critique Points
28 Jun 2011 - 9:15 AM

A cracking shot Sylvia - a little bright on the lower breast feathers but still very good - an interesting link from Willie - will be studying this one with interest

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Alvar
Alvar  7 France2 Constructive Critique Points
28 Jun 2011 - 10:30 AM

Well done Sylvia. Great shot.
Alvar

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Shroomer
Shroomer  7 England167 Constructive Critique Points
28 Jun 2011 - 1:15 PMConstructive Critique!This comment was flagged as constructive critique! 

For a first with the flash Sylvia this is superb, I hope you had the ghillie suit on to be this close on that fine perch. Personally I would have liked the perch to be at a slight diagonal to add more of a perspective but still brilliant.
The bg has been picked out well rather than blackening so it shows you had exposed very well. The harshness on the breast feathers is something that will only come with practice, remember in a studio a photographer uses a flash meter and takes test shots with wildlife the only test you can do is on the perch and hope the bird lands where you want it to.
Overall this is superb to me and another great way to show off this magnificent bird.
I have done a MOD with the main change being to warm it up with a slight increase in temperature and then to adjust yellows in selective colour to bring and balance the bg.
Think it balances out nicely, hope you see the same
Richard

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NEWMANP
NEWMANP e2 Member 61587 forum postsNEWMANP vcard United Kingdom574 Constructive Critique Points
28 Jun 2011 - 4:41 PMConstructive Critique!This comment was flagged as constructive critique! 

hi,
i like the pose, the head pointing inwards and the mouthfull of edibles.
the flash has not done too bad because of the balance between the background and the foreground and you dont have an over powerful highlight in the eye.

may be that the composition is a little tight, ok for screen but may be disproportional if making a A3 print (when life size looks best).

if you in tend to use flash regularly, id suggest getting hold of a flash bracket which takes the flash off camera and off to the side which gives a little more modeling and avoids the hot spot on the breast.

a sharpening in smart sharpen with a slightly larger rad may bring up the feather detail a little too

nice and uncluttered

Phil

Last Modified By NEWMANP at 28 Jun 2011 - 4:42 PM

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Gezina
Gezina  8 United Kingdom6 Constructive Critique Points
28 Jun 2011 - 4:51 PM

Very interesting feedback Sylvia and a lot to learn - Ina

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Lillian
Lillian e2 Member 5Lillian vcard United Kingdom16 Constructive Critique Points
28 Jun 2011 - 8:52 PM

First Sylvia a great shot in my eyes and have never used a flash before with the birds,
so will be going off to read Willie's link here and see what happens from there
Lillian

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Shroomer
Shroomer  7 England167 Constructive Critique Points
28 Jun 2011 - 9:23 PM

That'll be 2 brains totally blown Wink

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FeatherFriend
FeatherFriend e2 Member 732 forum postsFeatherFriend vcard England217 Constructive Critique Points
28 Jun 2011 - 9:27 PM

I did use flash on some of my very early attempts at bird photography Sylvia but really never liked the results so I cannot offer any help. The shot is very good but there are issues with the effect the flash has on the feather detail. The only suggestion I can make is to probably try with the flash situated off camera and of course always use minus exp comp as has been suggested.
Geoff.

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teocali
teocali e2 Member 6261 forum poststeocali vcard England18 Constructive Critique Points
28 Jun 2011 - 10:12 PM

My thanks to you all for the excellent advice and interest and to Willie and Richard for the superb mods. I have a lot of reading up to do Wink
Sylvia

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paulbroad
paulbroad  789 forum posts United Kingdom880 Constructive Critique Points
29 Jun 2011 - 6:44 PM

Flash is an imperative tool for the wildlife photographer providing it is used correctly. In most cases that means perfect balance, but some shots are virtually impossible without specialist flash knowledge. Read a bit of Heather Angel.

This is a fine shot, flash has done the job and is virtually balanced. Possibly just a little darkening of the image - or a touch of work with the burning in tool. I am amazed at the accuracy of exposure with spot metering set and can only assume you locked the reading and recomposed - otherwise the spot would be on the background.

Excellent stuff - even better for being hand held.

Paul

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