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It's in the eye!

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A wild and free flying 1st year male Sparrow Hawk (Accipiter nisus). Nikon 7000 with Sigma APO-150.0-500.0 mm f/5.0-6.3; f7.1 @1/800 sec at ISO 500 from a distance of 1.8 metres.

The bird alighted on a fence opposite my house and I managed to very slowly approach it to 1.8 metres taking a series of photographs as i approached. My lucky day!

Critique is welcome through this was an opportunist shot and all I wanted to catch was a half decent shot given the opportunity. I guess as a portrait it's not too bad as it shows the sharp and bright eye and the ferocious beak both of which mark this out as a predator.

Brand:NIKON CORPORATION
Camera:Nikon D7000 Check out Nikon Nation!
Lens:Sigma APO-150.0-500.0 mm f/5.0-6.3
Recording media:JPEG (digital)
Date Taken:14 Nov 2013 - 1:03 PM
Focal Length:380mm
Lens Max Aperture:f/6.3
Aperture:f/7.1
Shutter Speed:1/800sec
Exposure Comp:0.0
ISO:500
Exposure Mode:Aperture-priority AE
Metering Mode:Multi-segment
Flash:Off, Did not fire
White Balance:Auto
Title:It's in the eye!
Username:Emilpix Emilpix
Uploaded:17 Dec 2013 - 2:37 PM
Tags:Hawk bird prey, Wildlife / nature
VS Mode Rating 101 (100% won)
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Comments

This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.
mrswoolybill
mrswoolybill Critique Team 7396 forum postsmrswoolybill vcard United Kingdom971 Constructive Critique Points
17 Dec 2013 - 3:34 PMConstructive Critique!This comment was flagged as constructive critique! 

Sharp where it needs to be, on the sharp bits of the bird (eye and beak), and the settings look eminently sensible to this non-wildlifer. Your choice of aperture has isolated it well against a natural, unintrusive background.

Composition-wise, I wish you hadn't zoomed in quite so close, in order to allow a little more space for it to look up into. Less apace is needed at the sides, particularly on the left. It's space top right that matters.

I'll try a quick Mod to demonstrate.
Moira

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Emilpix
Emilpix  1 Wales
17 Dec 2013 - 4:14 PM

Thank you for this very valid comment and the mod. Probably the last thing on my mind at the time was to produce a perfect photograph, the first thing was 'How durn close can i get to this thing'!

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dudler
dudler Critique Team 1092 forum postsdudler vcard England262 Constructive Critique Points
17 Dec 2013 - 4:16 PM

I've done a mod, too - cropping, and also (very crudely) burning in and cloning to make the background plainer on the right.

It's always easy to end up with the subject too much in the centre, rather than on the Thirds. I think the advent of AF made this rather worse...

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NigelKiteley
NigelKiteley e2 Member 5NigelKiteley vcard 1 Constructive Critique Points
17 Dec 2013 - 4:34 PM

Fantastic detail especially around the beak and eye! Agree with mrswoolybill regarding more space for the subject to look into but it's still a stunning image.

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banehawi
banehawi Critique Team 10781 forum postsbanehawi vcard Canada2803 Constructive Critique Points
17 Dec 2013 - 5:58 PMConstructive Critique!This comment was flagged as constructive critique! 

A good shot, nice and sharp. A head shot rather than the full body shot.

The main feedback from me is the composition, - not that you were too worried about it at the time. With editing, you have the ability to position the bird in the frame with more space above, to look into, and place it off centre.

I have also loaded a mod, with cropping done as suggested. Ive also brightened the eye.

View all mods LARGE.


Regards


Willie

Last Modified By banehawi at 17 Dec 2013 - 5:59 PM

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paulbroad
paulbroad  681 forum posts United Kingdom843 Constructive Critique Points
17 Dec 2013 - 8:11 PMConstructive Critique!This comment was flagged as constructive critique! 

I appreciate the problems. The head is superbly shown but I would be wanting the head to fill the frame more, not less. You could have a full length shot of the bird, but not a wider yet still cropped image. Very well done with a difficult subject, but degree of difficulty is not the issue. This kind of quality and a full frame of just the head.

I'm going to let my daft out now, and I'm not an expert, but are you absolutely sure this is a Sparrowhawk? I realise you are saying young and I'm not fully conversant with how a young Sparrowhawk looks before it's first moult, but the shape of the chest markings look more Kestrel than Sparrowhawk. I am probably wrong as a layman with limited knowledge, and a Sparrowhawk is going to be a bit larger than a Kestrel.

Paul

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paulbroad
paulbroad  681 forum posts United Kingdom843 Constructive Critique Points
17 Dec 2013 - 8:14 PM

Have shown a friend and looked at a Kestrel image. No eye stripe here, so I'm probably wrong.

Paul

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Emilpix
Emilpix  1 Wales
18 Dec 2013 - 10:16 AM

Thank you all for your kind observations. I do have a full length version, taken moments earlier but thought that this had more impact and was more fitting for critique. As to whether it be a Sparrow Hawk, after 60 years of 'birding' experience and having handled many - take my word for it, it is! =8) Given comments thus far, and as not so experienced a photographer, I guess I should be fairly happy with this photograph and most others taken at the time. Thank you all again.

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paulbroad
paulbroad  681 forum posts United Kingdom843 Constructive Critique Points
18 Dec 2013 - 12:19 PM

I stand corrected. Fine quality. I just like the impact of tight close up images.

Paul

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