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as a beginner I would like to feel confident about the images I take, so feed back would be grateful. This was taken next to a lake on a sunny day in Staffordshire.

Camera:Minolta
Lens:sigma 50-500mm
Recording media:JPEG (digital)
Title:who you looking at
Username:Goldex Goldex
Uploaded:20 Jun 2008 - 8:15 PM
Tags:Wildlife / nature
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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.
graceland
graceland  92378 forum posts United Kingdom2 Constructive Critique Points
20 Jun 2008 - 8:17 PM

I like it Nice Close up Head shot !!

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shazian
shazian  6 United Kingdom
20 Jun 2008 - 10:28 PM

Good shot with detail not sure if you have have applied the unmask sharp tool if not use it at 100%

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phillips
phillips  869 forum posts Scotland2 Constructive Critique Points
20 Jun 2008 - 10:31 PM

Better than many on here.
Good choice of wide aperture to make background diffuse and it's well exposed with no blown highlights.
I'd think about cropping a bit at left and maybe adding a subtle border..fine black line and a white surround.

Guy

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pamelajean
pamelajean Critique Team 8773 forum postspamelajean vcard United Kingdom1604 Constructive Critique Points
21 Jun 2008 - 12:21 AMConstructive Critique!This comment was flagged as constructive critique! 

Well, Mike, as a beginner looking to feel confident about his images, this is a fine example to start with. However, as it is simply the head of a goose, I have tried to make it interesting with re-framing. I also used highlights/shadows adjustment, some contrast and sharpening. Hope you like it.

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deemac
deemac  8 United Kingdom7 Constructive Critique Points
21 Jun 2008 - 12:23 PMConstructive Critique!This comment was flagged as constructive critique! 

I wasn't sure from your comment if you are a beginner in photography or a beginner in bird/wildlife photography. Either way you've produce a very competent image, well exposed and nicely lit, in spite of it being a sunny day. (I say "in spite of" because harsh sunlight can make things difficult - the low sun at either end of the day usually gives more pleasing results.) You have caught a highlight in the eye, which is often regarded as important to have, and certainly is for a head shot such as this. Also you've used a wide aperture which means the background is nicely out of focus, a very good thing on all but rare occasions.

I'd agree with phillips' comment about cropping it a little at the left. Your composition is a bit too central for comfort. A very good photographer once said to me, "It's not just what you put in your photograph that's important, it's also what you leave out" and that's excellent advice. It also pays to cast your eye quickly around the very edge of the shot to see what's in, out, or half in or out :o) In most cases, try not to put the main subject smack in the middle - that's seldom as interesting to look at as when the subject is offset.

As pamelajean has said, it IS simply a photograph of the head of a goose and, however competent, will be looked upon as a "record" shot. (That dreaded phrase, "It's a good record shot" - how many times have we heard that and gnashed our teeth?) Often what is meant by calling something a record shot is that it is technically good but lacks that "X-factor" to give it a bit more interest. It is inevitably much harder to get those X-factor shots and they generally require a large amount of time and patience to find. In the case of bird photography it might mean catching the bird(s) during a mating ritual, or feeding their chicks, or something that bit more unusual. However, that's pretty advanced stuff, and believe me, most if not all photographers who eventually achieve that will have started with something very much like your shot, so do not be at all discouraged!

If you are trying to produce a wildlife or nature shot, do not fall into the trap that some do of over-sharpening it or applying some kind of Photoshop filter. Leave that sort of thing for fine art images. If that's what you prefer to do then fine, go for it, but for true wildife photography you want to make it look as natural as possible and to give an impression of the proper surroundings, just as you have done. Note I said "an impression": that does not mean showing the surroundings in utter clarity. What it does mean is that the bird appears to be in its natural surroundings, preferably with those surroundings outside the range of sharp focus produced by your lens. That way the bird (for example) is in sharp focus and its surroundings are blurry, so attention is on the bird. Also it would mean that the bird is sat on a twig, on the ground, or, if you're being more adventurous, is flying, rather than sitting on a bird feeder.

I've said rather a lot but I hope some of it will be of use and perhaps also have given you some ideas you'd like to try. My apologies if you already knew all this stuff! Most importantly though, get out there and have a go, as that's how we all started!

Last Modified By deemac at 21 Jun 2008 - 12:29 PM

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bushcraft
bushcraft  889 forum posts3 Constructive Critique Points
21 Jun 2008 - 6:10 PM

Mike,

Beginning wildlife photography can be quite daunting, so taking pictures of larger wildlife such as geese is a good place to start. This is a nice clean, crisp and colorful shot with a lovely little bit of catch light in the eye, a shot is simply dead without that, so well done.

For me I would not have cropped the image quite so tightly. Maybe next time leave some more neck of the goose in the shot and also a little space in front of the bill to give the shot some feeling that the subject has space to walk into (if that makes sense).

The background has a pleasing blur, which IMO is a must to give a shot some impact, and again, you have done this well.

Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing more shots from you soon.

Kris

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