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18/06/2011 - 12:04 PM

Snowy Egret in Mallorca

Snowy Egret in MallorcaTechnically speaking I can't see anything wrong with this photo at all, at this scale on the web. You've even used the -2/3rds exposure compensation to help counter the brighter parts of the white bird from overexposing (the whites along the back look strong white, but I don't think they've overexposed - histogram on your computer should be able to give you a more definitive answer, but they don't stand out to me at all).
ISO is where I'd start for wildlife - 200 is a good base to work from; though on dimmer days 400 is normally very usable on pretty much all cameras without worries. Shutter speed is certainly fast enough to freeze the motion (and has done wonderfully) and is also more than fast enough that any handshake should be of no concern (at 1/1600 at 300mm VR, strictly speaking, won't be having any effect on the hand motion blur in the shot).
Aperture - well you've been reading and chatting in the forums about the aperture and sharpness, esp with regard to the 28-300mm so I'll take it as given that you already know to try shifting to a slightly smaller aperture to get a little more sharpness out of the setup.

Having done no editing work at all its a good result - myself I'd say sharpening (esp after resizing) would be needed on the photo, but other than that no areas appear in need of work. Some burning around the whites might be in order if they are just blown - though if you shoot RAW I'd be tempted to process the RAW twice - once normally and once for the highlights (same settings as for normal, but then slide the exposure slider until the whites are more controlled; but not too far that they look "dark") and then blend the two images into one with layermasks in editing.

However I get the feeling that the result you've gotten has left you feeling like something might be wrong, that something is lacking that you'd prefer different. If you have some examples taken by others that you'd like to emulate if you could link to them it might help to understand where you want to head - what you'd like to be able to create with the camera.
17/08/2009 - 10:50 PM

Funghi

FunghiI really like the idea of this shot - good lighting coming through the mushroom and getting a good low angle to show that aspect in the shot! The bright and colourful background also works well to offset against the more drab colourings of the main subject.

Lighting on the background areas though seems a bit harsh and I guess that is a result of slight overexposure in those areas so that you could expose under the darker mushroom better.

Its something that in the field I think would only be solved with 2 exposures and a tripod to steady the camera so that you could then blend the two together (one for the mushroom and the other for the background) into a single composit shot - though its not something easily taken in the field if your working without a tripod.

As it stands you went for the mushroom to be exposed correctly and in this case I feel that it was the right choice to make - well done!
17/08/2009 - 10:46 PM

Light on a Lady

Light on a LadyI've been looking at this macro shot for some time, even looking at the large version, but something seems off to my eye. It might just be that this butterfly has vastly different colourings to the ones I am used to seeing, but if you look at the wing closest to the camera around the shoulder, lower bpdy and in some areas back along the length of the wing there is a really odd colouring - the like I normaly see when I pull the levels or curves lines a little too much on one direction.

However loooking at hte top of the wings they appear to be blurred in motion so it might be that this along with an unusual colouring is making me see things that arn't there - this is also a little apparent as the markings don't appear anywhere else on the photo.

Its an interesting puzzle to me in a good macro shot
06/06/2009 - 4:25 PM

The Lizard

The LizardI do like the colouring in this shot - have a very real feeling to it which we don't often see much in digital shooting as was seen in the film era

However it seems that your focus missed his head and hid the middle of his back, if you can in such shots you really want the eye of the animal (which is looking right at you in this shot) to be in focus, even if nothing else is. I would have either zoomed/stepped back to get the AF on his head (using a single centre AF point only) or used manual focusing to correct it.

Also the lighting has been tricky for you and very harsh. I have done an edit where I used the highlights and shadows tool in photoshop elements; I added light to the shadows to bring out his head more, whilst also adding a lot of shadow to the highlights to lower the glare in the shot to a more acceptable level. I also used a layermask on this (though you can use a selection wizard instead) so that it only affected the insect and the rock he was on and not the background, which does not need the added lighting.
06/06/2009 - 4:13 PM

bird in flight

bird in flightI can't tell what settings you were using, but I suspect a wide open aperture combined with a shutter speed that was as fast as you could go - with a little underexposing as well for more speed. It looks like your focus is good and that you captured the moment, but even with underexposing for a faster speed (assuming this) the shutter has just not been quick enough.
If in this case again I would say flash or a very high ISO are your only real options and of the two I would reach for the flash myself - rather than high noise from a higher ISO.

Its a tricky thing but birds in flight need a lot of speed - its no trick that many bird in flight shots are taken in very bright weather - its because dimmer weather just does not give the light needed for those faster speeds.
25/08/2008 - 9:48 PM

Coot on nest

Coot on nestWelcome to the site and to the world of photography!
A shame that in this shot the light was dull and flat - the angle I like and you have eye contact with the subject which is important in wildlife photography (in fact its about the only thing you "must" have is eye contact - sharp eye contact with the viewer -- of course remember all rules are made to be broken once you know how to break them).

As for the light - dawn or dusk (1 hour before or after sunset/sunrise) is the golden time for photography when the light is soft and not overpowering. Of course getting there in those times is not always easy/possible. Though now you know the location of the nest and from where to shoot you can always return in better light.

Another thing you might try is to shoot from a lower angle - getting right down low lets the camera capture a sight that the normal passerby does not usually see and thus makes for a more interesting photo.

I think you are off to a good start - the shot is well composed, exposure looks good considering that you are shooting into a shadow with the face and though results look a little soft that might be a result of compression on the photo.
Out of interest what settings (aperture, ISO and shutter speed) and how were you shooting (handheld, resting on tripod/wall) ?
23/08/2008 - 5:42 PM

Water Duck

Water DuckGood result - I think you are working beyond the best range for you camera and lens, but you have still got a sharp looking product. The shot looks a little overexposed - re the overblown whites on the tail - next time try underexposing the shot a bit when out in the direct sunlight to help preserve the whites
Well done!
19/08/2008 - 10:04 PM

cat fight

cat fighttip when you photographing wildlife is to sit in aperture priority mode, that generaly does well (and it is I think where you are sitting) but also have shutter priority mode set to a fast shutter speed (1/200+) for when these things happen - a twist of the mode dial and away you go - faster shutter speed for action Smile
12/07/2008 - 4:08 PM

Greater Spotted Woodpecker

Greater Spotted WoodpeckerA very good photo - really like the sharp eye that you have focused on. The background is a shows the bright conditions that you were shooting in and you have exposed the shot well for this - the bird looks great.
I might suggest, as the light is not naturally falling on your subject, that if you get another try at this you could use the flash to fill in some light and get more details out of his black wings. If you only have a popup flahs and no proper flash (with diffuser) then use the popup - to remove the harsh and strong light from the shot use a bit of folded toilet paper (the soft white kind, not that cardboard in schools Wink) and hold that infront of the flash (some tape, elastic band - something to hold it in place) and then shoot. The toilet rol
11/07/2008 - 12:12 PM

reflection

reflectionWhat lens were you shooting with? A long focal range is often the best for wildlife.
As for the shot as a shot, ignoring the limitations on range that you had, here are some general wildlife shooting tips:

1) go for the eyes! Yep a key part of a lot of wildlife shots is catching the animal looking at the lens - and thus engaging and looking directly at the viewer.

1b) as the eyes are so important to many shots its key that they be sharp in a shot, so focus on the eyes. The eyes are the window on the soul - so make sure its sharp Wink

2) Low down - getting down on the ground and shooting from a low height makes for a more interesting shot - this is because you are showing a view of something that the average passerby won't see. Shots taken from normal height often attract the "snapshot" look to them - taken as we normally see.

3) when using auto focus (which is very good to use) its often best to use only the centre focusing element and to have the rest turned off. This means you can more easily focus on the part of a shot that you want to focus on - rather than something that the camera wants


In your shot I would also say that the colours and lighting look a little boring - nothing is really exciting in the or carrying a mood. Morning and evening sunlight can go a long way to helping get not only interesting light, but also soft light easy to work with to avoid overexposing whites. If you are shooting in the brighter parts of the day use exposure compensation to -1 (if in AV or TV modes) or underexpose the shot manually by one full stop if in manual mode. This will help prevent overexposing whites in a shot - you can always brighten a shot up in editing, but you can't restore blown out whites easily as often times the detail is not present in the white area to restore to.

Good shot and I like the sight of the upraised wings - keep shooting Smile
04/07/2008 - 10:01 AM

" Zoomorphic !!!!! "

" Zoomorphic !!!!! "An impressive amount of work has gone into this and you have done well for a first try, so don't feel like you have wasted your efforts.

The hair/fur on the face is working well, but its looking a little all over the place, tricky as I don't really know how to solve something like that. Also around the nose there appears to be a massive highlight that is rather distracting.
Also I think the weakness is in the long black hair - its taking on a very liquid look - as if it were completly saturated in gel (especially clear to me in the sections falling either sider of the face).
A really hard bit of work to get off right and you are off to a good start - keep up the effort!
03/07/2008 - 9:08 PM

Morning Catch

Morning CatchAs others have said a really great capture and must have been wonderful to have found out that you had such a sight caught!
My only niggle is - infact - the boat - it might be different fullsized but how it looks here it just looks like a little rectangle of colours - something I would be tempted to crop out to focus all attention on the crashing wave.

Great lighting and a really interesting sight!
30/06/2008 - 12:50 PM

Rosebud

RosebudI like this, you have a good blurred background which is not distracting and a sharp flower in the foreground. Colours are strong and vibrant and the lighting is good and soft with no overexposed zones. If I may I would suggest trying a slightly smaller aperture (bigger f number) to try and boost the depth of field on the flower, as the out of focuse foreground in teh upper right side is distracting. However this does run the risk of losing or lessening the blurred background - experimentation and trying out different settings should let you find the "optimum" but if that fails you could have a try at photostacking (taking several shots of the same subject (both camera and subject being perfectly still and this in the same position in each shot) with different focusing points in each shot and then using layers and photoshop (or other program) and stacking on shot ontop of the other to get a greater depth of details whilst working with wider apertures.

Good shot and hope to see more Smile
28/06/2008 - 2:41 AM

Need to brush my hair

Need to brush my hairI really like this shot, the colours are very vibrant and the details are sharp - though I think the head shows that you might be been working past the best range limit for your lens. The little white spots are working really well in the foreground, but I am undecided on the background ones which look like little halos.
Exposure on this is good, though the white breast is showing a little overexposure I think though it is not very distracting overall.
Its also a shame that with such a perfect refelection in the shot that it was cut off.
Overall a really good shot with good details, colours and composition