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Lethal Stare

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I took the shot of this captive owl at Martin Mere Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. The bird was on a perch in a tent and, as I wanted to keep the shutter speed up to avoid camera shake, I upped the ISO to 800.

My two main objectives with this shot were to focus on the eyes so they were sharp, and also to expose the feathers correctly to avoid any blown out areas and to show the detail.

Could I have done anything different to improve the shot? I'd be grateful for any advice.

Brand:Nikon CORPORATION
Camera:Nikon D3100 Check out Nikon Nation!
Lens:70.0-300.0 mm f/4.0-5.6
Recording media:RAW (digital)
Date Taken:6 May 2012 - 11:23 AM
Focal Length:300mm
Lens Max Aperture:f/5.7
Aperture:f/5.6
Shutter Speed:1/320sec
Exposure Comp:0.0
ISO:800
Exposure Mode:Shutter speed priority AE
Metering Mode:Multi-segment
Flash:No Flash
Title:Lethal Stare
Username:WeeGeordieLass WeeGeordieLass
Uploaded:6 May 2012 - 7:40 PM
Tags:Pets / captive animals, Wildlife / nature
VS Mode Rating 101 (57.14% won)
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Comments

This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.
saeidNL
saeidNL  4 Netherlands3 Constructive Critique Points
6 May 2012 - 7:51 PM

Excellent and lovely capture,
saeid

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WeeGeordieLass
WeeGeordieLass e2 Member 2341 forum postsWeeGeordieLass vcard England
6 May 2012 - 7:58 PM

Thanks Saeid. It was a beautiful bird - I'm glad you think I've taken a good shot if it.

Cheers

Elaine

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1shot2shot
6 May 2012 - 8:24 PM

Personally i think you achieved your objectives as the detail in feathers are superb and the eyes are clear and well focused. Good work

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WeeGeordieLass
WeeGeordieLass e2 Member 2341 forum postsWeeGeordieLass vcard England
6 May 2012 - 8:39 PM

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment Paul, and welcome to EPZ. I appreciate your positive opinion on the shot.

Cheers

Elaine

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banehawi
banehawi Critique Team 10876 forum postsbanehawi vcard Canada2876 Constructive Critique Points
6 May 2012 - 8:53 PMConstructive Critique!This comment was flagged as constructive critique! 

Hi Elaine. A good shot.

You have achieved one of your objectives, and have come close to the second.

The exposure is really good, feathers detailed and not at all blown. The eyes however are not quite in focus. If you look closely at the shot, you will see the hairs just in front of the eyes are very sharp, then the eyes themselves soften a little.

This is likely due to the fact that the focus point you used was not placed directly on an eye, and the camera focused just in front of the eye. Make sure you are using a SINGLE focus point and not multiple points.

At 300mm, your shutter speed should have been around 1/450, though the slower speed hasnt caused lack of sharpness. (The handheld rule, shutter speed = 1/(focal length X crop factor). Crop factor for your camera is 1.5.

Also, try to stop down on stop from max aperture of 5/6 to f.8, - you would have needed much higher ISO, but with increased dof may have nailed the eyes (that sounds painful!)


Tried to get the eyes a little sharper in the mod.



I hope this is helpful.



Regards



Willie

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mhfore
mhfore  7 England176 Constructive Critique Points
6 May 2012 - 8:59 PM

Hello Elaine how are you ?

Elaine as you know I very rarely offer advice on how to take a shot so I can't help there but compositionally I think I would be tempted to crop some of the empty space from the left. We know about leaving room for your subject to look into but as this Owl is looking straight at you a tighter crop may work. You've taken a good shot here Elaine and all i've done in the mod is crop the left to place the eye's nearer a third, add "Overlay" in your blend mode and reduce the effect to 50% and a little lightening with the "dodge" tool to the eye's.

Good capture Elaine.

Take care
Martin

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WeeGeordieLass
WeeGeordieLass e2 Member 2341 forum postsWeeGeordieLass vcard England
6 May 2012 - 9:12 PM

Hi Willie,

Thanks for the mod - yes....the eyes are sharper!

I was using multiple focus points - I'll remember your advice about using single point for this kind of shot in future. Thanks for letting me know about the "hand-held" rule, and also for your advice on aperture and ISO...............oh heck there's so much to remember - maybe I'll get it right one day!

Your advice is much appreciated Willie.

Cheers

Elaine

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WeeGeordieLass
WeeGeordieLass e2 Member 2341 forum postsWeeGeordieLass vcard England
6 May 2012 - 9:23 PM

Hi Martin,

I'm good thanks - been a bit busy with work lately, so I've not been as active on EPZ. I hope you're good too.

Thanks for your mod. I see your point about the crop, and it's definitely something to consider for the final version. Using "Overlay" gives another option too - so thanks for that.

P.S. I think your Night Train shot is fantastic.

Cheers and thanks for your advice.

Elaine

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WeeGeordieLass
WeeGeordieLass e2 Member 2341 forum postsWeeGeordieLass vcard England
6 May 2012 - 9:30 PM

Hi Paul,

The colours in your mod are great - on my monitor they look a bit more saturated............and the eyes are sharper and brighter.

Thanks for this, I'll try it myself.

Cheers

Elaine

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