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A leap of faith

By KenQuinn
Taken at the harbour at Anstruther, Scotland. Funny little birds.

Tags: Oyster catcher Wildlife and nature

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alistairfarrugia 10 164 88 Malta
13 Feb 2014 7:23PM
Hi there. It seems you're relatively new to the site so welcome to EPZ. You have uploaded an image to the Critique Gallery which implies that you wish other members of EPZ to provide constructive critique on your upload. I shall take the liberty to do so accordingly.

First off, this is an interesting subject - shots of animals typically attract a lot of attention and there was potential for such interest here as well. However, a number of issues are evident in this image that indicate that some things went wrong. Immediately, it becomes a bit problematic for people to offer constructive critique here since very little information is provided with respect to settings you were using when you shot this. Still - with the little there is available, I'll hazard some suggestions.

1) There is evidence of a very high-ISO setting or heavy post-processing. Noise, particularly in the dark or shadow areas is very high. You can see what I'm referring to by looking at the shadow on the stone, or the black patch on the bird.
2) The image seems like a very small crop from a larger image. This tends to result in an image that has a low resolution and low amount of detail. Considering you had a zoom lens on you, with a maximum focal length of 200mm (that's 300mm in equivalent full-frame focal length), I'm guessing this particular bird was too far off to be captured in sufficient enough detail.
3) The image also seems to be too soft - probably as a result of the comment in (2) above, a result of noise-reduction attempts, bad focusing, or a combination of all these factors.
4) It seems you shot in JPEG format, which typically results in a lower quality image than if you had shot in RAW and converted to JPEG from a PC. This is because processors on cameras have to work much faster and typically sacrifice quality to speed of execution. Thus, it is generally better to shoot RAW and convert to JPEG on PC later. This also gives you greater control on the final product, as RAW files can handle post-processing much better given the increased amount of data stored for each RAW image as opposed to JPEGs. Alternatively, you can shoot RAW+JPEG and discard/retain what you need following the shoot... (given you have enough storage available on the camera - RAW files tend to be much larger in size).

Hope you find the critique helpful and keep the images coming. On behalf of the Critique Team, welcome to the Critique Gallery!

pablophotographer 11 2.1k 433
14 Feb 2014 1:46AM
Hello to you Ken.

I cannot know who focused the camera, you or the automated system of it. I have a friend who owns the D3100 and he has told me he can select with the rounded selector at the back any spot in the frame, a red light pinpoints the spot and then he fires the shutter. The bright sunny area may have fooled the camera or you, actually wildlife requires high ISO settings so the motion is frozen. Since we don't have the date we can't say anything more.

I like the composition though and the way that the frame is split horizontally in zones that contain crucial information about its habitat and food Smile

paulbroad 15 131 1294 United Kingdom
14 Feb 2014 9:05AM
You need to give us a bit more information to work with. Shutter speed and so on.

This is an Oyster Catcher, a common seashore bird. It has one basic over riding fault. It's not sharp. Not even close I fear. There does seem tobe a slightly sharperplane at the back of the bird but I suspect both focusing errors and camera shzke. Do not rely on VR to stop shake, it just doesn't work like that. The performance of any VR system is relative to how much shake there is. It reduces shake, it does not eliminatd it.

You still need to hold the camera as steady as possible and support it if possible. A wall or fence top, a mopnpod.

There is a focus issue. This is a grab shot I assume and there is no time to play with changing autofocus points. Just leave it on the central spot, which should have been OK for this image anyway, or use focus lock. Place the central spot on the bit you want sharp, half press the shutterbutton to focus. Keep the half pressure on the button to keep focus locked, re-compose as necessary and shoot.

Or, with moving subjects, select servo autofocus and let the camera track the subject as you shoot. Most shots will be pretty close.

You must crack getting an image sharp where you want it. Unsharp images will fail unless they are hot bews. Even tben, sharp is best. The two basics of photography are get the exposure right, get it sharp. All else follows on. On the first point, the exposure here is OK, but the shadows are blocked up due to backlighting. These areas can be lightened by using the dodge tool in your imaging software, but with care so as not to destroy contrast.

mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.7k 2575 United Kingdom
14 Feb 2014 1:36PM
Hi Ken, welcome to the Critique Gallery and to the site - I see that you have recently joined.

As mentioned above, the site isn't picking up your Exif details of camera settings. (It will possibly have been stripped from the file when you saved it for uploading here.)This is important information for critique purposes, so would you please add it to your upload.

You can do this by clicking on the Options button below your picture, then on Edit photo, then at Edit photo information click on the Exif tab. Complete the boxes, then click on Save.

I'm sure you know where to find that information but for reference, open the picture on your hard drive, right click on it, click on Properties, and then Details.

You have some good advice above - filling in the Exif boxes will allow for much more specific advice though.

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