Back Modifications (2)
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at the zoo

By mikerail007
to get fine look and interest..

Tags: Bird Wildlife and nature

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dark_lord Plus
17 2.8k 768 England
24 Mar 2020 5:06PM
Hi Michael,

I see it's a while since you last posted in the Critique Gallery.

It would help greatly in providing critique if you could give us some more information about the image.
What are you unhappy or pleased with?
What were you trying to achieve with the image?
Did you face any problms or challenges when capturing the image?

The more you can provide the more helpful we can be.
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.8k 2406 United Kingdom
25 Mar 2020 12:27PM
Hello from me. As Keith says, we really need to hear from you - what advice are you looking for? But in the meantime there are things that I really wanted to get typed...

First of all, creatures in captivity are always difficult, because zoos are set up for security not photography. I assume that you were poking the lens through a wire fence. Not ideal...

The image is good and sharp on the bird, but... You used a program setting, Action (High speed). That's not a bad idea for birds and animals, it will give you a fast shutter speed and large aperture, and increase ISO as required. But here the bird is walking, not in flight. You didn't need 1/1000 second, 1/500 at 100mm (160mm full frame equivalent) would have been very safe, so you could use a lower ISO. If you are serious about photography, do try to take more control of settings. The camera has a good brain but it has no intuition - it doesn't know what you are actually photographing.

Next, this was taken at lunch time, when the sun is high in the sky - not ideal for pale feathers! It has created that blown highlight on the bird's back - all detail is gone there, there is nothing to be retrieved in processing. You may not have had any choice over time, but it's better to aim for early morning or later in the day.

OK That's the technical side. But the first thing I thought of when I opened this was the composition. Central placement for a subject facing sideways doesn't really work, it needs less space behind (that's wasted space, it just drags the viewer's eye in the wrong direction), more space on the right to look and walk into.

Plus - you couldn't avoid the wire fence in the background but photographing square-on for correct horizontal lines makes the background a bit more helpful as a compositional element. It looks more deliberate.

I have uploaded a modification. I rotated and skewed to get the horizontals and verticals looking better, then I cropped from the left and added canvas space on the right for the bird to walk into.

Then I reduced contrast and used the burn tool very gently to give better texture in the foreground grasses.

See what you think. And please tell us how you see this, what advice you want.
dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1843 England
26 Mar 2020 11:43AM
There's loads of good advice above from Moira: I'll add that if space allowed, you'd get a better result if the bird was closer to you, and further from the fence behind it.

This would allow the fence to fall out of focus, which will make it less dominant. I suppose you could clone it out, but it woudl be an immense amount of work. If you can, find a plainer and uniformly dark background to minimise the problems with intrusive backgroudn detail.

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