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Bird eating persimmon

By litesport
I've not really done much wildlife photography and so am not sure how to take/frame a picture.
This was a bird (don't know what species) in our back garden here in Beijing. We have what I think is a persimmon tree and the birds like to come down and eat the fruit.
I have 3 other pictures of the same bird in my portfolio.

So what am I looking for? Ideas and suggestions on framing and perhaps post production.
Thank you for your time.

Tags: Birds Persimmon Wildlife and nature bird eating bird fruit



mrswoolybill Plus
16 4.1k 2607 United Kingdom
2 Dec 2022 12:06PM
Hello again, it's good to see you back in the Critique Gallery!

Thanks for giving us some useful starters - the circumstance and also what you are looking for. That helps no end!

I'm not a birder, I cannot give the species ID, but I can admire a very attractive, natural garden image.

Focus is good, settings look sensible. You increased ISO in order to get the shutter speed that the focal length demands.

I've added a modification with a few simple suggestions for pp, and they are just ideas to play with.

First of all I flipped horizontally to have the bird looking to the right, which is pleasing to the eye as it is the natural direction in which we read everything, images as well as text. I cropped tighter, to give proportionally more space in front of the bird for it to look into - space behind a subject (human, animal, flower, building... ) is usually wasted space.

I isolated the fruit and reduced saturation slightly on yellows and reds, which reveals a wee bit more detail - that end of the spectrum is always difficult for camera sensors, and oversaturated colour masks detail and texture.

I reduced exposure very slightly and made a Levels adjustment to boost midtones, which has given a bit more detail on the bird's breast.

These are only very gentle adjustments, the file doesn't need much revision, it's a good one!

pamelajean Plus
17 1.8k 2290 United Kingdom
2 Dec 2022 8:29PM
Hello again, Brendan.
I've had a look at your other pictures of this bird and feel you have chosen the best of the bunch here.

Your settings seem sensible and you have a good result. As with most wildlife, you will need to check that your shutter speed is sufficient to allow for any movement of your subject. As to your composition, Moira has given you some good ideas. When cropping an image like this, take care not to remove too much in an effort to get a closer image, as it can reduce the image quality.

I have used Moira's modification to do my own, and remove some of the twigs around the bird, cleaning the area in order to better show the outline of the bird. This isn't a necessity, just a suggestion. You wanted to capture the bird and may not have had a chance to capture it without so many twigs around it. You get what you can at the time. However, backgrounds and intrusions are always worth being concerned about, but aren't always considered when your eye is on your subject.

banehawi Plus
19 2.9k 4354 Canada
2 Dec 2022 10:06PM
Google image search suggests its an Azure Winged Magpie, - look like similar images.

I would like to ask what image editing software you use? We may be able to provide more specific assistance.

In general, place the subject off centre, and use the rule of thirds as a general guide rather than a rule.

The image needs the black level to be lower to enhance contrast, you might have lost some using the multiplier lens; reduce highlights on the birds whites, and apply a lot of desaturation to the fruit, it glowing and detracts attention from the subject.

Ive done this in the mod, and as for crop Ive simply used the landscape version of your aspect ratio.

Sample image


dudler Plus
19 2.1k 2018 England
3 Dec 2022 2:45AM
The technical stuff all looks sensible, which is half the battle, I think.

Aesthetically, wildlife is not different from other genres - good composition is good composition, distracting backgrounds remain distracting! The one difference is that you generally have far less control of such things, making good results far harder to achieve without a lot of fiddling in editing, which is usually not allowed for competitions.

A lot of patience is a great asset: as is getting to know the location and the habits of the birds.

But I freely admit it's a genre of which I have minimal experience, and in which I have no expertise...
litesport 5 3 United Kingdom
4 Dec 2022 9:39AM
Thank you everyone.
I was using a 2X teleconverter on my 40-150 lens when I took the picture. It was from our bedroom window on the top (3rd) floor of our house which is what is called a townhouse in this compound. Just think of a row of attached houses built in the 90's.

Thank you Willie for identifying the bird. We have a lot of them flying around and sitting in the trees at the back of the garden. And obviously they like to eat the persimmons.

Thank you Moira, Pamela and Willie for your comments, tips and mods. I really like what you have done with the cropping, colours and brightness of the persimmon as well as reversing the image. I never would have thought of that.

As for my editing software, I have Affintiy 1.10.6. I know a new version is out but I've no idea if the improvements are what I would need, or even mean and do.
litesport 5 3 United Kingdom
4 Dec 2022 9:40AM
And, hopefully I will be able to visit the UK in summer 2023 after 4 years away. Whilst we could always leave China (not necessarily afford the flights), returning was problematic and would have jeopardized my job.
mrswoolybill Plus
16 4.1k 2607 United Kingdom
4 Dec 2022 10:38AM
Thanks for joining in the conversation and giving further information - that helps. I hope we shall see more from you.
banehawi Plus
19 2.9k 4354 Canada
4 Dec 2022 5:50PM
Thanks for the feedback. I have used Affinity, but not for a while, but Im sure the basic ability to do a levels or curves adjustments are there to allow you to move the left, black slider inward to improve black level.
dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
6 Dec 2022 4:47PM
I'm lae here.

Affinitywill do all you need. Thee's no need to update to the latest version as all the basics will be fine though improvements to things like the RAW converterare welcome. It's worth going for and there are often offers on.

Given what you've said about location it may be hard to find a less messy background, but when you're out and about it's something to be aware of. Messy background (and foregrounds for that mater) make or break an image.
As there are lots of irds it's worth picking a spot that's less cluttered and wait for them to land by the fruit there.Yes it takes a little effort and patience but that's what you need with subjects like this.

Your original is quite light, and the detail in the brighter areas is lost. The background foliage looks like it's a very dark green and the camera's meter has been influenced by that. It needed some exposure

compensation, something like -2/3 at the tiime of capture. It's a good idea to take a reading from an area of mid tones in the same lighting as the subject. You can then either lock this reading in or use it to determine the amount of exposurecorrection needed. This helps to preserve detail and make any correctons in software much less.

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