Back Modifications (3)
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By webbep
Using shutter priority for the first time and edited in LR.

Tags: Gull Wildlife and nature

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mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.9k 2457 United Kingdom
25 Jun 2021 9:21AM
Hello again, nice to see you around.

First, others may frown on it but I support shutter priority for any moving subject, particularly a subject moving unpredictably. 1/640 second was not quite fast enough, the gull could be sharper, I would prefer 1/1000 or even faster.

You were at maximum aperture. You could have increased ISO, to enable a faster shutter speed with a slightly smaller aperture, F/3.6 gave you very little leeway. And also increase ISO as a precaution, in case the light dips.

By my way of thinking, if the light changed here and you either underexposed slightly or shutter priority put you from F/3.6 onto F/4.2 or F/4.5, the difference will be much less than if you were on aperture priority and the light dropped so that you suddenly found yourself shooting at a slower shutter speed. That's how I approach human activity, I hope it makes sense... I know that I horrify local Camera Club members.

Happenstance has given a satisfying composition, with the background figures creating a nice sense of balance. This is as much about the scene as a whole as about the bird that is flying through it. The use of portrait is interesting, I wonder if this is the original composition or a crop?

Suggestions: Although the figures complete the composition, that orange really dominates the frame disproportionately. I want to try a hard, bright b&w... I also want to tweak verticals a bit. I'll try the Skew tool, bottom left and top right, rather than rotation, to minimise loss of frame.

And a bit of contrast and sharpening on the gull.

And I just happen to have a bit of time free this morning... Back soon I hope!
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.9k 2457 United Kingdom
25 Jun 2021 9:40AM
Back again, I've uploaded two modifications. The first: skewed; gull isolated, some work on light - nothing extreme - and a bit of sharpening; orange teeshirt toned down. The second, a hard contrasty b&w worked in Nik Silver Efex. For me, b&w is more about the bird.

Just suggestions, see what you think.
pamelajean Plus
15 1.6k 2238 United Kingdom
25 Jun 2021 10:41AM
Hello, Paul, and welcome back to the Critique Gallery.

The very first thing I noticed was the bright orange T-shirt, not the bird.
If you want to stay with colour, I would suggest removing or toning down the shirt so that the eye doesn't keep going towards it. You could zoom in and go over it with the burn brush for an easy fix.

Moira has covered most things including your use of Shutter Priority. For a moving subject like a bird in flight, you do need a faster shutter speed for most shooting methods.

You don't say if you used panning to track the bird, went onto continuous shooting, or simply chose your moment and took the shot. I would like to suggest that you look at where the birds are flying and see if you can find a better and cleaner background, then do your shooting at around that spot. Maybe facing into the sea would be less cluttered, if indeed you were by the sea. There is a lot of trial and error in this type of shot, so don't be deterred, just keep on shooting. If you use panning, you can usually get a nice horizontal motion blur in the background, which can eliminate distractions very well. For this you will need a slower shutter speed, a lot of patience and practice until you are happy with the chosen speed.

Here are some articles you might find of interest.:-
How To Take And Make Great Panning Photos
11 Panning Tips For Beginners



dark_lord Plus
17 2.8k 784 England
25 Jun 2021 12:46PM
It's good to see you back.

My eye is very quickly drawn to the orange blob. Fortunately it can be toned down or eliminated but it does mean that it's important to consider the background as it can make or break a shot. That said, someone can always walk into frame even with careful planning of your viewpoint.

It looks sharp enough on the eye and beak, a little movement in the wings which is perfectly acceptable.It's a tricky call as sometimes the flap strongly and at other times they just glide.
What I would suggest is to use a higher ISO here. You're at the lens's widest aperture. There's nothing wrong with that per se but it does mean that if the light drops then he lens can' let any more light in to compensate and you'd get underexposure. ISO 400 for exaple will give you some leeway. So it's a good idea to keep an eye on that. In the same way I use Aperture prioity and keep an eye on shutter peed, I just turn the wheel to get the settings I want.

Going back to the risk of underexposure, and this may or may not apply to your camera, but Auto ISO is one way of reducing that risk. Some cameras have a function that reduces the shutter speed in order to maintain a correct exposure but of coiurse with a grater risk of movement blur.
So a good approach would be to keep the ISO up. And keep shooting.
webbep 17
25 Jun 2021 1:30PM
I was panning to take this shot and kept aperture wide open as the background was a little untidy so was looking to have a shallower depth of field. I totally agree with the the orange being distracting but my editing ability is novice at best .and as I was tracking the bird I missed that when I took the shot. I love the B&W mod as that style is becoming my favourite . I appreciate all your comments. And I will check and see if my camera has an Auto ISO feature.
dudler Plus
18 1.7k 1877 England
25 Jun 2021 3:07PM
Welcome back from me, too!

An awful lot of action specialists reckon Shutter priority is best for this kind of thing, and I defer to them - it really isn't my area. The important thing, with any technique, is to understand how it works, and its limitations, and you're getting there. Keep shooting.

For maximum background blur, use the lens at the long end of its range. But I reckon that background blur should be a secondary consideration until you have got panning and shutter speeds absolutely sorted. I'm sure your camera will have auto ISO available, because it's so valuable in this kind of situation.

The orange is annoying, but that's not even a secondary consideration in terms of what you're working on here. I look forward to your results when the technique is second nature for you. I won't pretend that it's easy, but for birds it's incredibly rewarding, I think, for those who master it.
banehawi Plus
17 2.5k 4263 Canada
25 Jun 2021 3:20PM
Well done Paul! You must be delighted to get a nice panning shot of the flying gull. That was your goal and you achieved it.

Shutter priority is the right approach for this, and though its quite good, the shutter would ideally be set faster, - at least 1/1000th.

Set ISO to Auto and you can achieve higher speeds while leaving the aperture as-is. This is better than using a negative exposure comp which is whats done in this shot. The Fuji is quite good at higher ISO values too.

Ive uploaded a mod with the gull sharper, thats it, - thats sort of what the faster shutter would have resulted in.

Hope this is helpful,


mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.9k 2457 United Kingdom
25 Jun 2021 5:18PM
Thanks for your feedback, it's great when we hear back from people.

If you are interested in b&w, I suggest that you upload a conversion for critique some time. Tell us how you have processed it, and show us the colour original as a modification.

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