Back Modifications (4)
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Great Spotted Woodpecker

By PaulCrabtree    

I took this just as the sun broke through the clouds late in the afternoon after a wet day. I was wondering how far to crop. Do I keep the tree in full width and crop either end of the bird or keep it as taken ? I tried chopping the tree trunk towards the bird from the side, but it didnt look right.

There is also a little too much light on the black section of the wing, so any advice on that or generally improving the picture would be great

Photo is as is, no alterations done as yet.


Tags: Wildlife and nature Woodpecker greater spotted


Spkr51 4 United States
3 Feb 2017 9:03PM
Beautiful capture ***** SmileSmileSmileSmileSmile
banehawi Plus
16 2.3k 4163 Canada
3 Feb 2017 9:54PM
Its slightly soft here on the site.

I wonder what lens you are using, is it an image stabilized version?

It does respond well t sharpening in Photoshop though, so perhaps the focus was on the tree and not quite the bird.

As far as composition goes, I would take the bird out of the centre, add space to the right, lower the bird by cropping at the bottom and adding space at the top.

The tone is a little red, so thats toned down in the mod.


TonyDy Plus
11 52 3 United Kingdom
3 Feb 2017 10:15PM
Good shot, Paul but I agree with the comments and feel that the modification helps.
tonyguitar 8 77 37 Canada
4 Feb 2017 2:12AM
Less tree;...more GSW. It's a beauty. Look at the way it stands out in your gallery of thumbnails. TG
4 Feb 2017 7:40AM
Hi Paul
I uploaded a mod
A few tweaks in lightroom
Cropped it down
I hope you like it

dudler Plus
17 1.3k 1699 England
4 Feb 2017 8:09AM
I'd crop on the left, top, and bottom to put hte bird around the left Third. Fills hte frame more, still a relaxed composition, but without the bird being dead centre in a non-symmetrical composition, which is how your original is.

There are always variations!
Thanks for the replies and modifications

lens used was a Sigma 150-600mm - taken handheld on a beanbag - as far as I know the camera doesnt have image stableization.

Single focus point, which I hoped was the eye of the bird.
paulbroad 13 131 1289 United Kingdom
4 Feb 2017 6:33PM
The early Sigma 50/500 does not have stabilisation, the later model does. I think ALL the 150/500 have image stabilisation? I should look at your lens switches. The camera body does not have a stabiliser.

You need a slightly tighter crop and it is slightly soft overall, so I suspect some shake and possible lens effects. I try and use my 50/500 at f8 or f11 as it tends to be a bit soft near full aperture although you are not at maximum focal length.

What was the bean bag resting on? Something solid and not vibrating in itself?

I try and never use the Sigma on less than a decent monopod, fast shutter speeds and f8 or 11. Try ISO 1600. GRain is good if the image is sharp.

Mine is the Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary

Focus AF or Mo or MF - its set to MF
Second Button is set at Full - other options are 10m- and 2-10m ??
Third is Custom, set to off
Cant see anything else ?

Bean Bag resting on a flat wooden shelf in a bird hide
tonyguitar 8 77 37 Canada
4 Feb 2017 9:16PM
Steve does a great job here. The Nikon 7200 delivers surprising fidelity allowing for close crops. TG
paulbroad 13 131 1289 United Kingdom
5 Feb 2017 7:53AM
According to Sigma, The 150/600 Contempory DOES have image stabilisation. There should be an on/off switch in the control set at the rear. You do need to know the technology of the lens to get the best from it and be aware what each control does and how they inertact. I use a bean bag in a hide the few times I visit our local birding site and that is sufficient providing people are not moving about.

You are set to manual focus? I rarely if ever use manual focus with such long lenses as it is so critical and find auto focus with a single centre point is faster than me and at least as accurate. The depth of field is tiny and getting a crisp image manually can be very testing.

All the really long cheaper lenses, both Sigma and Tamron, are known to be slightly soft at the long end, so need extra care, using at the sweet aperture which will be f8 or f11 and probably some software sharpening.

dudler Plus
17 1.3k 1699 England
5 Feb 2017 12:44PM
According to the Sigma website, the Conteporary lens does have IS:

The OS (Optical Stabilizer) function features an acceleration sensor to ensure even higher precision. Two OS modes are available: Mode 1 for general photography and Mode 2 for motor sports and other applications requiring panning. In Mode 2, the acceleration sensor teams up with the Intelligent OS and its updated stabilization algorithm to deliver effective stabilization while you move the camera horizontally, vertically, or diagonally—regardless of the position of the lens. This feature helps ensure effective panning and outstanding capture of moving subjects.

Looking back, the EXIF data says the lens is a VR design - this may be a quirk of EPZ lens recognition, or maybe it's picking up a differnet lens... Or perhaps htere are different specs for lenses sold in different places? Was it UK-sourced?

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