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Majestic Macaw!

By Bp122
This is a Great Green Macaw at Woburn Safari Park.
It was resting after giving an impressive display of flight with its mate.

There are a few things I am not sure of:
-Composition: Although this is a close up picture, I am not entirely sure if I should crop the small area at the back of the neck.
-Lost detail: On top of its head, where the white colour can be seen, there may be some detail lost.
-Background: As my previous image, I feel I could have made the Macaw stand out by having a shallower depth of field for the background, as it is an artificial one with a strong pattern.

But please feel free to suggest anything I could have done or could do better.

Tags: Macaw Wildlife and nature Woburn safari park

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banehawi Plus
17 2.6k 4274 Canada
29 Mar 2017 3:14PM
Some general comments.

You didnt need ISO 1600 for this. A lower ISO results in better quality. Perhaps you had it set high from previous shots.

F/14 is way too small an aperture also. F/8 would be fine, and would allow you to decrease ISO. It would so help with the background blur.

Since the bird is sitting, a slower shutter would also allow for lower ISO. So the idea is that you need to reset the camera from its in flight settings to a portrait situation.

The bright white on the back top of the head is sunlight that the camera cant handle in addition to the darker areas, to the dynamic range exceeds what the camera is capable of.

Do not hesitate to crop the back of the head in this case, it improves the composition and removes the blown highlights.

In the mod I added some space to the bottom, as the bird is too close to the bottom edge.


Bp122 5 13 United Kingdom
29 Mar 2017 3:23PM
Hi Willie
You're correct. I had set the camera on shutter priority with an Auto ISO with max ISO at 1600 for the bird show earlier that hour. Because of the motion involved and the clouds coming in and out, I had the Auto ISO set like that so as to allow me fast shutter speeds with decent exposure. But I failed to reset it when I was taking stationary shots!

Crop: With the cropping, I never know how much is too much, but even with such a tight crop on your mod, the image still has a lot left in it.

dark_lord Plus
17 2.9k 786 England
29 Mar 2017 7:52PM
Willie has pretty much nailed it.
I understand your approach for the outdoor shots, so one thing to remember in future is to check that your settings ar still appropriate, or not, when you chane location/subject.
I agree about using a lower ISO, and while I can live with 1600 here (such speeds are much better than they used to be) it's the f/14 that is the standout 'wrong' setting. Lens performance not at its best, and a wider aperture will still be sufficient for the bird but make a big difference to the background, so f/8 is a win-win situation if you like.
dudler Plus
18 1.7k 1885 England
29 Mar 2017 9:45PM
Cropping can go different ways: very tight works, but relaxed can work as well.

Here, the parrot is cramped in the frame - it needs more room below the beak, and the logo is pushing in at it from the right. A lot of room up at the top, though.

With what you've got here, I'd do what Willie's done - but I'd want to have taken the wider shot, as well. As yo uhave presented this, the eye is right in the middle, which makes focussing relatively easy... It's important to learn how to get perfect focus whereever you want it around the frame, and my view is that even the best AF systems don't necessarily make this a skill-free goal. Loads of practice and a good understanding of what you camera can and can't do for you both help.
mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.0k 2466 United Kingdom
30 Mar 2017 9:13AM
Wiilie has covered the technical issues, thanks for solving the mystery - Auto ISO is the real problem here. Though quite why the camera decided that F14 was a good choice is anyone's guess! I avoid using Auto ISO, much better to school yourself to watch what the camera is giving you and adjust ISO to suit your needs! Once you are used to it, it's a reflex reaction, a matter of a couple of seconds work. (That applies to Shutter speed priority and Aperture priority).

The other issue here though is the crop. Many of the principles that apply to human portraits apply to animals and birds too - you don't cut a face off immediately below the chin.

If in doubt it's always worth allowing a bit of extra space and then you can consider cropping at leisure later.

But I do like the clean profile view!
Bp122 5 13 United Kingdom
30 Mar 2017 9:54AM
Hello all

The ironic thing is, I always used to shoot manual, since beginning. I hadn't really used the Program Auto, Shutter speed or Aperture priority. I'll ditch the auto iso.
As you all suggested, I just need to get used to my camera even more so that it is embedded in my muscle memory.

I'll also keep a close eye on changing conditions, which do change rapidly.

With the composition, I didn't go wider because there were a lot of people around, including the safari personnel, I thought I could do without them in the background. But I will try to get myself into a better position to avoid such situations. And wider apertures should help anyway.
dudler Plus
18 1.7k 1885 England
1 Apr 2017 11:05AM
In the days when I was learning to take pictures, a magazine columnist called Vic Blackman advised that you should be able to set your camera by touch alone... Far easier in the days of manual rings and dials, of course, and more necessary without illuminated viewfinder displays. However, it's probably true to say htat you should be familiar with hte controls to the extent that yo ucan adjust ISO, aperture, shutter speed and exposure compensation without taking your eye from the viewfinder. Depth of field preview is also worth having down to a T - and with EVF cameras, focus aid magnification.

The fact that recent cameras allow you to customise the function of various buttons and dials makes this esier than it's ever been, and a really important consideration in buying and getting used to a camera.
Bp122 5 13 United Kingdom
2 Apr 2017 3:00PM
I have a D7000, which is miles better in terms of ease of changing settings and overall handling compared to a D5xxx or a D3xxx. I just need to practice more.

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