Back Modifications (4)
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By madeinbrooklyn
Just joined this site and this is my first upload, so: Shot in a local park in Los Angeles County and this is the only Mandarin duck in the place. I have a few captures of him, so I'll add those soon after I was testing my Canon 55-250 lens, cheap, but I think it turns out decent photos for $ 80.00. Shot at 1/400, f 5.7, ISO 800. The area was on the dark side with lots of trees, however, this was an open area with more light.

Tags: Pets and captive animals Wildlife and nature General nature

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sparrowhawk Plus
13 282 2 United Kingdom
12 Apr 2021 7:13AM
great shot of this American wood duck it not Mandarin duck !!beautiful colours and crisp detail

Ha, ha, thanks for the correction and I even looked it up. Thank you for your comment, it is much appreciated.
dudler Plus
18 1.7k 1884 England
12 Apr 2021 10:08AM
Hi, Frank -

Welcome both to Ephotozine and to the Critique Gallery, where you don't get votes or awards, but will get some thoughtful feedback.

We do ask for more information about your intentions, processing, and satisfaction with the image, and whether you're seeking suggestions in any particular area. If you don't want critique, please make sure that the 'Critique wanted' box isn't ticked when you upload.

This is definitely decently sharp, with nice bright colours on the bird. Exposure is good (though the EXIF data says that there was heavy positive compensation dialled in: maybe in shutter priority mode, the aperture couldn't open any wider, so the exposure is right by accident. Slightly odd.

My only criticisms of the shot are to do with the background, and I suggest cropping a little and maybe cloning or using the spot healing tool to tidy up a couple of obtrusive bits of the background. Please note, though, that in some competitions, that would disqualify the picture: the view being that it's up to the photographer to get everything right at the time of taking the picture. It's a very purist view, but it's there in the wildlife photographic community.

I shall do a modification to show what I mean: click on the blue 'Modifications' button on the left under your image, and then on the numbers that appear next to it to see modifications.
banehawi Plus
17 2.6k 4274 Canada
12 Apr 2021 3:35PM
Welcome Frank.

It would be good to know how experienced you are as a photographer, - beginner, casual amateur, advanced amateur, etc?

What post processing/editing software do yo have access to?

Its a good decision to use shutter priority when shooting a live animal/bird that can move; though 1/400th is the minimum hand-held speed for this focal length without IS, I would use a faster shutter for this. There might be a very slight amount of movement blur, - movement of the subjects, not the camera.

That +5 may have been a mistake or left over from another shot, but since, as dudler mention the lens cant open any further than f/5.6, AND you hadnt used Auto ISO, its worked out. Auto ISO would have driven ISO very high and overexposed the image.

The colours may be a little oversaturated? Do you remember how you set the white balance?

You may notice the background looking "wiry". Thats the area that would, with a lens costing way more, look softer rather than wiry, so for $80 its fine!

Ive uploaded mods, - tried to get the duck a bit sharper, less saturated, a little brighter in parts. Click the Modification button under the image to see all modifications.


dark_lord Plus
17 2.9k 785 England
12 Apr 2021 5:39PM
Welcome from me too.

It would be good to he more about you and especially more about your thoughts on this image. What pleases you about it and what doesn't.

The result is good, and while the lens is cheap it's capable.
A local park is a good place to practice bird photography ad the birds are used to humans and approach closer. You've more time to consider angles and viewpoints.
Backgrounds can make or break an image, and while the background here isn't bad, the small red blob top right is a distraction. It can easily be cropped or cloned out but it illustrates the need to consider more than just the subject.

The sidelighting is soft but gives some nice shape to the bird.

The ird is vey central, and would benefi from off centre placement. I'm not sure which would be better here, more space to the left as the bird is looking in that direcion, or to the right where the light is coming from. If there's time at the point of capture you could try both, or ive yorself room to crop later.
Re Dudler:
I'm still trying to figure out how to answer the individual critiques...not a computer savvy person. Thank you for the welcome and I'm so happy to have found a photography site where people actually talk to one another.
Generally, my intention is to tell a story of sorts, which is more difficult to do with the subject just standing there, but I have other's with this bird and its mate. I just love the look of this duck and surroundings and wanted to show the peacefulness and beauty. I will try and be more specific in future posts with regard to what areas of critique I'm after. So far all the suggestions are excellent and things I should practice with more intention.
I didn't do much to the shot at all, as I try to stay as close to the original pic as possible. That said I use a simple edit program ACDsee Pro, which does use layers and some similar adjustments as my CS6 Photoshop (I'm very novice based on that program).
I look forward to seeing your modification. I'm 78 and I'm still learning from everyone, so thank you for your excellent feedback.
Re banehawi:
Thank you for your critique. Such a difficult question to answer, i.e. how do I classify myself as a photographer. I never had formal training, but I have been practicing photography since I was in HS and I'm 78 now. I have made money in the field and had a mixed studio where I taught acting and did actor's headshots. That said, I would probably classify myself as a slightly above-average amateur... how's that for skating around the pond?
I use a simple edit program ACDsee Pro, which does use layers and some similar adjustments as my CS6 Photoshop (I'm very novice based on that program).
Generally in shooting birds in action I will shoot at around 1/2000 +/- and adust the ISO accordingly with some success, but that's why I'm here, to see where I can improve. I honestly don't remember the white balance setting, but that's a great question.
Wow, looking at the modifications I can definitely where I could have improved the comp... very helpful. Thank you again!!!!
Re: dark_lord
Honestly, I was more pleased to find a beautiful duck among the standard Mallards... he was the only one. Loved his rich color and cut details and the opportunity to try and capture what I saw.
You made an excellent point as to where to place him in the shot, something I could have thought through more. I appreciate all the excellent comments and friendly feedback. Thank you very much for taking the time to critique my photo.
Hi Dudler:
I like your re-edit. Less clutter and brings out the duck in a better perspective. Thank you!
dudler Plus
18 1.7k 1884 England
13 Apr 2021 8:37AM
And thank you, Frank, for responding - this always works best as a conversation - and that's also more fun!

The extra information is really helpful, and I look forward to seeing the next picture. Keep snapping, and stay young at heart.
Thank you Dudler. I'm really enjoying this site and all of your comments. Snap I shall even if I have to use a voice-activated remote trigger.
mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.0k 2465 United Kingdom
13 Apr 2021 10:18AM
A warm, if belated welcome from me. I hope you are enjoying the site and finding it useful.

I've looked at this several times but I have been very busy over the last couple of days... My first thought was that it looks to me as though it needs a small clockwise rotation; second thought, that I would want to crop to allow more space for it to look into than behind the head - that's an element in story-telling; but then I became preoccupied with the dark shapes on the left of the body.

I can identify the tail and some wing feathers, I wonder if the rest is background merging with the body? I've uploaded a modification with how I see the body outline, I may be totally wrong but it looks 'cleaner' to me.

I increased exposure slightly, reduced contrast and brightness, and tried to even out the light a bit.

It's a nice shot, sensibly taken; and you got a bargain with that lens! Thanks for giving us so much information, and for joining in the conversation here, we are all volunteers, getting feedback makes it all worthwhile.
Hi mrswoolybill:
I'm enjoying the site very much and the comments fom all of you. Your concept is very close to Dudler's edit and yes it's definitely improved.
For me the interaction between folks with the same interests is key for me. I love the level of talent here and the ability to talk to one another.
Thank you so much for your taking the time to comment and re-edit my shot showing me a whole other perspective. Thank you!
dark_lord Plus
17 2.9k 785 England
13 Apr 2021 12:36PM
Great to hear from you Frank.

Most of us on here are self taught and we all learn from each other too. I guess your other shots will tell more of a story. Given what you said about acting, shots of the two birds are the play and this is the headshot.
As for composition there is a tendency especially with a new subject to get a shot 'in the bag' before looking for more pleasing arrangements, I understand that.

Quote:Thank you so much for your taking the time to comment and re-edit my shot showing me a whole other perspective

That's what it's all about, we all see things differently, no right or wrong as such, but you'll prefer some over the others. The impotant thing is giving ideas.
If I miss responding to anyone I apologize, it isn't on purpose. I'm still getting the hang of maneuvering the site. I am very happy to have found this place and feel very welcomed. Thank you all!

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