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Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)

By teocali
My very first experiment using a flashgun - taken at dusk in the garden this evening, handheld. Advice very much appreciated.

My thanks to you all for the C&Cs on my last upload Smile Nestlings still doing well and look as though they might fledge tomorrow - a lot of wing exercising going on!

Tags: Garden Feeding Wildbird Perching Nesting Spotted flycatcher Wildlife and nature Migratory

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.

Comments


banehawi Plus
12 1.5k 3510 Canada
27 Jun 2011 11:19PM
Hiya Sylvia, - so long since we crossed paths!

Nice to see this fine example of a successful first time attempt at a flash gun. Was it off flash or on? Either way, its a great shot. I originally thought it might be a little hot on reflected light from the breast feathers, but as my mod shows, I was wrong, - its just fine.


And now over to the "birdie people"....



regards


Willie

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gary_d Plus
8 576 13 Wales
27 Jun 2011 11:22PM
I am no expert but it looks good to me. - gary
teocali Plus
8 441 18 England
27 Jun 2011 11:35PM

Quote:Hiya Sylvia, - so long since we crossed paths!

Nice to see this fine example of a successful first time attempt at a flash gun. Was it off flash or on? Either way, its a great shot. I originally thought it might be a little hot on reflected light from the breast feathers, but as my mod shows, I was wrong, - its just fine.

And now over to the "birdie people"....

regards

Willie



Hi Willi

Yes - it is a while - were away in the USA for the whole of May and its taken me a while to get back into the swing of things! The flash gun, a 580EXII was on the camera. It was literally my first try at using it and I really didn't know what I was supposed to be doing, so set it to ETTL , sync to 1/250 and hoped the camera would do the rest. I know there is so much to learn when using flash and I really feel I must make a start on this now.
Many thanks for your critique and great mod. As you say, the breast feathers did look a bit hot ex camera but a little processing in the RAW editor seemed to take care of that. The eye showed a bit of blue-ish flash film, so I selected it and adjusted the levels and channels a tad in PS, which seemed to work.

Regards
Sylvia
banehawi Plus
12 1.5k 3510 Canada
27 Jun 2011 11:49PM
Sylvia, - heres the best link to canon Flash you will ever see, - read it and you will learn so much:


http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/



Willie
RonnieAG Plus
6 153 116 Scotland
28 Jun 2011 12:14AM
Excellent use of flash, Sylvia, the burst over before surprise could register in it's faceWinkWink. Top notch shot..........very well done for a first attempt.
Ronnie.
Ade_Osman 13 4.5k 36 England
28 Jun 2011 3:30AM
I'm not a great lover of flash when used in wildlife photography I must admit, however I must say you've controlled the flash reasonably well Sylvia all things considered......If it were mine I think I'd have dropped the flash exposure half to a whole stop, but that's easy for me to sitting here looking at the end result.
I think you could improve the shot a little by tweaking the Midtones/Highlights and maybe tweaking the shadow control just to lower the overall harshness of the brightness and contrast, especially on the birds breast because as banehawi states it appears a little hot. I've always found when I need to use flash to under-expose a little always pays off as it's easier to correct than over-exposing, especially when trying to capture feather detail........ As a first experiment, I think I'd be more than happy with the results and reckon this is a great attempt.

Ade
pluckyfilly Plus
10 351 33 United Kingdom
28 Jun 2011 8:06AM

Quote:Sylvia, - heres the best link to canon Flash you will ever see, - read it and you will learn so much:


http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/



Willie

I need to learn to so this link will be most useful - thanks Willie

as to your photo Sylvia, I am no expert but looks good to meSmile
teocali Plus
8 441 18 England
28 Jun 2011 8:22AM

Quote:Sylvia, - heres the best link to canon Flash you will ever see, - read it and you will learn so much:


http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/



Willie



Many thanks for this link Willie - will definitely be studying this - many thanks for the advice. Will keep persevering.
Sylvia
28 Jun 2011 8:32AM
Hi Sylvia looks great to me, regards gray.
Maiwand Plus
9 3 72 England
28 Jun 2011 9:13AM
Excellent shot Sylvia made even more so as this is the first use of the flash. I am so glad you posted it as I am learning a great deal from the lovely advice notes !!
Ron
Ray42 8 3 England
28 Jun 2011 9:15AM
A cracking shot Sylvia - a little bright on the lower breast feathers but still very good - an interesting link from Willie - will be studying this one with interest
Alvar 9 23 2 France
28 Jun 2011 10:30AM
Well done Sylvia. Great shot.
Alvar
Shroomer 9 14 167 England
28 Jun 2011 1:15PM
For a first with the flash Sylvia this is superb, I hope you had the ghillie suit on to be this close on that fine perch. Personally I would have liked the perch to be at a slight diagonal to add more of a perspective but still brilliant.
The bg has been picked out well rather than blackening so it shows you had exposed very well. The harshness on the breast feathers is something that will only come with practice, remember in a studio a photographer uses a flash meter and takes test shots with wildlife the only test you can do is on the perch and hope the bird lands where you want it to.
Overall this is superb to me and another great way to show off this magnificent bird.
I have done a MOD with the main change being to warm it up with a slight increase in temperature and then to adjust yellows in selective colour to bring and balance the bg.
Think it balances out nicely, hope you see the same
Richard
NEWMANP Plus
8 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
28 Jun 2011 4:41PM
hi,
i like the pose, the head pointing inwards and the mouthfull of edibles.
the flash has not done too bad because of the balance between the background and the foreground and you dont have an over powerful highlight in the eye.

may be that the composition is a little tight, ok for screen but may be disproportional if making a A3 print (when life size looks best).

if you in tend to use flash regularly, id suggest getting hold of a flash bracket which takes the flash off camera and off to the side which gives a little more modeling and avoids the hot spot on the breast.

a sharpening in smart sharpen with a slightly larger rad may bring up the feather detail a little too

nice and uncluttered

Phil
Gezina 10 3 6 United Kingdom
28 Jun 2011 4:51PM
Very interesting feedback Sylvia and a lot to learn - Ina
Lillian Plus
7 22 17 United Kingdom
28 Jun 2011 8:52PM
First Sylvia a great shot in my eyes and have never used a flash before with the birds,
so will be going off to read Willie's link here and see what happens from there
Lillian
Shroomer 9 14 167 England
28 Jun 2011 9:23PM
That'll be 2 brains totally blown Wink
FeatherFriend 8 38 217 England
28 Jun 2011 9:27PM
I did use flash on some of my very early attempts at bird photography Sylvia but really never liked the results so I cannot offer any help. The shot is very good but there are issues with the effect the flash has on the feather detail. The only suggestion I can make is to probably try with the flash situated off camera and of course always use minus exp comp as has been suggested.
Geoff.
teocali Plus
8 441 18 England
28 Jun 2011 10:12PM
My thanks to you all for the excellent advice and interest and to Willie and Richard for the superb mods. I have a lot of reading up to do Wink
Sylvia
paulbroad 9 116 1056 United Kingdom
29 Jun 2011 6:44PM
Flash is an imperative tool for the wildlife photographer providing it is used correctly. In most cases that means perfect balance, but some shots are virtually impossible without specialist flash knowledge. Read a bit of Heather Angel.

This is a fine shot, flash has done the job and is virtually balanced. Possibly just a little darkening of the image - or a touch of work with the burning in tool. I am amazed at the accuracy of exposure with spot metering set and can only assume you locked the reading and recomposed - otherwise the spot would be on the background.

Excellent stuff - even better for being hand held.

Paul

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