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The little things

By YashS
In this hustle bustle called life where everyone is stuck in a mundane cycle of their own lives how many of us have the time to actually look out of the window and observe the intricate details of nature? To observe those little bugs,the birds, animals etc go about through their daily lives. This pandemic made us appreciate the little things of life, made us observe things we never did daily. It was during one such day during the lockdown that I decided to take my camera and head to the terrace of my apartment complex. Never having photographed birds ever before it was a bit of a struggle and frantically opening Google pages for tips. I tried to do a decent job but I would really appreciate some valuable feedback on areas where I could improve and how I could improve

Tags: Flight Nature Bird Crow Birb Wildlife and nature

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dudler Plus
17 1.6k 1841 England
22 Apr 2021 4:44PM
Maybe this is more of a blog than a Critique Gallery image?

We need to know about your thinking around the camerawork and processing, rather than why you made the image, I think. Though I agree that the pandemic has made many of us stop and look around in a way we didn't before.

Others, who know much more about bird photography will be along soon, and can make specific suggestions about focus and drive settings - they really make a difference to the results you get.

I will just comment on exposure: when the bird is against a bright sky, and you are largely seeing the underside, you will need to adjust exposure: those of us who use some degree of automation add a stop or two of exposure compensation. You will generally need to give a stop or more extra exposure compared with what the meter reads.

The other thing with birds, which I've come to appreciate during the last year, watching the birds in my garden, is that you get much better pictures if you learn where the birds are going to sit, and the routes that they use from one perch to another, so that you can be ready and waiting for them. Preparation, patience, and plenty of pictures are watchwords for capturing our feathered friends.
dark_lord Plus
17 2.8k 768 England
22 Apr 2021 8:55PM
It's good to try new sujects. Well done for doing some research beforehand, though I hope you didn't get too overwhelmed as there is a lot to take in.

There re photographic aspects to consider of course, but learning about your suject is important, and crucial to natural history photography. Not only is is general behaviour of the bird but as John points out how your particular bird naigates its particular environmnt. You can then position yourself in good spot to give you he best opportunity of a good capture, for example the bestplae on the terrace.

For birds in flight use continuous focus, if you didn't already.

This is a strong silhouette and a nice touch with the bird carrying nesting material. That does relate to this time of year very well and is an important element here as it adds interest because the silhouette on it's own isn't very engaging for the viewer.

As with any subject against a bright backgound you need to add some exposure compensation to avoid silhoiettes, so somehting between +1 and +2 stops would be needed here. To avoid slopw shutter speeds resulting in blur you'd need to increase the ISO but some resultant noise is preferable to a soft image.

I used the Shadow/Highlight tool to open up the shadows, with Levels and Curves adjustments for brightness, and warmed the White Balance.
I'm pleasantly surprised by the detail recovered. The image is noisy which would be less if the original had been given more exposure.

The bird is quite central but you have some room to crop for a more dynamic image (as in mymod) where the bird has some room 'to move into'.

My second mod goes for drama, making use of the evening sky, darkening the image and boosting saturation, showing the bird working late to finish net building at this critical time of year. I left the vignetting from the lens as that heightened the mood.
pamelajean Plus
15 1.5k 2214 United Kingdom
23 Apr 2021 3:53PM
Welcome back to the Critique Gallery, Yash.
Thank you for being specific about your reason for uploading this image here.

The use of Exposure Compensation has been commented upon. You can obviously see that your bird is very dark against the bright sky. You can lighten or darken the exposure in increments up to a number of stops. The typical basic option is + or – two stops in half or third stop steps.

When the sky represents a large percentage of the image, it has a major influence on the camera’s metering system, and being a lot brighter than the land, the shot will often underexpose. It may appear to be counter-intuitive, but when a scene is bright, you usually need to apply a + compensation.
You don’t have to shoot in Manual mode to take complete control over the exposure process. And exposure compensation will have no effect when you are in manual mode.

When shooting birds in flight (often shortened to BIF), keep in mind that bigger targets are easier to photograph than smaller ones, and do not be discouraged by missed shots. It's all a matter of patience and practice. Waiting is essential, and rarely will a photographer master BIF on the first try.

Choose a viewpoint where there are no background distractions. Obviously, your viewpoint here is good.

You may want to use Aperture Priority mode and simply keep an eye on the required shutter speed for your chosen aperture. Choose a fast shutter speed of 1/1000s or higher to freeze the action. The trick is to track the bird during its flight. Follow the bird’s flight path and then at the decisive moment snap the photo. While you are doing this panning you will need to get the focus locked on your subject straight away and use continuous focus as you pan to keep your subject sharp.
Continuous shooting can be a good option to choose, too.

Just one more thing for you to think about, and that is to do with composition. Placing your bird in the centre of the frame is not the best choice. Your bird is flying to the right, so you would leave more space on that side and less space on the left, giving it space to fly into (see the first 2 modifications).


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