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WATCHING FOR FISH

By cymru2019
This swan had been busy for pruning itself and then had a look see wondering if supper was in the offing. If he had moved 50 yards down river there were loads of fish coming to the surface catching flies.

Tags: Wildlife General Swan bird Winsford River weaver

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Comments


24 Apr 2020 11:27AM
One fault just discovered. I set up the camera on Adobe RGB and should have altered it into Srgb in the processing. So here we go. This shot was taken just after 7pm yesterday evening at the bank of the River Weaver, Winsford, at the Flashes which are the results of the collapse of old salt workings. Set up A1 Servo, High Continuous Shooting, mid focus point selected. Metering Centre Weighted Average. Should I have used spot metering? IS engaged on lens. Hand held. Also in hindsight I think I should have adjusted the ISO to 200 and would have still had a decent shutter speed? This is only the second time I have been for a walk since the lockdown started. This may be a bit too much to ask but if critiquers can give me their insights prior to teatime today I am going back this evening to try again. Appreciate all comments. David
mrswoolybill Plus
14 2.4k 2295 United Kingdom
24 Apr 2020 1:41PM
Again, thanks for telling us so much.

A few thoughts. First, yes, stick with SRGB. You could have gone down to ISO 200, 1/600 second should have been safe enough. But better safe than sorry. If the subject hangs around a bit, try different options. Focus looks OK, as long as you position that single point over the bird's head.

Then my mind wandered off to the area that I am interested in, composition... It is an opportunity that offers terrific potential, because of the strong abstract aspect to the reflections. You have used a very interesting crop, almost 2 x 1, emphasising the breadth of the view and using that to balance the verticals. I'm not sure that the crop is totally successful, the image looks a wee bit top heavy, and the frame stretches beyond the really interesting area on the right. I've uploaded a tighter crop which works better for me. See what you think. I also tweaked verticals a bit using skew rather than rotate. And I boosted darker tones a bit with a Levels adjustment. This I think gives a slightly more 3-D feel.

There were a lot of specks of debris on the water, catching the light. In the second mod I have got rid of a lot of them, mainly in the area of the bird. The result looks cleaner, simpler, easier to read to my eye. Again, I am interested in what you think.

I don't think swans eat anything larger than tadpoles by the way, so the area with fish wouldn't be of interest to it.
Regards,
Moira
24 Apr 2020 1:47PM
Hi There Moira, Thanks for your thoughtful contribution. I read your comments with great interest and I am with you on this. I will have another go on this image on the lines you have suggested to morrow. David
dark_lord Plus
16 2.7k 710 England
24 Apr 2020 2:47PM
I like specific questions, it helps us with advice and suggestions and you get the answers you want. Hopefully!

Moira's right, swans are not fish eaters (maybe some small fry) as they're after invertebrates and vegetable matter like seeds. They and othe wildfowl will eat stuff like potatoes which they do put out for wildfowl at places like Slimgridge.
If there are fish lower down you may be fortunate enough to see a cormorant.

A lower ISO would be fine, but given the subject I like to keep shutter speed high. And as for image quality you shouldn't see any difference.
If you want to place the bird off centre and avoid cropping you could use somehting other than the centre focus point. No problem either way, whichever you're comfortable with. You have to weigh it up with the speed and time taken to adjust the focus point used.

AI servo is ok if the bird is moving rapiudly and you keep the focus point on the bird.
Use of IS does help but at the shutter speed used it won't really be of practical benefit but shouldn't do any harm.

High continuous shooting, a bit over the top with a slower subject here. I know it's not costing anything like it would have if using film, if you like wading through loads of images then ok, I don't. Faster moving subjects benefit more.

Metering. Looks ok here, assuming this is as out of camera. Avoid spot metering, here especially as the meter will be reading off the white plumage and result in heavy underexposure. If you meter off a midtone first and set that exposure then it's ok. Spot metering does require a solid understanding of tones in the scene.
The best option is to stick with Evaluative as it works best in the vast majority of situations. Centre weighted haas, and often does an ok job, and here the scene is fairly even toned so that helps. It's an older system and those that use it do so because they get to know how it operates, what to excpect and when and how much exposure adjustment is needed.
24 Apr 2020 4:36PM
Hello There Keith,

Thanks for a very full reply. I have noted the contents and will incorporate what you say when I am next down at the Flashes. David
banehawi Plus
16 2.3k 4177 Canada
24 Apr 2020 5:00PM
In addition to the previous comments:

Using the Adobe RGB colour space for shooting is not a fault; it will allow you to make excellent prints, far superior to sRGB once the colour management flow includes Adobe RGB all the way to printing. This is possible when printing at home, and with quality print shops. Run of the mill printers will ignore Adobe RGB and provide an inferior product.

Where sRGB becomes important is when uploading the image to the web, you must convert the Adobe RGB to sRGB, a simple two second process.

What Im most interested in here is why the image is not sharp. You mention you selected the middle focus point (Im assuming you manually selected a single point, and that one was the centre). The focus point has to be placed on the swans head, no matter what point you select for the best result. Is that what you did?

Assuming again that was your approach, the image should be sharper; its possible that if you re-sized the image in processing and saved it as a jpeg, you left out a sharpening step; each time you save a JPEG it loses some sharpness due to compression, so best not to re-size, EPZ will set the correct dimensions for the site.

Next possibility, - and with many years of experience with the Canon line since the 10D, AI Servo doesnt work very well unless you have a very fast AF processor in the camera. The 7D series is excellent as are all the 1 series, but my 80D was effectively very poor. This may not be the case here, but its worth mentioning. I wouldnt use it unless the subject was a fast moving one, and Id expect a very low "hit rate".

Last possibility is matching the camera to the lens using AFMA, auto focus micro adjustment. There are videos on Youtube as well as a Canon tutorial, and it may well be worthwhile performing the adjustment. The reason the camera has this function is that its possible to have a camera at one end of the acceptable +/- manufacturing tolerance with a lens at the opposite end, and it will align them closely.


So just some thoughts and tips, and you may be able to add some information yourself in commenting back.

Personally I would NEVER use spot metering, it does not work as advertised with any brand of camera, and requires multiple averaged reading or neutral tines in the mage. Recent cameras, 80D and 90D are actually making the "spot" quite a bit larger to increase the success rate with metering.


Uploaded a mod with a white balance closer to daylight, slight rotation, sharpening, and toned don highlights. BTW, its very difficult to get good feather detail on a Swan in bright light.



Regards



Willie
24 Apr 2020 5:13PM
:Willie, Thank you for replying with such a lot of information. That is a lot to take in at once. I'll have to get back to you on this. David
capto Plus
8 6.4k 21 United Kingdom
24 Apr 2020 6:35PM
Some great advice above..... Some moments are fleeting so get the shot as soon as you can, if possible then take more, with time to think you may want to alter some settings.
With that camera and lens if you shot in raw there would be more scope when processing to enhance the image.
ivor
chase Plus
15 1.9k 482 England
24 Apr 2020 6:44PM
Some really good info above David and some nice mods for you to consider.

Not quite in focus but some good and very interesting comments here.

For me there is a little too much space around the Swan, Moira has gone in really close with a square crop and Willies' mod is the way I would have gone with it (I do like the colour balance Willie has shown).
You have captured all the reflection of the swan which is great and I like the ripples in the water.

Slightly over exposed but birds' feathers in general are so very reflective, spot metering would have thrown your exposure miles off and a Swan is particularly difficult to expose correctly, especially in bright sunlight.
chase Plus
15 1.9k 482 England
24 Apr 2020 6:57PM
I did a quick mod.
Cropped as suggested.
Altered the white balance to daylight.
Attempted to help the highlights with some degree of success but the very lightest bits on his back I failed with.
Added a little detail in the feathers with Nik Detail Enhancer.
Added a tiny vignette just to bring more attention to the Swan.
Converted to sRGB
Added a frame to compensate for the hefty crop.
24 Apr 2020 9:07PM
Thanks Ivor and Janet. Much to consider here. Sharp learning curve. I should have alerted folks to the fact I have had several eye operations - two more to come when Covid allows - so seeing things in detail is quite hard. I have not been able to do the photography and learning that I would like to have done in recent years. So next week's task is to concentrate on what I can do with this shot, and then return to the Flashes should weather allow next week. Added to that learning about textures. Thanks again everyone. David
dudler Plus
17 1.4k 1741 England
24 Apr 2020 9:11PM
Matrix/multi-area or whatever is best. Centre-weighted is very old-fashioned now, and really works best if you use Manual, meter and then recompse as a standard part of your workflow.

Nothing else to add.
24 Apr 2020 9:17PM
Thanks John!

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