Back Modifications (2)
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feeding swan

By billspencer
I took quite a few shots of the swan just thought this was the better one . I have been trying to take some decent macro photos but with not a lot of luck so far . They aren't definetly upto the required standard so will keep practising .

Tags: Wildlife and nature

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


Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
17 Feb 2013 10:02PM
I don't think that, strictly speaking, this would be considered macro.
It is however a very competent shot. It looks, on here as if a little sharpening might be in order, yet when I opened it in CS6, it looked a lot better. Hmmm?
Anyway, I've added a mod. in which I smart sharpened it (50% @ radius 0.8 to remove lens blur) and cropped it to a 10x8 format. That's removed the long grass on the LHS. The rest I took out by cloning.

Hope this helps.


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iancrowson Plus
8 211 146 United Kingdom
18 Feb 2013 11:40AM
Good capture. It can be difficult to get exposure of swans spot with them being mostly white and the water dark.. You have focused well on the neck, the mouth may not be quite as sharp
It's a nice image of the neck and head. Plenty of detail showing there . However if you look at the body some detail has been lost, it shows mostly just white with a little detail. I'm not sure why the neck looks ok but body is burning out. Did you make any adjustments with software?
Composition is OK but a little more body would help.
You said you took a few shots which is great. Practise, try different exposures and different compositions and make an effort to learn their language so you can tell them to stay still.
Camera settings look ok, 1/250sec is not that fast for hand held at 208mm but the IS has worked. Your could have increased your ISO to say 400 ISO and used 1/500th and f8. Even with IS a faster shutter is better and f8 gives you a little more depth of field, more in focus. This will help when the swan will not stay still!
paulbroad 10 123 1244 United Kingdom
18 Feb 2013 2:20PM
Macro is an oft misused term. It actually means 1:1 or greater, so macro zooms are not really macro. This is just a bit closer than usual. A nicely framed shot but it does appear a touch soft on my screen too. Your shutter speed is a little slow and relying on IS is not to be recommended. IS helps reduce shake, it doesn't stop it and the effectiveness depends on the degree of camera shake and subject movement.

IS works with camera movement not subject movement, so the subject can move faster than a shutter speed. Anyway, a nice tightly framed and exposed Swan shot. Sharpness is under discussion! Exposure can easily be wrong with this type of thing loosing feather detail. You have controlled that.

pamelajean Plus
12 1.1k 2016 United Kingdom
18 Feb 2013 6:24PM
Considering that you took this around mid-day, Bill, I think you have done extremely well.
I am impressed by your highlights on the knob and bill, the catchlight in the swan's eye, and the detail that you have maintained in the neck plumage. Also, your timing was perfect in order to capture the drips from the beak and the circle in the water.
I would normally suggest photographing swans at the beginning or end of the day, when the light isn't so strong, in order to avoid burning out the feathers and ending up with no detail there. You will notice that the little bit of body that is showing in your image HAS suffered in this way and, like Ian, this has confused me a bit. Also, an overcast day can help, or some negative Exposure Compensation.
When faced with a subject as light as this, I find it best to err on the side of underexposure, as lost highlights are lost forever, while shadow detail is recoverable largely.
Bren's modification is probably what I would have done, in particular removing the grass in the bottom left corner, as it just serves as a distraction from your subject.
Mike43 7 18 21 England
18 Feb 2013 6:52PM
Yes to me the head of the swan is quite out of focus, but I do like the way you caught the water falling from the swans mouth, have uploaded a mod funny enough with the same thoughts as Bren, but have noticed in both mods the problem with the bottom left hand corner (the swans body)
Anyway maybe it didn,t quite work out this time there is always the next time.

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