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Kingfisher Portrait

By Emilpix
This is a recently fledged male bird. The almost entirely black bill designates its gender, the white tip of which, together with colour of breast and feet its age. My Kingfisher shots take a degree of patience that I would previously have derided anglers for. "Why stand around for hours for nothing?" All are taken 'in the wild' rather than in a permanent hide with no guarantee, as far as there can be, of a show. As previously indicated my 'kit' is that of a keen but not profligate amateur. I am too old to be lugging about more than the 25 lbs or so that I already do and I so regret that the digital age came 50+ years after my first sortie with my old Yashica TL Super! I guess this is quite a good representation of a Kingfisher portrait but think I recognise its shortcomings. Only your critique will support my views, friends are too kind! Thank you for previous comments on my efforts.

Tags: Wildlife and nature Kingfisher and alcedo atthis

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NaturesHaven 9 283 6 England
27 Jul 2013 11:21AM
Love the personally I would of cropped out the negative space to the back of the bird.....which would give the bird more space to its right and give the viewer more information if you see what I mean.............GrinGrinGrin
27 Jul 2013 11:35AM
Many thanks for that. I think I see what you mean but think that I have to weigh up more cropping against the increase in noise that it promotes. .... and so the conversation moves toward better 'kit' and more post processing.
izida 11 Turkey
27 Jul 2013 11:51AM
Güzel çalışma..
KBan 16 512 4 United Kingdom
27 Jul 2013 12:15PM
Great shot Emil of my Favourite bird,

Critique........bird is too central in the frame, and the white flash on the neck is burnt out, I under expse by about a stop and adjust in photoshop to try and get the detail in the white

Hope TH's helps


27 Jul 2013 12:40PM
Thank you Keith. Valid points appreciated.
27 Jul 2013 5:04PM
Great shots in your portfolio by the way Keith. I suspect it proves my point about 'kit'!
banehawi Plus
16 2.4k 4233 Canada
27 Jul 2013 5:49PM
This is an excellent shot.

The bird does indeed look better off centre, BUT there are NO blown highlight in this shot, and Ive uploaded the histogram of the original to demonstrate this. The area of the birds neck is bright, but the feathers are downy, and have little or not detail.

Develop the habit of checking your histograms so you know before you upload what the exposure looks like. Youre likely using the centre focus point to focus on the bird, and many cameras do a better auto-focus job using the centre point, but do try, as in this case, to select a single focus point on the left og you frame, and give it a try for a better out of camera composition.

I suspected over-sharpening originally, though its not the case on close inspection. To be able to perhaps add some value, can you tell me precisely the steps you use for re sizing, and the software used. I will check back later.

One last mote; in Manual mode, the +/- exposure compensation has NO effect at all. Manual mode means you use the setting of aperture, speed, and ISO yourself for exposure compensation. Unless this camera works differently in some way.

Well done. Mod is just cropped but leaving more space on the right.


paulbroad 13 131 1293 United Kingdom
27 Jul 2013 6:03PM
Nice image. OK, crop left a touch but this is pretty good. Shows the quality of the Sigma and a fraction of the cost of comparable marque focal lengths.

richmowil Plus
12 446 2 England
27 Jul 2013 7:12PM
Nice Image!! I like it a lot!!
27 Jul 2013 7:38PM
Thank you Willie for a very comprehensive critique. To be honest I didn't realise that I had shot this manually. Normally use Aperture mode! Well, I am ancient, almost, and it was taken early in the morning. As to centralisation of the image, it was done purely to allow, in my view, introduction of an enhanced vignette; I felt that decentralisation would give an imbalance, though I take the point that if a bird is looking at something it should normally be given space to look into. Cropping is to 'original ratio' in PS6. I also realise that, in haste to gain such constructive comments I uploaded a different photograph than I had intended! If you can bear with me I'll upload the intended version that has the bird in downward facing posture to see how that fares. Thank you too Paul. I agree about the Sigma but I think ultimately that is where any dissatisfaction I might have lies as I search for 'perfection'.

Teşekkürler Izida.
27 Jul 2013 7:38PM
Thanks also Rich!
banehawi Plus
16 2.4k 4233 Canada
27 Jul 2013 8:07PM
A central crop works best if the bird is looking straight at you. The idea of off centre with subjects looking to one side is all baesd on the idea that haing more spece in the direction theyre looking can appear more pleasant to the viewer. But its a matter of personal taste. I will add a vignette to both and you can see which works best.

You havent mentioned how you re sized, - let me know, - its an important aspect of the image as it appears on the site.


banehawi Plus
16 2.4k 4233 Canada
27 Jul 2013 8:14PM
I had a Yashica Twin lens rangefinder also, - old days.. good cameras.

27 Jul 2013 8:42PM
Thought this covered re-sizing: 'Cropping is to 'original ratio' in PS6.' Or do I miss the point? Sorry if I do - could be a bit technical for me if I have. Thanks for your time .........
banehawi Plus
16 2.4k 4233 Canada
28 Jul 2013 4:24PM
Im looking for your step by step process to get the image right.

So lets start with the original image, which is say 4,000 X 3000 pixels.

Lets assume you want to keep it as is, ans upload it to EPZ.

You use Image>Image Size> and set the 4000 pixels to 1000 pixels. Since the aspect ration is retained, the other edge also changes. The mehhos box at the bottom of that window should have Bi-Cubic set as the mode or method for re sizing; then you save as a new file name, set quality to Maximum.

Then open that new file. Look at it at 100% and see if it looks sharp. It usually wont. Then apply sharpening until it looks right, then save, and only then upload.

You can use Unsharp Mask for sharpening with these settings:

Radius = 0.8

Threshold = 3

Amount slider, - first slide it all the way right so its very over sharpened; then back to the left, until you find the amount that looks right, 0 its not soft, and its not too sharp (edges of lines will have halos). Save and upload.

What many people are doing is submitting the large file as-is to EPZ and allowing EPZ to look after re sizing. Dont do this, - you lose all control over the outcome.

So now that you know what Im getting at, are you following this process?


28 Jul 2013 4:43PM
Gee Willie! =8) I'll give it a go with my next offering! Great info and much appreciated.


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