Back Modifications (2)
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Black Swan

By onetrickpony
This swan is standing on the edge of the pond. I was only trying to get get the swan.

This is my second attempt at wildlife photography, I'm trying to record the animals of Australia before I leave and practice an area of photography I have no experience with. Last week kangaroos, this week black swans.

All C&C welcome / encouraged.

(before you say it - I know the foot is out of focus, I did ask her to put it back down but she just wasn't interested!)

Tags: Landscape and travel 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.


Ade_Osman 15 4.5k 36 England
26 Nov 2012 10:12AM
It's not a Black Swan it's a dirty duck as we call them here Tongue

Seriously, it fills the frame too much and of course you've chopped it's leg off! You just needed to have walked back a little or widened the zoom somewhat, it would have looked a lot better had you composed the image so the whole bird was in the frame and the head/neck was in the centre, sometimes the closer you get to your subject is not always the best. But as a second attempt at wildlife photography, I've seen a lot worse.......Keep at it and it will come I assure you.

Have a look at Lee Fishers work and you'll see what I mean.


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Hermanus 5 4 South Africa
26 Nov 2012 10:59AM
What a great photo you have here !! Great detail on the black - or is it dirt Smile Stunning photo
26 Nov 2012 12:09PM
Thanks Ade, that's really helpful. Also - what about the lighting? I took this on a day with thick cloud cover, I thought it would be a good choice for something like this, but should I have waited for a sunny day? Or the end of a sunny day when the sun was setting?

Lee Fisher's portfolio is incredible. Maybe one day!

plus - thanks for some kind words Hermanus, much appreciated.
iancrowson Plus
8 211 146 United Kingdom
26 Nov 2012 12:33PM
Good photo. Nice and sharp. Details showing though out the dark areas. Background out of focus which is good as it help the eye focus on the swan. Nice reflections of grasses. Good colour
The image is cropped/framed too tightly. The white blob should cloud away. As above all the leg showing if possible.
Actually for this type of shot a dull day can be better, bright sun make contrasty light with hard shadows/ burnt highlights. Soft evening light can be good.
26 Nov 2012 12:42PM

Quote:Actually for this type of shot a dull day can be better, bright sun make contrasty light with hard shadows/ burnt highlights.

Thanks, that's what I imagined would be the case - soft lighting better, but I thought I'd check. I'd try again in evening light but I think the area is too shadowy and a good capture wouldn't be possible. But good to know for next time.

Maybe I'll reshoot the background sometime when the water doesn't look so grey and to a sneaky photoshop swap, though Smile But nothing is gonna be able to reframe the image (it wasn't cropped :-( ).
banehawi Plus
13 1.8k 3877 Canada
26 Nov 2012 2:22PM
Good advice from Ade and Ian. heres some more. You can also zoom in more, and take a head only shot for example; or you can cut the Swans leg off, - in Photoshop, so its swimming in the water. Needs a bit of trickery, but it can work.

The detail in the swan is very good, - you rarely get good black swan shots like this. The thick cloud cover helped you with this I think. Most shots would overexpose without intervention, but this is actually underexposed, and you may have had that white blob to help you also.

Ive uploaded a mod to show one example of possibilities, and Ive tweaked contrast, and placed a small catchlight in his eye. More space added also. I cloned out the leg, then used the marquee tool to select the water, copied and pasted it higher, applied pond ripples, and tweaked a little.


banehawi Plus
13 1.8k 3877 Canada
26 Nov 2012 5:55PM
Had another idea, - extend the water down, and have the swan standing in the water with just the partial leg visible. Mod2 loaded.

pamelajean Plus
12 1.1k 2015 United Kingdom
26 Nov 2012 6:30PM
Very nice, Jonny, and I've nothing further to add to the above, but just wanted to say that I think Willie's modifications are both brilliant.
paulbroad 10 123 1240 United Kingdom
26 Nov 2012 7:14PM
You needed to be closer, or further away, but you cannot cut off a leg like that. The lighting and quality are good and you can crop this much closer but cannot, obviously, add the leg. One of my criteria is, if in doubt, fill the frame so, unless you must have the whole bird, get in close.

banehawi Plus
13 1.8k 3877 Canada
26 Nov 2012 9:54PM
Thanks Pamela

28 Nov 2012 4:03AM
Thanks all again.

Specifically - Thanks Willie for some great mods. It really helped me see what I should have aimed for.

And thanks to everyone for helping me to see the problems with composition and the strengths in terms of exposure/lighting.

Cheers guys.

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