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27/08/2013 - 10:55 AM


LONG EARED OWLKen, don't think we have 'corresponded' previously but i am known for being a little pedantic regards photography (one of many character flaws)

If you don't care for the pink background colour, you do realise there is a really simple solution? Don't take the image.

On the plus side, good detail there and an accidentally (P mode) reasonable d-o-f, i think the composition is perhaps a little central however and would have been improved by setting the subject with more 'talk space'

Well done also for adopting an almost eye-level viewpoint, makes a massive difference!
27/08/2013 - 10:48 AM


Maisiethe blue does detract (possibly incorrect white balance?) as does the red item (extinguisher? door?) top right. as you were already as wide as you could go Aperture-wise i think stepping back and using a longer-focal length would have helped to also 'diff' the patterned carpet a little.

Compositionally i think a little more space 'in fonrt' would have been better as would perhaps a slightly lower viewpoint ?
03/07/2013 - 5:24 PM

Full on round the bend

Full on round the bendwell done Steve, perfect balance of speed / movement. we did some local grass-track a few months ago and actually found that outisde the ring works just as well as you can avoid the background clutter.

on a personal / semi-pedantic level, here i would have left more room to move, so positioned the subject to the left of centre, and a minor thing but i thing cutting/cloning out the small light area mid way up the right hand edge would benefit
02/07/2013 - 11:27 AM

In the Park

In the Parkreally like it, however - and i do appreciate that you were there, whereas i/we were not - i would have ideally looked for a background that was more uniform, ie would have avoided the fence rear left if possible

model is obvious facing camera but, for me, body position suggests that composition to left of centre would have been better

don't get me wrong - get's a vote nontheless
05/06/2013 - 9:47 AM

Golden Eagle

Golden Eaglei am not sure that both the eyes and beak are in sharp focus - this could be due to the focal length / aperture combination or (less likely here i think) possibly due to a minor camera wobble or movement of the subject

even thought the 3200 is a relatively basic camera, it should easily cope with higher ISO without introducing excess noise - as such 400-640 would allow a faster shutter (to reduce wobble) and/or a smaller aperture to give focus across eyes and beak. Similarly use of just a little negative exposure compensation would help.

apologies if this is stuff you already know, if not feel free to drop me a line with any questions.

on a note of purely personal preference, scroll the image up screen to reduce the 'headroom' by about a half to two-thirds and see whether you think it improves the composition (whilst not following traditional rules)
08/05/2013 - 6:01 AM


Friendshipgreat image, although perhaps a little lucky to get this so crisp at 1/45s, also i think perhaps the background green is just a little over-powering and would benefit from a touch of darkening down - gets my first vote of the day nontheless
06/05/2013 - 12:41 PM

Roe stag at sunrise

Roe stag at sunriseunfortunately, whilst a great 'spot' not a great image.

do feel free to email regards any of the following points -

nothing is really in focus. generally even a poorly focused image will have something somewhere in focus thus generally indicating use of incorrect focus point.
here the problem is possibly simply down to the low shutter speed - although i may have accidentally misused the term i call this reciprocity as your shutter speed ideally would be at least as fast as 1/your focal length.

so, at c. 250mm you would ideally be looking at > 1/250sec

opinions as to how best to achieve this will vary (personally i tend to use aperture priority) but if you are not comfortable in coming away from 'auto' then a higher ISO will help as long as you do not go too high and introduce too much noise.

using a higher ISO and a larger aperture (smaller f-number) would offer a greater shutter speed and (assuming correct focus) isolate the subject from the background.

on the plus side, your composition is about right Wink

i hope yourself and viewers will see this as constructive rather than anything else - and if you drop me an email or such i will gladly help out with more detail
01/03/2013 - 7:22 AM

Redpoll Trio

Redpoll Trioyou know my thoughts on these things BG - for other viewers, perhaps a little too much 'headroom' ie the space above as it is doing nowt for the image and also places the subject's heads at broadly midway on the vertical. cropping about 1/3-1/2 of the top would reduce both issues

however, i have to say that i am very proud to see how you have acknowledged and adopted my wittering on about backgrounds over the last couple of years Wink - for which i in turn thank John Wright. without the correct background an other wise potentially great image can become poor club standard. thanks to Steve my neighbour for being so 'flexible' regards allowing him to trim his apple tree branches.

very very well done for selecting the angle of the perch - 5.6 at 500mm does not give much away in terms of depth or focal plane. overall good exif - so good to have a camera where the quality difference from 100 to 800 ISO and no doubt beyond is not visible to the naked eye
27/02/2013 - 7:30 AM

Red Feral Pigeon

Red Feral Pigeonhi ****

anyone with the kit you have must be at least half-serious so hopefully a few ideas will not be inappropriate;

my own opinion is that unless we are trying to make some point or other, people and animal images should be taken as close to the subject's eye level as is practical. i occasionally carry a water-resistant roll-up picnic blanket for shots such as this.

if you were to use a slightly wider aperture then this would serve to isolate the subject from the background a little more and of course increase your shutter speed for the same ISO

well done for using negative exposure compensation but here the rear feather area is still very light (and a little blurred) so perhaps -2/3 or even -1 would have offered more protection against the highlights issue and of course simultaneously have increased your shutter speed.

from a compositional point of view, it is my own belief that, whilst we all deliberately break the rules from time to time, a subject should have 'talk space' or space to move into - here the subject is restricted by the left hand border and as such perhaps is a weaker image.

i hope th above points will be taken in the way they are intended - i am more than happy to offer more in depth guidance should you wish to email / call etc

regards, phil
25/02/2013 - 3:38 PM

Waterfall in Yorkshire Dales

Waterfall in Yorkshire Dalesgenerally a very pleasant image Andrew - i have a query / point of view thought that you / your viewers may find idiotic

most togs will adhere to compositional rules (such as thirds and talk-space) when it comes to animals and people - it is my opinion however that this could / should also apply to landscape. as such i wonder (as the waterfall is flowing left to right) whether there was the potential to compose the subject slightly more in lin ewith the tradition - ie was there more to be included to image right or perhaps could the image left be cropped a little (or both)
22/02/2013 - 2:47 PM

The big leap

The big leapwell caught - although perhaps could be improved with a little crop of the right hand side to aid composition?
22/02/2013 - 10:59 AM

Fox in the Garden

Fox in the Gardensorry but i think that the image is suffering from either poor focusing or being cropped from a larger image. it would also appear that 6400 ISO is a tad too much for your camera as there appears to be considerable noise.

i imagine that your lighting conditions were less than ideal but perhaps a lower ISO, wider aperture, and a little exposure compensation would have been a better option - ideally a faster shutter given your focal length (see reciprocity)
22/02/2013 - 8:44 AM


Proudi assume that you knew the beak would not be in focus at f4 before you pressed the shutter (although using auto mode), so well done on such a striking image with excellent clarity in the eyes and most of the feathers due at least partially to use of negative exposure compensation
22/02/2013 - 8:28 AM


Verreaux'shate to suggest it but are the eyes marginally softer than the beak?

otherwise, very well done - folk think it is easy to take captive animals, which may be true but there are a lot of hopeless images of captive out there. your high ISO, wide aperture and -EC offering you that relatively slow shutter suggest that the conditions were not 'ideal'
19/02/2013 - 3:30 PM

Blue tit

Blue tit
Quote: Oh i wish i had the money for a 600mm lens

so do i! had to sell my baby (500mm) so now using 300mm and 1.4x or 2x convertors - still bl**dy expensive but somewhat more practical

are you utilising a single focus point AF? or are you allowing your camera to choose for you by using 'all points' ? if the latter then switch to single and just ensure that the focus point is on the subject itself and wherever practical, on it's eye

if already doing this then i imagine that the slight fuzziness here could be due to cropping from a larger image?

if in doubt, cheat. Blue Tits, Robins and such will very quickly learn that you mean them no harm and are the source of food - if you cannot reach them, get them to come to you. i find the best bait are suet logs which can either be placed in specific hanging feeders or after a little encouragement in the microwave, be moulded into small logs etc

i don't know where in the country you are but if at all practical for Norwth Worcestershire then i am happy to help - or rather happy to grant access to my semi-tame birds (you probably need only this help)
16/02/2013 - 6:21 AM

Heron stalking prey

Heron stalking preyi imagine that the Heron is leaning forward a little as it walks / stalks but it seems to be that the background may be leaning left a little and as such i think that you could achieve a better balance to the image by correcting to the right a few degrees and perhaps cropping the right hand area to the right of the tree in order to decentralise the image a little.

all that said, a pleasing image - especially well done regards the exposure
04/02/2013 - 6:42 PM

Sorry good night..

Sorry good night..Dave, a very peculiar set of exif data here...

exposure mode shown as Manual but then says -1/3 EC, errrr surely no such settign in manual?

also f16 is a little odd for portrait work - next time try considerably lower ISO such as 100 or even 50, and a larger aperture - will let you know when we start doing the model workshops
13/09/2012 - 9:00 AM

Follow the Leader

Follow the Leaderi know i generally cheat and used positioned animals etc but personally think that even when we are taking proper wildlife we need to keep in mind the position of the subject - here i feel that the background swan creates a little distraction / confusion which may have been improved with a larger aperture if you had the option.

perhaps it is also worth experimenting with negative exposure compensation - which most cameras will even offer in program modes i believe.
Don't tell the Wife...But I've switched sides again!great background, this just in case you are unaware as shooting 'program' mode is due to a relatively wide aperture which gives a small depth of field - your camera has a mode called aperture priority where you set this for yourself and let the camera set an appropriate shutter speed.

this option would allow you to recreate the effect over and over without having to wonder what your camera might choose next time.

the only 'criticism' of the image is that as your main subject is facing image left he should really be positioned within image right, see 'rule of thirds' for a guide - you may benefit from learning to move your focus points around rather than relying on either 'all points' or centre-point.

also, IF you wanted to tone down the whites then you could easily do this with your exposure compensation - here your image is EC neutral, but you could try setting to -1/3 or if the whites are being hit by sunlight use a greater negative setting. drop me a line if you need any clarification.
15/08/2012 - 3:02 PM

Inside Worcester Cathedral

Inside Worcester Cathedralisn't it always so much easieer to know what to do after the event!

i am not familiar with your specific camera but it is likely that your ISO of 200 could have been increased to 400 or 500 without introducing massive issues with grain, then by using negative exposure compensation of perhaps just 1/3 (page 45 of your manual) you would have increased your shutter speed considerably (relatively speaking), so that shooting at 6mm wide would/should have been fine.

if of course you wish to remove the folk from your image then perhaps try a pod and very long exposures so that they simply walk through the shot without making an impression.

of course, with a pod you could also try bracketing th eexposure in order to preserve window detail via HDR processing.