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Old Jun 30, 2004, 12:14 AM   #1
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I'm having trouble with the small DOF with the 600mm. I was originally wondering if my camera was back focusing because so many pictures had the legs in focus but not the head. But if I used the DOF calculator correctly, I'm looking at about 0.4 inches of DOF. Not very much to work with.

So what do people think? Does the pose work for you? I like the head and the idea of movement, but I wish more of the bird was in focus.... and I'm not sure if that wish overpowers the upsides (the nice colors, sharp head, eye catchlight, good light...)
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This nice female red winged black bird landed on a dead log infront of me... how could I resist? While the male is black with the red band (and a small white stripe) the females are very different... and I very lovely.

Camera: Canon 10D, 600mm 1.4xTC, 1/1500 f6.3 ISO400 RAW
PhotoShop: Neatimage, Curves, exposure, crop, reduce (90% frame), sharpen


Eric
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Old Jun 30, 2004, 12:27 AM   #2
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Eric, I think that you've caught this bird in a wonderful pose. The delicate coloration differences in her head, neck, and breast display beautifully. It doesn't bother me that the legs or tail area are not as sharp as the front half of her body.

Yep, works for me!
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Old Jun 30, 2004, 12:35 AM   #3
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Eric, this is spectacular! The color saturation is unbelievable, the DOF is so small and perfect, where the eyes are completely in focus and the front leg, yet the back leg is blurred. Ouch, this is painfully excellent!

Grrr, I'm getting envious. Honest, this one is a prize winner. Send it somewhere, quick! Eric,I just took another look at this photograph. You have broken the mold on this one. Send it to a photo contest, preferrably the one what offers the largest prize money. It may help pay for that excellent lens of yours. I cannot believe the excellent background color. This defines why one pays more. Eric, I'm not being cute, this is one of the nicest bird photos I've ever seen, I hope you share it with people who can give you more than us.
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Old Jun 30, 2004, 2:29 PM   #4
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ohh wow! i love it!

the background is TOO good...lol...just wow....nice

the DOF problem you were talking isn't a big problem here....you got the eye and head and chest in focus very nicely....

great shot

Vito
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Old Jun 30, 2004, 4:44 PM   #5
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super shot!!! i agree with all here!!! i always thought that telephoto shots compressed the DOF which tends to make the pics look "flatter". but .4 inches DOF seems awfully shallow to me even though the picture proves it. is the canon 400mm f/2.8 and the 500mm f/4 lenses as sharp as the 600mm?

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Old Jun 30, 2004, 4:56 PM   #6
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I believe the 500 is basically as sharp. I've heard good things about the 400 f2.8 and the MTF chart on Normcarfor inspiring me to go back and look closer at these shots. I got kinda frustrated the first time though, finding so many were the head wasn't in focus.

It is interesting how I like this picture. Not my favorite, but like it. A good chunk of people who see it go WOW. (The others are Pros and point out a few flaws, but like it.) So it has been interesting to see the reactions.

I have a few more of this bird I will probably edit up. But I'm preparing for a show next month (Eek!) so I have to get things ready for the printer so they have enough time to actually print them and get them back to me. Maybe I should add this picture to the mix.

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Old Jun 30, 2004, 5:09 PM   #7
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Eric, in the interest of trying tounderstand what "pros" consider good versus bad, could you fill us in on the "pros'" critique of this photo that you alluded to?
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Old Jun 30, 2004, 7:33 PM   #8
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Sure, the comments are these:

Too tight a crop. (ME: I take that to mean put more space on the left.)

One doesn't really like square crops. That might be a personal thing, but I see his point... traditionally photoshad a 3x2 ratio.

With the branches obviously cut off it "didn't do it for him". (ME: I assume he means that this branch looks staged; put there. Which is, in fact, true. But the bird is wild and not baited.)

They were split down the middle on the DOF. Some were not bothered , others would have prefered more. I have the light to add another 1/2 stop (or maybe more), so next time I get the chance I'll do that.

One found the perch a bit too large (in the frame) and distracting. (ME: I actually put some effort into not raising the exposure on the log, to reduce how it stands out. But I'm not against croping a bit off the bottom, and adding more to the left.)

The same person thought the bird was a bit centered. (ME: True, but I thought it might work. Maybe not. Adding more to the left would help with that.)

What they liked:

Most thought the pose & action (that it was moving, or had an "animated pose") was a good thing, and made it different from other shots.

They liked the colors.

They like the light.

But that is a very critical bunch, all being (basically) professional avian photographers at some level. I post there to learn (I asked about the motion, DOF, and the crop specifically) so I gotsome goodpositives and some things to improve. A good set of comments.

Eric
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Old Jun 30, 2004, 8:28 PM   #9
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This is obviously a very picky bunch you've gotten comments from.

My comments to the comments:

Cropping: Yeah, perhaps it is too square and should have a traditional w:h ratio.

Branch: phooey - too purist for me. Just because the surroundings have some man-altered components doesn't mean the bird isn't wild and "doing its thing".

Perch too large: once again, too purist for me.

Centered bird: It works for me. Who's the audience? Other photographers or the public at large? If the latter, they wouldn't even pick up on such a detail.

May I ask which site this is that you visited?
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Old Jun 30, 2004, 9:25 PM   #10
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It is a beautiful photo, one I very much like due to the interesting pose. The short depth of field adds to the photo. It gives the picture a hint of movement by blurring the raised leg.

Here are my comments. I like the log. It gives the photo somegrounding. The square cropping isn't a problem. Why do people like traditional anyhow? I try to teach my students to break the rules in photography. To do that however, they should know what the rules are first!

The pose is interesting. I like the strong diagonal lines that lead the eye from the focal point...the eye, down its back to thetrunk. This path is aided incidentally by the feather patterns. The eye also wants to wander to that leg, giving you a pleasing inverted Y. This combination gives it a nice eye traveling path.

The background is also very pleasant, and non distracting.

The composition is very good. I would have personally liked more open space to the left of the bird. This would follow the rule of thirds more closely.....but then again...those rules are made to be broken.

Mind you, I am no pro. I do not make a living with my photos, and my standards aren't as high. I am not as concerned with sharpness, etc..but more with the artistic compositional elements found ina photo.This one has both sharpness, and artistry....Good job!



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