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Old Jul 3, 2004, 4:43 PM   #1
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We have a family of house finches that have nested in the out-vent of our shower exaust. And somewhere near by a family of house sparrows. I've seen 12 at one time in the birch tree right by the house. This is, I believe, one of this years house finches, fairly grown up by now. But I can't be sure as my Sibley's guide doesn't have pictures of young house finches, only house sparrows (and it's not a great match.)

I took this today out the open door into my back yard. I knew I wasn't going to get out to shoot, so I thought I'd literally "stay in and shoot".

I wonder if I should have worked the exposure on the beak harder, and maybe a touch ligher on the lower right side. I did some, but I'm not sure I did enough. Either way, I love the detail and it looking back works for me.

I also wonder if I should have done more contrast stuff, but I was afraid to drop the dark parts too much.

If you can't tell, this was an touchy picture for me. If I had more time, I would have worked it more. I like it, but I wonder if there isn't more potential there.

Camera: 10D 600mm 1/90 f5.6 ISO 200 RAW
Photoshop: RAW conver (not exposure) Curves, burn, crop, saturation, reduce, sharpen

Eric
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Old Jul 3, 2004, 4:56 PM   #2
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Eric, to my (not as critical as your) eye, this is a pretty decent picture. However, it does look like a good match to me for a juvenile or female house sparrow.
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Old Jul 3, 2004, 5:07 PM   #3
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The house sparrow in Sibley's shows a light brown/tan stripe over the eye, with a darker eye stripe and then the grey going around below the beak. This has the grey, but not the darker stripe or the lighter one.

Someone better at this kind of bird could probably tell by the beak, but I'm not that good.

I look at it more and think "it's too light". I think after dinner (going to see my parents) I'm going to play with the contrast some and see if (with curves) I can't lower the middle range of the colors but keep the black where it is. I don't want to loose that you can see the two parts of the eye and that single dark mark on the back should be dark but not black.

Ah, the joys of being a perfectionist!

Eric
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Old Jul 3, 2004, 5:14 PM   #4
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eric s wrote:
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The house sparrow in Sibley's shows a light brown/tan stripe over the eye, with a darker eye stripe and then the grey going around below the beak. This has the grey, but not the darker stripe or the lighter one.
That is true, but I think that I will stick with my original determination of house sparrow. Sometimes with birds, you have to allow for individual variation. The field guides usually display the "typical" markings and, especially for juveniles, reality doesn't always conveniently map to the ideal.

But, as always, I allow that I could well be way off the mark...
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Old Jul 3, 2004, 10:44 PM   #5
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Nice shot Eric, I think you should reduce the lighting a bit, the bird is almost too bright I think. I believe thats a female house sparrow.

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Old Jul 3, 2004, 11:14 PM   #6
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I agree with Eric CAN on the lighting.The whites on the top of the beak, tips of some feathers, and tiny parts of the birch might be toned down slightly, but certainly not very much.

My question is related to the 5.6 aperture. How much of a stop-down do you think you would have needed to focus tail feathers as well? The foreground blur centers attention on the bird's head, which is absolutely fantastic, excepting for a slight over-exposure on the top of the beak. You have captured the eye and subtle feather area dynamically. I love the sharpness of the little dots that encircle the eyeball and the two-tones seen in the eye (as you yourself mention).

One more thing, the background blur on this one is fantastic, and I know that's one of the benefits of using that lens. I personally think that you have lots of play in toning down the lighter subject areas since there is so much of a light/dark difference between subject and background.

Very fine"indoor" capture, eric.
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Old Jul 4, 2004, 8:38 AM   #7
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It would have been nice to have the entire bird in focus.... If I recall from before, at this distance f8 only gets me 0.9 of an inch of DOF. I didn't have enough light to stop down any more. Normally I do, but it was getting later in the day when my backyard doesn't have much sun.

I hope to take some more shots in this way (I'm trying to get the cardnal kids, which look really silly right now in their partially changed plumage.) Maybe there will be enough light for me to use a smaller aperture. I'll see what works.

So it sounds like I should spend a little more time on this one. I'll do that after breakfast and post it to this thread.

Eric
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Old Jul 4, 2004, 6:38 PM   #8
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Eric you're facing a dilemna with the lens here. Even if you could go at F/11, you wouldn't be able to gain the entire bird in focus. So the only possibility is to back-off, I'm not sure how far you would need to get small birds in focus, you probably have a table for that. Your lens is one of the sharpess around, so even if you back-off for that trade-off you could always crop later on and with the proper workflow, no one would tell the loss of details. I mentioned it before, your 600mm lens is awesome but I think its better to you use on larger birds at greater distance. This way DOF wouldn't be an issue.

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Old Jul 4, 2004, 10:46 PM   #9
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Wow! The detail you get with that lens it impressive.

I know at your level of photography people are very interested in the technical aspects. But to an average joe like me this is an excellent photograph. One that I would be very proud to be able to produce.

Nice job!
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Old Jul 4, 2004, 11:05 PM   #10
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zoomn wrote:
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I know at your level of photography people are very interested in the technical aspects. But to an average joe like me this is an excellent photograph. One that I would be very proud to be able to produce.
Amen to what you said!
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