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Old Jan 9, 2005, 8:15 PM   #1
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We were getting a fair bit of snow on Saturday, so I couldn't get out. So I opened up my back door and shoot what was there. In this case, a flock of juncos. I've seen this flock before, and it included this first junco which was odd (to me.) After a bit of reading I concluded it was a female Dark Eyed Junco. I initially thought it was an immature, but they look nothing like this.

I had some lack of crispness due to the snow that was falling at the time. And because of the clouds, I couldn't use an fstop that would let me get the whole bird in focus. You do what you can with what you got.

And yes, that is a snow flake on the beak in the second shot.

Part of me wants to lighten that first picture slightly, but then it wouldn't really be the color of the actual bird.

Pic 1 & 2:
Camera: 20D 600mm 1/400 f5 ISO400 tripod
Photoshop: I don't recall exactly. neat image on the background only, some contrast and sharpening, crop & reduce.

Eric
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Old Jan 9, 2005, 9:01 PM   #2
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Both photos are excellent, as usual, but the second has a flavor that I really like, especially in the feather texture and nice definition in the toes. These Juncos are great looking birds and I wish more would flock about around here.

As for lightening up number 1, have you considered posting both just to maintain the credibility of the original? I agree with you that a touch of lightening, especially in the head/eye area, would probably be a positive choice but I don't think the whole bird needs it. Just a touch above the neck area would be all I'd personally think was necessary and maybe a touch in the most visible leg.
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Old Jan 9, 2005, 9:05 PM   #3
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Howdy Eric, still using that massive lens uhh ?

Neat shots indeed. Like Norm, I prefer the 2nd one. But they are both nice. Excellent definition indeed



Cheers !
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Old Jan 10, 2005, 12:52 AM   #4
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Well, Eric, you certainly got some very pretty birds captured here, female and male. The second one is indeed very nice and sharp but I keep coming back to the first one. I think that that may be because it just seems like the female here has a really soft, silken quality to her plumage and her plumage in shades of brown is very attractive. You could bring out a bit more detail in the head area but not much would be needed.
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Old Jan 10, 2005, 5:51 AM   #5
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great shots!! I am so jealous!! I've been trying to get good shots of these guys in the
wild for so long. I may have to just sit at my backdoor and get them
when they come in to feed.
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Old Jan 10, 2005, 10:54 AM   #6
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I like these little guys. I think using a little fill-flash would have helped. I am assuming it wasn't used from noticing no cath light in the eyes.
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Old Jan 10, 2005, 12:12 PM   #7
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Thanks for the comments.
There is no fill flash. I worried about use it because it would reflect off the snow flakes. But I have to admit that was after the fact. It probably would have helped... maybe at -1 FEC so it was subtle. Humm... I don't use flash as much as I used to, maybe I should do so. (That is why I post here, get the ideas flowing!)

The dark around the eye on the female is actually really there in the feathers. It isn't shadow or lack of lightness; it really does have a large dark patch around the eye (this is part of why I thought it was an immature... that the "Dark" upper body was coming in. Nope, turns out that that is just how they are. I'll see about adding a touch of sharpness and maybe a little light with the shadow/highlight tool (some times that works miracles other times is does ugly thing) and post that one (and some overall lighting if I think it needs it.)

Eric CAN,
Good to see you back here. I always enjoy your shots & advice.
That lens is so damn heavy. The winter already sucks your energy, but add 18+ pounds of camera gear and I'm tired just thinking about it. My back was so sore after going out on Sunday (these shots were on Saturday) that I spent over an hour lying on a heating pad. The quality of that lens is great... but ohhh, how I wish it were lighter.

woodmeister,
The trick I learned from someone else is to attach a dead branch to your feeder. My feeder is about 3 inches off the image to the right. The birds often land there before and after eating. Creates loads of great opportunities for pictures.

Eric
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Old Jan 10, 2005, 8:18 PM   #8
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Thanks for the feeder tip. They are just really frustrating to get in the wild.
You can just about trip over them in tall grass, then off they go to disappear somewhere
else. I even sat hidden in a clump of bushes, I was surrounded by them, but
they never came into clear view. They would be so close I could reach out
and grab them. But I am determined I will get a good shot of one in the wild!!!!
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