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Old Jul 29, 2011, 11:19 PM   #1
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Default Loons in Maine

For close to 30 years I have tried to photograph loons, with very little success. No matter how quiet or still I was, they would always swim away before I could even raise my camera to my eye. But over the Fourth of July weekend, my luck finally changed. I encountered a cooperative loon who seemed not to care at all that I was in a kayak, only about 50 feet away. And to make good luck even better, I brought my K20 and Sigma 70-300 APO DG lens, something I don't do very often while out for a relaxing paddle.

I'm not fully satisfied -- I still want to get better photos of loons. But these shots are by far the best photos I have ever gotten of these usually very elusive birds. As close as I was, I still had to crop these photos considerably in order to make them photos of a loon, rather than photos of a lake with a loon.

I would appreciate any comments or critiques.
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Old Jul 30, 2011, 1:56 AM   #2
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I like #2 the best. He's nice and close and you captured good feather detail. Though, #3 has a bit of comedy (I can hear him saying "Okay, come on, move it out!") which I think is cute.

I lived up in Caribou, Maine for a year. We used to visit my in-laws at their camp on the lake. I remember the leeches and the loons.
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Old Jul 30, 2011, 9:20 AM   #3
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The first two are excellent, it's really hard to get better than that. Too bad about the bit of front focus on the third one, it would otherwise be a wonderful shot, and I agree with Jeannie - there is a "what do you think you're doing here" type of look to it that makes up for any technical problem. They certainly are difficult birds to photograph!
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Old Aug 2, 2011, 10:11 AM   #4
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Nice poses in #1 & #2. I did not realize they were a difficult subjet to photograph.

Since you asked for comments, I see some pixelation in the greenery in #1. How much cropping did you do on these? Also, you might want to level #1 as well.

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Old Aug 2, 2011, 9:43 PM   #5
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Thanks very much for the comments folks. I had noticed the front focus on #3, but I decided to post the photo anyway, just because I like the picture. I hadn't noticed the pixelation in the greenery in the background; thanks very much Jehan for pointing that out. I'm guessing that was a mistake I made in post processing. As I said, all three photos are heavily cropped -- I estimate that what I have shown is only about 25% of the original image. With Photoshop Elements, any time you crop, by default the program interpolates in order to give you as many pixels as the original image had. So after cropping, the reremaining image was probably 4-5 megapixels, but the software then manufactured a boatload, to bring the cropped image back up to 14 megapixels. (I wish I knew how to tell the not to interpolate and create a bunch of new pixels!) I wonder if that caused the pixelation. I offer no excuses for the first shot being off level. I guess I just missed that.
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Old Aug 2, 2011, 11:18 PM   #6
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In Elements, look at your top line (assuming my version is the same as yours, I have Elements 6 on a Mac) - do you have anything put in the height and width blocks? Or the resolution block? Or have it set to a fixed size? All of these things might cause a cropped picture to become enlarged. I've always used no restriction for the aspect ratio and left the other blocks blank.
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Old Aug 8, 2011, 6:53 PM   #7
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MtnMan - Congratulations on getting such fine Loon photos. #1 is especially nice color, composition & detail, despite problems with the resize/crop.
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Old Aug 11, 2011, 4:50 PM   #8
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Nice going, Ted. These are hard to get!
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Old Aug 12, 2011, 3:17 AM   #9
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I really like #1 - great pose and a lovely looking bird too !
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Old Aug 12, 2011, 2:36 PM   #10
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I really like the first shot, I have never had a chance to shoot a Loon, I know how you feel I have been trying to shoot several Kingfishers in my pond but can't get to within 100 yards of them before they fly away.

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