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Old May 25, 2005, 8:28 AM   #1
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Well I went back to the swamp to try some the things yall told me and guess who was there... The same bird, I think.

Shooting Mode
Aperture-Priority AE
Tv( Shutter Speed )
1/25
Av( Aperture Value )
6.3
Metering Mode
Evaluative Metering
Exposure Compensation
-2/3
ISO Speed
400
Lens
75.0 - 300.0 mm
Focal Length
300.0 mm
Image Size
3504x2336
Image Quality
RAW
Flash
Off
White Balance Mode
Auto
AF Mode
One-Shot AF
Parameters Settings
Contrast Mid. High
Sharpness Mid. High
Color saturation Mid. High
Color tone 0
Color Space
Adobe RGB
Noise Reduction
Off
I'm not ready to shoot for National Geographic yet but im on my way:G What do yall think? tell me honest. I can take it.
Big Chuck
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Old May 25, 2005, 11:46 AM   #2
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I think it is better.

1/25 is still low, but it looks like you were able to get away with it. But you did give it another 2/3rds of a stop of light using exposure comp (and then brighten using an editor on your computer I assume.) That you were at 1/25th at ISO400 is rather amazing; that must have been really dark. I have to say I wouldn't have taken that picture as that must have been really dark.

There are two aspects of bird photography.
The first is catching the bird, hopefully doing something interesting. This isn't the standard "heron just standing there" shot (since I like heron, I enjoy those in moderation, but they aren't "special" or particularly "interesting" as photographs go.) But stretching (and maybe preening) isn't that exciting either.

The second is the environment. That is a much harder thing to get right.... just because it isn't much in your control. The bird is where the bird is. All you can do is try to get close enough (without scaring it) and get an angle that balances good light and good background.

So in this case the light is dark, the background is rather busy and the bird isn't doing something that interesting (But not boring either.) So from a hard-core bird photography review it is only a ho-hum picture.

But that isn't the entire picture. We also have to consider you. You're new at this. From where you're coming from, having just started this out and not having amazing equipment I think it's a decent picture. It shows the entire bird, doing more than standing there, in good focus with fairly good exposure. New people rarely get all that right.

The lighter part on the head should be yellow (I believe) and it's not. As with the pony tail. It's a bit of a blown out hilight. That is probably due to lighting it on your computer, so you might want to be more careful about that. But other than that, the exposure is good, which is often the problem most early photographers have. Birds usually have many colors and extremes between light and dark... making exposure difficult. (Lets not even get into the varying lighting conditions.)

Lastly I mention something that people say is "Critical" with bird photography. The "catch light" in the eye. It is where the light (sun/flash/whatever) reflects off the eye of the bird. Believe it or not, this makes a big difference... it makes the bird look alive. A bird without one almost always looks flat... stale... dead/lifeless. This picture lacks it.

I think is a good picture for where you're at. Keep at it, and keep posting.

Eric
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Old May 25, 2005, 12:14 PM   #3
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Huge improvement twistedpuppy, keep em coming !!
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Old May 25, 2005, 12:41 PM   #4
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Well, I have to disagree with Eric. I really like this picture. We have to make do with the situation, and you maximised THIS situation. I love the framing...

But did you turn on mirror anti shock mode?

1/25 is VERY slow, and I think you still have that mirror vibrating the camera....

dave
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Old May 25, 2005, 11:32 PM   #5
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Big Chuck, much, much better!!! at 1/25 second that is quite sharp. i think it could be cropped a bit better. unfortunately the background isn't great but, we have to take what we can get. I have to say this; I agree with both Eric and Dave. I understand what Eric is saying and it is true. But, what Dave said is true also. we have to make the most of the conditions we have. from the looks of the situation, i don't think i would have done any better. I'm a bit new to avian photography. lots to learn and lots of practice to see a situation and position yourself and subject to make the most of the picture. I have a question for Eric. Can you explain to us what you consider a good to great shot of a heron?? I'm not trying to challenge you in any way but, just want an idea of what you see as really good. i view the avian gallery on the Nature Photographers Magazine website and see some truly amazing pictures. as for herons, what really constitutes a good shot? flights? fishing?? mating display?? Eric, you know i've seen some of your work as well as others here. it is excellent material!!! I have to say your the one who first got me interested in avian. i was strictly a macro freak and now after seeing all the pretty little birdies, it's a real challenge to capture a good shot. As Eric mentioned, I would also say it's ho-hum but for Big Chuck's experience, and seeing his forst attempts, it's actuallya nice shot. Sorry if this was a bit long.

dennis
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Old May 26, 2005, 8:41 AM   #6
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Sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex,

Oh, sorry, wrong forum....

dave
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Old May 26, 2005, 11:47 AM   #7
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DBB, that would certainly be a different form of heron interaction than I've photographed before.

djb
Hey, you're not that far away from me!
I'm glad I could inspire you into avian photography. I've enjoyed what you're captured! There are some really good people on NPN, aren't there?

For many places (particularly where I live) getting a picture of a heron is not hard. Getting a "good" picture of almost any bird is hard (unless you live in particular places in Flordia where many "wild" birds are about as close as you can come to tame.)

So while it isn't hard for me (even right this second) to go find some great blue herons (yellow crowned night herons, as in this shot, aren't in my area) and photograph them. It is a little bit of luck if they are close... but that is why I purchased the 600mm lens.

As for interesting shots, I like poses that are not the average (I'll give an example.) Or something which is more dynamic. Heron interaction is always good.

Here are some links to ok shots:
http://esmith.marx7.org/web_posts/green_brooks_env.jpg
This one has a background that is a bit distracting. Nice reflection, though. Having the stick over the beak isn't good, though.

This is a closeup of that shot so you can see the reflection.
http://esmith.marx7.org/web_posts/gr...ooks_walk1.jpg

http://esmith.marx7.org/web_posts/gr...ooks_walk3.jpg
I like this one, as it has some character. I think that log looks kinda like an alligator. The leaves over the heron don't bother me much.

http://esmith.marx7.org/web_posts/tr...red-heron1.jpg
To me, this tri-colored heron isn't that interesting. It was posted 'cause they aren't here very often. I generally like the detail and it stands out well in the grass. But is it really that interesting a shot?

http://esmith.marx7.org/web_posts/heron_flight2.jpg
Here is a flight shot example. Technically it is nice. Good focus, a post that shows some interesting aspects of the bird (wing detail, some underbody) but to me it isn't anything more than an... ok or mildly good shot. Technically it's nice, but I don't feel anything more from it than that.

Now for good shots:

I like this one a lot. He has some action to it and great detail. This is full frame, so a print of this would be quite large. This is the best of the next three (same bird.)


I like this one, but not as much as the above one. I thought the frog would add something, but the general opinion is the above shot is better.


I like this one in a different way. It kind looks like he is watching out over the world. It has a more introspective feel of it, while still having great detail. And for me, its not a pose I see as often. It isn't "hunting", it's more "watching".


This is an example of a "different" shot. This isn't just a heron sitting there. It is actively displaying to drive another heron away. It is trying to look bigger (and therefor scary.) Other than the plant coming out of it's back, I really like all of this shot. Non-distracting background, good focus, interesting display behavour.


This one, when posted, sparked much debate. I like it for the head/heck angle. Herons do this to cut down on the reflections of the sky in the water (like we really know!) So I find it interesting with some nice detail. It's also very true to what I saw. Some felt it was too dark, and another member here reedited the original (I sent it to him) and produced something better in some ways and worse in others. It was an interesting exercise.

I have others, but that is what I came up with quickly.

Eric
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Old May 26, 2005, 3:26 PM   #8
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Eric, thank you very much!!!!! Actually, that is what I expected of you and agree!!! Ithink we all put up fairly mediocre prints from time to time (me more often than not). I don't mind because it gives me ideas to do things differently and to see what others feel about their own work. All here shuld be proud of what they have accomplished no matter at what skill level !!!! This is a great board and there is a lot of talent to learn much!!! I tend to like action shots, or "out of the ordinary" poses. Reflection pics are very nice as well as sequences that tell a story. That is what I got from your explanations. Now, if the weather would only cooperate so I can go out and find some nice subjects to shoot (with my camera, Norm!!!:blah. Thanx again, Eric!!!

dennis
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Old May 26, 2005, 4:41 PM   #9
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We've had 5 rainy weekends in a row. I'm just going to die! And it looks like maybe another this weekend.

I went out in the rain today just 'cause I had to (and some distant ocean birds are in Concord, how often will that happen?)

BTW, those green heron shots were taken on the South Shore (Daniel Webster Mass Audubon Sanctuary) and the Great Blue Heron shots were taken at Great Meadows National Wildlife Sanctuary (Concord.) All within reasonable driving distance for you. You might consider going to either place, they are worth it.

Bird photography is hard. I agree that, considering skill, most here should be very happy with what they produce. That is the problem I have with NPN. There are some stunningly good people there and some times I just think "I'll never get that good" but I know with practice, being in the right location, and having fun... I will. It's just hard work... I know it would be, but some times... wow it can be hard.

Eric
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Old May 26, 2005, 5:05 PM   #10
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Eric, i have been to the Grat Meadows in Concord once. My problem is i need 2 hip replacements and really can't walk any distance now. I do go to the Sudbury Conservation land off Water Row Rd. off of Rte 27 in Sudbury. That's where I've been getting most of my shots. Great blues and Greens. Also, that's where the tree swallows have a nest and also a bluebird nest. Someone told me there are owls but, I haven't seen any. I only shoot off the street or out of my truck, weather dependant. But, in august i get both my hips replaced and will be able to get to a lot of places i don't get to now. the NPN crew can be a bit intimidating (for lack of a better term) because of their skills level but, they are fairly gentle in their critiques. They definitely have a wealth of information to tap into. Oh, in Sudbury I have seen 4 pairs of wood ducks. they have to be the most timid bird i've encountered. i haven't been able to get a clear shot of them even at long distance. Well, i guess i should get back to work but, this is more fun!!!

dennis
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