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Old Aug 13, 2005, 8:41 PM   #11
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Oh, that was easy. Now that you explained it.



How do you guys photograph the birds? Do you use camouflage? Do you use hideouts or portable covers. Im surprised at how close I get to birds sometimes. It took me eight months to get close enough to the egrets I finally got photos of, I would go down where they are at least once a week and just sit around, never got very close without scaring them off, only this week they finally got bored with me. The honey eaters Ive got to within 5 feet, same with the tiny silver eyes I think the closest Ive got is about 4 feet before they take off. Some of my Photographer friends at my photo club are amazed. They are calling me Bird lady now:-)and want me banned from wildlife competition for having an unfair advantage.
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Old Aug 14, 2005, 12:09 AM   #12
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Nice shots, eric, that heron is a cool looking bird. You got everything perfectly on these.
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Old Aug 14, 2005, 9:38 PM   #13
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Glad you all like the shots. Actually, I am very big into series of shots. At the club I often show 4-5 of related subjects to tell a story. Like a cormorant having a fish stolen by a black-backed gull. Or an osprey fishing (the flight, the hover x 2., the dive, the catch and the fly-away.) In that case I did 1 on 13x19 and the rest on 8x10.

Do you guys (and gals) realize how much data is required for a 19x13? 4750 x 3250 (at 250dpi.) The 20D is 3504 x 2336, so that means I need to add over 1000 pixels on each side... and that assumes full frame. Enlarging to that size is much harder than producing a
1750x1250 (@250dpi) = 7x5, which fits very well in a standard 8x10 frame. I can do that fairly easily (except for warblers sized birds, which often don't stay still long enough and don't get very close except in specific situations.)

But the big prints need really sharp images. I've had pictures that I thought were good enough but fell down due to sharpness issues. The subtle-ist motion blur can make or break an image (I've had some where it works well and others that it doesn't.)

The stair enteroplation from FM is very similar to what I use (although it isn't the same.) What I do is very comparable to Genuite Fractials, which does a great job enlarging.

But I think I am too critical for web posting. This is really just for fun, but it's in my nature to only want to share my best. Unless something else makes it special (like getting shots of a Cackeling Goose today, or a blandings turtle) I don't post them unless I think others will really like them. I don't post experimental things, or things that don't catch my eye in some way.

I'm trying to get over it.

I went to a writer's convention some years ago (I used to write some fiction.) A published author was scheduled to read, but after we all sat down she said that she had planned to read from her current book, but wasn't going to because "it didn't deserve to be read." It's a phase thing that you go through where you're frustrated with it in some way (doesn't have to be "qualty based") and you're mad at it. I can get that way with photography some times. I look over my pictures and think that few are really what I was looking for. That that little spark that caught me at the moment isn't there. It doesn't make it a bad shot, but I still don't go any further with it. I think I need to loosen up a bit (not all the way, it helps drive me to higher quality) and accept that there might be some good there even if it isn't what I planned.

Eric
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Old Aug 14, 2005, 9:56 PM   #14
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aladyforty wrote:
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Oh, that was easy. Now that you explained it.



How do you guys photograph the birds? Do you use camouflage? Do you use hideouts or portable covers. Im surprised at how close I get to birds sometimes. It took me eight months to get close enough to the egrets I finally got photos of, I would go down where they are at least once a week and just sit around, never got very close without scaring them off, only this week they finally got bored with me. The honey eaters Ive got to within 5 feet, same with the tiny silver eyes I think the closest Ive got is about 4 feet before they take off. Some of my Photographer friends at my photo club are amazed. They are calling me Bird lady now:-) and want me banned from wildlife competition for having an unfair advantage.
Here's another few tricks that I use. When I first started to do this, approaching a bird, one minute he's standing there, the next flying away....

1. Ok, actually they give off body language as a warning that the photographer can pick up on. This is difficult to explain - but I sense when they are about five seconds short of flying away - I freeze - absolutely still. About half the time this works. The qyiicker I sense that moment, some sort of subtle body language, the better the chance of this working. After a few minutes - I start moving again.

2. Moving the camera into position will cause a bird to fly away. For the entire duration of my approach, I hold the camera in the approximate position I will shoot in.

3. When I've gotten as close as I can, taken as many shots as I can, I send in my assistant, to make a slow approach so that I can get some take off and flight shots.

My assistant knows better than to actually attack the birds, but he will approach slowly, while I am braced...

Dave
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Old Aug 15, 2005, 12:17 PM   #15
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Nice shots Eric. I can never get close to Green Heron out in the open. And you have a full-frame shot.

Recently I printed some 11x16 at 300DPI shots using my 10D and 400mm lens. I was suprised at the print outs. These were not full-frame shots, and I had to use bicubic smoother thing in PS but I was veryimpressed at the final print outs. I used mpix.com for printing.


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Old Aug 15, 2005, 2:15 PM   #16
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aladyforty,
I deal with approaching birds in a variety of ways.
I shoot from blinds some times. Both portable and pre-build structures. This makes a huge difference, but it's also limiting.

- From a portable blind you need to study the area and observe the behavior to understand where the birds like to perch. Then place the blind to photograph that area combining both good light and a good view of the area where the birds go.
- From a fixed blind you have to learn when its good to go and when it isn't. Time of year is everything when picking a location to go.

Both ways can produce some really good shots, but I also find them less fun. For me, it's about exploring and being out in nature. I don't feel I'm doing that if I'm just sitting in a blind. But the quality of my shots are almost always higher from a blind as the location is preselected for higher quality shots.

When I'm out for a walk and I have my gear I have to be ready at all times to put down the camera and shoot.

Like DBB, I have learned to understand many aspects of Bird Behavior. Not only does it help in learing when the bird is bothered/unhappy, you also need to do it to learn where they go. I watched a kingbird fly back to the same perch several times after catching bugs. So I setup with the camera pointed at that perch. Or you learn that certain birds like specific types of trees. Or that some birds like hanging out with other birds.

Another thing to learn about is food supply. There is a time of year during the spring when a lot of birds migrate through (and head up to Normcar's area.) That usually lines up nicely with when a specific small green worm comes out. If I get luck and go out when that worm is out, the birds are everywhere, fueling up for their trip north. At those times, I can be less careful about how hidden or silent I am because the birds don't care as much. It's all about food. Flowers attract bugs, and bugs attract some birds. So when the flowers are bluming (especiall some flowering trees) I go check them out for birds.

The more you learn about the birds, the more you will appreciate them and the better your photographic opportunities will be.

Eric
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Old Aug 16, 2005, 7:28 AM   #17
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Thanks, im not keen on carting blinds, I just try to spend time in the areas I go to, the birds do tend to get more accepting as time goes on.
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Old Aug 16, 2005, 11:48 AM   #18
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aladyforty wrote:
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Thanks, im not keen on carting blinds, I just try to spend time in the areas I go to, the birds do tend to get more accepting as time goes on.
You should look at loose blind material. It is cheap. Just put over yourself. I got a portable blind and it is worth it when you know birds are going to be at certain known places.


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Old Aug 16, 2005, 4:57 PM   #19
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I will have a look at that or maybe some kind of camouflage
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