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Old Thursday 25th May 2006, 08:39   #1
senatore
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What makes a pleasing bird pic. for you?

I have only had my DSLR and telephoto lens for a few months but the pics I am most pleased with are the ones that are sharp and detailed.Unfortuneately these are rare for me as you have to get close to the bird in question which I do not find easy.

It does not matter to me if the bird is rare or common it's the sharpness and detail that counts for me.My favourites to date have been pics of a Chaffinch and a Starling which I value more than rather distant pics of the quite rare Wood Sandpiper I took a couple of weeks ago.

What makes a pleasing bird pic. for you?

Max.
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Old Thursday 25th May 2006, 10:32   #2
ermine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by senatore
What makes a pleasing bird pic. for you?

Max.
Sharpness and detail are qualifiers - it is necessary to have enough of these but not enough. Other qualifiers are having the bird looking at least in the direction of the camera rather than away, a catchlight in the eye, not too much rubbish detail in the background, no highlights blown. I personally can't stand chromatic aberration but from the bird photos I see this is not a general dislike. If a picture I take fails on the qualifiers then I delete it unless it is really a rarity (to me).

Then come the aesthetic calls, from composition to pose and balance in the picture and there we will all differ :)
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Old Thursday 25th May 2006, 15:50   #3
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I like numerous different types of shot...

1. classic portraits - I like good detailed close ups - I'm always really pleased when I manage to take one, but find that I don't tend to look back on them much.

2. low level - I like shots taken at the birds level, this often means getting cold and wet just to get down to the angle.

3. shots with movement - I like flight shots where the head is sharp, but there's motion blur on the wings. The moment of take off or landing is always pleasing to get.

4. behaviour shots - I'm a birder at heart so I really enjoy getting a shot that shows some behaviour, preferably strange behaviour!

5. bird small in the frame - I like this kind of shot as it gives the shot some context, this probably wins out as my favourite type of bird shot, shame I'm not that good at them.

Two examples of bird shots where the bird isn't a frame filler... first is a wheatear shot of mine (probably my best shot of the year so far), the second is a stunning shot by Nigel Blake (you've probably seen it before, but it's always worth another look).

http://www.birdforum.net/pp_gallery/...cat/500/page/7
http://www.birdforum.net/pp_gallery/...hp?photo=40296
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Old Thursday 25th May 2006, 16:59   #4
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Postcard CV that is nice Wheatear and wow Nigel Blake's photo of the owl is something else.

www.peregrinesbirdphotographers.blogspot.com
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Old Thursday 25th May 2006, 19:16   #5
Adey Baker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by senatore

What makes a pleasing bird pic. for you
One that prompts someone to email me with a request to use the photo for a cover shot for which they're prepared to pay the full market rate...
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Old Thursday 25th May 2006, 21:14   #6
Touty
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Quote:
Originally Posted by senatore
I have only had my DSLR and telephoto lens for a few months but the pics I am most pleased with are the ones that are sharp and detailed.Unfortuneately these are rare for me as you have to get close to the bird in question which I do not find easy.

It does not matter to me if the bird is rare or common it's the sharpness and detail that counts for me.My favourites to date have been pics of a Chaffinch and a Starling which I value more than rather distant pics of the quite rare Wood Sandpiper I took a couple of weeks ago.

What makes a pleasing bird pic. for you?

Max.
Pictures just work or they don't. FIRST they're technically correct (focus, light and depth of fields)... then the art cuts in.

I'm not sure if burning a single digital SLR shutter in a year (100,000 pictures) is the answer ... or having the 'eye'. Nigel (Blake) has 'the eye' but I know other photographers who have produced thousands of techically competent photos since the 1950s e (perfectly lit, perfectly exposed, centred and full screen) that didn't do anything for me. My guess is that Nigel and other photographers who do pull off great photos work 90% on the context and 10% on the bird.
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Old Thursday 25th May 2006, 23:40   #7
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Max,
I agree with every word in the above replies. There really isn't a formula or recipe you can follow and always get pleasing results. But there is the technical part (exposure, color, sharpness, detail, etc...) that you can repeat over and over. The artistic part is the tough one. Mainly because it so hard to get those darn birds to pose properly......LOL While luck plays a part, you can increase your odds by being in the right place with good light. By the right place, I mean a place where your subjects will land or pass by closely. Where the direction and intensity of light hitting them will not only bring out color and detail, but will also give a nice catchlight in the eye.

I have taken lots of bird shots that please me. I have never taken a "WOW" shot though :-( Nothing like Nigel's shot for sure :-) I really liked Pete's shot too. Creamy bokeh, pretty colored little bird and sharp as a tack ^5 Oh yeah, and a crisp eye with catchlight.

Steve

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Old Thursday 25th May 2006, 23:51   #8
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Many thanks Paul

I think that the main key to the composition of a good bird image is that once you have the bird in frame, other than its posture/behavior, it can be ignored, scanning around the rest of the frame for distractions and colours that compliment or conflict with the whole image is as important and maybe even more important than the subject itself.
Backgrounds should always compliment the subject however big the bird might be in frame, with birds that are smaller in frame then there must be some form of context that illustrates the birds relationship with its environment.
Understanding the effects of aperture in relation to depth of field can have great impact on the final shot by either tying the subject to its habitat or separating it so as the viewers attention is concentrated on the subject alone.
Importantly too, the subject should have room to 'move' within the frame, space forward of the subject is desirable in achieving this.

Some of these parameters change considerably with regard to images that may be used for publication, and whilst most of the above applies, there should be room for copy or captions, such as titles etc to fit around the main subject, with this in mind the background is better if it is diffuse so as not to conflict with whatever print might be overlayed on the image.


Edit, I hope the above makes sense, I've just had 4 pints, 2 brandies and a Curry (chicken Jalfrezi, not Edwina)

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Old Friday 26th May 2006, 06:21   #9
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I think that what please one in one's own photos may include something that's not necessarily apparent to other viewers.

For instance, back in the '70s a farmer who lived close to me had a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker nesting in an old apple tree stump in his garden and I went round to see it, promising to come back and photograph it when the weather was brighter - of course, the young birds flew the nest before I had chance to return and it wasn't until last year that I found my own Lesser Spot nest and obtained some photos. They're not prize-winning shots but they obviously pleased me a lot to get them.
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Old Friday 26th May 2006, 08:55   #10
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Thanks for all the very interesting replies everyone.

I really struggle to get a great pic. but what keeps me going is that with a DSLR camera set up you can "fluke" a great shot at any time.

Max.
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Old Sunday 28th May 2006, 02:26   #11
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For me, shot-killers are lack of feather detail, blown highlights, poor exposure. I like to see something of the bird's environment, with no "hand of man" artifacts visible. Preferably, the light has some 'mood' to it. The shot probably shouldn't look like it would be at home in a field guide illustrating what the species looks like. Finally, it's a real plus if the animal is doing something besides just sitting or standing on a perch.
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Old Sunday 28th May 2006, 11:10   #12
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I'm very much with Gerry here...
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Old Sunday 28th May 2006, 22:37   #13
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I would tend to agree with Keith and Gerry except my priorities are the other way round, the composition and activity is what draws my attention, getting the technical things right is a bonus that can elevate a good picture to a great picture.

Mick... still trying to achieve a good pic never mind a great one.
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