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Broad-billed Sandpiper (1 Viewer)

kuzeycem

Medicinal Birding
Turkey
Taken on 19 August 2016 on 17:07. Approximate distance 5-7 meters. Equipment Canon EOS 7D + Canon EF 400mm f5.6 lens. Shot using partial camouflage, laying on the belly with a pillow as stabilizer.
F number: 7.1
Exposure program: 3
Exposure time/shutter speed: 1/1600
ISO: 400

Edited in Adobe Photoshop Elements. Highlights, brightness, contrast, shadows have been adjusted, noise reduction & blurring has been applied to relevant areas and bird has been given selective sharpness.
The photo is fullHD (1920X1080 pixels).

I would really like to hear your opinion on this photograph. If you think it's just great or perfect write so, if not and you don't like something about it PLEASE do write. I like constructive comments the most.
 

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kuzeycem

Medicinal Birding
Turkey
Just realised that Birdforum probably doesn't support HD images, is there a way I can present this to you guys in its full size?
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Looks very good for me. I would like to see a side view one, but anyway I like it.

I think its a cracking shot, it shows the distinctive head pattern brilliantly. Also it makes a nice change from "field guide" side-on pictures. ;)

As a stand alone rather than a part of a series (in which you would want a variety of poses and indeed variety of scales of the bird within the image), top job.

John
 

mathare

Well-known member
Personally I love the detail on the bird and the sharpness but I find the blurred foreground distracting. I think the angle is a touch too low for my liking. The blurred bottom right corner hides some of the ripples, for example. I'm nit picking here as the bird is super sharp but there is a definite ridge line that draws my eye to the bottom right corner where the stones (?) were darker and then as my eye moves back to the subject I can't help but wish the ripples were complete.

Credit for a really nice photo, way better than anything i could take but for me the composition could be slightly improved.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Personally I love the detail on the bird and the sharpness but I find the blurred foreground distracting. I think the angle is a touch too low for my liking. The blurred bottom right corner hides some of the ripples, for example. I'm nit picking here as the bird is super sharp but there is a definite ridge line that draws my eye to the bottom right corner where the stones (?) were darker and then as my eye moves back to the subject I can't help but wish the ripples were complete.

Credit for a really nice photo, way better than anything i could take but for me the composition could be slightly improved.

Mmmm, take your point. I might have just lightened the stone at the right hand side to make it less different from the rest of the foreground. The incompleteness of the ripples I can live with to get the image size and the rest of the composition.

However, this particular discussion touches on something that tends to irritate me about wildlife photography (mostly as expressed by Chris Packham), that anything potentially distracting must be removed from a picture, leaving a strong intended image but to me, a bland representation of nature. Don't get me wrong, I'll remove the tip of a grass blade from a nose and so on: but take out a rock that isn't in front of the subject? No way. That's part of the habitat the animal interacts with.

In this case, the extreme low angle is indicative of the bird's view of the world - how high obstacles are to it, how it can or can't scan for predators due to objects we scarcely register from our high viewpoint: it takes us into the bird's world - and the slight clutter in the foreground belongs. IMHO...... :t:

Cheers

John
 

mathare

Well-known member
However, this particular discussion touches on something that tends to irritate me about wildlife photography (mostly as expressed by Chris Packham), that anything potentially distracting must be removed from a picture, leaving a strong intended image but to me, a bland representation of nature. Don't get me wrong, I'll remove the tip of a grass blade from a nose and so on: but take out a rock that isn't in front of the subject? No way. That's part of the habitat the animal interacts with.
I am actually with you on this one. Packham seems quite obsessive about removing any and all clutter from an image but things can be too cleaned up and sanitised.

In the case of this image I wouldn't necessarily crop out the foreground rocks. The downward slope draws my eye to the darker stone - which could be lightened as you say. But I would perhaps play with the blurring of the foreshore. You want the ripples in the water pretty sharp which no doubt limits the amount you can blur the edge of the rocks in the foreground. Maybe less blurring of those stones in the foreground could work - I don't know without seeing it. It may not even be possible depending on what was captured in the original image and what has been done in post-processing. I know the OP said some blurring had been applied but I don't know the depth of field in the original image.

In this case, the extreme low angle is indicative of the bird's view of the world - how high obstacles are to it, how it can or can't scan for predators due to objects we scarcely register from our high viewpoint: it takes us into the bird's world - and the slight clutter in the foreground belongs. IMHO...... :t:
Yes, a good point. It's nice to enter into the world as the bird sees it more. It's not the clutter in the foreground I have a problem with so much as what my eye perceives as quite a strong diagonal line along the rocks leading towards the bottom right of the image. If there was some way of getting rid of that... It may be that if the stones were slightly out of focus rather than more strongly blurred my eye would take in the detail of them and not see a strong blurred v focused discontinuity along that edge.

And I really was nit picking. It is a beautifully strong image.
 

kuzeycem

Medicinal Birding
Turkey
Hi, I've been a little busy-sorry for the late response.
I'n going to address your issues point-by-point. I will not defend my picture, just maybe explain the reasoning behind my choices.

Low angle of view: As John said, I like to be close and intimate with my subject. Being on the same level as it is a great way to do it. You can see how the bird interacts with its surroundings and feed, preen, walk etc. in an intimate way. Also I've found that being close to the ground makes you look less threatening, so when you are on your belly the birds are usually more confiding (this is actually one of the more distant shots).

Uneven rocks: The priority for me in terms of evenness is the bird and the "imaginary" line it's on being straight. The photo is originally slightly crooked, so I had to tilt it so the bird itself looks "straight". This probably resulted in the stones looking more sloping than they actually are. Note, however, that the shoreline itself wasn't straight as well, it had its bumps and was like a crescent into the water.

Dark rock: Now this was an interesting approach! I never even noticed the dark rock or how eye-catching it is. It is also dark in the original image but other than that I have nothing to explain.

Ripples: Two things are very important to me: sharpness and noise. As you know 7D is a noise machine, go over ISO 400 and you'll have a hard time. So I had to compromise the sharpness of these ripples and rocks to get rid of the noise. Maybe the reduction was a bit too aggressive, but I think it's better than a noise-infested shot?

One thing I myself don't like about this image is that I failed to make the bill look sharp. I guess the f-stop was too low? Some sharpening made it look more in focus but anyway, would've preferred to be in focus in the first place.

Cheers.
 

seaspirit

Well-known member
I like the image, personally I would reduce the negative space on the left hand side a bit.
Detail in the bird, including the catch-light in the eye and the low eye-level is what I aim for in this kind of portraits.

For me the foreground adds dept and dimension to the image. However, here it is not optimal and hence some of the criticism above as there is a sharp ridge between the blurred part and the water. Still I would rather keep the foreground than taking it out. Maybe burning it a bit will ease the transition.
 

kuzeycem

Medicinal Birding
Turkey
OK, did what you suggested and burnt it out a bit. What do you think?

Also if anyone would like to edit this photo themselves I would be happy to send them the raw file.
 

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