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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Bird Talk 
Thread started 18 Jan 2017 (Wednesday) 08:11
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Really Good Explanatory Video

 
Snydremark
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Feb 08, 2017 17:55 |  #16

You'll see a lot of discussion around how to photograph kids that applies, equally, to birds and wildlife but seems to get forgotten or ignored in those realms. Get down on their level, make eye contact in the image, don't frame too close to here they're looking, etc. One of the biggest things for birds/wildlife relates to Tom's post above: Catch them doing something interesting, or *something boring in an interesting manner*. I can't count the number of times I've binned a shot that's fantastically focused, framed, etc but the darned thing is just SITTING there; catching a stretch, yawn, blink, alerted pose, scratch, shake, etc is what I really look for now days. Hell, a lot of times, I'll take a quizzical look.

Duane: For your image, while you have a closed eye, it still works as "eye contact" and falls in the doing something boring in an interesting manner category. Those things are just too darned cute when they nestle down like that and you've got a nice angle for showing that's just what is going on there. Keeping it framed to the right gives "head room" to the left since that's the way it's, effectively, "facing".

Tom's ducks are are great example of breaking up a pattern; I would not have quantified that one as a keeper, if *I* had shot it as it doesn't fall into the wheelhouse of what I normally look for, but it is a good shot.

I, generally, like to shoot more like Duane mentions of isolating out a subject and focusing on it/what it's doing; but, every once in a while, a shot presents itself that breaks that mold and still gives a nice result. This is one of my favorite "chaos" shots that a flock of shore birds gave me on an outing a few years back:

IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/6/5182/5679852425_022f64a049_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/9DUJ​f6  (external link) Shorebird scramble-5462 (external link) by Eric (external link), on Flickr

I really like the fact that several different types of birds in there give the eye something to stick to as it's scanning over the relative jumble of birds doing something at once.

- Eric S.: My Birds/Wildlife (external link) (7D MkII/5D IV, Canon 10-22 f/3.5-4.5, Canon 24-105L f/4 IS, Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS MkII, Canon 100-400L f/4.5-5.6 IS I/II)
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Larry ­ Johnson
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Feb 08, 2017 19:37 |  #17

Randy,

Thanks for sharing those videos. I'm definately guilty of grossly overusing the rule of thirds. I generally, almost robotically, place the subject's eye directly on a crosshair during cropping. Who can blame me, it's what I learned from photography class so many years ago and it's been reinforced by professional wildlife photographers. http://mikeatkinson.ne​t …l-6-basic-composition.htm (external link) . Now that I'm aware of what rule to break, there's no excuse. Thanks.


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Feb 08, 2017 19:56 |  #18

Duane N wrote in post #18268110 (external link)
Tom's example of patterns with the Red-headed Duck among the Coots is probably an image I would have passed on personally because there's too much going on. Yes, it has merit but not what I'm after with my images. I like to isolate my subject(s) free of distractions in the background, optimal light, low shooting angle when possible and some sort of eye contact. Most importantly some sort of unique pose/look and something that shows the behavior of what I'm photographing (mating, preening, drinking, bathing as examples).

Duane,

I agree with you about portrait style images that isolate the bird and blur out practically everything else - those types of images are ones that I like very much, and see a lot of value in. But I would never want to limit myself to just one type of bird image.

Rather, I like to have a body of work that exhibits a great degree of stylistic and compositional diversity. I don't want to miss out on ANY quality image-making opportunity! So, while I really like the types of images that you take, I also want to capture a whole lot of different types of images, too.

One of the primary goals I have, every time I take to the field, is to capture an image that doesn't look anything like anything I have ever shot before - to create something totally different. This would never be possible if I always tried to isolate the subject from its environment.

I want to capture as many quality compositions as possible - I want to get it all! This often means shooting with different gear and different settings, sometimes within a span of just a few minutes. I mean, I wouldn't want to miss a good isolated headshot just because I was focused on environmental portraits at the time. Nor would I want to miss good interaction images because I was focused on the behavior of one individual bird. I want it all! Every single possibility that can be captured - I am greedy for all of it! Of course, it never works out that I will get every single great image that was humanly possible, but that doesn't keep me form holding that as my ultimate goal.

Below are two images that somewhat illustrate my goals for a shoot. These are two images from the same nest on the same morning - one isolating the birds' heads and the nest tree, the other an "environmental portrait", showcasing the type of habitat that the Flickers live and nest in. It is good for one's portfolio to have some images with "a lot going on", and other images that are simpler in scope.


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By the way, the duck image I posted earlier was purchased by an interior design client as a 36" by 24" print. If I had not bothered to capture "something different", I would have lost a sale!

Also, the same image was strongly considered for the cover of a U-Line catalogue back in 2010. They didn't end up picking my photo, but a valuable contact was made because they saw the image on my website and were interested. There is no way to know what all of the potential buyers are going to want, and that is just one more reason to try to shoot things every which way............my motto should be "no composition left behind"!

My title for that duck/coot photo: There's One in Every Crowd!

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Duane ­ N
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Feb 09, 2017 04:04 |  #19

Don't get me wrong...I understand there's always someone that will like and purchase something you may see as a sub-par image (My Mother is a great example of liking something I hate...lol). I also understand isolating the subject isn't the only way to photograph something but this is my main approach and I will adjust depending upon what I'm photographing offers me and it's tolerance to me being near it.

This is a hobby for me so I don't market my images although I do offer them for sale off of my website but I don't advertise that fact. If this were a source of income for me I would approach how I see things in a different way but for right now I'm doing this to keep myself interested. I've always been an "in your face" type of photographer but over the last several years I'm finding including the environment in my images is growing on me and people have commented that they do like seeing where the subject lives.

The first video and it's ending really hit home for me with what he said about thinking outside the box, breaking the rules and developing a style of your own. This is what I tell newer photographers that happen to ask me for advice on how to photograph wildlife. There's a wealth of opinions out there and I think your job as a photographer is to filter through those opinions.


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Feb 10, 2017 10:19 |  #20

Snydremark wrote in post #18268201 (external link)
You'll see a lot of discussion around how to photograph kids that applies, equally, to birds and wildlife but seems to get forgotten or ignored in those realms. Get down on their level, make eye contact in the image, don't frame too close to here they're looking, etc. One of the biggest things for birds/wildlife relates to Tom's post above: Catch them doing something interesting, or *something boring in an interesting manner*. I can't count the number of times I've binned a shot that's fantastically focused, framed, etc but the darned thing is just SITTING there; catching a stretch, yawn, blink, alerted pose, scratch, shake, etc is what I really look for now days. Hell, a lot of times, I'll take a quizzical look.

Duane: For your image, while you have a closed eye, it still works as "eye contact" and falls in the doing something boring in an interesting manner category. Those things are just too darned cute when they nestle down like that and you've got a nice angle for showing that's just what is going on there. Keeping it framed to the right gives "head room" to the left since that's the way it's, effectively, "facing".

Tom's ducks are are great example of breaking up a pattern; I would not have quantified that one as a keeper, if *I* had shot it as it doesn't fall into the wheelhouse of what I normally look for, but it is a good shot.

I, generally, like to shoot more like Duane mentions of isolating out a subject and focusing on it/what it's doing; but, every once in a while, a shot presents itself that breaks that mold and still gives a nice result. This is one of my favorite "chaos" shots that a flock of shore birds gave me on an outing a few years back:
QUOTED IMAGE
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/9DUJ​f6  (external link) Shorebird scramble-5462 (external link) by Eric (external link), on Flickr

I really like the fact that several different types of birds in there give the eye something to stick to as it's scanning over the relative jumble of birds doing something at once.

I'm in complete agreement with what you said, but sometimes I personally take what I can get, it may not be a good shot, but some days are just so unproductive that I get antsy or so bored that I take shots that any sane person wouldn't. :) Your shot of the flock of birds is something that I may take, but I wouldn't take it because of the different birds at its core, I'd (probably) take it and 'later' see it and crop it. I just don't see it all sometimes/most times... :)
The difference is, I know that, but I still do it, if I didn't know it that might be different. I will still (probably) take a shot of a bird that just sits there over not shooting at all, I don't have a choice, that is just the way I am made. I remember my first DSLR, (450D) I wouldn't take many pictures due to I thought I would kill the shutter, after years of using it I was nowhere close to doing that, but I felt that. (It's a sense of frugality, I guess) Now though, I will shoot until I am satisfied that I 'might' have something, I will just buy another camera if the shutter fails. :)

Your shot of ALL of the birds may be interesting to viewers is a good one too, I like it, I always have found the "Looking for Waldo" type situations interesting, I love a good hunt, but some may just see a large amount of birds. :)

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Feb 10, 2017 10:24 |  #21

Larry Johnson wrote in post #18268266 (external link)
Randy,

Thanks for sharing those videos. I'm definately guilty of grossly overusing the rule of thirds. I generally, almost robotically, place the subject's eye directly on a crosshair during cropping. Who can blame me, it's what I learned from photography class so many years ago and it's been reinforced by professional wildlife photographers. http://mikeatkinson.ne​t …l-6-basic-composition.htm (external link) . Now that I'm aware of what rule to break, there's no excuse. Thanks.

No problem, Larry. :)
Yeah, me too on the RoT's, but I still like it and I actually see a use for it, the guy in the video didn't so much, and while I may agree with a lot of that he says, I still will use old habits. Usually I can go back later (maybe weeks or even months) and if something's so terribly wrong it that it makes me actually cringe, I know then and there that I actually am learning. heheh

As far as breaking rules, most times I will do that if I crop a certain way, one that leaves me with very few options. We all have our own cropping preferences and we may not all agree, but I do my best, I am sure that a lot of people don't like a lot of what I do. :)

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Snydremark
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Feb 10, 2017 11:58 |  #22

recrisp wrote in post #18269550 (external link)
I'm in complete agreement with what you said, but sometimes I personally take what I can get, it may not be a good shot, but some days are just so unproductive that I get antsy or so bored that I take shots that any sane person wouldn't. :) Your shot of the flock of birds is something that I may take, but I wouldn't take it because of the different birds at its core, I'd (probably) take it and 'later' see it and crop it. I just don't see it all sometimes/most times... :)
The difference is, I know that, but I still do it, if I didn't know it that might be different. I will still (probably) take a shot of a bird that just sits there over not shooting at all, I don't have a choice, that is just the way I am made. I remember my first DSLR, (450D) I wouldn't take many pictures due to I thought I would kill the shutter, after years of using it I was nowhere close to doing that, but I felt that. (It's a sense of frugality, I guess) Now though, I will shoot until I am satisfied that I 'might' have something, I will just buy another camera if the shutter fails. :)

Your shot of ALL of the birds may be interesting to viewers is a good one too, I like it, I always have found the "Looking for Waldo" type situations interesting, I love a good hunt, but some may just see a large amount of birds. :)

Randy

Don't get me wrong; if I'm out with the camera, I WILL snap the shutter if I see something, even if I *know* ahead of time that I'm going to have 12 images of the same subject/pose because I may find that I like something minutely different in one over another. But, there are a large number of factors for folks to consider before hitting the button when actually shooting "for" a composition.


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Feb 10, 2017 12:02 as a reply to  @ Snydremark's post |  #23

No, I know exactly what you mean, and I was going to say that exact thing too, but I was already getting too wordy, you know, like always. heheh
Yessir, really, I think that I will do just whatever it is that I want to at that particular time, it may not be right, it may be crazy, but like the song, "Girls just want to have fun!"!
'Cept Imma dude! :)

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Feb 10, 2017 13:04 |  #24

recrisp wrote in post #18269550 (external link)
but sometimes I personally take what I can get, it may not be a good shot, but some days are just so unproductive that I get antsy or so bored that I take shots that any sane person wouldn't.

I will go out on a limb and say I think most photographers do this just to see if something works that we don't initially see. I know for me personally most of my black and white images goes against everything I try to do when going out in the field (I call them mistakes or desperation shots) and they end up being my favorites and most popular with the people who follow my photography.


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Feb 10, 2017 14:31 as a reply to  @ Duane N's post |  #25

As Bob Ross would say, "Happy little accidents...".

Yeah, that is very true, I don't have many black and white shots but I do have many that would benefit from it for one reason or another, I get the point, for sure.

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Feb 10, 2017 14:38 |  #26

You know, one of the worst things I can think of when I get back home from shooting all day is to find that I have WAY TOO MANY good shots. Yeah, I know, it sounds like I have a big head, but what I mean is, sometimes I am in the zone and everything falls together and I get good shot after good shot. Usually, (as previously mentioned) I will take a LOT of shots of the same thing and later if it's a good 'scene' I will pick the best out of the best and use the one that has the little nuance that wins. :) (All it takes is a really good life light in their eyes)
Still, I am having a LOT of fun when I do this, I can chimp and (think I) see good shots but I keep on shooting anyway, later I kind of regret that some because of the repetitiveness of the shots, but like I said, I am having fun.

Really now that I am saying all of this I am thinking about placing myself under a specialist's care in a mental asylum... :) It's really all starting to come out now...

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Feb 10, 2017 14:43 |  #27

This topic really got me thinking a lot on how I approach photographing wildlife and although I have a "plan" when I head out it doesn't always work out the way I had planned and just adjust to the situation. It's also given me something to think about and not just focus on one thing which in many cases can end up with something new and/or interesting.

Can I hitch a ride with you to the asylum....I think I need some help also but it sure is fun when everything works out with what you're photographing and you come home with too many to process. :-D


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Feb 10, 2017 15:40 |  #28

recrisp wrote in post #18269778 (external link)
Usually, (as previously mentioned) I will take a LOT of shots of the same thing and later if it's a good 'scene' I will pick the best out of the best and use the one that has the little nuance that wins. :) (All it takes is a really good life light in their eyes)

.
That there - when that happens - it is really good stuff!

Th mental / visual process of looking through a lot of similar images is a really good exercise, because, as you say, you are searching for that one little nuance. When you do this a lot, it helps you to better understand what makes one photo better than another, and then after doing it enough you begin to recognize these things more readily, and eventually you can "see" them when you are afield, looking at the birds through the viewfinder........and thereby capture more interesting photos when you are out shooting.

Looking back at a lot of past work is something that will help you get better in the future.

.


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"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
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Feb 10, 2017 16:33 |  #29

Duane N wrote in post #18269782 (external link)
This topic really got me thinking a lot on how I approach photographing wildlife and although I have a "plan" when I head out it doesn't always work out the way I had planned and just adjust to the situation. It's also given me something to think about and not just focus on one thing which in many cases can end up with something new and/or interesting.

Can I hitch a ride with you to the asylum....I think I need some help also but it sure is fun when everything works out with what you're photographing and you come home with too many to process. :-D

Yep, I know, planning is something that either works very well or sucks so bad you want to give up! :) I used to plan trips, not getting crazy about it, but still I'd plan, then I felt as though I was being timed, stressed too, plus things wouldn't go according to plan so nothing was on time, so I had to quit planning. Not to say that if a person can plan, that's good, and if it works, even better, but it's not for me, not my style anymore. I may head one way to go to a place I like to shoot (locally) and end up going to another. Here's a day I had last year.
I was headed towards a local park that I sometimes go to and I always walk far away from the park into the woods and go from there.
It was snowing, or had snowed lightly and I wanted to get some shots of birds in the snow, we don't get much snow here in Texas so I wanted to take advantage. Anyway, I got to the gate to go in and it was locked, they shut it down because we had 1/10th inch of snow! heheh (Typical here) So I went to another place, there was construction blocking it off, so that was out, I went to another (quiet) park that has a lot of ducks and something's always going on, there was so many park workers there I couldn't believe it, riding carts, cleaning, placing Christmas lights, etc., it was literally off limits to people. So I gave up and went home. You never know what will happen, and I have the worst luck too. I know that isn't the "plan" you meant, but plans are made to be broken too, no matter what they are.

I just barely have room when I am going to the asylum, my car is small and I ate a pretty big lunch. :) (Yeah, reading that back sounded stupid to me too)
Speaking of lots of shots, when I shoot insects I can go in my backyard and literally spend 4 hours shooting stuff, I can take as many as 1,500 shots (not always, but I have) having the best time of my life, it doesn't take a lot to entertain me evidently... heheh

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Feb 10, 2017 16:54 |  #30

Tom Reichner wrote in post #18269853 (external link)
.
That there - when that happens - it is really good stuff!

Th mental / visual process of looking through a lot of similar images is a really good exercise, because, as you say, you are searching for that one little nuance. When you do this a lot, it helps you to better understand what makes one photo better than another, and then after doing it enough you begin to recognize these things more readily, and eventually you can "see" them when you are afield, looking at the birds through the viewfinder........and thereby capture more interesting photos when you are out shooting.

Looking back at a lot of past work is something that will help you get better in the future.

.


Seeing stuff through the viewfinder while it is happening is the way I like to do shots, I don't always 'get to see' what I want, meaning, brain overload may happen. :) I used to shoot product shots for my job before I retired, it wasn't exciting but it paid the bills, but I definitely had to know what to do and when to do it. When I have the time it's usually not a problem, but fast and furious, it may be a problem, I don't think as fast as I used to. :) While that may have been pretty boring I did learn, and I do apply that stuff (whether I know it or not) to my everyday shooting now. So, I did learn to actually 'see' what is in front of you through the viewfinder, it was essential to my job then, and same goes for my fun shots now.

Looking at my old shots from even a year ago can make me cringe!
I am not exaggerating, I might have some shots from a shoot I did that day and see several when I quickly glance through that I think, "Man!", or "I really can't believe that I got that!", or, like us Texans say, "Gol-lee!"... I get fairly excited easy, I guess, but anyway, after I go through them all in maybe only 15 minutes time I go back, this time I am going to be really spending more time inspecting them and I am fairly excited about the ones that I saw earlier... and, I can't find them! I look again, I see some that are similar, but I can't really seem to find the ones that I was slobberin' over. This happens to me quite a bit actually, when I first see them I see them with fresh eyes and it's almost like seeing them through someone else's eyes, then when I come back the reason I can't see them is I am seeing them with my normal, everyday trained eyes. So what I see is nothing more than an average picture, maybe not horrible but something that I might not want to put into my GOOD FILE I usually use.
The first few times that happened to me I actually thought I had lost shots, possibly deleted them somehow, then I learned how I worked, and I didn't like it. heh
Anyway, I doubt many do that and it's kind of weird, but I do, I wish I didn't but that doesn't change much.
I can even look at one of my favorite shots and get to where I don't care for it anymore. What's stranger though is that I can be looking through some older shots and not really be thinking, but maybe zoned out some and see one that I felt like I saw it for the first time and I really like it. So that is also another way that I see with fresh eyes, I can't control that though, but it's really nice to see my stuff exactly the same way I'd look objectively at someone else's stuff, it's kind'a cool in a Twilight Zone way.

Randy


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Photography-on-the.net Digital Photography Forums is the website for photographers and all who love great photos, camera and post processing techniques, gear talk, discussion and sharing. Professionals, hobbyists, newbies and those who don't even own a camera -- all are welcome regardless of skill, favourite brand, gear, gender or age. Registering and usage is free.