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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 28 Feb 2020 (Friday) 06:06
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"If you can't get close enough to fill the frame, don't take the shot"

 
Jeff ­ USN ­ Photog ­ 72-76
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Mar 13, 2020 07:25 |  #121

I think it was Forrest Gump who said "stupid is as stupid does"


"sometimes having is not so pleasing as wanting, it is not logical but it is true" Commander Spock
"Free advice is seldom cheap" Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #59
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Mar 13, 2020 07:30 |  #122

Jeff USN Photog 72-76 wrote in post #19025809 (external link)
I think it was Forrest Gump who said "stupid is as stupid does"

Don't listen to Forrest. He's got coronavirus!


Be the person your dog thinks you are.

  
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Mar 13, 2020 09:20 |  #123

Edgar in ATL wrote in post #19025457 (external link)
Seeing an ant the photographed size of an elephant is not interesting to me. If the image is larger than the subject, provide some ready reference to size in the shot.

"I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords."




  
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Mar 13, 2020 09:55 |  #124

moose10101 wrote in post #19025874 (external link)
"I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords."

It is "Independence Day" the virus goes from world to world taking it over and sucking the life out of it

as long as they don't stop me going to deserted lonely ponds to take pictures i.e. martial law and total quarantine


"sometimes having is not so pleasing as wanting, it is not logical but it is true" Commander Spock
"Free advice is seldom cheap" Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #59
I might not always be right, but I am never wrong! Once I thought I was wrong but I was mistaken!

  
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Mar 13, 2020 12:04 |  #125

Jeff USN Photog 72-76 wrote in post #19025905 (external link)
It is "Independence Day" the virus goes from world to world taking it over and sucking the life out of it

as long as they don't stop me going to deserted lonely ponds to take pictures i.e. martial law and total quarantine


The little third-world rural community that I live in has completely closed all schools and all school activities until further notice with a minimum of two weeks out.
We don't have a college, but the colleges in neighboring counties have sent everyone home and told them to finish the semester with online classes.
The nursing home and hospital are on lock-down = nobody in and nobody out.
I was thinking about going to the goat sale tonight, but I may play safe and stay home.




  
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Mar 13, 2020 13:32 |  #126

BuckSkin wrote in post #19026006 (external link)
The little third-world rural community that I live in has completely closed all schools and all school activities until further notice with a minimum of two weeks out.
We don't have a college, but the colleges in neighboring counties have sent everyone home and told them to finish the semester with online classes.
The nursing home and hospital are on lock-down = nobody in and nobody out.
I was thinking about going to the goat sale tonight, but I may play safe and stay home.

not a bad idea until they get a handle on how bad it is or isn't, part of the problem is lack of testing kits so they really don't know the extent


"sometimes having is not so pleasing as wanting, it is not logical but it is true" Commander Spock
"Free advice is seldom cheap" Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #59
I might not always be right, but I am never wrong! Once I thought I was wrong but I was mistaken!

  
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Mar 13, 2020 18:08 |  #127

Just saw this in your sig and love it, Jeff!

"sometimes having is not so pleasing as wanting, it is not logical but it is true" Commander Spock
"Free advice is seldom cheap" Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #59

As to the title of the thread - 'if you can't get close enough to fill the frame, don't take the shot" - that depends.

I don't think I would take the shot if the bird was 100 to 200 yeards away, no. Unless it is a large flock (coming in, taking off, that's always nice, or silhouetted against a nice sky).

Still, I don't think you always need to fill the frame. When I started shooting birds I wanted to take the kind of photos that I saw experienced bird photographers here at POTN take: very clean, studio-like shots. And I still marvel at the technically just about perfect images people take. And yet, in the end, they're just birds on a stick. I know I'm not making myself very popular with this statement, but I think it's true. The birds are totally removed from their natural habitat and are in fact, in a studio-like situation. And as I said, although I still admire these kinds of bird photographs, they tend to get a bit boring; if you've seen one perfectly posed and shot bird, you've seen them all. I too still take them if I can, because, well, that's what you do, but I have also moved toward a more inclusive type of photo. Especially if the setting is really pretty it enhances the whole image and the bird on a stick becomes much more.

I live in the city and have no garden, no balcony even. I do have a nice city park nearby. I have set up feeders there once, years ago during one of the last real winters, to attract songbirds. And sure enough, they came and all I had to do was sit and wait for them to arrive and then shoot them. I took some of my best photographs of songbirds that season. And it also took the fun right out of photographing them for me. I had no sense of accomplishment. It almost felt like cheating. So I gave that up, even though it is infinitely more difficult to get good shots of songbirds "in the wild". And please understand, this is no judgement on other people's methods of shooting birds. This goes for me and me alone! All I can say is that when I browse the dedicated bird portrait thread, I enjoy bird photographs with beautiful settings/backgrounds the most and they are always shot in the wild. But again, that's just me.

Anyway, what I want to say is that there is room for all sorts of bird photography, from frame-filling to environmental shots.

Here's an example of a Godwit I shot years ago. This was at dawn, at the countryside. I was sitting on the path (the grass being awfully wet) and waited for the sun to come up. Suddenly this guy landed right in front of me. I wanted to lie down and shoot him at eye level but knew he would take off immediately, so I held my breath and managed to take exactly two shots. There was no light to speak of yet but both shots turned out very well. The bird filled the frame and aside from some basic tweaking not much processing was needed. Light, little though there was, was perfect to bring out the colours on the bird (which is why I love blue hour so much!). So it's a very nice image.


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Next is an image I took in the same period, but now late afternoon, so very different light, very warm. It's a juvenile Godwit (he has still fluff on him) and he was too far away for anything frame filling (or anything good for that matter). But light was lovely so I went down on my belly, used a 1.4xTC with my 400/5.6L (and 1DIIN with its, what? 8 mp was it?) and hoped for the best. I'm still fond of the few images I kept, low res and all :-P.


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So what I'm saying is that no, you don't need to always have a bird fill the frame. But do pay attention to the light, setting, background, angle, composition, so that it doesn't matter that the bird isn't filling the frame as there is more to the image than just the bird. That's my view anyway, for what it's worth.

I'm a bloody goody two-shoes!
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Jeff ­ USN ­ Photog ­ 72-76
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Mar 13, 2020 18:22 |  #128

Levina
I agree with you 100%, I try to get closeups but since I am limited in mobility I often shoot on the side of several ponds. sometimes the birds cooperate and get close but often I am shooting 100-300 yards away from the birds. I do try to get more of the habitat lately, to put it in perspective. sometimes you can do both.
I enjoy the quiet times and then the bursts of sudden activity.

Also since I am shooting from so far away even with a 600mm the birds are small in the frame. I can't get closer (I haven't been able to walk on water since my kids grew up) and the ponds/reservoirs don't allow boats. so I make do


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"sometimes having is not so pleasing as wanting, it is not logical but it is true" Commander Spock
"Free advice is seldom cheap" Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #59
I might not always be right, but I am never wrong! Once I thought I was wrong but I was mistaken!

  
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Tom ­ Reichner
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Post edited 11 months ago by Tom Reichner. (2 edits in all)
     
Mar 13, 2020 18:55 |  #129

Levina de Ruijter wrote in post #19026234 (external link)
Still, I don't think you always need to fill the frame. When I started shooting birds I wanted to take the kind of photos that I saw experienced bird photographers here at POTN take: very clean, studio-like shots. And I still marvel at the technically just about perfect images people take. And yet, in the end, they're just birds on a stick. I know I'm not making myself very popular with this statement, but I think it's true. The birds are totally removed from their natural habitat and are in fact, in a studio-like situation. And as I said, although I still admire these kinds of bird photographs, they tend to get a bit boring …..

The "bird on a stick" thing ran its course about a decade ago.

In many popular bird photography circles, online and otherwise, the "bird on a stick" style of image was very popular during the earlier days of digital photography; from the very early 2000's until around 2010. Then it started to gather a stigma about it, as most people started to have the same sentiments that you stated - that it was boring and not creative and overdone. The bird photography world had seen enough of the perfectly composed, technically perfect, bird on a stick images. And so for the past decade, in many advanced circles, those kinds of images are rather frowned upon, although some folks, such as Alan Murphy, still produce a fair number of that type of image.

These days, the popular thing to do is to create an image that is still technically perfect, but to capture dramatic action, or dramatic behavior, or a spectacular environmental portrait with the bird surrounded by a wonderfully rendered slice of its preferred native habitat. In other words, the "bird on a stick" thing just isn't going to impress anyone very much anymore, no matter how perfectly it is done. To impress folks nowadays, it needs to be an image that would be difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to re-create.

So these days, just filling the frame isn't really good enough …… you have to do something more unique and creative than just filling the frame if you want your images to stand out and be noticed and appreciated.

Personally, however, I still appreciate the bird on a stick images, because plumage details being captured in exquisite detail is what impresses me and what I think is beautiful and interesting. So I still take those kinds of images when I can and appreciate the ones that others take and share with us.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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Post edited 11 months ago by Tronhard. (13 edits in all)
     
Mar 14, 2020 00:28 as a reply to  @ Tom Reichner's post |  #130

With respect, I am going to disagree with the "bird on a stick" label and the disdain that it implies.

To label a type of photograph like that is to do the same thing as make the sweeping statement about filling the frame - it suggest that one must do (or do not do) this or that if one wants respect. Doubtless that statement is true for a certain constituency and that is fine, but it is not a universal truth.

It is important for those of us who have shot for a long time to realize the impact of the words we use on others and how it makes them feel about their photography. The impression that prevails with such comments is that their work is diminished, disrespected and of lesser worth. How sad...

I am not ashamed to take close-up images of birds that are not flying, doing line dancing or other interactions with their environment, but then again I have paid little heed that my images are fashionable or considered good form. I have just made money from them or shot for my own satisfaction. I have said with monotonous regularity people take photos for many reasons, one of which is to be judged; but people take photos to present their view of the world, seek inspiration, relieve stress and to escape from their normal drudge. They often share images to express themselves and seek support for their efforts. I am not sure I would want to read some of these comments from their perspective.

Without doubt, looking at images that are currently showing in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition here in Auckland I would agree that for this context the trend is for animals relating to their environment rather than the animal in isolation.

But that is not the only truth and it does not speak for all wildlife photographers. For comparison the following link is currently published on behalf of National Geographic,
https://pikroll.com …geographic-animal-photos/ (external link)
with the following commentary:
"To take photographs of the wild animals in the wild is the main part of the tale we tell at National Geographic. Every September photographers around the world are invited to submit their best wildlife shot to win the title of ‘Nature Photographer of the year.’ Furry, feathered and finned- Here is selected 20 National Geographic animal photos for you to encourage the wild photographer in you"
Look at image #20.

Here is one I shot, this bird is not actually on a stick (nor is it constrained, housed or handled) but otherwise I fear it would likely fall into that genre because it is sharp and does not show the bird within its wider environment...


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I am not ashamed of it: in fact, for several reasons, it is one of my most cherished images...

Perhaps my approach to others' images is best expressed by these last two lines from
The Cloths of Heaven
...
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W. B. Yeats

"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
We aren't remembered for the gear we use, rather the quality of the images we create. Me...
Trevor

  
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Mar 14, 2020 00:36 |  #131
bannedPermanently

Oh dear :rolleyes:


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Mar 14, 2020 10:29 |  #132

Levina de Ruijter wrote in post #19026234 (external link)
Just saw this in your sig and love it, Jeff!

As to the title of the thread - 'if you can't get close enough to fill the frame, don't take the shot" - that depends.

I don't think I would take the shot if the bird was 100 to 200 yeards away, no. Unless it is a large flock (coming in, taking off, that's always nice, or silhouetted against a nice sky).

Still, I don't think you always need to fill the frame. When I started shooting birds I wanted to take the kind of photos that I saw experienced bird photographers here at POTN take: very clean, studio-like shots. And I still marvel at the technically just about perfect images people take. And yet, in the end, they're just birds on a stick. I know I'm not making myself very popular with this statement, but I think it's true. The birds are totally removed from their natural habitat and are in fact, in a studio-like situation. And as I said, although I still admire these kinds of bird photographs, they tend to get a bit boring; if you've seen one perfectly posed and shot bird, you've seen them all. I too still take them if I can, because, well, that's what you do, but I have also moved toward a more inclusive type of photo. Especially if the setting is really pretty it enhances the whole image and the bird on a stick becomes much more.

I live in the city and have no garden, no balcony even. I do have a nice city park nearby. I have set up feeders there once, years ago during one of the last real winters, to attract songbirds. And sure enough, they came and all I had to do was sit and wait for them to arrive and then shoot them. I took some of my best photographs of songbirds that season. And it also took the fun right out of photographing them for me. I had no sense of accomplishment. It almost felt like cheating. So I gave that up, even though it is infinitely more difficult to get good shots of songbirds "in the wild". And please understand, this is no judgement on other people's methods of shooting birds. This goes for me and me alone! All I can say is that when I browse the dedicated bird portrait thread, I enjoy bird photographs with beautiful settings/backgrounds the most and they are always shot in the wild. But again, that's just me.

Anyway, what I want to say is that there is room for all sorts of bird photography, from frame-filling to environmental shots.

Here's an example of a Godwit I shot years ago. This was at dawn, at the countryside. I was sitting on the path (the grass being awfully wet) and waited for the sun to come up. Suddenly this guy landed right in front of me. I wanted to lie down and shoot him at eye level but knew he would take off immediately, so I held my breath and managed to take exactly two shots. There was no light to speak of yet but both shots turned out very well. The bird filled the frame and aside from some basic tweaking not much processing was needed. Light, little though there was, was perfect to bring out the colours on the bird (which is why I love blue hour so much!). So it's a very nice image.
thumbnail
Hosted photo: posted by Levina de Ruijter in
./showthread.php?p=190​26234&i=i193340539
forum: General Photography Talk

Next is an image I took in the same period, but now late afternoon, so very different light, very warm. It's a juvenile Godwit (he has still fluff on him) and he was too far away for anything frame filling (or anything good for that matter). But light was lovely so I went down on my belly, used a 1.4xTC with my 400/5.6L (and 1DIIN with its, what? 8 mp was it?) and hoped for the best. I'm still fond of the few images I kept, low res and all :-P.
thumbnail
Hosted photo: posted by Levina de Ruijter in
./showthread.php?p=190​26234&i=i92790622
forum: General Photography Talk

So what I'm saying is that no, you don't need to always have a bird fill the frame. But do pay attention to the light, setting, background, angle, composition, so that it doesn't matter that the bird isn't filling the frame as there is more to the image than just the bird. That's my view anyway, for what it's worth.

No you don't. With the second shot I was checking out the outer focus points on my 7D1 and I kinda like this one.


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Mar 14, 2020 11:09 |  #133

Tom Reichner wrote in post #19026263 (external link)
The "bird on a stick" thing ran its course about a decade ago.

In many popular bird photography circles, online and otherwise, the "bird on a stick" style of image was very popular during the earlier days of digital photography; from the very early 2000's until around 2010. Then it started to gather a stigma about it, as most people started to have the same sentiments that you stated - that it was boring and not creative and overdone. The bird photography world had seen enough of the perfectly composed, technically perfect, bird on a stick images. And so for the past decade, in many advanced circles, those kinds of images are rather frowned upon, although some folks, such as Alan Murphy, still produce a fair number of that type of image.

I don't know, Tom, but I see them all around. Including here on POTN. Some are mine, although most of mine are most definitely not as perfectly composed and technically perfect as I don't shoot from hides or use feeders etc.

These days, the popular thing to do is to create an image that is still technically perfect, but to capture dramatic action, or dramatic behavior, or a spectacular environmental portrait with the bird surrounded by a wonderfully rendered slice of its preferred native habitat. In other words, the "bird on a stick" thing just isn't going to impress anyone very much anymore, no matter how perfectly it is done. To impress folks nowadays, it needs to be an image that would be difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to re-create.

So these days, just filling the frame isn't really good enough …… you have to do something more unique and creative than just filling the frame if you want your images to stand out and be noticed and appreciated.

Personally, however, I still appreciate the bird on a stick images, because plumage details being captured in exquisite detail is what impresses me and what I think is beautiful and interesting. So I still take those kinds of images when I can and appreciate the ones that others take and share with us.

Yes, as I said above, bird on a stick images are usually technically perfect and I very much admire them. They're just not as pleasing to me as shots where the bird is shown in its natural environment. It's a personal preference. Maybe I just like a bit of imperfection.

As to the "popular thing to do", well, fads come and go. Best to ignore them and shoot the things you yourself like.


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Mar 14, 2020 12:21 as a reply to  @ Levina de Ruijter's post |  #134

I need clarification on the precise definition (as it has been used here) of "bird on a stick" , a term I had not encountered until now.

So far, as I understand it, it has a couple of possible interpretations:

1. Shooting a bird up close without much in the way of background or surroundings. Yet the bird is still in the wild, uninhibited, and exists in its natural state - it just happens to be sitting on a branch (as they do...):-)

2. Shooting a bird up close under controlled or constrained conditions, as in birds in captivity, in a zoo, animal park etc. where they are not free to come and go or behave as they actually would.

To me the difference is significant. In the first scenario one is shooting where the bird decides where and how it will place itself and can disappear at any time - and that's a challenge: to meet the animal on its turf and capture it on its terms.

That is different from scenario two where the bird is forced to stay static (or relatively so) so is a much easier target.

This does not only apply to birds - on my travels I was horrified to see a bear tied up with chains to its feet by some villagers so that tourists could get an easy shot of the bear's upper body - that 'perfect' shot that has been referred to. To accept such cruel and inhuman acts for an image is not something I would ever engage with. Sadly a lot of phone-toting tourists were less squeamish...

For myself, if I post an image, I shoot in the mode 1 unless I specifically say so. When I was shooting professionally I had to identify if the animal was in wild or constrained and I would still do that today.

Image quality and wildlife conditions are two separate parameters and one does not necessarily imply the other. Just because an image is crisp, clear and fills the frame does not mean it was taken under controlled conditions, an assumption that I think was taken on some of my shots. Nor does a less than crisp or well-composed image imply a natural image. I cannot see how they necessarily relate.

Often the tight framing is necessary where wild animals naturally encroach on human habitats and I don't want the shot to include man-made elements. Alternatively, as Tom said, to get the details of a bird's plumage is one of the goals of any wildlife photographer and I'm totally with him there. That said, there is a whole genre of images showing how wild animals live, adapt and thrive in our humanized environments - it's just not my thing.:rolleyes:

Definitely, there are people who want to shoot animals but have no access to the environments in which those animals will be found naturally. Thus, it is perfectly understandable that they would go to some place where they can find them - and usually that is a zoo, animal park etc. It's actually a great environment in which to study subjects, practice one's skills and learn to anticipate their movements. So I cannot fault them for doing so - just don't claim they were in the wild. I just hope they one day get to see those animals in their natural state. :-)


"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
We aren't remembered for the gear we use, rather the quality of the images we create. Me...
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Jeff ­ USN ­ Photog ­ 72-76
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Mar 14, 2020 13:52 |  #135

To my mind it would apply to birds in the zoo or being held by a handler, like they had in Photoplus recently


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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.