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FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Birds 
Thread started 22 Apr 2010 (Thursday) 20:42
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A Story in every Picture.

 
Joe ­ F.N.
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Apr 22, 2010 20:42 |  #1

The more I take bird pictures the more I attach a story to every picture. In the beginning it was all about getting settings right and making sure that post processing produced an image that I wouldn't be afraid of showing to the public. As time progressed and to some degree, so did the technical side of using a camera, I paid much more attention to what was inside the frame. My thought processes changed from the perfect pose under perfect light to why had I taken this shot in the first place. I was beginning to collect photographs that were very similar in appearance such as the classic side shot where every feather was sharp and exposures were spot on. Yes, they were technically better but they were starting to become boring. After awhile the responses would be as much the same as the series of pictures I had posted. "Nice and sharp Joe, with great detail." Don't get me wrong, I appreciated the accolades but I would rather peak someones interest in the event taking place within the image instead of commenting on the judicious use of an exposure slider in Photo Shop. I did discover though, that this sometimes comes at the cost of missing the precise mechanics of picture taking or nailing the absolute rule of thirds. Some of the following images may demonstrate this better than my abilities to say it in words.

1/ In this picture a stick had been placed in the ground next to a feeder. Getting the male Cardinal to come was difficult enough so when he took this pose on the prepared perch, I was quite pleased.

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2/ The classic pose.

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3/ Last week I showed the top of a male Golden-crowned Kinglet's head so the distinguishing marks could be seen. This week I caught the female in the same position to show how she looks from the top.

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4/ I spotted a Kestrel sitting on a wire and stopped to catch a few shots. This isn't my favourite perch, not by a long shot but when I happened to look at the National Geographic bird book and it stated that Kestrels can often be seen perched on power lines and other wires I didn't feel so bad. Perhaps that's where this bird belongs.

IMAGE: http://joenoordman.smugmug.com/Images-chosen-for-posting-on/Picks-of-the-Week/0419-2010JPG0012/842318400_qxPrs-O.jpg

5/ Harvey and I chased this Hermit Thrush through some woods for quite some time. It was a lot darker in that patch of forest than what this picture indicates. If you can see the EXIF it will tell you that ISO was at 2500. That took a lot of work on the BG to remove the noise. BTW! IMHO this bird is second only to the Wood Thrush in it's singing ability. The sounds that come from these Thrushes make you stop taking pictures just so you can enjoy the music.

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6/ This picture was taken in a magical place. In a dark pocket of the woods I saw this Junco sitting in front of a rotten stump. It appeared as if he was thinking of the long journey he was about to take to get to his nesting grounds. When I down loaded this shot I saw, in the bottom right hand corner, an out of focus plant against the stump. It looked like a water fall dropping from a cliff face. I left it intact since it gave an element of interest for me within the scene.

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Thanks for looking in folks and I hope I haven't bored you with my diatribe.

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neophyte52
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Apr 22, 2010 21:14 |  #2

Nice & sharp, Joe, w/ great detail :lol:

Seriously, "the rest of the story" does make the shots more interesting. I enjoy it when I see that on this site. Personally, I'm still at the "get it in focus" stage ;)


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Maureen ­ Souza
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Apr 22, 2010 21:22 |  #3

these are beautiful, Joe. Loved the storytelling as well :)


Life is hard...but I just take it one photograph at a time.

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Tsmith
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Apr 22, 2010 22:18 |  #4

The first shot is a winner Joe. Perfect natural lighting and super crisp details.




  
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txcanon
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Apr 23, 2010 03:53 |  #5

All these shot are gorgeous and I enjoyed the interesting read Joe! The first shot is a wall hanger! The second photo reminds me of a shot I took last week of our resident male Cardinal as the perch and pose are very similar. :)


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sparker1
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Apr 23, 2010 04:23 |  #6

You make valid points, Joe. I have always posted shots that I found "interesting", whether they were technically good or not. To me, the primary value of sharing these photos is to portray behavior. At the same time, we all appreciate the skills you display with every post.


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Duane ­ N
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Apr 23, 2010 04:53 |  #7

Joe F.N. wrote in post #10048067 (external link)
I was beginning to collect photographs that were very similar in appearance such as the classic side shot where every feather was sharp and exposures were spot on. Yes, they were technically better but they were starting to become boring.

It's good to think differently and I came to this same conclusion about a year ago. I passed on many opportunities and deleted many images listening to who I thought knew a lot about Avian photography. It started to become "work" trying to get the classic pose image. Thankfully I took the time to listen to the non-experts when I asked what they liked to see in a photograph....the biggest response was showing the character the bird displays, color, head turns and the use of light and shadows.

This is an excellent series of photographs but I think there is a more important message in this topic...keeping an open mind when photographing something and having fun doing it.


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canonloader
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Apr 23, 2010 05:06 |  #8

Great set Joe, althogh #5 is a red x for me. The cardinal really stands out, proving that with the 7D, Canon finally made a camera that can do reds. :)


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snowyowl13
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Apr 23, 2010 06:20 |  #9

Excellent. I am starting to do more shots showing the environment of the bird so that the the bird is in a picture rather than just a picture of a bird if you get my meaning.




  
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dbriz
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Apr 23, 2010 08:22 |  #10

Your photos are as extraordinary as your insights... as you may guess, my favorite photo would be the junco in contemplation... I enjoy seeing photos showing the natural settings and environment as well as those with the totality of the bird in the frame... but I guess I agree with Dan on his thoughts. Striving to achieve the natural beauty of the feathers and patterns with the unity of the composition, is a gift... and you in my opinion, do this exceptionally.

db


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Chris ­ Manchester
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Apr 23, 2010 10:46 |  #11

I'm just hoping I can progress enough to a point where I am bored with getting a tack-sharp image with exposure spot on !! Getting anything in sharp focus would be a good start in my case !

Great shots, all of them.


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eamo
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Apr 23, 2010 11:25 |  #12

All i can do is echo the sentiments of earlier posters - lovely shots and I struggle just to get mine in focus !
An insightful thread.

eamo




  
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MakeMeShutter
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Apr 23, 2010 11:58 as a reply to  @ eamo's post |  #13

Beautiful images,
Love the classic pose of number two.

I imagine the longer one takes pictures of birds and wildlife the more familiar they become with the habbits of the animals.

I hope to someday become bored with the technically correct images.:)

For now I will continue to strive for technically correct which I am still struggling with.


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Nighthound
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Apr 23, 2010 12:13 |  #14

Profound words and photographic gems to support them.

The evolution you describe Joe, is one that I can personally relate to. It's easy to loose sight of the emotion of the image and our subjects when we place the technical blinders on. I've done it and I keep pushing myself to look deeper and really "see" the shot that captures more of the essence rather than the just the presence of the bird. I don't always accomplish it but I do more often now that it's a goal. I'm a detail freak, I admit it but for me the real challenge of shooting still photography of birds or any animals really is to capture the moment that feels "alive" and gives the viewer more than technical eye candy. Over time I've also learned to pay as much attention to surroundings as the birds themselves. So much of a image depends on light, texture, color palette, tone, etc. that ignoring what the surroundings can bring to the photo can mean the omission of positive visual resources.

Thanks for the insight and the awesome shots.


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Harvey_G
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Apr 23, 2010 12:43 |  #15

I'm still working on technical. When I get to your age, I'll start to work on the other stuff. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Good stuff buddy. If I ever grow up I want to be just like you. Except better looking.

Wait, I don't plan to grow up. Ever. At 68 I'm still one of the world's oldest teenagers. Right? :)


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