CC these chickens

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Abby Rose, Feb 21, 2010.

  1. Abby Rose

    Abby Rose TPF Noob!

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    please. :) They are both from last summer.

    The first one is Katie, a silver laced wyandotte. The background concerns me. Is it too distracting? Is Katie at a strange angle, or is that ok?
    [​IMG]

    The second one, Crooked Toe the rooster. He helpfully offered to mow the lawn.
    [​IMG]

    Chickens are hard to take pictures of, at least for me, because they almost never stand still. Even if their bodies are still, they jerk their heads around. Does anyone have any advice for taking pictures of them? What I usually do is take lots of pictures and get lucky with a few that are actually in focus.
     
  2. creisinger

    creisinger TPF Noob!

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    #1 - yes background is a bit distracting
    #2 - chicken is holding its head down which is not desired, tiny bit over exposed, too much saturation for my taste

    I bet it's very tough to get the shot right with those birds.

    Maybe you can try shooting the chickens from an angle where the background is further away. You can't really reduce the depth of field any more because with their movements every shot will be out of focus, therefore you need a certain depth of field to operate.

    Best guess to shoot with 100mm focal length or more and with f5.6, maybe even a bit lower. This way the chickens can still move around without immediately walking out of focus.

    Try get the shot when they stand upright, their heads up.

    Your exposure time of 1/40 of a sec. can also destroy the shot because it's not really fast and the tiny movements of the chickens can lead to motion blur.

    Shoot at higher ISO - I think a bit of noise is not a big problem just so you can achieve at least 1/80 or 1/100 of a sec. exposure time.
     
  3. pcacj

    pcacj TPF Noob!

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    Photo 1 - I do not find the background distracting. It appears to be a natural setting for a chicken and is sufficiently blurred to remain uninteresting to the viewer of the photo. The chicken is perfectly in focus and the head angle is natural and pretty much facing the camera. Might have been nice to get a profile shot if it presented itself.

    Photo 2 - nice action shot. Would be great to also get an upright that is this clear and crisp.
     
  4. Abby Rose

    Abby Rose TPF Noob!

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    Ah, thank you. That's very helpful. I'll try those suggestions. :)

    Perhaps you'd both like this rooster picture better?
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Shot 1: Part of the reason that the background feels distrating is because of the angle of the birds head. The birds eye is looking direct at the camera, whilst the angle of the head and the very pointed beak is pointing to the right - so as we view the image we naturally go to the eye first and then we follow the gaze of the animal. In this shot it means that the whole of the left side of the image is not of our concern - so when our eyes do shift round to view the whole image that side feels cluttered and unneeded. So crop :)
    Cut away a good amount of that left side (leaving a little distance before you hit the breast of the bird so that it does not feel confined). Other than that a good solid shot - sharp on the eye and limited depth of field used well.

    The shutter speed is quite slow, but I am suspecting that (reading the shots EXIF) that you are using a point and shoot (at best and advanced point and shoot - I really have no idea) which limits what options you do have. A higher ISO - if possible - would be desirable just to up that shutter speed a little - if the flash is popping up that is not a bad thing as it will help to freeze motion in the shot.

    Infact the only major distraction in this shot to my eyes is that out of focus blurred blueish area just above the birds back - sadly it does detract from an otherwise fine shot.

    Shot 2:
    A bit central again (I'm assuming that you are using the middle point to give AF the defining point you want sharp in the shot - limiting composition wise, but as the eye is all important a valid move - remember you can always crop in editing if needed). Composition wise I don't quite know about this shot - it certainly works with the head down that that bit of grass in his beak, and you might chop some of the right but maybe not --- I really don't have any strong feelings on the matter in this case.
    The overexposed area just above his comb is a detracting element, but using the gear you have probably not easy to avoid getting - using flash can help in this case as it brightens the key close areas (the bird) and thus lets you expose a "darker" shot for the bright background - however I would not be sure how to control such a shot with your camera.



    As for moving around and taking loads of shots - perfectly valid tactic for animals! And with digital your mistakes won't cost you. However as these two shots show, good focus and compostion is key to the success of the shots - so whist you blast away do take time to stop - think and shoot first. Understanding the animal will help a lot for this and being able to predict their possible actions can get you some stunning photography. It's all about practice - lots and lots of it.

    Overall I think you've got a good eye for some more interesting views of these chickens and I suspect a bit of a natural composition eye developing (But being held back a bit my the central need for AF control).
     
  6. Abby Rose

    Abby Rose TPF Noob!

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    Wow, now thats some real CC. Thank you so much, Overread. :)

    Yep, point and shoot. :) What if I did the cropping on the left of the first photo, and then did some sort of color-fading thing for the blue (it's a blanket draped over a ladder), or what that be way too obvious and worse than leaving it like it is?

    Edited post to add edited picture:
    [​IMG]

    Mmm, another edit to add: Looks like I missed part of that blue blanket. Guess it wasn't a good idea after all. Oh well, live and learn, right?
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2010

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