6 Bird Shots - trying to get tips for improvement - C&C welcome

Infinite_Day

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As the title says. I know some of them have slight focus issues. Very light editing on an uncalibrated laptop monitor so I don't know how goo they'll look to those who have calibrated monitors. I'm trying to improve my skills with the 300 f/4 + 1.4TC combo. Any suggestions and comments are appreciated. I know it's a couple more shots than most people like to look at but I rarely post my images on here. Thanks for your time!

1.)

DSC_3370_02_01 by Infinite Day, on Flickr

2.)

DSC_3193_01_01 by Infinite Day, on Flickr

3.)

DSC_3692_01 by Infinite Day, on Flickr

4.)

DSC_3672_01 by Infinite Day, on Flickr

5.)

DSC_3172_01 by Infinite Day, on Flickr

6.)

DSC_3307_01 by Infinite Day, on Flickr
 

cgipson1

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Too mnay for individual C&C. For this type of shot... these are good. Focus is sharp on several...(you obviously know which ones you missed, or your wouldn't have mentioned it!). Color and exposure is pretty good. Since birds are not really that cooperative, not much your can do about the busy backgrounds.. except look for shots with better backgrounds, or clean the shots up in pp! Some tighter crops to emphasize the subjects better would be nice, if you have enough image to do so. You seem to be using ROTS in some of them... and are framing to allow some room where they are looking... which is good.

Have you seen these? : Secrets of Digital Bird Photography Bird Photography Tutorial 6: Basic Composition

They may be helpful!

Love the ?loon? shot on bottom. Obviously a foggy day.. but if you up the contrast some, I think it might improve detail.
 
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Infinite_Day

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Thanks for the links, Gipson. I will certainly check them out. There was a fair amount of image cropped from a couple of them. Even with the 300mm with the TC on a DX body it's still hard to got frame filling shots of songbirds in the wild. The last one is actually a cormorant and, yes, it was a very foggy morning. Every once in a while you can catch them migrating through my area in late fall. I was actually staking out a bald eagles nesting area. Didn't manage to get any good shots of the one eagle that was there. It was too far up the backwater perched in a tree and I don't have permission from the landowner to go in.
 

cgipson1

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Thanks for the links, Gipson. I will certainly check them out. There was a fair amount of image cropped from a couple of them. Even with the 300mm with the TC on a DX body it's still hard to got frame filling shots of songbirds in the wild. The last one is actually a cormorant and, yes, it was a very foggy morning. Every once in a while you can catch them migrating through my area in late fall. I was actually staking out a bald eagles nesting area. Didn't manage to get any good shots of the one eagle that was there. It was too far up the backwater perched in a tree and I don't have permission from the landowner to go in.

Cool! Keep at it.. the more you shoot, the better you get.. and the more likely you are to get an image (when nature cooperates) that will blow us all away! :) Love the variety of birds you have! I think I have one decent small bird shot... that is it. It is NOT easy! :)

Scrub Jay (what do you think?)

female-scrub-jay1.jpg
 
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Infinite_Day

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Not a bad shot at all. Too bad his head wasn't turned up a bit more so you could have got some light in the eye. Here's two more that I got from a distance. These are just cropped and sharpened a tiny bit to keep the noise down.

1.)

DSC_2564_01 by Infinite Day, on Flickr

2.)

DSC_2535_01 by Infinite Day, on Flickr

Any other comments appreciated!
 

cgipson1

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Not a bad shot at all. Too bad his head wasn't turned up a bit more so you could have got some light in the eye. Here's two more that I got from a distance. These are just cropped and sharpened a tiny bit to keep the noise down.

1.)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/67402071@N04/6822676623/
DSC_2564_01 by Infinite Day, on Flickr

2.)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/67402071@N04/6822675641/
DSC_2535_01 by Infinite Day, on Flickr

Any other comments appreciated!

Gorgeous shots.. look really good on Flickr! I wish I had that kind of variety here.. or maybe I am just not noticing! I did see a what I think was a woodpecker yesterday, that had a crooked beak.. got some shots, but it would not let me get a decent one. Only got the backside! lol!
 

SCraig

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Very good shots. I shoot birds quite a bit even though I normally can't tell one from the other except for the obvious species. They are most assuredly challenging ;) Some of mine are Here but I need to clean up that page some and weed out some of the bad shots.

I Really like the first one. I think it's because the background matches her coloring so well, but it's a really nice shot. I think the Cormorant would be better if it were more tightly cropped. The branch on the right side of the frame isn't adding anything to the shot and there is a lot of open water. It looks better to me if that branch and the water to the left of it are cropped out.
 

cgipson1

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Very good shots. I shoot birds quite a bit even though I normally can't tell one from the other except for the obvious species. They are most assuredly challenging ;) Some of mine are Here but I need to clean up that page some and weed out some of the bad shots.

Some lovely shots there, Scott! Quite a variety! I saw a beautiful male Merganser yesterday.. but couldn't get close enough for a decent shot. They just don't cooperate, do they! lol!
 

SCraig

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Some lovely shots there, Scott! Quite a variety! I saw a beautiful male Merganser yesterday.. but couldn't get close enough for a decent shot. They just don't cooperate, do they! lol!
Thanks, Charlie. No, they do not cooperate at all! There is a park here in Nashville with a small lake. In the middle of the lake is an island and on that island lives a Black Crowned Night Heron (I only know because I asked someone what it is). The bird never leaves that island and it's only about 10" tall. He sits in the same place and mocks me because he knows full well I don't have enough lens to get a good shot of him.
 

cgipson1

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Some lovely shots there, Scott! Quite a variety! I saw a beautiful male Merganser yesterday.. but couldn't get close enough for a decent shot. They just don't cooperate, do they! lol!
Thanks, Charlie. No, they do not cooperate at all! There is a park here in Nashville with a small lake. In the middle of the lake is an island and on that island lives a Black Crowned Night Heron (I only know because I asked someone what it is). The bird never leaves that island and it's only about 10" tall. He sits in the same place and mocks me because he knows full well I don't have enough lens to get a good shot of him.

Uhhh... RENTAL! :) lol!
 

SCraig

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Which 500 do you shoot... I am seriously considering something in that range! Sigma?
Yes. The Sigma 150-500. It's good, but it's not a $10,000 lens either. To get really good quality at that focal length costs big bucks. This one does a good job, but not a great job. Autofocus is a bit slow, as would be expected, and it is pretty slow (f/5-6.3). With good light it does a good job though.

This is a lousy shot, but I use it to illustrate a point:



I heard the Heron squawking and saw it flying along the far bank of the lake. I threw my camera up, managed to get a focus lock through a bunch of brush and tree limbs, and settled for what I got. The original NEF is terrible, much worse than this. Look at the Heron though. Focus distance in the NEF was recorded at 112.20 meters and the bird is actually pretty sharp.

Up close it's a bit sharper. This was shot at 9 meters:
 

Ron Evers

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I bought a like new Vivitar 400/5.6 in the late fall for birding next spring. Turns out it is soft & suffers from CA. Spring will tell how usefull it is.

I shot last year with a Canon FD 300/5.6 & found it often too short requiring a lot of cropping to feature the subjects. Here are three examples from that lens.


1. Yellow-bellied sapsucker

P1060253sm.jpg




2. Rose-breasted grosbeak

P1070316sm-1.jpg




3. M Cardinal

P1070321sm-1.jpg
 

cgipson1

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Which 500 do you shoot... I am seriously considering something in that range! Sigma?
Yes. The Sigma 150-500. It's good, but it's not a $10,000 lens either. To get really good quality at that focal length costs big bucks. This one does a good job, but not a great job. Autofocus is a bit slow, as would be expected, and it is pretty slow (f/5-6.3). With good light it does a good job though.

I am seriously looking at that lens... I like what I am hearing about it. Lenses like this are just for fun... since I use my pro lenses for serious stuff. I can't justify the cost of the long primes for just out shooting wildlife because I enjoy it, so a lens like this is the next best thing. I am also looking at the Nikon 80-400 (MarkW has one for sale here.. but he doesn't seem to really want to sell it.. no pics! lol). The nice thing about the nikon is that I could use my TC20E III with it.... and not have to invest in other TC's.

Lovely shot on that squirrel! :)
 

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