Chasing Ducks


TPF Noob!
Jun 21, 2010
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I resized these on photobucket so hopefully that doesn't affect them.
This was my destressing part of my day. Year 12 exams have taken up all my time but I though I deserved a break from it all. Be harsh...I want to learn :)
1. Settings: Nikon D5000, 55-200VR kit lens I was using aperture priority. They were taken between 4:30-5pm (it usually gets dark here about 6, 6:30)
Focal length: 200
400 ISO
1/160 sec
f/ 6.3

2. Settings the same except 1/250

3. Same except 1/1600 (ok so that shutter speed is too if I had changed that it would not be so underexposed?)

4. Focal length 55
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The only one I really care for is #3. (BTW: I recommend hitting Enter after the number so it's a number then the picture on the next line.)

What time of day were you shooting, and with what settings?

I like the silhouette in #3, but it's a bit under exposed. You can post process (PP) it with software to make it better. Knowing your settings would help a lot. If you don't know how to check the settings, upload the original unedited photos and we can check ourselves.
Like LCARSx32 I would really like to know the settings you used as well as the camera gear that you were using to take these shots. It's tricky to give good advice on a technical level without this info as there are so many different combinations, each with their own differing methods.
I also recommend that you have a read through of this thread here for some tips on posting for critique as well as how to find your EXIF data on your shots:

I've also had a quick look around some of your other posts (you've only 10 so it was easy) and I'd say that these shots are showing a situation where your light is all wrong. Rather like in your horse shots where you shifted you position to get far better lighting on horse and rider these duck shots would also benefit from better lighting and positioning. If you look at the first two shots it looks like you are shooting right into the shadows with the sun in front a tricky exposure without any forward lighting support (eg flash).

On the lighting front try to get out in the interesting hours - around dawn and sunset - when the light has more interesting hues and is not so harsh - this time is also greatly beneficial to your last type of shot = though it does look a little like it was coming onto evening time. Might be that it was just a dull day lighting wise. (dull days are great for softer lighting but a pain for giving you rather flat results - often adjusting the levels and contrast in editing can help to pull a bit more punch out of subjects on such days).
The ducks don't really stand out as the subject of the image.

#1 has too much contrast in the water and too little on the duck.
#2 is better, but a little soft
#3 is underexposed
#4 is far too busy. It doesn't have a clear subject.
I took the silhouette one first and then I tried to take the others where you could see the duck. I guess I wasn't really thinking of where the sun was because it was basically the one spot I could sit to get close enough. I was in the shade and then entire creek was in the shade. And thinking of it now, the sun would have been very to close to being infront of me.
So if I have not great lighting like that, and get really get any better, don't bother?

I had taken all of them in jpeg and raw so I increased the exposure in 3. Any better?
So if I have not great lighting like that, and get really get any better, don't bother?

No. It just means that the light is not right. If the overall scene is interesting, just come back another day and try again. I know some very good photographers who revisit the same places over and over again under different conditions. If you're going to do that kind of time investment, it's also a good idea to scout out the best shooting lines, and get a good sense of where/when the light will be optimal. Then, when you may be blessed with the perfect conditions, you will know exactly what to do. A lot of photography is being in the right place at the right time.

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