Newb bird pic help

ToddnTN

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So I was out playing with my new camera and took a few bird pics. I have uploaded a 100% crop of the best picture I took. I would be happy to get any feedback good or bad and what I could have done differently to get a better pic. I put the pic in my member gallery (I think) but also attached it here.
Hope I have done this correctly.
$bird.jpg

Thanks
 

SCraig

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One thing I would recommend is cropping it in portrait orientation as opposed to landscape. You've got a huge expanse of blue sky on the right side that doesn't add much to the overall image. Cropping it so that it is in portrait orientation (taller than wide) eliminates a lot of that excess sky without losing any of the bird.

bird0702.jpg
 

Aloicious

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sorry, I don't have access to view the EXIF where I'm at tonight, but what equipment did you use to shoot this, and what were your settings?

its a pretty good first attempt, it is a little bit out of focus (also not helped by the heavy crop), it also looks a bit underexposed, and possibly having some color issues (white balance and tint possibly) but take that with a grain of salt because I'm not at a calibrated monitor right now.
 

SCraig

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sorry, I don't have access to view the EXIF where I'm at tonight, but what equipment did you use to shoot this, and what were your settings?

its a pretty good first attempt, it is a little bit out of focus (also not helped by the heavy crop), it also looks a bit underexposed, and possibly having some color issues (white balance and tint possibly) but take that with a grain of salt because I'm not at a calibrated monitor right now.
Nikon D5200, 1/400 @ f/10.0, 180mm and ISO 400. Matrix metering with no flash fired.

It is a bit dark and it is a bit soft with some color issues. Shot this morning at 7:02 (if the camera clock is right) which is in the "Golden Hour" here in Nashville (sunrise at 5:34).

The underexposure was most likely caused by the blue sky causing the meter to read wrong. When you have that much of a solid color in the shot the meter is going to try and make it look medium gray, or at that time of morning, darken the overall scene. You can use spot metering instead of matrix to compensate, you can enter a +EV value to compensate, or you can use your flash to compensate.
 

Aloicious

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Thanks!

Matrix metering is a large part of the exposure issue like SCraig mentioned. I like to use spot or center weighted metering depending on the situation.

I'd also open up your aperture more to keep the ISO down (not that 400 is bad or anything, but personally I prefer to keep it as low as possible, and f10 really isn't needed for the shot) depending on what specific lens you're using of course.
 
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ToddnTN

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Looks like I need to change the AM/PM on my camera. It was 7:04 PM
The lens is a Nikon 180mm ED AF 2.8
The shot was taken in A mode while I was playing around with different apertures.
Handheld and manual focus since the D5200 won't autofocus this lens.
 

Aloicious

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okay, yeah you'd probably be best around f4 or so with that lens for stuff like this, but nothing wrong with playing around with different settings to learn it. manual focus is HARD with wildlife, you did pretty good if that's a 100% cropped manual focus shot.
 

SCraig

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Looks like I need to change the AM/PM on my camera. It was 7:04 PM
The lens is a Nikon 180mm ED AF 2.8
The shot was taken in A mode while I was playing around with different apertures.
Handheld and manual focus since the D5200 won't autofocus this lens.

The time shows 07:21:35 which I assumed was in the morning. My body records the time in 24-hour format but perhaps there is a 12-hour format as well. Regardless, it was still shot when the sun was pretty low in the sky ;)

The higher the resolution on a camera the more sensitive it is to vibration or movement. Smaller distances that would be missed on lower resolution bodies will be faithfully recorded on a high-res body like the D5200. With f/10 you had plenty of depth of field, in the area of 1.5' depending on subject distance, and plenty of shutter speed so I suspect the softness is camera shake.

The D5200 should be able to handle ISO 400 without thinking about it. Aloicious has a point about the aperture, but ISO 400 is nothing. Drop it down to about f/6 or so and you could use ISO 200 and 1/800 second which might have helped with the softness.

Good start though. Plenty of birds around here to shoot ;)
 
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ToddnTN

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$bird_full_pic.jpg
This is the original, before crop pic. And yes, manual focus was hard. As I said this was the best one out of about 15 bird shots I took. Most of the rest were out of focus.

Thanks for the help everyone. I will try again tomorrow using an aperture of F4 and see what I can get.
 

SCraig

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This is the original, before crop pic. And yes, manual focus was hard. As I said this was the best one out of about 15 bird shots I took. Most of the rest were out of focus.

Thanks for the help everyone. I will try again tomorrow using an aperture of F4 and see what I can get.
Lots of crop! That would certainly explain the softness ;)

Go by Centennial Park tomorrow. The birds there are pretty tame and you can get relatively close to them. Edwin Warner Park is another good place. They have feeders right beside the nature center and there are always a bunch of birds around them. The problem there is that the feeders are in the shade most of the day and I always wind up shooting real slow because of it.
 
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ToddnTN

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Ok, I screwed up, the full pic I posted above is not the same pick. My bad
This is the real one:

$bird_full_pic1.jpg
 

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