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Bird Photography 2021 - Bird Photography 2021 - replacing Bird Photography 2020  Rate Topic 
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Posted by jk: Sat Feb 13th, 2021 21:36 51st Post
Good to see that you are back posting Robert.
Hope that you are feeling stronger and more recovered.



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Posted by Eric: Sun Feb 14th, 2021 10:41 52nd Post
Robert wrote:
Thats all white then! :lol:

You must have a very rural supermarket, or very urban buzzards?  Looking forward to a frontal portrait.

Living in the country I rarely see buzzards, Perhaps I'm not looking in the right places.  I saw a small but rather nice murmuration last week (not of buzzards! LOL).

While at my friend Bob's near Cartmel last week I spotted an unusual bush growing in the thicket of a small, dense woodland which looked completely out of place, Bob called it a pheasant berry bush, he didn't know the botanic name but it's actually Leycesteria formosa, the Himalayan honeysuckle, just growing wild in Cumbria. It attracts birds and deer for the berries.  I intend to photograph it when it flowers.
Buzzards often perch on fence posts alongside main roads. Because they are brown you tend to miss them, thinking they were extra long posts. 😆 

Travelling down the motorways in France they are everywhere. We refer to them as “awks on steeks”. (French accent required)
Driving to Alsace in 2018 we counted 83 such ‘awks’ plus 7 eagles...it was in fairness a drive of several hours and of course towing a caravan the speed is sloooower.



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Posted by Eric: Mon Feb 15th, 2021 21:39 53rd Post
Didnt get the Buzzards yesterday. 


Did get a rook landing on the tree near the house and a song thrush came down to grab some of the food that had been scattered on the snow...before it melted.





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Posted by blackfox: Sat Feb 20th, 2021 09:00 54th Post
having changed my style of p/p slightly with some excellent response on flickr etc I have been re-visiting old files .. heres 2

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 recently done ones from when I had the d7200

 


Posted by Graham Whistler: Sat Feb 20th, 2021 15:19 55th Post
Very good!



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Posted by jk: Sat Feb 20th, 2021 16:01 56th Post
Great pair of images Jeff.


It is very nice seeing the final images but I cant assess what they started from!
That is the other skilled part of the equation.

From a professional perspective .........
First you need to capture the image
Then you need to process the image.
Then ultimately you need to sell the image.



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Posted by Eric: Sat Feb 20th, 2021 16:32 57th Post
I have always admired Jeff’s skill as a wildlife photographer, his use of light, field craft and mastery of whatever equipment he uses. (Puts my half hearted efforts to shame) 

But I have to say that whilst differential focus between subject and background always lifts the subject from its surroundings , I am not a fan of totally blurred surroundings in wildlife photos. 

For me, part of the pleasure is seeing the habitat. Having completely blurred surroundings may make the subject stand out more but it takes a well executed natural looking shot and moves it too close to an illustration....what a friend refers to as a ‘bird stamp’.

I know all our taste differ, but I prefer more interaction between the subject and it’s habitat.:hardhat:

Great captures though:bowing:



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Posted by jk: Sat Feb 20th, 2021 16:49 58th Post
I dont mind the ultra defocussed background but it doesnt work for every subject.  I use the technique in some portraits but it is a bit like the Orton effect in landscapes.  If you do it in/on every image it becomes a very artificial image as you say.  I like to see the background in cthe context.

The owl image looks very much like an Eric Hoskings image but I dont know if he did that on his images or whether they are just naturally like that.
The swallow shot is great timing and very sharp but as you say it would be nice to see a bit more background or surrounding detail.  He is on a skim over the wall, but where did he come from?

I just wish I had the patience and fieldcraft that Jeff has to capture these images.



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Posted by jk: Sat Feb 20th, 2021 17:31 59th Post
I guess it begs the question.  Which is better?



or



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Posted by Eric: Sat Feb 20th, 2021 19:49 60th Post
For me the problem with just blurring the background is twofold ....

A constant degree of blur assumes everything in the background is the same distance behind the subject....like a studio portrait background. 
That’s fine if that’s what you are trying to achieve....a portrait of a critter. I just don’t find flying birds... ‘studio subjects’.
In a natural setting, a portrait benefits from sharing some of the surroundings in the composition, ideally then with a more natural progressive zone of sharpness/defocus behind. I like to see some habitat with the creature. No it’s not an excuse for not getting close enough. 😂  



The other issue is, just blurring the background without reframing unbalances the image. There is too much blurred background which distracts from the subject. In your hummingbird moth image there is far too much out of focus to the left. (I realise it’s been done just to make a point). It needs tighter cropping ...which then turns it back into a tight studio portrait. 




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That still works ok in this case because you have the plant as part of the composition. With flying birds there is unlikely to have anything to balance the composition.

Hope that makes sense?


Incidentally, somewhere on my desktop I have a PS Action that sequentially layers focus progressively back in stages giving increasing levels of defocus away from a subject to give quite a natural depth of field effect. I created it after messing up a shoot with the wrong aperture. 😂

Last edited on Sat Feb 20th, 2021 19:59 by Eric



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Posted by Iain: Sat Feb 20th, 2021 20:24 61st Post
I prefer the first image Eric with the background not blurry. I have tried to get away from the bird etc dominating the image and where the background is acceptable leave it visible as habitat.

 


Posted by jk: Sun Feb 21st, 2021 00:25 62nd Post
I thought I would do that one of the Hummingbird moth as I was never sure if I liked the background in the original, but maybe the problem was the crop I made!
I prefer your crop.


Re: " Incidentally, somewhere on my desktop I have a PS Action that sequentially layers focus progressively back in stages giving increasing levels of defocus away from a subject to give quite a natural depth of field effect. I created it after messing up a shoot with the wrong aperture. 😂"

If you can find it I would be interested to test out as I did this by hand with a duplicate layer with a large amount of gaussian blur and a mask.  
I should have made it as a smart object so I could change the blur.  I always remember half way through the exercise.


There are always many different ways to do stuff in Photoshop it really is a total learning experience.



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Posted by Eric: Sun Feb 21st, 2021 09:38 63rd Post
jk wrote:
I thought I would do that one of the Hummingbird moth as I was never sure if I liked the background in the original, but maybe the problem was the crop I made!
I prefer your crop.


Re: " Incidentally, somewhere on my desktop I have a PS Action that sequentially layers focus progressively back in stages giving increasing levels of defocus away from a subject to give quite a natural depth of field effect. I created it after messing up a shoot with the wrong aperture. 😂"

If you can find it I would be interested to test out as I did this by hand with a duplicate layer with a large amount of gaussian blur and a mask.  
I should have made it as a smart object so I could change the blur.  I always remember half way through the exercise.


There are always many different ways to do stuff in Photoshop it really is a total learning experience.
My desktop is out of action at the moment (lack of use) but will see if I can find it elsewhere on a drive.

From 15year memory.......
The process started with tight masking ALL the areas behind the subject.
Apply a minimal blur as the ‘base coat’ start this action..

Contract the mask by 2 pixels > Apply a feather of 1 pixel > Apply 5% more blur
Contract the mask by 4 pixels > Apply a feather of 2 pixel > Apply 5% more blur
Contract the mask by 10 pixels > Apply a feather of 5 pixel > Apply 10% more blur
Contract the mask by 20 pixels > Apply a feather of 10 pixel > Apply 10% more blur
Contract the mask by 50 pixels > Apply a feather of 20 pixel > Apply 15% more blur
Contract the mask by 100 pixels > Apply a feather of 50pixel > Apply 20% more blur

The actual numbers may be wrong but the principal is the same.....ie don’t apply feather to the mask in the first instance, then soften the edge effect by ‘one step forward - half back’ approach, increasing the intensity as you go further back.

There are a couple of pitfalls to watch out for. 
The mask moves away from the frame edges incrementally so you are left with an edge and top that needs a small crop.
If the mask is not horizontal behind the subject lower areas may get more blurring than their distance demands. So using the rectangle mask to subtract these irregularities halfway through the action (or step back afterwards and restart)  irons out this issue.

Of course Adobe may have added this filter to more recent versions ....but I am still old school diy. 😂



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Posted by Eric: Sun Feb 21st, 2021 10:01 64th Post
Iain wrote:
I prefer the first image Eric with the background not blurry. I have tried to get away from the bird etc dominating the image and where the background is acceptable leave it visible as habitat. I totally agree Iain it seems more natural...more like the eye sees it. I think just using fstop to control background detail should be sufficient.

Obviously with location photography, there can often be background detail that distracts that can’t be moved. I favour cloning that item out rather than blurring the whole area.



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Posted by Eric: Sun Feb 21st, 2021 10:24 65th Post
Eric wrote:
My desktop is out of action at the moment (lack of use) but will see if I can find it elsewhere on a drive.

From 15year memory.......
The process started with tight masking ALL the areas behind the subject.
Apply a minimal blur as the ‘base coat’ start this action..

Contract the mask by 2 pixels > Apply a feather of 1 pixel > Apply 5% more blur
Contract the mask by 4 pixels > Apply a feather of 2 pixel > Apply 5% more blur
Contract the mask by 10 pixels > Apply a feather of 5 pixel > Apply 10% more blur
Contract the mask by 20 pixels > Apply a feather of 10 pixel > Apply 10% more blur
Contract the mask by 50 pixels > Apply a feather of 20 pixel > Apply 15% more blur
Contract the mask by 100 pixels > Apply a feather of 50pixel > Apply 20% more blur

The actual numbers may be wrong but the principal is the same.....ie don’t apply feather to the mask in the first instance, then soften the edge effect by ‘one step forward - half back’ approach, increasing the intensity as you go further back.

There are a couple of pitfalls to watch out for. 
The mask moves away from the frame edges incrementally so you are left with an edge and top that needs a small crop.
If the mask is not horizontal behind the subject lower areas may get more blurring than their distance demands. So using the rectangle mask to subtract these irregularities halfway through the action (or step back afterwards and restart)  irons out this issue.

Of course Adobe may have added this filter to more recent versions ....but I am still old school diy. 😂

NB Save the original mask before you start the action so you can reapply it if you need to redo it.



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Posted by jk: Mon Feb 22nd, 2021 19:54 66th Post
Thanks Eric.



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Posted by Richard_M: Fri Feb 26th, 2021 04:49 67th Post
WOW, some great photos have been posted recently.

I ended up purchasing a Nikkor 500mm f 5.6 pf lens. It turned up yesterday.

So far I'm pleased with the lens, although having a few issues with the image stabilisation. I have tried both Normal and Sport mode, but I'm still getting a few images with movement in them. It wasn't an issue with the 200-500mm. More practice I guess.

It was overcast this evening after work when I visited the small reserve at the end of our street. Also there were not too many birds around late in the day.

A few snaps from this evening using a D500 with 500mm f 5.6 pf lens


#1 Laughing Kookaburra


#2 Laughing Kookaburra, I'm not sure if it was laughing at me, the camera, or the new lens :-)


#3 Grey Shrike-thrush


#4 Eastern Yellow Robin

 


Posted by Eric: Fri Feb 26th, 2021 08:22 68th Post
Nice shots Richard.
The 500pf is a lighter lens than the 200-500 and it may be impacting on your stability.... till you get used to it. 
One of the really useful features on the lens, is the memory focus lock buttons that store preset positions.....enabling you to quickly return to that exact focal spot at the press of the button.

I am not a great fan of its bokeh though. I find it a bit unsmooth, and rather artificial 

When coupled with the latest 1.4x teleconverter there is no loss in quality like earlier teleconverter models ...and 720mm reach (1080mm with the d500)



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Posted by Richard_M: Fri Feb 26th, 2021 08:35 69th Post
Thank you Eric!

I don’t have the 1.4x teleconverter, it was on my to buy list a year or two back, but I never got around to it. I do have the 1.7x and the 2x. I might try one of them with one of the Z bodies.

 


Posted by Richard_M: Sat Feb 27th, 2021 04:39 70th Post
Some of the images I managed to get this morning at one of our local gardens.

D500 with 500mm f/5.6


#1 Striated Pardalote


#2 Spotted Pardalote


#3 Eastern Spinebill


#4 Red-browed Scrubwren


#5 Eastern Yellow Robin


#6 Little Wattlebird


#7 Grey Shrike-thrush


#8 Superb Fairy-wren


#9 White-browed Scrubwren


#10 New Holland Honeyeater


#11 Silvereye


#12 Welcome Swallow


#13 Brown Thornbill


#14 Southern Brown Bandicoot (Please delete if not appropriate)

Last edited on Sat Feb 27th, 2021 04:48 by Richard_M

 


Posted by jk: Sat Feb 27th, 2021 08:22 71st Post
Never saw a Bandicoot when I was in Oz.  I probably did but dismissed it as a rat!   Not a lover of rats and mice.



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Posted by Iain: Tue Mar 9th, 2021 13:04 72nd Post
Willow Tit and Blue Tit


DN4_1534 by Iain Clyne, on Flickr


DN4_1479-Edit by Iain Clyne, on Flickr

Last edited on Tue Mar 9th, 2021 13:06 by Iain

 


Posted by chrisbet: Mon Mar 15th, 2021 17:41 73rd Post
Eric's Jays



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Posted by Eric: Sat Mar 20th, 2021 20:14 74th Post

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Posted by jk: Sat Mar 20th, 2021 21:11 75th Post
Beautiful shot,  Eric.



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Posted by Iain: Sat Mar 20th, 2021 21:12 76th Post
Nice shots Eric.

 


Posted by Iain: Wed Mar 24th, 2021 10:45 77th Post
The Redpolls have been showing well and this one is ready for the females.

D72_4830 by Iain Clyne, on Flickr

 


Posted by Eric: Wed Mar 24th, 2021 22:25 78th Post
Iain wrote:
The Redpolls have been showing well and this one is ready for the females.

D72_4830 by Iain Clyne, on Flickr
What a lovely fellow! ( the Redpoll Iain 😂)

The recent gales brought a load of redpolls and siskins into this area.
We’ve even had them in the garden this last week or so ....for the first time in 30years! 

They actually used to nest in our garden back in the 80s along with spotted flycatchers and even linnets. 
Unfortunately the allotments on the other side of our fence were all built on and as you can imagine the small birds disappeared.

You have captured your male in a lovely woodland setting. Excellent.

Unfortunately they only came to us for the feeders this time. 😞


I love their black legs!



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Last edited on Wed Mar 24th, 2021 22:39 by Eric



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Posted by Richard_M: Fri Mar 26th, 2021 07:03 79th Post
Scarlet Robin

#1


#2


#3

 


Posted by Eric: Fri Mar 26th, 2021 19:56 80th Post
Richard_M wrote:
Scarlet Robin

#1


#2


#3
What a spectacular bird...so different in colour to our own Robin but unmistakely a Robin. Very good.



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Posted by Richard_M: Sat Mar 27th, 2021 02:33 81st Post
What a spectacular bird...so different in colour to our own Robin but unmistakely a Robin. Very good. Thank you @Eric

We do get a few different red Robin's locally, so far I have only seen and photographed two varieties

This link has some info on the various Robin's

 


Posted by Richard_M: Sat Mar 27th, 2021 09:03 82nd Post
It was raining and overcast today. Nice light for many of the birds

#1 Eastern Yellow Robin


#2 Welcome Swallow


#3 New Holland Honeyeater


#4 Little Wattlebird


#5 White-browed Scrubwren


#6 Superb Fairy-wren

 


Posted by jk: Sat Mar 27th, 2021 10:59 83rd Post
Great shot of the Little Wattlebird.
Actually they are all pretty darn good.  Better than my efforts!



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Posted by Richard_M: Sun Mar 28th, 2021 05:28 84th Post
Great shot of the Little Wattlebird.
Actually they are all pretty darn good.  Better than my efforts!
Thank You!

I managed to get a Rose Robin today

#1 Rose Robin (Male)



#2 Rose Robin (Female)




#3 King-Parrot

 


Posted by Graham Whistler: Wed Mar 31st, 2021 19:36 85th Post
First shot with my new Sony Flagship A1 Mirrorless camera I have done a post in Cameras all about the new camera up loaded it twice and it is NOT there what is wrong?

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Posted by chrisbet: Wed Mar 31st, 2021 19:38 86th Post
Did you select a make tag in the new topic post???

If not it will not have posted but taken you back to preview in the editor.



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Posted by Graham Whistler: Wed Mar 31st, 2021 19:45 87th Post
No did not know that, had enough for one night will try again in the morning. As you see the picture uploaded several times!!!



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Posted by chrisbet: Wed Mar 31st, 2021 19:47 88th Post
Sorry Graham - I have now put up a member announcement to warn people!



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Posted by jk: Wed Mar 31st, 2021 20:23 89th Post
Looks like it is fairly detailed but we need to see a sectional enlargement as the forum software doesnt allow full size images to be uploaded.



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Posted by chrisbet: Wed Mar 31st, 2021 21:58 90th Post
jk wrote:
Looks like it is fairly detailed but we need to see a sectional enlargement as the forum software doesnt allow full size images to be uploaded. Yes it does - but the image in the thread is limited to its container size - to see the full size image, in this case 1568 x 1200 px, right click on the image then view image and click on the viewed image - that should take you to full size.



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Posted by Iain: Fri Apr 2nd, 2021 15:13 91st Post
A male Sparrowhawk in flight.

D72_5253 by Iain Clyne, on Flickr

 


Posted by Eric: Fri Apr 2nd, 2021 16:53 92nd Post
Iain wrote:
A male Sparrowhawk in flight.

D72_5253 by Iain Clyne, on Flickr
Well caught Iain. I normally just see it’s bum disappearing into the distance....before I even get the camera out. 😢

Last edited on Fri Apr 2nd, 2021 16:54 by Eric



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Posted by Iain: Wed Apr 7th, 2021 19:51 93rd Post
Eric wrote:
Well caught Iain. I normally just see it’s bum disappearing into the distance....before I even get the camera out. 😢 Just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

 


Posted by Eric: Wed Apr 7th, 2021 20:10 94th Post
Iain wrote:
Just happened to be in the right place at the right time. That sounds like a Gary Player sort of statement, when told he had been ‘lucky’.  

He replied.... “ the harder I practise, the luckier I get”. ;-)



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Posted by Eric: Thu Apr 8th, 2021 16:01 95th Post
A first for our garden, grabbing some of the out of date sliced meat😳



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Who would have thought it....a Cannibal!



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Posted by jk: Thu Apr 8th, 2021 17:36 96th Post
Pull!
:lol::devil:



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Posted by Eric: Thu Apr 8th, 2021 18:34 97th Post
jk wrote:'
Pull!
:lol::devil:

Now you have scared him!



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Was considering feeding him some turkey and go for a 3 bird roast at the weekend. :lol:

Last edited on Thu Apr 8th, 2021 18:37 by Eric



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Posted by Eric: Fri Apr 9th, 2021 23:27 98th Post
He / She’s back......



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And no depth of field either ...600mm at 3 metres. Didnt have time or the lighting to stop right down. He / She was gone in 10 seconds.

Here’s another flick of its head...



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According to my depth of field tables.....a Wrens beak is just 10mm long. 🤔



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Posted by jk: Sat Apr 10th, 2021 07:32 99th Post
AF certainly working well.
3m/10ft is a very short working distance for a 200-600mm.
Very impressive shot.

Are you sure you need that A1?
Sony have just updated the back screen on a lot of their top models e.g. a7r-iv-a,  there is going to be some old stock going cheap!
https://www.dpreview.com/news/8756997638/sony-quietly-updates-the-a7r-iii-a7r-iv-with-improved-lcd-displays



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Posted by Eric: Sat Apr 10th, 2021 16:47 100th Post
Don’t ‘need’ another camera at all.
But given the chance, I would welcome evaluating one.

It does reinforce the fact that if you get close enough to the subject you have greater chance of success.
I just wish I had left the camera on f16 .....so when I grabbed it I could have got more of the wren’s head in focus. :banghead:



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