Artistic choices for a bird picture???

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I've submitted a few of my hummer pics for critique on photosig.com, and there's quite a division of opinion on suitable backgrounds. Some prefer a plain background, while others are strongly in favor of a natural/colorful, presentation. Here's two samples. What's your preference?

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Frank,

I'm a novice shooter, but I prefer the second because of the bokeh rather than the muted background of the first. There is nothing wrong with either image...both are truly beautiful, but I appreciate the different hues offered in the second image. Some may say that the multi-colored background of image #2 takes away from the bird which is the feature of the image, I guess they can have their opinions. :roll:
 
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I think if you can get a background that enhances the composition as you did in the second shot, that's ideal. But I also think that a muted background such as in the first shot would be preferable to a background that for whatever reason was distracting (harsh lines, wrong colors, etc). So I think both approaches have their place.
 
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Frank,

I like them both, but agree with Jeff and Frank that where you have a nice background, it is preferable to show it.

Nice shots BTW. :wink:
 
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I knew what you were going to say, Frank, because we always think alike.

Watch out, though. That might get you into trouble, too :twisted:.
 
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Uncle Frank said:
I knew what you were going to say, Frank, because we always think alike.
I just goes to show that you are a very smart guy, with excellent taste and judgement. 8)
 
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Frank I asked my sister the artist to have a look at both, she prefer the first one she says in the first one the colors of the bird really stand out better. But she likes both.
 
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Gilles said:
Frank I asked my sister the artist to have a look at both, she prefer the first one she says in the first one the colors of the bird really stand out better. But she likes both.
Thanks for soliciting an expert opinion, and thank your sister for her kind words.
 
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Frank if you have a Kodak grey card, take a colorful objet put it on the card on the grey side and take a picture and after that take a picture of the same object on the white side. Compare them and after that tell me on which side the color really stand out.
 
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Gilles said:
Frank if you have a Kodak grey card, take a colorful objet put it on the card on the grey side and take a picture and after that take a picture of the same object on the white side. Compare them and after that tell me on which side the color really stand out.
You're preaching to the choir, Gilles. I love isolating flowers against a dark background for that very reason.

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Frank,
As a bird fancier, I prefer the first because it allows me to study the bird by itself, with no distracting features in the image. However, from an artistic standpoint, I really like the complementary colors of the second. Both are prize winning images, but for different reasons. The first appeals to my scientific and technical side; the second evokes an emotional response.
It's a good thing you didn't post three or four shots -- the responses would be all over the map on something like this.
 
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Bob Coutant said:
Frank,
As a bird fancier, I prefer the first because it allows me to study the bird by itself, with no distracting features in the image... It's a good thing you didn't post three or four shots -- the responses would be all over the map on something like this.
Well let's stir up the pot :lol:. When it comes to lack of distractions, nothing is better than basic black. I took this after I read your comment. It's just a matter of changing the shutter/aperture combination so the background is very underexposed. And using f/9 gave quite a bit more DOF.

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Frank the flowers with the black background is good but the bird is bad. The bird to be good would need some lighting from the side or the back to help stand out of the black, in the last picture it seem to be glued to the back and the shapes are not well defined.
 
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Underexposing isn't the cleanest way to go black because you shouldn't underexpose your subject. A different approach is to just make your subject lit more than your background. If there's a 5 stop difference between your subject and background then you'll get your black. Flash is easiest to control but natural light works too (transition from midday direct sunlight to shade is about 4-5 stops).
 
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Frank,
In the first shot, there is some texture to the background. In the third bird shot, there is no background texture to distract from the bird, but visible parts of the bird are underexposed. Sounds like a job for either PP or FCB with a studio trained bird. (Haven't you trained one of those devils yet?)
 
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virtuamike said:
Underexposing isn't the cleanest way to go black because you shouldn't underexpose your subject.
All of my hummer pics are taken with flash, Mike. That allows me to underexpose the background without compromising the subject... if I do it right. Currently I'm experimenting with using the GN (distance) mode on my sb800 to set the flash power correctly.
 
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