C&C : Female Wood Duck in the evening

Discussion in 'Birds' started by PJohnP, Nov 10, 2005.

  1. PJohnP

    PJohnP

    Feb 5, 2005
    Not so much time in daylight hours to shoot for me these days, but I did make it over to a smallish pond tonight for a few moments right as the sun plummeted behind trees and the horizon. I shot a series of a male wood duck, but then it struck me. Why not the girl ?

    [​IMG]
    D100, 200-400mm AFS/VR, ISO800, processed in NC, cropped and copyright in CS-PS

    This shot is also a good test of the "what's your favourite ISO?" question. At the time, ISO800 was the only spot where I could eke out a handheld shot, so that was the favourite tonight. She was backlit from the horizon, shadowed, and I bumped up the EV a lot to get more than a backlit cutout duck.

    Comments and critique (that C&C thing again) solicited and welcomed.

    Always shoot.



    John P.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2005
  2. I'm with you, we have to shoot with an ISO that will get the shot. Beautiful image of a very pretty duck.
     
  3. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    John, first of all, I'm pretty impressed and amazed you got this shot @1/90th, and find it to be an extremely appealing composition, most worthy of a print I'd be pround to put on my own wall. My exif reader also says you pushed the EV to +1.3. I'd say you nailed the shot sir, well done, it's gorgeous!
     
  4. jfenton

    jfenton

    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA
    Hi John

    I must admit that I've never loked at the female wood duck hard enough to realize that they are beautiful creatures in their own right!
     
  5. I like it. Fine composition and clarity.
     
  6. PJohnP

    PJohnP

    Feb 5, 2005
    Steve :

    Thanks for the kind comments.

    Yah, I'm getting in the "bad habit" lately of shooting so close to sunset that I'm forced into shorter exposures than I'd like (actually, I'm not getting free of work and back to my hotel in daylight most of the time). Getting a shot handheld at less than 1/200 sec with the 200-400mm isn't always easy.

    And the backlighting on the water was something fierce. Upping the EV is still sometimes a bit of a mysterious art for me, despite so many shots like this, so it was a pleasant result that it worked without any more compensation in processing in NC.


    John P.
     
  7. PJohnP

    PJohnP

    Feb 5, 2005
    Jim :

    Sometimes the more subtle female birds are quite fun too !

    Sorry to see in another thread that you're ailing. I'm hoping that you continue to improve though.


    John P.
     
  8. PJohnP

    PJohnP

    Feb 5, 2005
    Jim :

    Thanks.

    I did crop a small amount on the upper right to bring the subject a bit closer, but I'd estimate that's maybe 15% of the area of the shot. Lately, I've been trying - as much as possible - to get the composition set up in-camera as much as possible, and crop/rearrange far less.

    As for clarity, I was thrilled that this worked at ISO800 to the degree that it did.


    John P.
     
  9. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    John,

    Here are my brutally honest comments: :wink:

    1) Composition (8/10)

    The composition shows the subject pretty well centered (which is generally how I do it). It includes the entire bird (no cut off parts), and the entire reflection of the bird (I like that). It might be a little more effective if the subject was shifted slightly to the left in the frame, so that its center is closer to the thirds point.

    Edit: Upon further review by the officials in the booth, I think that the call on the field was incorrect. The framing actually looks pretty good. Boost the score here to 9/10. Frank :Curved:

    2) Exposure (9/10)

    Almost gave this a 10, and it probably deserves that score. Most impressive is the way the whites are held, although this is helped by the poor light in which the shot was taken. Good job on this.

    3) Image quality (8/10)

    In reality, this could get a higher score, but for the poor light in which the image was captured. At the high ISO at which it was shot, there is some visible noise, but this was minimized by the increased EV setting that you used. Also because of the of the poor light, the contrast and colors are a little flat, but considering the available lighting, very well done.

    4) Processing (9/10)

    This shot was processed about as well as it could be considering the poor lighting. The sharpening is done very well with just enough, but not too much. Contrast and color are about as good as they can be considering the source image.

    5) Overall Score (9/10)

    Not much to add here. Considering the starting point (very poor lighting), this image is about as good as it can be. I would certainly not be ashamed of it if it were mine.

    How's that for my first critique? :smile:
     
  10. ''How's that for my first critique?
    __________________
    Frank"
    isnt that asking for a critique of a crritique?
    :^)
    dave

    By the way John,
    I like the shot and am not real good at critiques
    so I just say I like it
    Dave
     
  11. bfjr

    bfjr Guest

    very well represented Female Woody :wink:
     
  12. PJohnP

    PJohnP

    Feb 5, 2005
    Frank :

    Thanks for the feedback. I agree pretty much with the thrust of your remarks about the light, but it was what it was, and tonight, the wood ducks were mostly out of range to shoot in good light...

    ... but I have hopes for dawn tomorrow. :Happy:

    Thanks for taking the time to C&C for me.


    John P.
     
  13. PJohnP

    PJohnP

    Feb 5, 2005
    Ben :

    Thanks. I really enjoyed getting in reasonably close range to her and seeing those rather evocative eyes.



    John P.
     
  14. PJohnP

    PJohnP

    Feb 5, 2005
    Dave :

    Wanting critiques doesn't mean that I can't accept compliments ! Thanks.


    John P.
     
  15. Hey John, I am a bit baffled on this one. I read all the other replies and I have to admit that I disagree. I found the image to have too much noise and not much that grabbed my attention. Also their seems to be a pink cast to the color beyond what "sweet light" would bring, almost washed out or pushed too much in processing to bring out the details. I should grant that my monitor is only calibrated by my eye with various color/gamma charts etc.

    All that said, I have to say that I am questioning my own critique on this one. For unknown reasons I just don't see what the other folks seem to see. If an excellent birder like Frank gives you a 9 out 10 who the heck am I to disagree. I also must state that I seriously doubt I could do any better with those lighting conditions.
     
  16. PJohnP

    PJohnP

    Feb 5, 2005
    Matt :

    If I didn't want C&C, I wouldn't ask for it. < warm smile >

    There is noise, without question, and part of my requesting C&C is to get feedback as to the "acceptable" level of noise for shots. I'm often in the position of shooting wildlife under low light, and hearing that the noise is "good" or "too much" is important to me. I really wrestled with whether this shot crossed the boundary, and your input helps me think more about that issue.

    Thinking is a good thing for me, I'd say... :rolleyes:

    The colour is actually fairly close to the light of that moment. The sun was casting a pinkish red light over the water as it passed the horizon. Having said that, I think I'll tinker a bit with the shot later today and see if I can alter the WB a bit to see what it does for the photo. It might give it a bit more "punch". The idea's certainly worth trying.

    As for questioning your own critique when you make it, please don't. I want your honest unvarnished opinion on a shot, and if you disagree with another person, so be it. As I said above, if I didn't want your C&C, I'd not ask for it. I value a wide diversity of critiques to address different aspects of the photos.

    Thanks for taking the time to give me some food for thought and opportunities for improvement in my photography.


    John P.
     
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