Cambria Image Dump, Please Critique

Joined
Jul 14, 2005
Messages
582
Location
South Orange County, CA
These are all from my trip to Cambria over the weekend...I am new to bird shooting and this is my first attempt at shooting anything larger than a hummingbird...

I *think* there are some keepers, but would like some input...

As for processing, very little, some sharpening and cropping and that's it...

I rented a Nikon 300 f2.8 AF-S for $45 for the weekend hoping to improve my birding shots. Birding is my new passion :) although I have a lot of work to do, thank goodness for seagulls they are great practice!

One thing I find very difficult, is getting a larger bird like the pelican to have the depth of field to have the whole bird in focus, at f7.1, which most of the pelicans were shot with there is some DOF concerns...

Please critique, don't hold back...

Thanks,

Brett

dccormorant9rj.jpg
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otterpop4es.jpg
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pelican11dx.jpg
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pelican26cs.jpg
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pelican38my.jpg
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pelicans3mw.jpg
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gatewaytocambria5gp.jpg
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Joined
Jan 31, 2005
Messages
2,416
Location
Nanaimo, BC, Canada
Welcome to the whacky world of birds - now you are in trouble, you're hooked and you need longer glass...

In the spirit of the critique you requested here are a few observations:

In the cormorant photo I would move it a titch to the left so it is flying into the photo, not dead centered. A catch light in the eye would add to the photo.

I like your formation shots. It is harder, but bird photos are better when the bird is approaching. In the photo with four birds I would crop to include just the middle three.

Your WB is quite different in the photos with sky, with some cyan creeping in.
 
Joined
May 2, 2005
Messages
663
Location
Madison, AL
Nice shots Brett. I like the fourth one of the pelican.

The DOF looks pretty good in these. You won't be able to get the full wingspan in focus anyway. And the tips of the wings will often be blurred because of the flapping. I usually just try to get the head in focus.
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
4,455
Location
CT USA
In addition to what has already been offered, I add the following:
In the building shot, make sure your buildings are standing up straight, they seem a little off vertical and it isn't the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I'm a bug for level horizons and vertical buildings (except for wide angle artistic effects for the buildings). The bird shots seem a little light, but this monitor is junk, so maybe someone viewing on a calibrated unit can comment. The cormerant is just about right, exposure wise.
Overall, they seem like a good first attempt, the most important thing to remember is, do you like them?
 

Rob

Joined
Jul 28, 2005
Messages
873
Location
Truro, Cornwall, UK
I'm jealous Brett, what great wildlife you people have available in the US of A. I was sure the Otter and Cormorant were in the same shot as I scrolled down! Now what a shot that would make.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
Messages
15,253
Location
Marysville, WA
First off, welcome and thanks for putting up some images. My personal favorite is the 3rd one, the 2 Pelicans. Yes, it would be nicer if they were coming toward you, but you captured the heads and I find the position of the wings quite intriguing.

I agree with all of the technical comments, and I think the other thing that draws me to this particular image is the color of the sky, seems more natural to me.

Now, as Rory pointed out, you are truly in trouble. If you call 1-900-123-LENS you will speak with Madam LLD and she will tell you "Mon, I see 'da 500mm in your future, tank you for the 3.95/minute donation."
 
Joined
Jul 14, 2005
Messages
582
Location
South Orange County, CA
Thanks for the comments so far!


Rory, the cormorant was nearly all the way to the right of the frame as I shot it, I think this crop was the best I could get and it placed him in the center, for future crops your comments will be used :) Practice should help, but every time the cormorants went by I felt like I wasn't ready as I had my eye a little higher looking for pelicans and the elusive osprey!!

Chris - good to know that DOF and large birds in flight is an issue, when I was going some calculations, the DOF with a 300mm focal length at f2.8 is around .1 inch!

Baywing - I am going to go back and fix the image with the leaning tower of Hearst Castle - you're right there isn't really any excuse other than my rookie status! I agree with you on some shots being light, I have a tendency to over-expose, maybe most beginners have the same tendency. I have been soaking up everything I can manage regarding correct use of the histogram...one thing that may contribute to the lightness was the fact the sky was pretty overcast throughout most of the day...more practice will help I hope.

Rob - California wildlife is all around, but these shots I drove 5 hours north for, every year my girlfriend and I head to Cambria for our anniversary - I'm lucky to have a few wildlife preserves locally also, bjfr and Ron Reznick both post images from the local preserves.

Bill - LLD, ugh I know...I want something with more reach than the 300 I rented. I started a thread a while back asking for input on the 300 / 1.4 TC combo vs. the 80-400 Nikor or Sigma vs the 50-500 Sigma. I do like shooting with a tripod since I'm all washed up and have had too many motocross injuries to my wrists and legs.

I wished all day to get these guys to fly toward me, but to no avail, I was on the shore and they were around 100 yards out on most of these shots...

Thanks again,

Brett
 
Joined
Jan 25, 2005
Messages
12,409
Location
East Norriton, PA
New to birds.. boy are you in trouble.... nice first post and nice choice of a lens to rent but be careful you will soon have to buy one
 

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