Critique Lovers Key State Park

Joined
Jan 22, 2019
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St. Charles, IL
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Andy
After a month of Octoberfest, I finally found another opportunity to try out the 500PF. I am generally happy with the performance from a technical standpoint, but my shooting technique is completely insufficient to capture BIFs. Here are a few of stationary birds. I'd welcome any critique, especially suggestions to improve the compositional and postprocessing aspects. #1 and #2 are uncropped, processed to taste. #3 was cropped and processed.

1.
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2.
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3.
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Winter Haven, florida
Looks like you did about as well as anyone could given the conditions and where the birds were. These can get better, heck we all can get better, but requires different time of day, different light, better perches, etc.
No glaring technical stuff, you have that down. That is the easy part.
Just my opinion, but you asked.
On the first one remember your eyes go to the brightest part of the image, which here is the background. What is your subject? You have almost no light on the bird, except for some dappled stuff on its back. Think of the same bird in the shadows, but that light raking across the eye. That is a better picture. The dappled stuff in the background has to go away. The blurry foreground that obscures the legs has to go away. Now we are getting somewhere. Birds in complete shadow works well, but I like a little light at the eye. Random dappled stuff doesn't usually work for me.
Second one kind of the same thing. Get some light where you want people to look, usually the eye. Being picky the background on the left, behind the bird, is too light and busy, I like the ripples in front. Clone out the couple white blobs.
The third one is weakened by the out of focus blob in the lower left corner, your eye takes time to try to make it in focus. Then you decide its not worth it. Out of focus large foreground pieces to me often ruin the image. It also obscures your subjects, the beautiful ibis.
Then I look for a reason I took the picture right now. A motion, a gesture. Something that would be different tomorrow- or 10min from now. I do not get that feeling here.
This all takes time. Time in the field. Lots and lots.
I am not sure I, or anyone else, could do better standing besides you. But if these were my images I would think about them as above. None of these get printed, but they make me realize I am getting so close, I have to go out again, and again.
Keep shooting
Gary
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2019
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St. Charles, IL
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Andy
But if these were my images I would think about them as above. None of these get printed, but they make me realize I am getting so close, I have to go out again, and again.
Gary, I am so appreciative of these remarks. Your last statement rings very true.

Considering I’ve been shooting for such a long time, I feel I have lost decades to the pursuit of technical competence at the expense of truly seeing. Thanks for the specific and detailed critique.
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2019
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St. Charles, IL
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Andy
hazy something on top of the head of #2? What is that, a Ghost image?
It's a very good question, and thanks for noticing this flaw (I was so zeroed in on the imperfect composition that I didn't see it).

I was shooting somewhat towards the sun, and used a polarizer to try to reduce reflections on the water. Of course, at this angle, it really didn't help much. Perhaps the ghosting is from the way the light misbehaved between the polarizer elements and the front element of the lens. Both the 500PF and the 95mm CPL (made by Breakthrough Photography) are new to me, so I don't have much of an archive to act as a baseline.
 

Commodorefirst

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Andy, some excellent comments above that I will not duplicate beyond, get better light, and focus on the eyes. Good session, lots of seat time outside will hone your eye. I find mine gets rusty shooting different types of photography. (ie indoor event, wildlife, etc etc.)
 
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