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Author Topic: Backlit Bird  (Read 1041 times)

Farmer

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Backlit Bird
« on: July 09, 2017, 03:15:33 AM »

I've never really taken a shot like this before.  I like the backlit look and seeing part of the skeleton as a result, and I think it works with the branches.  I need to spend some post process and adjust some colour and saturation and so on (I think this will BW quite well).  But, I'm not convinced it works or whether a crop would be better.

Would appreciate some honest feedback and comments (if there's nothing there, say so :-) ), particularly from anyone who does shoot birds.
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Phil Brown

Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Backlit Bird
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2017, 09:17:18 AM »

It's a fantastic shot.
I would be tempted to crop in a bit from all sides, mainly to omit the blurry bird perched in the lower right, but keeping enough branches to frame the flying bird. To me, the second bird is a bit of a distraction.

You caught the right instant perfectly!

Eric
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RSL

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Re: Backlit Bird
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2017, 09:25:48 AM »

Good shooting, Phil. I know from experience how difficult -- and how lucky -- that is.

BobDavid

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Re: Backlit Bird
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2017, 01:29:11 PM »

It's a fantastic shot.
I would be tempted to crop in a bit from all sides, mainly to omit the blurry bird perched in the lower right, but keeping enough branches to frame the flying bird. To me, the second bird is a bit of a distraction.

You caught the right instant perfectly!

Eric

Why not give it a try?
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Farmer

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Re: Backlit Bird
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2017, 06:05:28 PM »

Thank you, gents.  You've given me some confidence to keep working with it.  I agree a crop will help and perhaps a square format in the end.  I'll see what happens during the day :-)

Russ, you're quite right - luck is most of it and many other shots were never even taken or a few more taken but nothing achieved (well, some practice, I guess).
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Phil Brown

Farmer

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Re: Backlit Bird
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2017, 08:19:17 PM »

A couple of treatments and cropped.  I went square as it seems to work and removes the distractions.

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Phil Brown

Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Backlit Bird
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2017, 08:37:06 PM »

Yes!
But 'm not sure which I prefer. The first looks a bit more "realistic" with the blue sky, but the intense blue does distract a bit from the amazing bird.
I think my vote goes for the second version, in which the bird is so emphatically the center of attention.

Great shot, Phil!
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francois

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Re: Backlit Bird
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2017, 05:41:42 AM »

I have a slight preference for the saturated sky version. But both are very nice.
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Francois

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Re: Backlit Bird
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2017, 06:51:25 AM »

Thanks everyone.  I'm really happy with the crop and the two versions of saturation are things I can play around with a little more.  Appreciate the feedback!
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Phil Brown

PeterAit

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Re: Backlit Bird
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2017, 10:51:21 AM »

I've never really taken a shot like this before.  I like the backlit look and seeing part of the skeleton as a result, and I think it works with the branches.  I need to spend some post process and adjust some colour and saturation and so on (I think this will BW quite well).  But, I'm not convinced it works or whether a crop would be better.

Would appreciate some honest feedback and comments (if there's nothing there, say so :-) ), particularly from anyone who does shoot birds.

Wow, you really nailed this one! A welcome break from the static bird-on-a-branch photos that are common.

If I were working on this, I would try a bit of a crop. Then darken the sunlit bird in the lower right corner. And if you are ambitious, get rid of the branch behind the bird.
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RSL

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Re: Backlit Bird
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2017, 11:28:45 AM »

The original was just fine, Phil, and the composition in that one is the best in the series. All you need to do is use one of Photoshop's several tools to eliminate the distracting bright spot on the right. I hope I don't insult too many people by saying this, but in my own experience, people who's first PP thought is a crop are people who don't grasp composition and can't frame properly on the camera. Instead of learning how to crop, it's best to learn how to compose.

Farmer

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Re: Backlit Bird
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2017, 09:51:51 PM »

Thanks again for all the comments.

Russ, I think you're right that cropping shouldn't be the first thought and that shots shouldn't generally be taken with cropping in mind.  That said, I did think the advice to crop and try it was valuable, and by choosing a square format (rather than a "perfect" crop to suit), it made me think about the composition further (do I give the bird space to fly into, make it central, how about the framing of the branches, and so on).

Back to the original, though, and I do like the extra branches which make me think of birds' nests and the skeleton of the bird that can be seen.  So good advice for me to look at removing the distraction without cropping.

I'll play with that over the weekend.

I don't often post up here, but the comments always provide insights and food for thought, which is the point :-)
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Phil Brown

MattBurt

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Re: Backlit Bird
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2017, 01:42:27 PM »

Nice catch!
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kikashi

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Re: Backlit Bird
« Reply #13 on: July 13, 2017, 02:52:11 PM »

The original was just fine, Phil, and the composition in that one is the best in the series. All you need to do is use one of Photoshop's several tools to eliminate the distracting bright spot on the right. I hope I don't insult too many people by saying this, but in my own experience, people who's first PP thought is a crop are people who don't grasp composition and can't frame properly on the camera. Instead of learning how to crop, it's best to learn how to compose.

Russ, on this shot I agree with you entirely: the first post was the best (and I don't think the monochrome works at all).

However, while you are obviously right in saying that learning to compose is a Good Thing, I think (and I think we've had this discussion before) that you exaggerate your antagonism to cropping. Some images just don't look good in 3:2 format, and that's what my camera produces. I'm not going to carry (still less buy) a Hasselblad on the offchance that I'll see a shot that looks good square.

So, compose well, crop little (apart from anything else, it wastes pixels and definition), but don't fall into the trap of turning a good concept into a pseudo-religious fervour.

 :), of course.

Jeremy
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RSL

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Re: Backlit Bird
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2017, 03:25:48 PM »

Hi Jeremy, I don't think I've ever said that cropping absolutely is ruled out. At least I certainly hope I haven't. I've always thought HCB probably passed up a bunch of fine pictures because he wasn't willing ever to crop. That recent picture of the hawk I posted was cropped. Why? Because I couldn't get close enough even for my 200 mm lens. As it was, he flew immediately after I made that shot. But I knew I was going to crop when I tripped the shutter. Same thing's true of the subject of your own complaint. You're right. 3/2 isn't always the greatest aspect ratio. I happen to prefer four thirds. 4 to 5 is even better, for reasons expounded in various art courses. On the other hand, I happen to think that 3/2 is very good for street. I'm not sure why. Maybe because I'm so used to HCB's stuff.

But none of that is the point. The point is that there are far too many photographers who shoot without framing, hoping they'll be able to pull something out of the result with a crop. Compare that with painting. How many painters finish a scene and then decide to start cutting the canvas? I think it's important to learn to see what you're after before you even raise the camera.

Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Backlit Bird
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2017, 09:11:43 PM »

Jeremy,
I'm pretty sure Russ has sometimes made the point that a photographer ideally should crop in the camera, which means knowing at the time of exposure that you intend to crop, so you have really composed the image within the intended print format.

That's what I try to do. But on occasion I still find that I missed the right "crop" at the time of exposure, and I will then do the best I can in post processing.

Just my 2 farthings.

Eric
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kikashi

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Re: Backlit Bird
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2017, 02:25:09 PM »

Hi Jeremy, I don't think I've ever said that cropping absolutely is ruled out. At least I certainly hope I haven't. I've always thought HCB probably passed up a bunch of fine pictures because he wasn't willing ever to crop. That recent picture of the hawk I posted was cropped. Why? Because I couldn't get close enough even for my 200 mm lens. As it was, he flew immediately after I made that shot. But I knew I was going to crop when I tripped the shutter. Same thing's true of the subject of your own complaint. You're right. 3/2 isn't always the greatest aspect ratio. I happen to prefer four thirds. 4 to 5 is even better, for reasons expounded in various art courses. On the other hand, I happen to think that 3/2 is very good for street. I'm not sure why. Maybe because I'm so used to HCB's stuff.

But none of that is the point. The point is that there are far too many photographers who shoot without framing, hoping they'll be able to pull something out of the result with a crop. Compare that with painting. How many painters finish a scene and then decide to start cutting the canvas? I think it's important to learn to see what you're after before you even raise the camera.

No, Russ, I agree that you've never said cropping was completely verboten. And while I've no idea what the prevalence is, I'd certainly agree with you that pointing and shooting first and thinking, looking and framing later is a Bad Thing to do: it's lazy and it's unlikely to lead to anything interesting (excluding perhaps some press photography). I suspect Eric's phrasing correctly summarises your view.

Jeremy
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Farmer

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Re: Backlit Bird
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2017, 07:28:21 PM »

And the original framing, with the distractions removed.

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Phil Brown

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Re: Backlit Bird
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2017, 07:55:03 PM »

Very nice, Phil. Bravo!

Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Backlit Bird
« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2017, 12:22:49 AM »

Very nice, Phil. Bravo!
+1.
The best version.
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