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Subject: Re: Delurking and looking for advice.



You'll find that flash won't disturb birds on a sunny day, especially
low-level fill-flash. All you're trying to do is create what's called
a catch-light in their eye.

Did you go to naturephotographers.net? You'll find the best avian
photographs are composed to exclude "atmosphere"... branches and
such. It is a cardinal rule of photographic composition to exclude
distractions, and the branches only clutter the otherwise good shot.
If you do want to keep that much foilage around them, then perhaps a
higher vantage point, and more sunlight on the main subject would
create a more interesting shot.

That's what my eye tells me...









On Tue, 14 Feb 2006 10:39:31 +0200, "Catherine Milton"
wrote:

>Jim,
>
>I thanks you for your input. I didn't respond earlier, partly because I was
>away, and partly because I don't agree with you. :-)
>
>Since I'm a rank amateur I don't have the right to disagree, and I was
>hoping to get other opinions before I decide to change anything. I do agree
>with you on the darkness of the birds head. I didn't use flash because I
>didn't want to disturb them, but that was the sacrifice. I don't feel that
>taking the branches away helps the picture in any way. I feel it takes some
>of the atmosphere out of the picture. (I did look at your comparisons.)
>
>Somebody else emailed me offline, with a suggestion to boost the shadow and
>detail, also with an example. (was that you?)
>I am not sure whether he overdid it to show, but somehow I thought that
>while the birds could have had more light added, the result I was shown had
>gone flat.
>
>I hadn't noticed that the hippos were skew. The river is flowing very
>strongly, and that may be what caused that. I'll play with shifting it
>round.
>
>Now, having said all that, I do still want opinions, because at the end of
>the day, if I can't sell any pictures then I may as well not be taking any!
>So if the professionals all agree with you, then I'm going to have to change
>my mindset.
>
>BTW, I think I finally got the links right:
>www.africanbush.co.za/Tours/Corti/Corti4.htm (the birds)
>www.africanbush.co.za/Ryan/Ryan9.htm (ground hornbill)
>www.africanbush.co.za/Ryan/Ryan7.htm (rhino sleeping)
>www.africanbush.co.za/Tours/Grossi/Grossi8.htm (the hippos)
>
>Catherine
>
>
>; ; ;

; ; ; wrote in message
>news:qlcvt151kmntgbj420pk593ic0508fqv6j@4ax.com...
>> On Sun, 29 Jan 2006 12:14:39 +0200, "Catherine Milton"
>> wrote:
>>
>> >Hi,
>> >
>> >I have been lurking for a while, and find you all very intimidating!!!
>> >:-)
>> >
>> >But I'm brave enough to also ask for advice. I take photos with my
>Minolta
>> >Dimagez1 at maximum resolution, which I then scale down for my web pages,
>
>> >and then compress to make them fast enough to load. I compress until I
>get
>> >them to about 100kb - my aim simply being to beautify my site and
>encourage
>> >people to come to South Africa. I'd like you to comment on what you feel
>I
>> >might be doing to improve them. These are some of the pics in question:
>> >www.africanbush.co.za/images/Corti/Corti4.htm
>> >www.africanbush.co.za/images/Ryan/Ryan9.htm
>> >www.africanbush.co.za/images/Ryan/Ryan7.htm
>> >www.africanbush.co.za/images/Grossi/Grossi8.htm
>> >
>> >Some of them, however, I feel are good enough to sell. But I don't want
>to
>> >sell an inferior product, so maybe you can give me your take on that. I
>can
>> >put some up on my website for you to look at as separate pages (not
>linked
>> >to my site), but is that wise, given that they are close to a meg each.
>> >
>> >Thanks,
>> >
>> >Catherine
>>
>>
>> Hi Catherine,
>>
>> You're asking for advice - that's brave! I enjoy your enthusiasm.
>> Here's my two cents:
>>
>> The birds is the one with the most potential. (I can only load 2 as
>> well). The adult bird's head is quite dark... you may want to use
>> some fill flash to 1) fill in the shadows, and 2) add a catch-light to
>> the bird's eye.
>>
>> Then, see if you can't get a little closer, or zoom in. This will
>> eliminate the distracting tree branches and simplify the picture.
>> Including extreneous content usually only works when it helps tell the
>> story. Otherwise, it's a good rule of thumb to keep your subject as
>> simple as possible.
>>
>> You can boost your shadow detail a bit in Photoshop using "Image -
>> Adjustments - Shadow/Highlight".
>>
>> I took the liberty of demonstrating my suggestions... take a peek at
>>
>> http://www.jamesphotography.ca/Demos/CortiBulbul_remake.jpg
>>
>>
>> I recommend you visit http://www.naturephotographers.net/ and browse
>> through their forums. There are ones dedicated to bird photography...
>> you'll get ideas from the great photos there.
>>
>> The hippos are OK, but the composition doesn't really do anything.
>> Perhaps waiting until one or both are looking at the camera would make
>> a more interesting shot. Also, the waterline gives away that the
>> photo isn't straight... it needs to be rotated.
>>
>>
>> Hope that helps! Keep shooting, and keep asking for advice. One of
>> the best things I ever did was go shooting with a pro for a weekend.
>> Book learning can only take you so far... workshops and seminars are
>> very inspirational.
>>
>> Stay in touch,
>>
>> --jim
>




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