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Thread: Post your best bird shots!

  1. #4991
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    Quote Originally Posted by sedwards View Post
    Joel , how much editing do you do to your pictures if any ? I am having a hard time getting good light in the eyes like you seem to get most of the time.
    Seeing your pictures from the 7D2 , i wish i still had mine to play with but i dont regret trading for the 1dsIII.
    Most of the editing I do is to try to get the most detail in the plumage and make sure the head and eye are sharp. So I look at my RAW images at 100% and if they are not sharp I trash them. Then usually all that is needed is perhaps a slight levels adjustment or selective color adjustment and slight sharpening, usually not much. In some cases I do use the dodge tool to brighten the iris but I did not on this last set. I do always try to expose to the right as far as possible which tends to capture the eye brighter.

  2. #4992
    Senior Member conropl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sedwards View Post
    Joel , how much editing do you do to your pictures if any ? I am having a hard time getting good light in the eyes like you seem to get most of the time.
    Seeing your pictures from the 7D2 , i wish i still had mine to play with but i dont regret trading for the 1dsIII.
    First I would like to say, you have been posting some exceptional shots. Better than what I can typically produce.
    But always looking for improvement is always good. So my comments below are given in that light.

    There was a point I wounder the same about Joel's birds... the eyes were just exceptional. Luckily, Joel is very generous in sharing his shooting parameters. So I went through a lot of his posts to get a handle on what's different. You will find his shutter speeds are typically quit high, and he is not afraid to bump his ISO up to get the higher shutter speeds (and exposing to the right helps reduce the noise problem). I never liked high ISO's to get the shutter speed up (unwarranted fear of noise) and did not follow his lead, but out of frustration I finally broke down and tried it... and produced some of the best shots of birds I have ever had and the noise was not that bad. What I learned was shutter speed is key to get the sharpness in the eye, but you still need to get the exposure to the right so it does not go black on you. If you need to bump the ISO up to do so, then so be it. Beyond that, the basics of a good tripod, mount, and a release (don't touch the camera) should help you get good sharpness. I went back to Flickr to see some of your shot settings of a few of your recent posts. You have been running shutter speeds of 1/400 to 1/800 (most of the ones I looked at were 1/400-1/500), and your ISO's were pretty low at 200-400.

    I have to admit (and he doesn't even know it), I have learned a lot from Joel and his generous sharing of information. Going through this thread and studying different shots and parameters is one of the best educations you can get. You are past my abilities (I love the clean backgrounds), but I think if you could get your shots up to 1/1000-1/1200 second shutter speeds (1/800 minimum), then the eyes would step up to another level. And it is all about the eyes.

    I am probably the last person that should be giving advice in this thread, so take it for what it is worth.

    Pat
    5DS R, 1D X, 7D, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6, 24mm f/1.4L II, 16-35mm f/4L IS, 24-105mm f/4L, 50mm f/1.8, 100mm Macro f/2.8L, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L, 580EX-II
    flickr

  3. #4993
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    Quote Originally Posted by conropl View Post
    First I would like to say, you have been posting some exceptional shots. Better than what I can typically produce.
    But always looking for improvement is always good. So my comments below are given in that light.

    There was a point I wounder the same about Joel's birds... the eyes were just exceptional. Luckily, Joel is very generous in sharing his shooting parameters. So I went through a lot of his posts to get a handle on what's different. You will find his shutter speeds are typically quit high, and he is not afraid to bump his ISO up to get the higher shutter speeds (and exposing to the right helps reduce the noise problem). I never liked high ISO's to get the shutter speed up (unwarranted fear of noise) and did not follow his lead, but out of frustration I finally broke down and tried it... and produced some of the best shots of birds I have ever had and the noise was not that bad. What I learned was shutter speed is key to get the sharpness in the eye, but you still need to get the exposure to the right so it does not go black on you. If you need to bump the ISO up to do so, then so be it. Beyond that, the basics of a good tripod, mount, and a release (don't touch the camera) should help you get good sharpness. I went back to Flickr to see some of your shot settings of a few of your recent posts. You have been running shutter speeds of 1/400 to 1/800 (most of the ones I looked at were 1/400-1/500), and your ISO's were pretty low at 200-400.

    I have to admit (and he doesn't even know it), I have learned a lot from Joel and his generous sharing of information. Going through this thread and studying different shots and parameters is one of the best educations you can get. You are past my abilities (I love the clean backgrounds), but I think if you could get your shots up to 1/1000-1/1200 second shutter speeds (1/800 minimum), then the eyes would step up to another level. And it is all about the eyes.

    I am probably the last person that should be giving advice in this thread, so take it for what it is worth.

    Pat
    Spot on analysis and thanks for the kind words. Pat I am humbled anyone would take time to study what i've done.

    I discovered early on that birds rarely stop moving, especially their eyes and head, so without a fast shutter speed it is rare to get a really critically sharp image. Think about how small the iris of a bird's eye is and you are trying to resolve some detail in it from 50 feet away while it's moving. So, to my way of thinking, the faster the better and I always am willing to push the ISO to get my exposure to the right without clipping the whites very much.

    I have actually shot many times with auto ISO in Tv mode but I shoot manual probably at least 90% of the time. On dark subjects (especially against light BG) I will often push 2 stops or more above what the in camera meter (I use evaluative metering mostly) reads as zero. The eyes look good this way but often the other parts of the bird really appear "washed out" on the RAW image. This usually corrects easily with a levels adjustment.

    Beides fast shutter speed I use a high end Gitzo tripod with a Wimberly II Gimbal. I put my left hand on top of the lens and push down slightly as I sort of push my right eye brow against the camera just above the viewfinder. This adds stabilization and improves fine detail resolution.

    One more factor....I like flash set on manual at a low power (for very fast pulse duration) with a better beamer. This adds some sparkle to the eyes and helps contrast as well as sharpness too.
    Last edited by Joel Eade; 01-27-2016 at 04:20 PM.

  4. #4994
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    Thanks Joel and Pat ! it is supposed to be nice and sunny this weekend so i will get out and try paying more attention to the histogram and push it more to the right.
    the info you guys share on this forum is great !
    Stuart Edwards
    1DX Mark II , 6D , Samyang 14mm f2.8 ,Sigma 85mm f1.4A , 24-105mm f/4L IS , 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II ,100-400 f5.6L II , 300mm f/2.8L II , EF 1.4x III , EF 2x III, 430EX II

  5. #4995
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    Second that THANKS!

    Excellent advice you don't find very often. Through various workshops I have learned how to use my histogram to my advantage, but have not yet learned the small intricate relationships aperture, shutter speed, and ISO can make in varying scenarios. Sometimes I get it right, but quite often not so much. I definitely need to pay more attention to my shutter speeds.

    By the way, I really enjoy the photos posted by you two. Always awesome.
    Let No One Walk Alone
    --------------
    Bill

  6. #4996
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Agreed...great advice. I've heard it before but my other habits have made it difficult to follow. I fall into the camp that tries to preserve low ISO at almost all costs (they charts tell me it must be so!!!). This is a very good reminder and I will have to put into practice more.

  7. #4997
    Senior Member Dave Throgmartin's Avatar
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    Little birds fidget. Always... I think 1/1000 is the minimum shutter speed in most scenarios with small birds.

    Dave

  8. #4998
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    Posting this because I thought this female Northern Cardinal had unusually bright red accents, much brighter looking than most.



    7D II
    500mm
    ISO 1000
    1/800
    f/6.3
    RAW conversion with DPP4

  9. #4999
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    Joel ,your bird pics have got me itching to get a 7dII again .
    Stuart Edwards
    1DX Mark II , 6D , Samyang 14mm f2.8 ,Sigma 85mm f1.4A , 24-105mm f/4L IS , 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II ,100-400 f5.6L II , 300mm f/2.8L II , EF 1.4x III , EF 2x III, 430EX II

  10. #5000
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    Quote Originally Posted by sedwards View Post
    Joel ,your bird pics have got me itching to get a 7dII again .
    Thanks! I love the detail and also the crop factor is helpful for birds at times. The only thing I notice is that to get the best out of the 7DII you need better light than with the 1DX. I am, however, getting nice images even up to ISO 1600.

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