First bird

Started Oct 3, 2010 | Discussions thread
jl_smith
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Re: First bird
In reply to jpeachey, Oct 3, 2010

jpeachey wrote:

My first bird photo.
I was more interested in the frame around the bird.
Shot with new 7d on a 18-135 at 135.

I'm trying to put more effort into composition rather than letting a unique subject make the photo. Think I have a long way to go, but do like constructive critiscism.

Your goals are admirable, but frankly most bird photos simply don't work like that - they aren't too concerned with framing a lot of the background, because the entire point of the photo is to attempt to get great detail on the animal That's also why birding is so difficult (getting close even with long glass can be hard!)

The photos you're going after are basically landscape photos with a bird included - definitely possible, but you first have to find a good, landscape-type shot. Your shot here is strongly backlit, which is a problem, and the bird itself is not well-lit at all. Plus, I'd say you could probably stand to crop in some from the tops and bottom - it would eliminate a bit of the dead space in the foliage frame without harming the photo.

It's possible to include framing elements in a photo, but frankly for most bird shots you want to keep it simple (actually for most landscape shots, keeping the elements simple is good..I'm still learning this).

Some of my examples, hopefully this helps:

Just an egret on a branch, but I used the branch as a simple framing element instead of cropping way into the egret.

This shot is already a large crop, but the other version I have I think is better - I cropped in even more closer to the bird, which shows the action better and sacrifices a bit of the reflection in the water.

(I think this last one was with the 7D and 400mm f/5.6L I rented). Notice how I still retain focus on the bird, but I include small framing elements, the foreground sticks and just a bit of the background scenery.

For the landscape / bird shot, you basically focus on the landscape part and the birds will do what they wish :

Here is a shot I was originally going to get the seagulls up close, but realized I liked the scenery more than a close seagull, so I zoomed out to photo them.

Good luck in whatever you choose to do!

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