A portrait of a Pacific Gull

Started Dec 20, 2013 | Photos
Martin.au
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A portrait of a Pacific Gull
Dec 20, 2013

Yep. love the 75-300.

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smithling
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Re: A portrait of a Pacific Gull
In reply to Martin.au, Dec 20, 2013

I don't think the subject is interesting at all. However, you nailed the composition. Everything leads to that fuzz in the beak. Nice.

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janeenadamsmartin
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Re: A portrait of a Pacific Gull
In reply to Martin.au, Dec 20, 2013

The eye is so perfect, it is a shame we are drawn to the fuzz -- which does kinda ruin it -- another chance tomorrow?

(Funny you call it a Pacific Gull -- out here, near the Pacific, we just call it a seagull.

jan

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Martin.au
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Re: A portrait of a Pacific Gull
In reply to smithling, Dec 20, 2013

smithling wrote:

I don't think the subject is interesting at all. However, you nailed the composition. Everything leads to that fuzz in the beak. Nice.

They are pretty boring, aren't they.

It was there.

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Martin.au
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Re: A portrait of a Pacific Gull
In reply to janeenadamsmartin, Dec 20, 2013

janeenadamsmartin wrote:

The eye is so perfect, it is a shame we are drawn to the fuzz -- which does kinda ruin it -- another chance tomorrow?

(Funny you call it a Pacific Gull -- out here, near the Pacific, we just call it a seagull.

jan

Ahhh.

Over here the little silver gulls get called seagulls.

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janeenadamsmartin
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Re: A portrait of a Pacific Gull
In reply to Martin.au, Dec 20, 2013

Now, THAT one is great!

I suppose we would call yours Aussie Gulls or something like that, lol.

(Once, I asked the sushi chef what they call a California Roll in Japan,  he looked at me as though he was talking to a brick, but politely answered "California Roll.")

jan

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Dorus
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Re: A portrait of a Pacific Gull
In reply to Martin.au, Dec 20, 2013

Why is the sky so noisy? I don't typically see that effect at ISO 250.

Dorus

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Martin.au
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Re: A portrait of a Pacific Gull
In reply to Dorus, Dec 20, 2013

Dorus wrote:

Why is the sky so noisy? I don't typically see that effect at ISO 250.

Dorus

Probably a side effect of my processing. I generally don't worry about noise until I find it a problem. I don't run much in the way of noise reduction, generally.

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Chris Merchant
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Re: A portrait of a Pacific Gull
In reply to Martin.au, Dec 20, 2013

I like the Pacific Gull pic, it's interesting to me because it's non-standard issue 

cheers

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GeorgianBay1939
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Re: A portrait of a Pacific Gull
In reply to Martin.au, Dec 20, 2013

I really like the photograph.

IMHO it is one of the better one in this excellent collection of bird shots.

I guess that I am more of a student of nature than a photographer, though, as I like the preening feathers in the beak as it adds to the "naturalness" of the image.

Some of my commercial photographer friends have commented that some of my bird shots that show preened fluff floating on the water or in beaks, wing tags, leg bands etc on rare-ish birds to be inadequate because of these "distractions".  In fact one fellow tried to convince me to post-process them out of the image.   I declined to follow his urgings for several reasons, one being that I don't have a clue how to do that!

Why?  Is it the commercial motivation to cater to a clientele that demands asepsis in our imagery?

Did you purposely use the term "portrait" to stimulate that reaction?

I also like your technical mastery. Compared to my long shots you have minimal noise in the image, outstanding detail, contrast and exposure .... even to the bit of specular reflection on the eye and beak.

How far was this gull from you?  How much of a crop?

These were shot at long distances and are heavily cropped --- displaying plenty of noise and camera blur.  The swan and grouse were "provisional shots" ... the first one(s) I make when I first see the critter ... before stopping to change lenses or make significant adjustments to the camera (whilst the deer, moose, bear, wolf, or bird disappears over the horizon!)

I notice that you have outstanding detail in most of the images in the album above. How do you DO that? I cannot imagine capturing those shots off of a tripod (unless you were in an aviary). Are you monopoding or just propping?

Thanks for posting that particular shot and those in your albums.  They give us beginners some examples to try to emulate.

Tom

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Martin.au
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Re: A portrait of a Pacific Gull
In reply to GeorgianBay1939, Dec 20, 2013

GeorgianBay1939 wrote:

I really like the photograph.

IMHO it is one of the better one in this excellent collection of bird shots.

I guess that I am more of a student of nature than a photographer, though, as I like the preening feathers in the beak as it adds to the "naturalness" of the image.

Some of my commercial photographer friends have commented that some of my bird shots that show preened fluff floating on the water or in beaks, wing tags, leg bands etc on rare-ish birds to be inadequate because of these "distractions". In fact one fellow tried to convince me to post-process them out of the image. I declined to follow his urgings for several reasons, one being that I don't have a clue how to do that!

Why? Is it the commercial motivation to cater to a clientele that demands asepsis in our imagery?

Did you purposely use the term "portrait" to stimulate that reaction?

I also like your technical mastery. Compared to my long shots you have minimal noise in the image, outstanding detail, contrast and exposure .... even to the bit of specular reflection on the eye and beak.

How far was this gull from you? How much of a crop?

Pretty close. I only cropped out some of the sky, down to around 10MP. It was probably only 4m away or so. I used the term portrait because usually I try and frame the whole bird, rather than just the head.

These were shot at long distances and are heavily cropped --- displaying plenty of noise and camera blur. The swan and grouse were "provisional shots" ... the first one(s) I make when I first see the critter ... before stopping to change lenses or make significant adjustments to the camera (whilst the deer, moose, bear, wolf, or bird disappears over the horizon!)

I notice that you have outstanding detail in most of the images in the album above. How do you DO that? I cannot imagine capturing those shots off of a tripod (unless you were in an aviary). Are you monopoding or just propping?

For most of my shots, I'm just handholding. The main tricks I use are:

1) Try and get close to the bird (duh :D). Birds are finely detailed creatures and you need to get as many pixels on them as possible. So, the wrens, honeyeaters, fantails, lorikeets are often shot from pretty close range. The hawks are usually further away, and as such don't have as much detail, typically.

2) Keep the shutter speed up. I use 1/1250 as a start and only drop that if I am really running low on light. If it's bright, then I'll keep the aperture wide open, as there's zero difference between f6.7 and f8 on my lens and just crank the shutter speed. This is not really to compensate for camera shake. I can handhold the 75-300 down to 1/50th or so, but a lot of birds are really twitchy.

3) Try and keep the sunlight behind me. When I go for a walk, I'll usually walk into the sun via the boring route, then loop back with the sun behind me, where the birds are likely to be.

4) Think outside the box. The fantails in particular are actually illuminated with fill flash, as it was so dark that day. I often carry a variety of bits of kit with me on walks. Sometimes I even remember that I've got things like the little FL300R.

Thanks for posting that particular shot and those in your albums. They give us beginners some examples to try to emulate.

Tom

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Tack
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Re: A portrait of a Pacific Gull
In reply to Martin.au, Dec 20, 2013

Martin, it's a nice sharp shot but on my monitor the feathers are too yellow. They should be white.  If you shot it in RAW you can go back and redevelop the image again taking care to use the white balance slider to good effect.  You can also get white feathers by using the white dropper tool in either curves or levels.

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Martin.au
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Re: A portrait of a Pacific Gull
In reply to Tack, Dec 20, 2013

Tack wrote:

Martin, it's a nice sharp shot but on my monitor the feathers are too yellow. They should be white. If you shot it in RAW you can go back and redevelop the image again taking care to use the white balance slider to good effect. You can also get white feathers by using the white dropper tool in either curves or levels.

That is actually pretty close to the right colour. While the bird is white, the light at that time of day wasn't.

I could knock it back a bit though. Good idea.

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GeorgianBay1939
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Re: A portrait of a Pacific Gull
In reply to Martin.au, Dec 20, 2013

Martin.au wrote:

GeorgianBay1939 wrote:

I really like the photograph.

IMHO it is one of the better one in this excellent collection of bird shots.

I guess that I am more of a student of nature than a photographer, though, as I like the preening feathers in the beak as it adds to the "naturalness" of the image.

Some of my commercial photographer friends have commented that some of my bird shots that show preened fluff floating on the water or in beaks, wing tags, leg bands etc on rare-ish birds to be inadequate because of these "distractions". In fact one fellow tried to convince me to post-process them out of the image. I declined to follow his urgings for several reasons, one being that I don't have a clue how to do that!

Why? Is it the commercial motivation to cater to a clientele that demands asepsis in our imagery?

Did you purposely use the term "portrait" to stimulate that reaction?

I also like your technical mastery. Compared to my long shots you have minimal noise in the image, outstanding detail, contrast and exposure .... even to the bit of specular reflection on the eye and beak.

How far was this gull from you? How much of a crop?

Pretty close. I only cropped out some of the sky, down to around 10MP. It was probably only 4m away or so. I used the term portrait because usually I try and frame the whole bird, rather than just the head.

WTH do you do to get in that tight?   Are you a bird whisperer?  4m is amazing!!!

These were shot at long distances and are heavily cropped --- displaying plenty of noise and camera blur. The swan and grouse were "provisional shots" ... the first one(s) I make when I first see the critter ... before stopping to change lenses or make significant adjustments to the camera (whilst the deer, moose, bear, wolf, or bird disappears over the horizon!)

I notice that you have outstanding detail in most of the images in the album above. How do you DO that? I cannot imagine capturing those shots off of a tripod (unless you were in an aviary). Are you monopoding or just propping?

For most of my shots, I'm just handholding. The main tricks I use are:

1) Try and get close to the bird (duh :D). Birds are finely detailed creatures and you need to get as many pixels on them as possible. So, the wrens, honeyeaters, fantails, lorikeets are often shot from pretty close range. The hawks are usually further away, and as such don't have as much detail, typically.

I am starting to put more feeders in the bush on my farm and hope to spend some time "observing' this winter.    But we already have abnormal snow, so access is now a prob. 

2) Keep the shutter speed up. I use 1/1250 as a start and only drop that if I am really running low on light. If it's bright, then I'll keep the aperture wide open, as there's zero difference between f6.7 and f8 on my lens and just crank the shutter speed. This is not really to compensate for camera shake. I can handhold the 75-300 down to 1/50th or so, but a lot of birds are really twitchy.

Wow!

3) Try and keep the sunlight behind me. When I go for a walk, I'll usually walk into the sun via the boring route, then loop back with the sun behind me, where the birds are likely to be.

Thanks.  good strategy...

4) Think outside the box. The fantails in particular are actually illuminated with fill flash, as it was so dark that day. I often carry a variety of bits of kit with me on walks. Sometimes I even remember that I've got things like the little FL300R.

Hmmm.  More stuff in the pack!   But very useful around teh house, in the truck and in the boat!!!

Thanks for posting that particular shot and those in your albums. They give us beginners some examples to try to emulate.

Tom

Thank you.

t

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Martin.au
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Re: A portrait of a Pacific Gull
In reply to GeorgianBay1939, Dec 20, 2013

GeorgianBay1939 wrote:

Martin.au wrote:

GeorgianBay1939 wrote:

I really like the photograph.

IMHO it is one of the better one in this excellent collection of bird shots.

I guess that I am more of a student of nature than a photographer, though, as I like the preening feathers in the beak as it adds to the "naturalness" of the image.

Some of my commercial photographer friends have commented that some of my bird shots that show preened fluff floating on the water or in beaks, wing tags, leg bands etc on rare-ish birds to be inadequate because of these "distractions". In fact one fellow tried to convince me to post-process them out of the image. I declined to follow his urgings for several reasons, one being that I don't have a clue how to do that!

Why? Is it the commercial motivation to cater to a clientele that demands asepsis in our imagery?

Did you purposely use the term "portrait" to stimulate that reaction?

I also like your technical mastery. Compared to my long shots you have minimal noise in the image, outstanding detail, contrast and exposure .... even to the bit of specular reflection on the eye and beak.

How far was this gull from you? How much of a crop?

Pretty close. I only cropped out some of the sky, down to around 10MP. It was probably only 4m away or so. I used the term portrait because usually I try and frame the whole bird, rather than just the head.

WTH do you do to get in that tight? Are you a bird whisperer? 4m is amazing!!!

Well, these gulls spend a lot of time around the jetty and are used to scraps from fisherfolk, etc, so getting close to them is pretty easy. With other birds it's a case of reading them. Birds that spend time in urban environments are usually pretty approachable. eg: those fantails were on occasion inside the minimum focus length of that lens (1.5m).

The other thing I do is try to avoid "sneaking up on birds". I try to approach them in an obvious fashion, as though I were a grazing animal, rather than a predator, often spiralling in towards them as though I was just walking past. Or, get close and then proceed to "ignore them" until they get comfortable with you being there.

Finally, with some birds you just have to wait, or use a hide (I haven't done that yet).

These were shot at long distances and are heavily cropped --- displaying plenty of noise and camera blur. The swan and grouse were "provisional shots" ... the first one(s) I make when I first see the critter ... before stopping to change lenses or make significant adjustments to the camera (whilst the deer, moose, bear, wolf, or bird disappears over the horizon!)

I notice that you have outstanding detail in most of the images in the album above. How do you DO that? I cannot imagine capturing those shots off of a tripod (unless you were in an aviary). Are you monopoding or just propping?

For most of my shots, I'm just handholding. The main tricks I use are:

1) Try and get close to the bird (duh :D). Birds are finely detailed creatures and you need to get as many pixels on them as possible. So, the wrens, honeyeaters, fantails, lorikeets are often shot from pretty close range. The hawks are usually further away, and as such don't have as much detail, typically.

I am starting to put more feeders in the bush on my farm and hope to spend some time "observing' this winter. But we already have abnormal snow, so access is now a prob.

2) Keep the shutter speed up. I use 1/1250 as a start and only drop that if I am really running low on light. If it's bright, then I'll keep the aperture wide open, as there's zero difference between f6.7 and f8 on my lens and just crank the shutter speed. This is not really to compensate for camera shake. I can handhold the 75-300 down to 1/50th or so, but a lot of birds are really twitchy.

Wow!

3) Try and keep the sunlight behind me. When I go for a walk, I'll usually walk into the sun via the boring route, then loop back with the sun behind me, where the birds are likely to be.

Thanks. good strategy...

4) Think outside the box. The fantails in particular are actually illuminated with fill flash, as it was so dark that day. I often carry a variety of bits of kit with me on walks. Sometimes I even remember that I've got things like the little FL300R.

Hmmm. More stuff in the pack! But very useful around teh house, in the truck and in the boat!!!

Thanks for posting that particular shot and those in your albums. They give us beginners some examples to try to emulate.

Tom

Thank you.

t

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Trevor Carpenter
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Re: A portrait of a Pacific Gull
In reply to Martin.au, Dec 20, 2013

Martin.au wrote:

Yep. love the 75-300.

I love the picture

I love the bird

I love Gulls, never know why people dismiss them as boring

As for the seagull argument lumping them all together under a single name is just laziness.  No one calla European Blackbird or an American Robin a thrush but they are, in the same way that a Pacific Gull is a seagull

and you probably could have applied a little nose reduction on that sky but it doesn't bother me

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smithling
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Re: A portrait of a Pacific Gull
In reply to Martin.au, Dec 20, 2013

Nah. I wouldn't.

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