Fieldfare feeding - is it acceptable to have an animal facing away in an image?

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Link Posted 23/01/2013 - 17:26
Hi all, my first forum post.

I took these photos last week at RSPB Snettisham. I got these after stalking this Fieldfare along the sea wall for about 15 minutes. Unfortunately I forgot my tripod hot shoe and had to shoot hand held at a higher ISO and then bump up the exposure, brightness and fill light, and reduce noise in LR3. They are still a bit dark for my liking. My skills in trying to frame and adjust settings for exposure on a quick moving subject need some work!

I received more positive comments from friends and colleagues on the first image, even though the bird is partially facing away, for me giving less connection with the subject. I'd be interested in the forum's opinion?

Constructive criticism gratefully received.

Last Edited by thesquirrelhorde on 23/01/2013 - 17:35


Link Posted 23/01/2013 - 20:42

The first one appears a little better in terms of sharpness etc but the bird facing away is best avoided if possible but still it is a nice picture.

The pose of the bird is better in 2 but the picture seems a little less sharp, however, given the conditions, mainly the light, I would say that these are not bad efforts.

Rule 1 with wildlife shots generally is to have the eye as sharp as possible - but rules can and will be broken.

I find that if you can have the light falling on the subject from around a 45 degree angle from behind you (not directly behind) but falling on the face of the subject this really helps the image.

Whilst the shutter speed, technique, lens, apeture value, camera etc will no doubt affect the 'sharpness' the is nothing like decent light to help lift the shot and that I feel is what is missing here and that is out of your control - lets face it better light would help focus, allow a lower ISO whilst maintaining a high enough shutter speed the light itself has makes the plumage, eye etc really stand out.

Given the conditions you seem to have made a decent job of these.

Hope this helps

K10D, K5 plus plenty of clueless enthusiasm.

My Flickr site link



Link Posted 24/01/2013 - 04:51
There are two perspectives here (excuse the pun), that of the photographer and that of the birder.

Pic 2 is better for ID purposes and as a behavioural shot as the food matter is clearly visible. However the human eye prefers landscape shots (which is how we see the world) over portrait so that is probably why your friends prefer #1.

Pic 1 is aesthetically more pleasing due to the snow covered branches being more in focus (again something your friends can appreciate).

The perspective really depends on the action (or lack of !) of the bird, so sometimes a portrait shot will suit the subject better, however in most cases you need to give 'room/space' in front of the direction the bird is facing, so shooting in landscape is more often used.

I often see people try to crop too close in bird shots (something I have also been guilty of) however a more pleasing shot can usually be achieved by encompassing some of the environment, especially when it is attractive (as you have done in shot #1) or provides a pleasing bokeh. Pentax. Pentax DA*300/4, Cosina 55/1.2, Lens Baby Composer Pro & Edge 80, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.
Nikon. D800. D600. Sigma 500/4.5, Nikon 300/2.8 VRII, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 35/2.0, Sigma 50/1.4, Nikkor 85/1.8, Nikon TC20EIII, Nikon TC14EII, Kenko x1.4, Sigma 2.0
Last Edited by Frogfish on 24/01/2013 - 04:51



Link Posted 24/01/2013 - 11:29
Thanks Stu and Frogfish, these comments are really helpful. All part of the learning curve


Link Posted 24/01/2013 - 11:43

I haven't got a picture of a fieldfare. They seem to be everywhere this winter, except by me. So, I'd accept any shot as a record shot. Once the record shot is out of the way I don't generally like wildlife shots with the subject facing away. Rightly or wrongly it gives the impression that you have effected its behaviour and it is ready to flee. There are exceptions of course which "prove the rule"

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