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Thread: Magpie Comparison #3

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    Default Magpie Comparison #3

    Ok, here's the 3rd Magpie shot I liked a lot from my trip out that day. This one has a Machiavellian feel to it to meet, but I don't find it to be a good. So, my first shot (two posting back) either would get my #1 spot, or #2 with this one 3rd.

    Anyhow, my post just prior asks for feedback on which of the 3 you think are best (you could just do 3,1,2 (which would mean you like this the 3rd shot most and the 2nd posted shot least) and - I you care to explain... why...

    Anyhow, thanks for looking and for any feedback.

    Details are the same as prior shots:

    A1 + 600 GM tripod mounted
    1250/5000/6.3
    C1P/PS/Topaz Dn

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    BPN Member Dorian Anderson's Avatar
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    All three of these magpie captures are unbelievably dynamic and serve as joint testament to the a1 technology and and your photographic ability. The head angle and eye contact are perfect in all three shots.
    In that respect I really can't chose between the three.

    However, all three images fall off as we move away from that focal point. Most notably, each image has large portions of the bird out of the facial focal plane, some grossly. I can't help but wonder how close you were
    to these birds? With such narrow focal planes, it looks you're right on top of them. I mean, you didn't bother with the 1.4x, so you knew they'd be close, right? I can't help but wonder what these results would look like
    with more depth of field (i.e. the birds farther away from you) and slightly smoother backgrounds.

    Also, all the birds in all three shots look a bit plastic. I don't know if that has to do with plumage specifics of this species, but I'm really yearning to see these birds with the same IQ as the gorgeous flicker you posted;
    that bird has great feather detail from beak to tali. Sure, that pose wasn't as dynamic, but I still prefer that image to the magpies.

    So, my feeling is that the three magpie images are equally amazing and equally flawed. The BG in the third is the best, but so little of the bird is in focus; And given the choice between having the front wing or rear wing
    in focus, I'd chose the front (you have the rear).

    I'm not sure all this helps you that much in choosing an image, but it's what's going through my head as I view these.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dorian Anderson View Post
    All three of these magpie captures are unbelievably dynamic and serve as joint testament to the a1 technology and and your photographic ability. The head angle and eye contact are perfect in all three shots.
    In that respect I really can't chose between the three.

    However, all three images fall off as we move away from that focal point. Most notably, each image has large portions of the bird out of the facial focal plane, some grossly. I can't help but wonder how close you were
    to these birds? With such narrow focal planes, it looks you're right on top of them. I mean, you didn't bother with the 1.4x, so you knew they'd be close, right? I can't help but wonder what these results would look like
    with more depth of field (i.e. the birds farther away from you) and slightly smoother backgrounds.

    Also, all the birds in all three shots look a bit plastic. I don't know if that has to do with plumage specifics of this species, but I'm really yearning to see these birds with the same IQ as the gorgeous flicker you posted;
    that bird has great feather detail from beak to tali. Sure, that pose wasn't as dynamic, but I still prefer that image to the magpies.

    So, my feeling is that the three magpie images are equally amazing and equally flawed. The BG in the third is the best, but so little of the bird is in focus; And given the choice between having the front wing or rear wing
    in focus, I'd chose the front (you have the rear).

    I'm not sure all this helps you that much in choosing an image, but it's what's going through my head as I view these.
    Thanks for the reply and your thoughts on the images in general. While that doesn’t help too much in terms of image selection/prioritization (my main goal), it can be helpful.

    You spoke about two different aspects of things I think so I’ll try and split them up.

    One is about distancing and DOF settings. Normally, I don’t find the Magpies to be particularly skittish (like Flickers) but they only hang around if they have a reason. In this case, I have a 6 foot moss covered branch that I post in a Xmas tree stand. While I don’t have to keep feeding them, I will initially put some feed or a peanut on the branch to attract the Mags or Jays. It’s in a campground area so I must position myself and the tree with concern for light direction, bkg distractions and neighboring trees (from which the birds come). As a result, the bkg trees can often be distant but I am only 20-35 feet away from the prech. Moving further out often ruins the light or bkg. Also, I think I’d lose the details. These are cropped to about 30% original size (attached full image)… One issue I have is my tracking sometimes getting pulled from the bird to the tree as they near each other... I'm set quite "sticky" in my AF settings and my zone is not full but there's that...

    As for the plastic look, actually not sure what are the factors creating the difference in looks between the Flicker and the Magpies. My guess would be as follows: a) the flickers aren’t particularly high-contrast but the Magpies are on opposite ends of the Spectrum (black/white) and add in their iridescence and I think it makes for difficult exposures (both in camera and in adjustments PP). I find the same difficulties in getting the details out of Acorns. Sometimes the lighting makes it better and stationary birds also help but with the feathers flying and light hitting them at different angles it comes out quite different. Esp the blacks which move from reflective to shadow so quickly. (I also find the same issue with Blackbirds and Crows even though there’s no white to contend with). b) the Flickers were flying by so they were mostly a bit further away c) the Flickers flight is pretty straight so their whole (smaller) body is getting it by one angle of light – but the larger Maggies are all over the place and their longer/flapping parts are reflecting light very differently. (these things may or not play a role… I don’t know… others care to chime in?). In post, the Flicker and Magpies go through the same process so if better details were there to pull out I think (well, at least hope) I’d detect them. That said, while my PS skills are improving (I’m working through some great courses at present), I am still learning so… maybe there’s a better outcome ahead.

    Anyhow, those are the contextual and procedurals. Again, appreciate your feedback.

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    BPN Member Andreas Liedmann's Avatar
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    Hi Jay ... first of all i do really like most of your BIF postings in terms of content , a pleasure to look at captured actions !!!!
    You are doing quite well in terms of color , tones and compositions and it is good that you clarified about the cropping .

    I have to agree with Dorian and his thoughts about IQ/sharpness and the " loss" of it in the final output image . IMHO the cropping is just too much , to expect the same quality as if the images would have been cropped to a lower degree . Regardless of the photographed subjects ..... to me it makes no difference if it´s birds / mammals / humans or even landscapes . The more data is there , the better the output will be .
    Perfect skills in post processing might help to get a bit better overall quality .... at least for web size images . Just my take .

    Regarding this image ... killer pose and looking good in terms of color and tones and i do like the colorful dark tones .

    TFS Andreas

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    Thanks, Andreas. I appreciate the input. But then I'm not sure which way to go for improvements. Dorian said not my not needing to use the 1.4 I must have been quite close so perhaps I should have more distance between myself and the subject. But if I do that the bird will be smaller in frame and require even more cropping which you feel is too high. If I skip the 1.4 and move closer (which might keeps the birds away) there is less cropping but then my DOF is even thinner unless I stop down from 6.3 which is possible when the light is good but in this setting would also bring all of the bkg items sharper into focus. If I back up and use the 1.4 I make up for backing up in terms of not needing to crop as much but I lose some of the details I am trying to gain and also take a bit of AF hit. Suggestions?

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    BPN Member Andreas Liedmann's Avatar
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    Hi Jay ... i am by far no expert for BIF photography , so my suggestions can be only " useful " in general terms .

    Under the given circumstances it might be " impossible " to create tack sharp subjects and have a super smooth BG , if you are not able to get the subject larger in the frame by going closer and / or use a extender . DOF limitations will come into play as well , when going closer or you are struggling to keep the subject in the frame and maybe even the AF tracking will be very difficult when being closer , as i think they do move fast .

    At least i would try to use extenders and go closer ... and see how the output will be , nothing to loose .... but maybe winning something . At least some experience ....

    Just my thoughts .

    Take my offer and i will try to help on the editing front , as far as i can .

    Cheers andreas

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    Hi Jay, I looked at both images and read the comments and your replies. For what it is worth I would move the perch farther away from the bush'tree background for more separation between the subject and background. Also if you have one I would add a 1.4 Teleconverter and possibly move closer to your setup so the bird is larger in the frame before cropping and post processing. I think you are onto something good, you just need to refine how you do it. Thank you for sharing.
    Joe Przybyla

    "Sometimes I do get to places just as God is ready to have somebody click the shutter"... Ansel Adams

    www.amazinglight.smugmug.com

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