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Thread: Square Flight Skimmer

  1. #1
    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    Default Square Flight Skimmer

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    This Black Skimmer was photographed at Fort DeSoto on Thursday past--cloudy and windy. Canon 400mmm f/4L DO lens handheld with the 50D. 9-Point AI Servo AAFPS AF. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop: 1,2000 sec. at f/6.3. Hot shoe fill flash at -1 1/3 stops with the Better Beamer.

    It has taken me a while to get in the habit of not quitting on fllight shots as the bird gets closer and closer. I am not all the way there as far as breaking old, bad film habits, but I am getting some good ones.

    Don't be shy; all comments welcome.

    ps; Love the yellow flanks on skimmers in breeding plumage.

    pps: For more new DeSoto images and lots of great info, check the last two blog posts at www.birdsasart-blog.com
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  2. #2
    Avian Moderator Randy Stout's Avatar
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    Artie:

    Nice exposure and balance of natural light and flash. The composition works for me, as the bird works both of the diagonals. The crop image shows the interesting beak in more detail than usually seen. Sharp with a nice catchlight. Thanks for pointing out the breeding color, I hadn't seen that before.

    Randy

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    Hey Artie, this is a lovely shot with top exposure control, great wing position and terrific detail and shaprness, colors are strong but perfect, and although I am not a big fan of square crops, the birds pose and comp here makes it work IMO. Congratulations!

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    It goes with out saying that you are with out peer in determining proper exposure. I like the angle of attack, glimmer in his eye and color saturation looks spot on.

    What you can't teach this old dog is being content with clipped wings in a other wise fine image. Plenty of times I have a other wise "great" photo but go dang if I only didn't clip his wings. I do have some raptors going in for the kill with clipped wings but the absence of is negated by the focus on the action. In this Skimmer image even though I think it works it might be even stronger showing the immense breadth of his wing span.

    That all said I do like the post, I am just a old dog.

  5. #5
    ┴kos Lumnitzer
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    I like the image Artie. Great sharpness and the colors are fabulous indeed. That little hint of light cream is really a nice addition to its plumage.

    Did you deliberately crop in a way to have the 'cut' wing tips close to the corners of the frame?

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    Works for me!
    Interesting and effective comp, perfect exposure, excellent detail, and just the right amount of flash to light the underside.
    Didn't know about the yellow ... shows up very nicely here.

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    BPN Viewer Bruce Enns's Avatar
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    A beautiful intimate image Artie, with perfect exposure and sparkle in the eye, but I have to agree with Mike Tracy about the clipped wings, I would prefer if the wings were complete...was it you that wrote somewhere that if wings have to be clipped then make them really clipped so the intention is obvious?

    Cheers!
    Bruce

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    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    Above is the original capture. Several things to note:

    #1: Most obvious is that the image looks washed out. This is as it should when you are pushing the histogram to the right. All the info is there and then it looks great after Levels and Curves adjustments.

    #2: At this distance with the lens that I had in my hand, it would have been either impossible or nearly impossible to make a sharp image with the whole bird in the frame.

    #3: Given what I started with, the SQ crop was fairly obvious.

    #4: I am fine that some folks do not like either the square crop or the clipped wings. (And yes, as you can see, I did cut the bird's left wing that had originally been clipped; cut don't clip). In any case, I love both the crop and the resulting image, and as Randy points out, with large-in-the-frame images of flying birds detail that can never been seen in wider images is revealed.

    #5: Do note the work on the eye and the contrast mask sharpening of the face and underwings.

    #6: In early spring, the creamy yellow wash is present on most birds that are getting ready to breed. There is of course, lots of individual variation.
    BIRDS AS ART Blog: great info and lessons, lots of images with our legendary BAA educational Captions; we will not sell you junk. 30+ years of long lens experience/e-mail with gear questions.

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  9. #9
    david cramer
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    This image keeps trying to draw me in closer. I'd actually go for a stronger crop, moving in from the top and left to intensify the face details. Square works for me.

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    I'm with David on this one. I would like to see a much tighter crop. It would be great to see the facial details more. Because you have most of the wings in with the ends cropped off it makes the viewer want to see the whole wingspan.

    chris

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    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    If anything, I might take a bit off the left side.... Nothing more. Thanks all for their suggestions.
    BIRDS AS ART Blog: great info and lessons, lots of images with our legendary BAA educational Captions; we will not sell you junk. 30+ years of long lens experience/e-mail with gear questions.

    BIRDS AS ART Online Store: we will not sell you junk. 35 years of long lens experience. Please e-mail with gear questions.

    Check out the new SONY e-Guide and videos that I did with Patrick Sparkman here. Ten percent discount for BPN members,

    E-mail me at samandmayasgrandpa@att.net.










  12. #12
    Publisher Arthur Morris's Avatar
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    OK, I give. Took some more off the front and tried some tighter SQ crops but this is as far as I am willing to go.
    BIRDS AS ART Blog: great info and lessons, lots of images with our legendary BAA educational Captions; we will not sell you junk. 30+ years of long lens experience/e-mail with gear questions.

    BIRDS AS ART Online Store: we will not sell you junk. 35 years of long lens experience. Please e-mail with gear questions.

    Check out the new SONY e-Guide and videos that I did with Patrick Sparkman here. Ten percent discount for BPN members,

    E-mail me at samandmayasgrandpa@att.net.










  13. #13
    Super Moderator Daniel Cadieux's Avatar
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    Both crops are effective, but your original instinct (first post) works a little better IMO as I prefer the extra room it has to offer. One thing I remember most from my all-too-brief encounters with Skimmers is the quite elongated wings...the first has more "hint" of that. Very cool those yellowish areas, I never knew they had those in breeding plumage.

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    I prefer the 1st post also.. goes to show you images with clipped wings shouldn't always hit the bit bucket.
    Lou

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    Artie I really like this post particularly what you did to move it from the original RAW version. Something keeps pulling me to concentrate on the head and eye.

    For what it's worth I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that I'd like to see how this would look as more of a panorama crop - remove everything about 2 1/2 - 3 inches from the bottom of the original frame. It'll likely move the eye too close to the centre of the frame but I'd still like to see that version.

  16. #16
    Nate Chappell
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    I prefer the first pose Artie, a neat closeup of this guy, I like the wing position and how it forms an interesting comp.

  17. #17
    Terry Eddington
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    Artie, your 2nd crop is exactly the feedback I'd have given had I visited sooner. I like the square crop and the additional detail possible. The only thing that really bothered me was how small the clip on the left wing was compared to the right. It just felt out of balance in the 1st posting.

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