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Looking for improvement This is the e-group critique board. If you post a picture here it will be assumed that you are looking for comprehensive technical feedback - both good and bad, but always respectful. Only post pictures here if you can deal with potentially negative constructive criticism. Anyone is qualified to comment and post feedback, and everyone is encouraged to do so. NB: "Looking for Improvement" is the place to post any pictures you would like advice on improving, no matter how bad you might think they are.

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Old 17th April 2011
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Cathrine Stephansen Cathrine Stephansen is offline
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Coots in a fight.

The lakes are finally thawing up, and to make the most of a short breeding season, everyone's getting busy. These were taken at Østensjøvannet in Oslo, a nature reserve and bird haven.

Sizing each other up:


And then the fight begins:






They kept at quite a distance, so all images are cropped. 300mm + EC14. Tips for improvement would be greatly appreciated.

f/7.1 1/500 sec
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Old 18th April 2011
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Re: Coots in a fight.

Cathrine,

Coots are particularly difficult to expose for with the extreme contrast between bill and plumage and I think you've done very well here. Did you use the polarising filter? I use it with the 300mm when photographing in this sort of situation as it helps to darken the water and help get a better exposed and balanced image.

Regards

David
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Old 18th April 2011
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Re: Coots in a fight.

I didnt even think of that, I completely forgot about the filters! i checked the exposure while they were sizing each other up, glad I did. A little later in the evening the camera kept over-exposing, but here it wasn't too bad. Tufted duck males in full evening light was a challenge though, had to underexpose a lot.
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Old 19th April 2011
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Re: Coots in a fight.

Hi

I believe you did a very good job in freezing the action and also balancing between dark plumage and light bills. How did you expose? Under-exposure?Low key, high key?

Regarding the hint about useing polarizing filter; what ISO did you use? (I am concerned about exposure time).

I believe image 4 should be recropped in order to remove some of the less interesting foreground water (out of focus). You could also try recropping images 1, 2 and 3 to achieve similar effect (just slighlty).

/Tord
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Old 19th April 2011
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Re: Coots in a fight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tordan58 View Post
Hi

I believe you did a very good job in freezing the action and also balancing between dark plumage and light bills. How did you expose? Under-exposure?Low key, high key?

Regarding the hint about useing polarizing filter; what ISO did you use? (I am concerned about exposure time).

I believe image 4 should be recropped in order to remove some of the less interesting foreground water (out of focus). You could also try recropping images 1, 2 and 3 to achieve similar effect (just slighlty).

/Tord
Tack så mycket, Tord

I agree with you on maybe cropping #4 a little more in the foreground. The others need a little water I feel to give a sense of environment and balance to the photo. Tastes vary, I suppose, I don't like wildlife images without a little space, but #4 could lose a little in the front! Thanks for spotting!!

Actually, I didn't under-expose the coot-fight images. The aperture is f/7.1 as they were so far away and moving fast that I was worried about sharpness and focus (20 meters according to registered info from camera focus), shutter speed 1/500 s which freezes them enough, but makes the water splash move a little. ISO is 500, which introduces some noise. The sun was partly shaded at that time, very low evening light. I went back yesterday and the evening sun was lovely in a cloudless sky (just what we Scandinavians need right now) and I had to underexpose a lot more than the day before.

This is f/5.6 1/1600 sec -0.7 EV. You'd probably want to crop this but I wanted to include the mirror he's admiring himself in...



He's obviously very pleased with himself, he was just mating. There's a squashed female in the nest somewhere! This one is underexposed at -1.0 EV



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Old 21st April 2011
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Re: Coots in a fight.

Hi

Partly off topic, but somewhat related: Two pictures of non-fighting coots taken with 50-200 SWD, a few hours in between (late afternoon, sunny and windy and early evening with sun going behind trees and calm conditions).

Underexposed -1/3 EV to avoid eroding the white beak and also preserve the structure in the feathers. Wide open F4.0. exposure time 1/1500 and 1/500s.

The first picture has some undesired shadows across the back (from weed), apart from that I am quite happy with it. In the second picture I should have waited until the coot turned its head somewhat left; the structure in the neck feathers is almost gone and the eye is not glowing from reflecting the sun.
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File Type: jpg Coot_Fulica_atra_1.jpg (50.3 KB, 7 views)
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Old 21st April 2011
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Re: Coots in a fight.

That's some strong light in the first photo! Very nicely exposed. I see what you mean with the second shot, but then again, he might have dived in stead of turning his head into the sun There is at least a small catchlight in its eye.
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Old 23rd April 2011
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Re: Coots in a fight.

Hi Cathrine
The shots of the coots are lovely. I so agree with you that in an outdoor shot like this the creatures need some space around them. Especially water with ducks.

And how do you pronounce that location?
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Old 23rd April 2011
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Re: Coots in a fight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Floribunda View Post
And how do you pronounce that location?
Oh dear, I wish I knew how to write how to pronounce "Østensjøvannet"
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Old 23rd April 2011
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Re: Coots in a fight.

Aussie Coots are more civilised and peaceful Cathrine!

These were shot with an E-520 and the 70-300, processed as psd and saved as jpgs.
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