Show your Bird Portraits

Valvebounce

EOS R5
CR Pro
Apr 3, 2013
4,547
437
54
Isle of Wight
Magpies!
I have a really ambivalent relatonship to them:
They look really beautiful, but when they sing...
I am absoutely fascinated by their intelligence, but it's horrifying how they use it when they go nesting...
And I remember one spring in my childhood when a gang of about ten of them went through my neighbourhood and that year I never heard any bird singing again, because all that survived had fled.
(I know that is just nature, but...)
Hi Maximilian.
The mafia of the bird world!
Nice shots.

Cheers, Graham.
 
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AlanF

Stay at home
CR Pro
Aug 16, 2012
8,017
9,516
This time last year I spent every day watching Longtailed Tits building a nest and then flying in with insects to feed the chicks. Here is the nest, the female inside it, the predated nest, and the arrogant, strutting, Magpie murderer.

3Q7A2457-DxO_longtailed_tit_nest.jpg
3Q7A2690-DxO_longtailed_tit_in_nest_CF.jpg
longtailed_tit_nest_destroyed_small.jpg
DSC_0681-DxO_Magpie_strutting-lssslize_small.jpg
 

Jack Douglas

CR for the Humour
Apr 10, 2013
6,766
2,291
Alberta, Canada
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Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
CR Pro
Nov 7, 2013
3,360
1,953
Germany
Somehow I have a really bad feeling, to awaken all these bad and also at least ambivalent feelings in you, Alan, Jack and Graham.
As I said a very ambivalent bird.
Sorry for that.
 

dcm

It's not the gear. But it helps.
CR Pro
Apr 18, 2013
915
420
Colorado, USA
Ring-necked doves nesting in a backyard blue spruce (R6, 100-400L II, 1.4XIII).

Fortifying the nest before last night's snow in Colorado.
dvmtthws-20210415-1151051.jpg


Settled in. Eye AF struggled with the falling snow, close to useless. EDIT: Later it occurs to me that I might have lowered the AF tracking sensitivity. Keep forgetting the R6 has these advanced features that I use in the 1DXII. The R6 is so much more than a mirrorless 6D.
dvmtthws-20210415-1721393.jpg


Snow exposes the nest.
dvmtthws-20210416-0920371.jpg
 
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privatebydesign

EOS-1D X Mark III
CR Pro
Jan 29, 2011
9,990
4,759
I just cut my finger on the plumage it's so sharp.
It’s funny, I know sharpness is a thing for all you guys and I’m not knocking it at all, but I was watching a high end fashion and editorial photographer the other day and he was asked about his sharpening technique, he replied he doesn’t do any and he then expanded on why. He took an image of his hand and put it onto a monitor and put his hand next to the monitor, he said ‘as it is they look the same, if I sharpen it then it looks sharper than my hand does in real life’.

It seems to me, and I might be opening myself up to some hate and negativity here but oh well, feathers are known for their softness, that’s why we put them in pillows, when you get to the point that they look sharp enough to cut you have we gone too far? And yes, I appreciate it was a figure of speech but the question really is, is the level of sharpness now seemingly required for well received bird photography an accurate representation of the animal in the wild?
 

Ramage

EOS R5
CR Pro
Aug 27, 2019
510
1,018
It’s funny, I know sharpness is a thing for all you guys and I’m not knocking it at all, but I was watching a high end fashion and editorial photographer the other day and he was asked about his sharpening technique, he replied he doesn’t do any and he then expanded on why. He took an image of his hand and put it onto a monitor and put his hand next to the monitor, he said ‘as it is they look the same, if I sharpen it then it looks sharper than my hand does in real life’.

It seems to me, and I might be opening myself up to some hate and negativity here but oh well, feathers are known for their softness, that’s why we put them in pillows, when you get to the point that they look sharp enough to cut you have we gone too far? And yes, I appreciate it was a figure of speech but the question really is, is the level of sharpness now seemingly required for well received bird photography an accurate representation of the animal in the wild?
@privatebydesign I do not think having a discussion on adding sharpness or heavy vs light edits are grounds for hate or negativity.

Personally the thing I still struggle the most with is "how far is to far". So for me I always welcome feedback and discussion on anything I post, the likes are awesome but I get the most value from those that are more critical.

Besides I think you have proven over and over again to only add value to discussions on this forum and your input critical or positive is always welcome.

My 2 cents

Edit: I should add that in terms of sharpness I think it depends on the shot and the use case for the photo. If the goal is to capture all the details of a species I think it should be sharp and well detailed. If the goal is to capture the beauty of a subject I think artistic impression leaves it open to be anything from critically sharp to soft and abstract. Since using the tech in the R5 and the R6 I personally find while I enjoy both a critically sharp image and a artistic image am finding I am leaning more and more to images that are softer and more abstract that leave me wondering how that was done.
 
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AlanF

Stay at home
CR Pro
Aug 16, 2012
8,017
9,516
It’s funny, I know sharpness is a thing for all you guys and I’m not knocking it at all, but I was watching a high end fashion and editorial photographer the other day and he was asked about his sharpening technique, he replied he doesn’t do any and he then expanded on why. He took an image of his hand and put it onto a monitor and put his hand next to the monitor, he said ‘as it is they look the same, if I sharpen it then it looks sharper than my hand does in real life’.

It seems to me, and I might be opening myself up to some hate and negativity here but oh well, feathers are known for their softness, that’s why we put them in pillows, when you get to the point that they look sharp enough to cut you have we gone too far? And yes, I appreciate it was a figure of speech but the question really is, is the level of sharpness now seemingly required for well received bird photography an accurate representation of the animal in the wild?
"It seems to me, and I might be opening myself up to some hate and negativity here but oh well," So you want to provoke us. First: "feathers are known for their softness, that’s why we put them in pillows". a) Not all feathers are soft, they vary a huge amount, which is why special ones like those from Eider Ducks are used for the best pillows as others will prick you; b) irrespective of their softness to the touch, feathers have a beautiful underlying structure and usern4cr is showing that structure that makes up the plumage, and, importantly, softness does not depend on the lack of well-defined structure but depends on being deformable. Secondly, a fashion photographer might have no interest in the details of the structure of a hand but a whole series of people are interested in detail and specialise in macrophotography - his comments are akin to someone who because he lacks interest in a subject dismisses it as irrelevant. I have no interest in fashion photography but I respect that other people do and it is important to them and others.

The level of detail depends on what you are trying to achieve. We bird photographers trade off sharpness against artistic merit and all the other merits of an image from the importance of the action to the rarity of the shot. Some beautiful artistic work lacks detail, and that is not to its detriment. But, we love birds and love seeing them close up and all the detail where appropriate. An out of focus image of a bird that should be sharp is detrimental. The detail in usern4cr images is not oversharpened and reflects reality. Some images are oversharpened and I don't like them
 
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privatebydesign

EOS-1D X Mark III
CR Pro
Jan 29, 2011
9,990
4,759
"It seems to me, and I might be opening myself up to some hate and negativity here but oh well," So you want to provoke us. First: "feathers are known for their softness, that’s why we put them in pillows". a) Not all feathers are soft, they vary a huge amount, which is why special ones like those from Eider Ducks are used for the best pillows as others will prick you; b) irrespective of their softness to the touch, feathers have a beautiful underlying structure and usern4cr is showing that structure that makes up the plumage, and, importantly, softness does not depend on the lack of well-defined structure but depends on being deformable. Secondly, a fashion photographer might have no interest in the details of the structure of a hand but a whole series of people are interested in detail and specialise in macrophotography - his comments are akin to someone who because he lacks interest in a subject dismisses it as irrelevant. I have no interest in fashion photography but I respect that other people do and it is important to them and others.

That level of detail depends on what you are trying to achieve. We bird photographers trade off sharpness against artistic merit and all the other merits of an image from the importance of the action to the rarity of the shot. Some beautiful artistic work lacks detail, and that is not to its detriment. But, we love birds and love seeing them close up and all the detail where appropriate. An out of focus image of a bird that should be sharp is detrimental.
Not provoke, that is too confrontational, start a discussion? Yes. What concerns me slightly is the ever increasing seeming requirement for ‘sharpness’ beyond natural levels.

I did not name a photographer and will not, that absolutely was not my point and you know it, my point was much broader.

But it does seem to me this focus on sharpness creates two potential issues, the first is that the subjects cease to look realistic, lets remember the concept of post processing sharpness is all to do with micro contrast levels and the levels seen in a lot of images, not just birding but landscapes, real estate, portraits etc, are no longer ‘natural’. And secondly, people automatically reject otherwise very worthy images because they don’t fit into this current style.

As for the fashion photographer, they must represent the clothes/fashion in a lifelike and realistic way and detail and texture is normally of huge importance.

To me both types of photographer, in ‘representative’ types of images (not artistic interpretations), are looking to achieve the same thing, that is detailed and accurate representations of real world subjects.

I am not picking on bird photographers, I am not questioning the ethics of feeding, cloning out twigs, the general aesthetic of positions or the like, I am making a much broader comment on a current photographic style that is used in some bird photography as well as many other genres. I asked the question here because this is a very well supported area of the site with intelligent and thoughtful contributors.
 
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usern4cr

R5
CR Pro
Sep 2, 2018
1,066
1,667
Kentucky, USA
Very nice shots. Well done, Usern4cr.
I just cut my finger on the plumage it's so sharp.
It’s funny, I know sharpness is a thing for all you guys and I’m not knocking it at all, but I was watching a high end fashion and editorial photographer the other day and he was asked about his sharpening technique, he replied he doesn’t do any and he then expanded on why. He took an image of his hand and put it onto a monitor and put his hand next to the monitor, he said ‘as it is they look the same, if I sharpen it then it looks sharper than my hand does in real life’.

It seems to me, and I might be opening myself up to some hate and negativity here but oh well, feathers are known for their softness, that’s why we put them in pillows, when you get to the point that they look sharp enough to cut you have we gone too far? And yes, I appreciate it was a figure of speech but the question really is, is the level of sharpness now seemingly required for well received bird photography an accurate representation of the animal in the wild?
Thank you Click & AlanF for your kind words. As a "happy hobbyist", that's about the best thing one could ever hear.

As far as "too much sharpness" is concerned, the main reality of the sharpness in these photos is that fact that I turned on full ES so as to not scare away the birds. I thought I'd take 8 FPS like I normally have chosen to do, but found out that full ES always goes at 20 FPS. So I ended up with about 3,000 photos in this folder that was such a burden to go through for someone like me who want to get the best shot, only to find there were 50 shots of the same thing with slight variations and I had to find the absolute best one - that was a PITA, particularly since after that 50 there were maybe 2,950 more to go through. So when I waded through 50 of the same shot you are bound to get one or two that are just stunningly sharp, while the rest are decently sharp and many are plain blurred. I've also found that different apertures are critical for sufficient depth of field to give enough sharpness of the bird while still allowing sufficient background blur. Since Canon has not yet allowed aperture bracketing, I have to manually change the aperture through a shooting sequence to have a broad range of DOF to choose from. Since I picked the best photo (hopefully) out of 50 (for example) for each of the various poses, and the R5 animal eye AF is so good (thank you, Canon!), I was bound to end up with some really really sharp photos, and often with a really interesting turn of their head. Did I add extra sharpening? Well, sometimes yes, but more often no as it was all there to start with. But I do add a lot of effort in balancing the brightness to get a bright enough subject and tone down an often too-bright background. The cardinals usually have so much color that I usually don't have to add any saturation. I do happen to try to add some brightness to their eyes so that they're not just a black blob but seen to come alive with subtle reflections that draw you to the heart of the birds face. I find that there is a fine balance between bringing out the beauty in a shot and overdoing it to the point of looking burnt. Where that point happens to be is a matter of preference, with trial & error helping to hone in what the ideal amount for each individual.
 
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pape2

EOS 90D
Mar 19, 2021
116
147
I feel dark black blob looks less scary though :p But good work usern4cr!
Good opinions everyone. I agree you dont want see more hand details what you can see plain eye. But then again ,there are peoples who think ugly is art too :p
 
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