Viewing 31 reply threads
    • Bird Academy
      Bird Academy
      Bird_Academy
      What did you notice when you followed (or broke!) the “rules” of composition? Share in the discussion below.
      You must be enrolled in the course to reply to this topic.
    • Taylor
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      taylorann
      Has anyone used a Field Scope instead of a telescopic lens? It is supposed to attach to a camera and an I-phone using adapters.
    • Aidan
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      26keata
      IMG_4015IMG_3987IMG_3954 I took all three of these photos at the leather stocking trail in NY and especially like the Golden crowned kinglet, because of how close I got to the bird, with only a 250mm zoom lens! The thrush is also one of my favorite because it is following the rule of thirds.
    • Kelly
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      kellysbirding
      DSC02441DSC03326DSC02387 For this assignment I really concentrated on using my manual settings while trying to get the "classic" bird photo using the rule of 3rds.  For the Song Sparrow I really liked how the branch in the foreground as well as the background were blurred while the bird itself was still in focus.  I spent a lot of time with this female Ruby-throated Hummingbird as she darted back and forth from the feeder to this tree and like how she's wrapped around the tiny branch.  I love how the Gray Catbird really stands out from the creamy green background.
    • Matt
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      mattpdx10
      _DSC4305A wide open aperture and high speed created a nicely blurred background while the dew is still visible on the morning grass. Brewers blackbird
    • Matt
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      mattpdx10
      _DSC5121-2_DSC5119I took these Rufous Hummingbird photos with side lighting. I especially like the way that the fascia frame the bird.
    • Susan E.
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      seferency
      E7720437-637D-452D-927C-4C0221E3C1EE9B99B90D-6B32-429F-8E4D-2F69F588C1C9AC4F5F72-D6A6-4E6E-9E2A-A0E7DE4CC379The top photo of a yellow-crowned heron (I think) is backlighting following the rule of thirds. The middle photo of the Tree Swallow is side lighting and follows through rule of thirds. Finally, Snowy Egret is front lighting.
    • Bill
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      billy7
      Melissa's photo on the side-lit Eastern Towhee:  Why did you shoot at F/7.1 instead of keeping it wide open and dropping down the ISO?  Wouldn't that have created a better quality image (less noise from higher ISO)?  I was just curious because I always try to shoot wide open unless I want to increase depth of field to capture multiple birds or for maybe a habitat shot.
    • Bill
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      froberger
      I spent a long time (45 minutes) trying to capture the spirit of this Black Phoebe - this is the only photo of many that follows the "rules".   I also was getting used to my Canon Powershoot HD50SX so there were some technical issues. But by using large aperture , I love the shallow depth of the field and how it highlights the bird. The Snow Egret violates the rule of thirds but it still isn't a bad picture!     black phoebe     IMG_3318
    • Marcia
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      CaroneMA
      Used the Rule of Thirds in the first picture and in the last picture of the Canada Goose I broke the Rule of Thirds and the Goose is right in the middle of the picture. I really like both pictures, so I could go with using the Rule of Thirds but also breaking it when necessary. The middle picture of the Canada Goose is showing shallow depth of field when I was playing around with my aperture settings. Loved the assignment.0M8A1616a 0M8A1563a0M8A1606a
    • Scott
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      jscrist
      While I lived in Florida for some time, I've never been able to capture decent images of Osprey...until one appeared in my backyard to munch on a tasty fish caught from our lake.  During the photo encounter a Bald Eagle and Hawk circled the Osprey watching for an opportunity to swoop down and steal the fish.  But the Osprey would not have it and spread its wings around the fish to hide it from any aerial attacks.  Both images are using the rule of thirds. 20200104-Backyard-Osprey-2-220200104-Backyard-Osprey-1-2
      • Isabelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 58
        oiseaulune
        Wow! That is such beautiful close ups. Amazing photos.
      • Scott
        Participant
        Chirps: 5
        jscrist

        @Isabelle Thanks so much Isabelle!  It was truly a magical encounter.

      • Robin
        Participant
        Chirps: 11
        rosyrobin
        I am in awe of these photos!  Amazing.  I see osprey in my area, but they are always high up in the trees.  wow!
      • Christine
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        CFleuriel
        When I lived in Maine, I once saw an osprey dive and come up with a fish. Immediately an eagle was on it, trying to get it to drop the fish. Watched through binoculars for a few minutes until the eagle gave up. Apparently, they're pretty lazy.
    • Betty
      Participant
      Chirps: 14
      bjthompson29
      Dickcissel with backlighting IMG_9365 Barn swallow with subject in focus and background blurred IMG_9325 Bald eagle side lighting IMG_8556
    • Phyllis
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      PhyGaiWei
      I live in the desert so there isn't much in the way of sit spots or car-blind birding.  I went to different locations for each photo.  For the common bee eater (bottom) I placed the nest hole in the upper right-hand 1/3 of the photo and photographed the bird as it exited.  There is a lot of space in front of the bird, to move into. The white spectacled bulbul (middle) was in my bird-bath and I broke the rules by putting it dead center, but I wanted to show motion.  I aimed low (belly-water interface) and got that in focus (F 5.7) and took a medium slow shutter speed of 1/125 of a second. Finally I broke the rules with the pale rock finch but was so happy that I got water drops on its face/throat.  I probably should have moved it to the left 1/3 of the photo and had more of the water in front of it, to the right. DSCN0075 P1080921DSCN0307
    • Julia
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      jclas2
      F909D717-D0CF-454E-8D63-D29B5F516921_1_105_c71E58947-257D-4843-A423-B7CB2008221C_1_105_c   I worked with the rule of thirds in both these images. The first, common yellowthroat,  and the second, sandhill crane photos were taken on an overcast day so the lighting was not as dramatic. I was more focused on exposure-light meter to prevent them from being too dark.
    • Lucy
      Participant
      Chirps: 24
      Laspade
      I love how the painted bunting came out crisp but the leaves in the foreground and background are blurred almost creating a frame. This doesn't follow the rule of thirds bit the blurred edges draw the focus to the bird.DSC_3748e
      • Carole
        Participant
        Chirps: 39
        Carole Poustie
        Such a beautiful image, Lucy. I love how the colour of the background accentuates the birds colours as well as that really effective blurring.
      • Fred
        Participant
        Chirps: 9
        freddyd48
        Excellent use of selective focus and aperture, Lucy! Beautiful color contrast as well.
      • Siddhesh
        Participant
        Chirps: 5
        virimmune210393
        I really like this photo. It shows the colour features of the bird. It would have been better if there was no obstructing object. However, on the other hand, I think it also shows how well the bird tries to ambush itself.
    • Kent
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      hksnake
      Well, these were shots that were done wrong. First the Chipping Sparrow had harsh noon sun overhead but it lit up his hair do. The Red-winged Blackbird had both the fore ground and back ground in focus, The House Finch was in the rain, no sun. I took the shot out of my sun room window. I still liked some aspect of each of these even though they don't go by the book.466152804499
      • Julia
        Participant
        Chirps: 7
        jclas2
        I really like the house finch photo because you can see the bird is wet and the small streaks of rain.
      • Isabelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 58
        oiseaulune
        The house Finch is fabulous! I love the composition, the atmosphere, the rain and its expression! Bravo!
      • Siddhesh
        Participant
        Chirps: 5
        virimmune210393
        Lovely photo! Loved the finch. Just a small note: would have been better if the limbs had not been cut :)
      • Robin
        Participant
        Chirps: 11
        rosyrobin
        I really like all three photos.  They are all artfully done, even the shadows.  Sometimes I like to see some shadowing because it looks more natural, the way we see the bird in nature most of the time.  The house finch is especially lovely with the water droplets and perfectly focused.  I hope to take photos like this some day!
    • Elizabeth
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      Burtnerl
      Plain ole house sparrow with side lighting. That really makes the feather texture pop.MKNC July 10 2020-6MKNC July 10 2020-11Sorry this isn't a bird-but I used spot metering on this mink's face like Melissa did on the crow to get his eyes, plus backlighting to highlight his fur. It's really hot here today and the birds just weren't out! I'm learning to change my metering mode to accommodate different situations.
      • gnu_photographer
        Participant
        Chirps: 13
        lawadam
        Such a cool photo! The bird (sparrow sized?) looks as large as the mink! Perhaps because of the background compression from using your telephoto lens. An interesting effect. Thanks for sharing it! :)
    • helen
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      neilhelenjoe
      B32395D4-E0E5-4592-B489-ED02318654EBC2274BDA-E7F7-4D9D-97BF-F699A0E7C4BF8670485B-A73C-412B-B789-DE9A58BCB5B1The Dove is following the rules I think!  The Cattle Egret doesn’t but we wanted to include the Bull with it.  Not sure where the Killdeer fits in but liked the shot!
      • Elizabeth
        Participant
        Chirps: 21
        Burtnerl
        These are all nice. I would move the one with the bull over so that even more of the bull is showing and the birds is on the far left hand side-the look on the birds face is special as he's looking at the bull. :-)
      • helen
        Participant
        Chirps: 7
        neilhelenjoe

        @Elizabeth Agree Elizabeth!  Thanks for the comment!

      • Bill
        Participant
        Chirps: 4
        billy7
        The rule of thirds is a new concept to me.  It makes a lot of sense but I always centered the bird.  That is the one big thing I learned in this course and I really like how you positioned the dove in this photo.  I think it looks better than had you centered it.
    • Elizabeth
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      Burtnerl
      ThStack Rock Trail July 8 2020-7
      • Elizabeth
        Participant
        Chirps: 21
        Burtnerl
        Don't know where my text went. Male Western Towhee, back lighting with shadow. This is a wrong use of composition-he needs more room to look into.
    • Carole
      Participant
      Chirps: 39
      Carole Poustie
      Sometimes I'm just happy if I can get a photo of a bird that is all in the frame, exposed correctly and in focus! But I must say the lighting makes all the difference to the end result and really makes that bird 'shine'! Here are my offerings. Side lighting, rule of three and a slightly different rule of three just to make you smile. Hopefully! 😊22818EB4-93D3-4F22-BDC6-F303B3E87F008BF52595-34F9-4093-912D-00AB013DFC4093189A85-50B6-481D-9BFB-B0D196E9DBC2
      • Elizabeth
        Participant
        Chirps: 21
        Burtnerl
        Yes, that last use of thirds did make me smile. What is the bird in second photo? Nice shots.
      • Carole
        Participant
        Chirps: 39
        Carole Poustie

        @Elizabeth Hi Elizabeth   The second image is a female superb fairy-wren. Here's a photo of the male. Found in the south and south east of Australia.   Cheers Carole5CD032A6-A397-4574-8065-66C61855ACF7

      • Julia
        Participant
        Chirps: 7
        jclas2
        Really like the softness of the side light on the first as well as the beautiful bokeh. Great to see.
    • Gary
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      GELARSEN
      Photo is more interesting when using rule of 3rd's. The creamy background makes the main element stand out. I left the leaves on the right side to balance out the image.TT003001-Edit-1I took this photo at 1/1250, f/6.3 with ISO 500. I also touched it up a bit in Lightroom.
      • Isabelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 58
        oiseaulune
        Great photo!
    • Mark
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      hallmarkf
      E0E74A30-5DC0-4FA5-A840-7B740FDE8B3B85208CD7-9BD6-45DA-8B4D-29A833447705A36D9501-D40D-41EA-B061-E0EB3427F2D9The picture of the American Oystercatcher, taken on my day trip pilgrimage to Cape May yesterday, follows the rule of thirds. The background is blurred in the Red-Tailed Hawk picture. For the Bald Eagle (taken on July 4th!), I broke the rule of thirds. The angle of the bird flying away, and the lack of anything but blue sky beyond it, made it look better to me this way. Fun fact, the Eagle and the Hawk (wasn’t that a John Denver song) were taken only 12 minutes apart, both using the car as a blind, sort of. The Eagle was too far away to care about me. I saw the hawk perched on a wire as I drove home from where I’d just seen the Eagle. The road was very lightly traveled at the time, so I was able to turn around, go back, stop underneath, and take the picture through the sunroof.
    • gnu_photographer
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      lawadam
      Law_Dec2019-5 This is a photo in which I think I broke some of  the rules.  The photo of the Secretary Bird is taken with the negative space behind the bird rather than (the traditional) in front of the bird. I did this to emphasize the Secretary Bird's rearward facing plumes. Law_Dec2019-2 I think this Bee Eater photo is more in line with usual bird portrait rules, creamy background, rule of thirds. There is no catchlight in the eye but the iris is clear and evenly lit.
      • Gary
        Participant
        Chirps: 2
        GELARSEN
        In the first photo, it looks like a wide aperture was indeed used producing a blurred background not exactly creamy. I would have placed the bird looking into the blank space, not away from it. The second photo has a nice creamy background, just what we want. Furthermore the bird is off-centered, using the rule of 3rd's and the photo is balanced with the branch on the left.
      • gnu_photographer
        Participant
        Chirps: 13
        lawadam

        @Gary Thanks for the feedback, Gary! :-)

      • Elizabeth
        Participant
        Chirps: 21
        Burtnerl
        What great birds-I'm loving seeing the birds from around the world. Your break the rules photo makes me want to scoot it over a bit so it is looking into the void-know you did this on purpose to emphasize the plumes. Second one has nice composition-thanks for sharing these birds with us.   Libby
      • gnu_photographer
        Participant
        Chirps: 13
        lawadam

        @Elizabeth Thanks Libby, for your feedback! :) Here's another birds of the world photo - a Kori Bustard. I have a few more on my instagram page if you are interested. It is the same name as my username. Kori Bustard Small Jpeg

    • Isabelle
      Participant
      Chirps: 58
      oiseaulune
      Here is the same backlit photo of the juvenile western bluebird against a darker background. On the last two photos with the black phoebes (there is a juvenile and its mom). I tried to work on the composition and and trying (rule of 1/3.) DSCF4112 DSCF3936DSCF3982
      • Elizabeth
        Participant
        Chirps: 21
        Burtnerl
        Nice comparisons of how light angle changes things!
      • Isabelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 58
        oiseaulune

        @Elizabeth Thank you Elizabeth!

      • Fred
        Participant
        Chirps: 9
        freddyd48
        Love the top image! Beautiful rim light and excellent example of the rule of thirds.
      • Isabelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 58
        oiseaulune

        @Fred Thank you Fred!

    • Isabelle
      Participant
      Chirps: 58
      oiseaulune
      I went to my local public park to experiment with what Melissa taught in this lesson. I first put all the settings Melissa recommended on my camera and then tried to find birds and photograph them in different light, and background, paying particular attention to the fact that their eye was lit and there was nothing in the background. I decided to go full manual and see what I could come up with. I was very pleased with the results and I can't wait to experiment again. Here are 3 views of the same juvenile western bluebird - front light, side light and back light (same background - blue sky).DSCF4092DSCF4097DSCF4101
      • Carole
        Participant
        Chirps: 39
        Carole Poustie
        Each shot so different with the light, Isabelle. Great! I must get more adventurous and use manual. You've encouraged me!
      • Isabelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 58
        oiseaulune

        @Carole I know, it was the first time I tried, I am going to experiment more too :) Looking forward to seeing your experimentations.

    • Karen
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      kwilles
      Here are original and cropped images of the only time in 3 hours of waiting that this American Flamingo at St. Marks NWR in Florida opened its wings.  I was glad to be able to create the final image using the Rule of Thirds and was also pleased that the shorebirds in the background did not distract from the flamingo.  ISO 1250, f/10, 1/4000  / Canon 7D II, Sigma 150-600 Contemporary Lens 93C7B87C-7EEF-4427-9FC2-4818925C1B03 BFABEA04-8695-427E-BD54-DBF5280399C0
      • Isabelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 58
        oiseaulune
        Wow! The colors (and the bird) are beautiful!
    • Krispen
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Krispenhartung
      In this case when I shot this Yellow Warbler and used the thirds rule, there were pros and cons. The pro is that I could see the tip of the branch, which created nice balance and closure.  However, the bird is a bit small in the field. So I decided to break the rule and center the bird.  Ideally, I could have negotiated with the warbler and got him to move up the branch a bit. That wasn’t happening though!  :-). 7B039905-6C2C-4286-B22D-2E71C8E9109BF60184AB-BCA0-4F5B-9E59-14A187268B88
      • Isabelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 58
        oiseaulune
        Very interesting. I think I prefer the second picture, even if the bird is smaller my eyes tend to follow the branch and land more easily on the bird. Well done!
      • Carole
        Participant
        Chirps: 39
        Carole Poustie
        Lovely photos. I think I agree with Isabelle. I like the whole of the branch in the frame. More pleasing to the eye. 😊
    • nicolette
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      nichristie
      749095C9-C449-41C8-8D04-0C422F397F8B
    • nicolette
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      nichristie
      Talk about missing a shot! I got the settings right but the autofocus on my camera has lots to be desired. C00E9244-2591-4F24-BBA6-63D1F5C90C4F
    • Bill
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      willjr
      One of the things I really enjoy is photographing the birds that come to my backyard. Sometimes they get close enough for a nice portrait without worrying about the "rules". But they are just guidelines.House Wren, Tolland, CTGrosbeak, Tolland, CT
      • Isabelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 58
        oiseaulune
        Beautiful!
    • Fred
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      fred721
      I try to follow the "rules" especially rule of thirds as I find it creates a more pleasing photo. But I am perfectly happy to break rules - sometimes it works for the particular image and sometimes, it is all one can achieve especially when shooting fast moving animals or birds. I also prefer to give my subjects more room in front to move into but if I don't have time to compose that way, I am comfortable so long as there is some room in front of the subject. My preference is to shoot at f/5.6 or larger apertures to create an out-of-focus background but again, for fast moving birds or animals I will use f/8 or f/11 to ensure the subject stays in focus. The photos, of the Frogmouth and Chimango Caracara, are all examples of nicely blurred backgrounds. The Tui illustrates a common background when shooting birds - featureless blue sky and also is an example of shooting upward in lieu of at eye level - fairly common as birds roost in high places._DSC9085_DSC6612_DSC9891
      • Isabelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 58
        oiseaulune
        Excellent photos! Your explanation is really interesting. I'd love to see a frogmouth, I found them fascinating as they can blend in the tree trunks. The two other birds are beautiful too.
      • gnu_photographer
        Participant
        Chirps: 13
        lawadam

        @Isabelle Great photos, I like how you composed so that the Frogmouth and Chimango Caracara are looking back at the viewer. A nice style.

      • Elizabeth
        Participant
        Chirps: 21
        Burtnerl
        Thanks for sharing these beautiful birds and your shooting techniques.
    • Bob
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      colorado ice
      Regarding crafting great bird photos in general. Making camera adjustments  such as exposure compensation, ISO, aperture or shutter speed. Please elaborate a little regarding the possibility of missing a shot while making a camera adjustment (one possibility would be to have two cameras available)and the possibility to make adjustments post production using editing software.
      • Fred
        Participant
        Chirps: 10
        fred721
        We will always miss shots. My suggestion is take the photo anyway even if you don't have your settings exactly as you would prefer. I find I learn more from what didn't work as I do from what does. Some of my favorite photos are the ones I have taken that if I overthought it I would never have pressed the shutter - shutter speed too slow, wrong zoom, ISO too high or low, etc. Here's an example of a Coppery Tailed Coucal where I pushed my camera and my ability to handhold; the background is too noisy for my liking, but overall, the image works. ISO 6400, f/5, 1/250 s, 280 mm. I also broke the "rule" which says to have more space in front of the bird than behind it. Sometimes, there is no time to compose._DSC3512
      • Carole
        Participant
        Chirps: 39
        Carole Poustie

        @Fred Nice shot! I don't mind the background being a bit noisy — it sort of adds a certain arty texture. Yes I agree about the possibility of missing a shot while making exposure adjustments! I've got into a panic on numerous occasions trying to quickly change settings to accomodate a different bird or lighting situation. Those precious seconds. Microseconds!

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