• Bird Academy
      Bird Academy
      What did you notice when you followed (or broke!) the “rules” of composition? Share in the discussion below.
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    • I did this activity yesterday at a park nearby. The first image was shot (and cropped) using rule of thirds. The second image was not. The lighting was fairly soft in both photos (heavy shade in the first) and early morning direct light. I like the Red-Bellied Woodpecker’s position in the photo as it reflects the activity of the woodpecker as it foraged for food. I think the stability and centeredness works for the Black-bellied Whistling Duck duckling photo. I think it works to draw the viewer into a closer connection with the subject.   _7131042-topaz-denoiseraw-sharpen _7130999-topaz-denoiseraw-sharpen
    • Peter
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      DSC_5014_1 Cedar waxwing, Nikon Z6, Nikkor 600 mm f/6.3, photo shot with f/6.3, 1/320, ISO 400.  The placement of this bird follows the rule of thirds, with the eye exactly on the upper left crosspoint.  The photo is pleasing, in part because the bird is turned and looking back from its position and there is good contrast in colour between the bird and the background. DSC_5014_2 This version does not adhere to the rule of thirds; there is much more of the background in the photo. In some ways, I prefer this version because the subject of the photo stands out even more, this highly-coloured bird with a very stylized pattern of coloration providing a strong contrast with the more constant green of the rest of the photo.
    • Maxfield
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      IMG_2084I took this picture of a House Finch from my deck at ISO 1600 600 mm 0 ev £6.3 1/640 s after practicing with my new Sigma 150.0-600.0mm lens.
    • denise
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      I used my zoom lens to capture this picture of a Nuthatch in a local wetland park.  I was sitting on a bench looking for birds and happened to notice this bird on the bench beside me.  My Zoom was not going to get this shot.  Any way the bird flew away to a bridge post and stayed around long enough for me to get a few shots. This one taken  at f 5.6 1/250 ISO 800.  It was a day full of clouds with sunny breaks, and wooded I found it a challenge getting the right settings in manual mode.  I did a bit of photo editing, cropping.
      • Nuthatch3May10GW
    • Holly
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      A Shared Meal 2I think this is more along the lines of the classic image with the front lighting and the creamy background. I think the Osprey could use a little more space around it, so maybe I will try to re-edit... but I placed the eye essentially via rule of thirds.
    • In this photo of the Eurasian Magpie, I tried to use the rule of thirds, but at the same time show the alignment of the bird's tail with the branches. I realized afterwards that it would be better to use the camera's grid pattern to take the photo to following the rule of thirds. DSC00091
    • Deeksha
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      Hey everyone, when I tried taking photos keeping both the elements of compositions with the rules in mind, I think it resulted in better photos altogether especially if your bird is stationary, but when you are trying to take photos in the manual mode with lots of settings going on parallelly in your mind like the exposure trifecta, the focus mode, the position of the bird in the frame, etc. All of this makes you forget the rules cause the bird will suddenly appear and you are struggling with making your camera work in the right way and by the time you're ready with the camera, the bird flies away into a different light and then you have to change your settings again. Reply if you have the experienced the same problem. After having many tries at it, I did manage to get a few shots. The first picture is taken while following the rules and the second one is taken while breaking the rules. I think that photos with rules resulted in a decent perfect picture but in order to get creative and try out new angles to make it a unique photo we need to break the rules. Do share your opinion as well. _DSC0594 _DSC0745
    • Jay
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Took advantage of side lighting when shooting this House Finch in my yard one frosty morning. If I had taken the picture when he was turning the other way, I think there would have been a beautiful glint in his eye. DSCN0537
    • Sean
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      ISODSC07952ISO 640 f6.3 1/250 white-throated sparrow. Taken prior to viewing this section of the course, I know where I can improve now.
    • Olga
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
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    • paul
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      P1010576 American robin
    • Jinsoo
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Japanese white-eye (동박새)_231126 (28) Japanese white-eye [500mm, f/6.3, 1/800, ISO1600, +1.67EV]   It's my first posting and thanks for your great course Melissa.
      • Jean
        Participant
        Chirps: 5
        Amazing!!  I can't seem to ever get close enough.  Still working on that.
    • Gail FK Chin
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      Quite often I cannot help but break with the rule of thirds. For example these ducks, mix of Ringed necks ducks with scalps (?), wigeon and gadwalls, are in a line on the lake. I took this image as evidence that they were part of the 2023 autumn migration through the city. Evidence and documentation are my primary goals with such an image. If I can manage a really nice photograph, such as those of real professionals, I am extremely happy and surprised. More successful with following the rule of thirds and of using the light, angle of view, and way of approach is this photograph of a Swainson's hawk. I had been watching the nest for several years. I knew what time they sort of did their search for food so I took my cameras and tripods to try to photograph them. This is one of the better portraits of a Swainson's hawk. GailFKChin_20231017__DSC3441-Enhanced-NR copyGailFKChin_20230928__DSC8195 copy
    • Silverio Menchú
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      DSC_0127DSC_0007
      • Jean
        Participant
        Chirps: 5
        These look like my pictures, where the bird is a little out of focus.  I am trying.
    • George
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      These two photos were shot in February when I favored square format and are part of my "post a bird daily" project that I started in January. Common Yellowthrought This was shot using the rule of thirds.  The image is full frame cropped to square. The birds eye and is 1/3 in from the lower left. The following shot was also originally rule of thirds. Common Yellowthroat In the detail cropping the obscured eye looks at the viewer from dead center. Both were shot at 600mm, F4, 1/1250, ISO Auto
      • Jen
        Participant
        Chirps: 17
        Those are both really beautiful.
    • Kate
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      IMG_0628IMG_8598
    • Marlyn
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Although the image is not sharp, I like how the shallow background highlights the bird's color and shape. Will keep playing with it. Thank you so much for the lessons! DSCN2684
    • Eric
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Bald eagle I liked the back lighting and the juxtaposition of tangled branches from where he/she was coming and the "wild blue yonder" to where she/he was going.
    • Jeff
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      A few examples of lighting... Nikon Digital SLR 1540-2 f5.6, 1/2000, ISO 400   Nikon Digital SLR 1382 f5.6, 1/640, ISO 800 Nikon Digital SLR 1905 f5, 1/500, ISO 200
    • Steve
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      clapper rail 3 11-22-DeNoiseAI-severe-noiseclapper rail 2 11-22-DeNoiseAI-severe-noise These Clapper Rails were in a marsh on the coast of South Carolina.  The top picture uses the rule of thirds but the bird is moving right on the right side of the frame.  This is typical of how I see rails, always about to disappear.  The bottom picture is an atypical portrait.  It does not show the face of the bird but rather its tail as it slips into the marsh grass.
    • Steve
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      IMG_5424 This perch was near a bird feeder. The background was nicely blurred with an aperture of f5.6.
      • Bruce
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        Hi Steve, I really love this shot. The perch itself is a wonderful color that ties the muted background to the foreground and sets a perfect spot for the cardinal, with a just right amount of contrast. Thanks for posting Steve.
    • Manhar
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      The song sparrow was centered as portrait ,breaking rule of thirds and wide open aperture to blur out background.69132D8B-F309-4F59-9908-3B9CCBD75D3D_1_201_a
    • Axel
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      The blurred background colors which match the green and magenta plant helped isolate and highlight this lesser goldfinch. Appreciated the catch light as well. Lesser Goldfinch 24SEP22 A
    • Sue
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      IMG_4668I learned a lot about the importance of light, composition and background to accentuate my bird photos. I am using my photo of the black and white warbler to exemplify the law of thirds (though I now know it could also be used as an example of using a shallow depth of field), I see how it enhances the photo to include a sense of the setting/context in which the bird is in. I used the photo of the grackle on the dead branch to exemplify how a large depth of field can detract from the sheen and rich colors of the bird as the brilliant blue sky seems to compete and detract from the bird rather than enhance it. For an example of a shallow depth of field I think my song sparrow photo demonstrates how paying attention to your depth of field can really help illuminate your subject.    IMG_3119   IMG_4556