• Mark
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      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.
      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 90
        Oystercatcher with food, very cool photo!
    • gnu_photographer
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      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
        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

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

      • 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

        @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: 59
      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
      • Nice comparisons of how light angle changes things!
      • Isabelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 59

        @Elizabeth Thank you Elizabeth!

      • Fred
        Participant
        Chirps: 9
        Love the top image! Beautiful rim light and excellent example of the rule of thirds.
      • Isabelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 59

        @Fred Thank you Fred!

      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 90
        You caught the lighting nicely in all three photos. Wow!
    • Isabelle
      Participant
      Chirps: 59
      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
        Each shot so different with the light, Isabelle. Great! I must get more adventurous and use manual. You've encouraged me!
      • Isabelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 59

        @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
      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: 59
        Wow! The colors (and the bird) are beautiful!
    • Krispen
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      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: 59
        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
        Lovely photos. I think I agree with Isabelle. I like the whole of the branch in the frame. More pleasing to the eye. 😊
      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 90
        Light made that yellow color pop, and I agree...like second photo with entire branch.
    • nicolette
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      749095C9-C449-41C8-8D04-0C422F397F8B
    • nicolette
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      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
      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 90
        Yes, I know your sentiment and I tell myself, keep practicing! Don't give up...you'll get the shot you want and in focus. I noticed Melissa said to turn off image stabilization when photographing flying birds, so will add that to my checklist.
    • Bill
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      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
    • Fred
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      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: 59
        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

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

      • Thanks for sharing these beautiful birds and your shooting techniques.
      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 90
        I never knew of a frogmouth before today! Amazing! Great info about your photos, thanks.
    • Bob
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      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
        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

        @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!