Ugly Hedgehog® - Photography Forum
Get low and dramatically improve your Birds on the Water!
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Jul 2, 2013 21:42:50   #
birdpix Loc: South East Pennsylvania
 
TomO recently posted some photos of a Blue-winged Teal and I suggested that he get lower and that would improve those shots. He has asked me to give some examples so here they are.

Tom's pictures were taken from a boardwalk in a refuge and showed the duck in the water with flowers blooming all around. They were very good photos of the bird but I felt it left the bird somewhat muddled into the flowers. Despite the rather shallow depth of field, quite a few of the flowers around the bird were in focus. I suggested that perhaps he should have laid down on the boardwalk. That would cause the background to recede and become more out of focus causing the bird to be isolated against the background.

Here are a few examples:
Here is a Black-bellied Plover against some rocks. Notice how it blends in a little.
Here is a Black-bellied Plover against some rocks....
Here is the same bird from a different viewpoint. Note how the bird is isolated against the background.
Here is the same bird from a different viewpoint. ...
Here is a Wood Duck as I shot down on it.
Here is a Wood Duck as I shot down on it....
Here is the same Duck from a lower perspective. Note how the background has disappeared.
Here is the same Duck from a lower perspective. No...
Horned Grebe shot from my car window on a fishing jetty.
Horned Grebe shot from my car window on a fishing ...
The same Grebe shot as I nestled into the rocks about 2 feet above the water. Note how even the water seems to have mellowed out.
The same Grebe shot as I nestled into the rocks ab...

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Jul 2, 2013 21:45:58   #
St3v3M Loc: 35,000 feet
 
Thank you

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Jul 2, 2013 23:31:09   #
Tom O Loc: Wisconsin
 
birdpix,

Pictures are worth a thousand words!

Thank you for posting these examples so quickly.

There are two boardwalks that I frequent and I'll be trying this technique next trip.

I appreciate your help.

Tom

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Jul 3, 2013 16:02:24   #
oldmalky Loc: West Midlands,England.
 
If I was to do that now I would never get up.

none the less an excellent tutorial.

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Jul 10, 2013 14:01:46   #
wings42 Loc: San Diego, CA
 
Thanks. I'll try it today at our local duck pond.

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Jul 14, 2013 15:11:54   #
heez10 Loc: Palatka Fl
 
I am not able to get down low but just sitting down makes a difference!

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Jul 14, 2013 16:19:11   #
vicksart Loc: Novato, CA -earthquake country
 
oldmalky wrote:
If I was to do that now I would never get up.

none the less an excellent tutorial.



This is very helpful and certainly worth trying. Thank you.

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Jul 21, 2013 18:30:52   #
JC56 Loc: Lake St.Louis mo.
 
Thanks very good demo

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Aug 9, 2013 20:52:28   #
mindlessgeo Loc: Orlando, FL
 
Thank you sooooo much!! Really appreciate your help on this and birds in flight!

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Aug 22, 2013 15:30:18   #
Straight Shooter Loc: Newfoundland, Canada
 
Excellent examples. There are two things that I always keep in the car: a cheap, folding stool and a tarp. Sitting on the stool and turning on live view lets you hold the camera close to the ground; just turn on live view and use the tilting screen to line up the shot. Awkward with a big lens though. Lying prone on the tarp lets you take a position that gives much better control, makes you less conspicuous, and keeps you clean and dry. Thanks for the reminder: I should use them more.

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Aug 22, 2013 16:34:00   #
vicksart Loc: Novato, CA -earthquake country
 
Straight Shooter wrote:
Excellent examples. There are two things that I always keep in the car: a cheap, folding stool and a tarp. Sitting on the stool and turning on live view lets you hold the camera close to the ground; just turn on live view and use the tilting screen to line up the shot. Awkward with a big lens though. Lying prone on the tarp lets you take a position that gives much better control, makes you less conspicuous, and keeps you clean and dry. Thanks for the reminder: I should use them more.


Great suggestions. Now...about getting up after shooting....:roll:

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Oct 5, 2013 14:44:16   #
juicesqueezer Loc: Okeechobee, Florida
 
Nice shot's and great tip!

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Oct 19, 2013 22:20:17   #
Tom O Loc: Wisconsin
 
birdpix,

This is about as low as I could get from a road next to an impoundment in the Horicon NWR due to reeds and cattails.

Shooting directly into the sun at 4 PM I set at up 800 ISO and
1/4000 on a 100-400L.

I do also need some ID help on this bird who dropped into a shallow pond area while I was looking at shorebirds.

Thanks,

Tom
Stranger in the pond
Stranger in the pond...

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Oct 19, 2013 23:23:33   #
birdpix Loc: South East Pennsylvania
 
Tom O wrote:
birdpix,

This is about as low as I could get from a road next to an impoundment in the Horicon NWR due to reeds and cattails.

Shooting directly into the sun at 4 PM I set at up 800 ISO and
1/4000 on a 100-400L.

I do also need some ID help on this bird who dropped into a shallow pond area while I was looking at shorebirds.

Thanks,

Tom


Tom you have a Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron here. Sometimes you are constrained by the geography and you do the best you can.

Night Herons are generally slow moving birds that are very patient and will wait until a fish swims within reach before it swiftly snatches it up and swallows it. You could wait for an hour before it would move and the attack would be over before you could blink let alone fire the shutter.

When I'm faced with a bird like yours with good light on the body and the face in shadow, I will wait for the bird to move its head a little so it is in the light before I shoot. That will usually get me a catch light in the eye also. That kind of patience will come with experience. Keep up the good work!

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Oct 20, 2013 22:24:53   #
Pockets Loc: Dallas Metro
 
Wow. I'm going to try this! Thank you so much!

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