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What a Cocky Smile
What a Cocky Smile

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Wildlife II (Advanced Editing IV*)
Camera: Nikon D70
Lens: Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO Macro Super II for Nikon
Location: Mt Dandenong, Victoria, Australia
Date: Jan 21, 2006
Aperture: F5
ISO: 400
Shutter: 1/400s
Galleries: Nature, Animals
Date Uploaded: Jan 21, 2006

I knew that a short drive to the Dandenong Mountains would provide plenty of bird shot opportunities, and I've not done a bird shot on DPC before so I don't feel too guilty.

Armed with my 70-300mm and using an SB-800 as fill flash I had more success than ever before - that flash continues to amaze me. One hour of shooting, and 70 shots later I had several candidates to work from.

I wanted something to fit the challenge though, so all the extreme close-ups were eliminated (it wasn't obvious they were taken in the wild), and the Cockatoo's were the most photogenic bird I encountered on the day. I chose this particular shot because the background looks natural and the bird is "smiling" nicely for the camera.

Editing in Photoshop was relatively minor given that the challenge has "Advanced Editing" - a little burning on some background elements, two tiny clones on the branch and some levels to make the photo pop at least a little bit. Then I resized and made a minor crop to top and bottom to square it up a little. Sharpening was applied with a layer mask to the bird only.

I'm disappointed with the background - way too blurred and the bokeh isn't very nice, although I was trying to balance focal length, shutter speed, natural light and flash sync limits so F5 is where it had to be.

Place: 132 out of 261
Avg (all users): 5.5090
Avg (commenters): 6.6667
Avg (participants): 5.4091
Avg (non-participants): 5.5586
Views since voting: 850
Views during voting: 419
Votes: 332
Comments: 7
Favorites: 1 (view)

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02/07/2006 07:16:11 AM
Greetings from the Critique Club!

Technical:Its a well exposed picture. Getting focus on all white subject in such lighting conditions is difflicult, but here the job is well done.

Aesthetic:Nice looking picture. I know you went all the way to get "wildlife" picture but still the "feeling" of wild is missing. Maybe the bird is too cute to look "wild" .Still a good looking bird in a great pose.

Challenge:For sure it fits the challenge, but again - somehow I'm not getting the feel of "wildlife".

Conclusion:Oveall an above average picture. I dont know how it could have been improved further considering there is not much scope of postprocessing. Maybe a little bit of dodging to make the bird whiter might have improved the overall contrast and given some depth... but thats just "maybe" :)

I'm by no means expert in area of photography. My comments are purely based on my limited understanding of technology and art behind digital photography. Apart from doing detailed evaluation of your submission, my intent is to learn different styles of photography by critically evaluating selective submissions. If you've got any questions about this critique, please feel free to contact me via email or PM.

Wish you a great day!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
01/29/2006 07:23:33 AM
the head tilt is awesome .. nice photo
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/28/2006 08:10:33 AM
Very good image, well done.....
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/28/2006 12:47:13 AM
Good bokeh in the background, nice composition. I would have prefered a closer crop though. (8)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/27/2006 02:29:26 PM
nice dof, considering it is a mostly white bird, good feather definition also
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/27/2006 01:05:46 AM
Nice bokeh!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
01/25/2006 02:06:00 PM
Nice pose and background.
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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