Study Group 1

Maria Korab-Laskowska

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Title:  Black-capped Chickadee

Goal: to photograph a bird in flight approaching or leaving a feeder but without the feeder in the frame

Source:  Canon 7D with Canon 300mm f/2.8 at 1/5000, f/4; ISO 640

Technique:  I was using tripod, focused on the bird feeder then switched to manual focus, moved camera so feeder was not in the frame and waited patiently when a bird flew in my frame at the distance of my focus.The ratio of the success was very low. I was in the park and did not know the typical bird's route to approach the feeder. There was more than one tree around so birds could approach the feeder from several directions. Any suggestion to improve ratio of good images using such technique of focusing would be very appreciate.

Processing: Cropped (1/4 of the whole image), sharpened

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Review by Dan C., 9-6-2014
Another case where patience paid off. Not much you can do to increase your success rate when the site is not on your own property. In that case the main step to improve your success rate is to provide obstacles to the approaches to the feeder to limit the directions the birds can come from. You might be able to get permission to set something up in the park but I would not do it without that permission. What you set up would depend on the feeder design. If it is a platform, the best obstructions would be sides on three sides of the platform with brush bristles at the top of each side so they do not become convenient perches.

The Chickadee itself is in an active braking to land pose. That adds a bit more story to a bird flight shot. The background is nicely blurred out. The bird is adequately sharp in the study group image size but falls apart when blown up like it would be in projection. When I know I want to do a significant crop, I will generally resize the image first to a higher resolution and image size using the OnOne Perfect Resize plugin. That generally give me a higher quality image when I do the actual cropping.

At ISO 640, your 7D exhibited the same noise problems I mentioned with Bruce. Your cropping exaggerated this digital noise. The NIK Define plugin or the Topaz DeNoise plugin would help here.

N=3, T=1, P=3, E=0, Total=7


My photographic interests started in Maryland, 2002, when I joined the National Institute of Health Camera Club. After moving back to Montreal in 2004, I joined Lakeshore Camera Club.

I am using a Canon 7D camera and the following Canon lenses: 24-100L IS f4, 70-200 L IS f 4, macro 100 L2.8, 17-35L f2.8, 300L IS f2.8, extenders 1.4 and 2.0. My post processing workflow includes Bridge or Lightroom, Photoshop CS5 and NIK and Photomatix software.

I came into photography with a love for nature and a passion for the outdoors. My photographic interests started in 2002, and since then I photographed many subjects, ranging from environment and architecture to animals and sports. In 2009 I graduated from a Commercial Photography Program at Dawson College in Montreal. I organize photo tours and workshops and enjoy sharing my regional knowledge and passion for photography.