Ducks - Critique
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30-10-09, 12:59 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Welcome to PhotoRadar, Alissa!
This is a great time of year to photograph ducks - on bright days, autumn colours reflected on the water create a superb backdrop for the birds.
I agree with the comments from Andy and Chris. The middle shot is technically the best. The bird is 'static', but at least you've got the shot.
In the first photo, you've captured some action, which always adds interest. There's obviously the problem with the slight underexposure, but there are a couple of composition problems. I find the cropped female mallard at the bottom of the frame and the other two birds in the background distracting. Also, the shot isn't straight, and with photos taken by a pond such as this, it can give the impression that the water's flowing out of the frame!
The bottom shot has potential as well. I would have liked to have seen the cropping a bit tighter on the bird - this might be the limit of your lens though - and a vertical format would probably help here. As Chris indicates, the 'hot' overexposed water in the foregroud is a distraction.
You're on the right track though and you've picked a subject here that you can easily return to to improve your technique. I'd suggest finding the best background first - something colourful or a different tone to the bird that'll make it really stand out - but do consider an area that's not too bright or dark, so you can concentrate on composition rather than worrying too much about exposure. Arm yourself with some duck grub, and you can easily encourage the birds to the area you want to photograph them in.
If you're shooting with a digital SLR, use a tripod to stay focused on the photogenic area you've pinpointed. Try and shoot with both eyes open as well - your 'free' eye will allow you to spot any other birds that are about to skim into the frame and potentially take attention away from your main subject.
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