Wise Old bird

by Steph
(Scottish Borders)



Taken on a recent visit to Edinburgh Zoo. The bird was being used in a display, so was flying constantly and I only got seconds to get a shot.

I would like to know if people prefer the colour shot or the B+W version that I submitted also.

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Wow, he's got quite a look about him!

Wildlife photography is a patient pastime. You can easily hide yourself away for hours on end in search of the perfect shot, and still not quite nail it. Steph has taken this one at a show, which gives the photographer half a chance as at least you have a good idea about where the bird will appear next.

Having said all that, it's still only half a chance, and Steph did well to get a reasonable photo.

Getting in close to the subject works well for this type of photo. I don't know what type of camera was used, or the lens, but I would guess that it wasn't an expensive pro set-up. And why should it be? Pro lenses and cameras cost an absolute fortune, and unless you are earning a living from your camera, it's difficult to justify such costs.

The reason behind my guess? Pro lenses can get in close to a subject, allow in lots of light, and they still maintain sharpness. A pro digital SLR can focus fast, and fire off shots at around 8 frames per second. Handy for capturing moments like this when, as Stpeh states, you only have seconds. Steph's photo lacks the sharpness of a pro lens (and looks like it was cropped quite heavily), and if he had managed 8 frames per second, I'm sure one of those 8 photos would have had both of the owl's eyes wide open. Hence, my guess is that Steph was using a consumer digital camera.

I generally don't recommend buying expensive equipment, because good photography depends on the person behind the camera far more than the quality of the equipment. But there are limits. And I think this is one of those situations where a really good quality photo needs a good camera. A decent digital SLR, and a good lens would have helped Steph here. Click to read more about advantage of digital SLR cameras.

But nonetheless, this isn't a bad photo at all. The owl is at least looking our way, and fills the frame.

Steph posed the question as to whether the colour owl, or black and white version works the best. My opinion is that the black and white version is the winner. My reasons for this are that the original photo doesn't have a huge range of colour in it, and the pattern on the owl is fairly regular – the sort that works well in black and white.

You can see Steph's original and his black and white version here. And if you want to leave comments use the link at the bottom of this page.


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Comments for Wise Old bird

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May 10, 2008
B/W or Color
by: Anonymous

Definitely B/W it un-clutters the background, and sets the owl off rather nicely.

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