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Sunbird on Agave by ash Sunbird on Agave by ash
A sunbird hunting insects in the flowers of an agave cactus
Simonstown, Western Cape, South Africa, February 2003
Canon EOS 300, Fuji Neopan 100 ACROS
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ash Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2003
Yes you're right about the 90% viewfinder thing -- and I always crop my images down to 90% using Canvas Size in photoshop. That to me is just getting back what I saw through the viewfinder, rather than introducing a new crop. I find it's definately worth doing, that extra 10% can make quite a difference to a composition.

I take your points about cropping and dodging and burning, and I agree they're by no means limited to photoshop. I generally prefer to work within the given frame, as arbitrary as it is, and to make the best use I can of the light that's available on the day. I think doing so helps you to concentrate on getting good results at the moment of taking the shot. But it's a matter of taste and moderation, and if it's clear that a shot can be dramatically improved by any of these techniques, I'll sometimes use them.
spiffyman Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2003
I like your philosophy as far as photography is concerned. However, I do believe cropping is necessary... The viewfinder on most SLRs (the canon EOS included) only shows 90% of the frame. I, too, like my images to remain honest to the scene at which they were taken, but I allow myself slightly more room to adjust images than you. I will crop if necessary (or more appealing). It isnt something that is only done in photoshop. I do it in the darkroom as well. Often the standard size of the frame isnt appropriate for an image (ie. a square image is often better than a rectangular). I will allow myself limited dodging and burning, but, usually, I do that work in the darkroom (it is much more enjoyable in there, than in photoshop). Thank you for sharing your images with DA.
ash Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2003
Ah but for me, it's not the final picture that counts. If it was then I would shoot all my pics by aiming in the general direction of the subject with a wide angle lens and crop down to the composition I want later in photoshop. I'd clone away entire objects in the picture that I don't like -- and add extra things in, for that matter -- without a second thought. I'd dodge and burn the hell out of every image until it looked nothing like the original scene. I wouldn't bother with glass filters or black and white film, I'd just shoot all my shots on colour film and convert them to black and white with the channel mixer in photoshop. Hell I probably wouldn't even bother with film. But I try not to do any of those things, because it's the photographic part of the process that I enjoy. I've been using photoshop (in an amateur kind of way) for about ten years, and an SLR camera for one. So to me, there's no novelty or joy in cropping an image in photoshop. The novelty and fun of photography, for me, lies in going out there with all this archaic retro analog photographic equipment and trying to get the right shot on the negative at the right time. There's something to be said for working religiously within the arbitrary limits of the medium, whatever they might be. If the shot is wrong on the negative, the shot is wrong. I can mess with it in photoshop to improve the end result, but from my point of view, I still got the shot wrong. Only viewing it like that will make me want to get it right on the negative next time.
stevesm Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2003
Don't be scared to edit after the fact. Its the final product that counts. Actually taking the picture is only part of the process. :-) (Smile)
katya Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2003   Traditional Artist
What a great photo, that bird looks so tiny! I added this to my animals dev pack:D (Big Grin)
ash Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2003
I was replying to stayorgo there, obviously :) (Smile)
ash Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2003
Yes you're right. I've kind of become accustomed to the distractions, but I remember they were more distracting at first, which is probably how other people see them. The strong diagonal line on bottom right is still irritating even to me.

I'm not a huge fan of cropping, but I might have a go. For me photography is all in the chase for the perfect shot and the moment of clicking the shutter, and I like to do as little as possible after the fact in photoshop. I stood for about 20 minutes watching these birds, trying to get a clear well focussed shot with a decent composition, as they darted from flower to flower chasing insects. It was hard work. This shot and another one are the best results; this one is cluttered as you say and the other one, while a great composition, is probably ruined by being slightly blurred. But they're the trophies I took home that day, the best results I could get from giving something difficult my best shot, and having a great time in the process. So to crop this one in photoshop, while probably improving the end result, would slightly defeat the object for me.

On the other hand, saintly as I might like to sound, I have been known to crop photos, when the situation clearly demanded it (like the lizard picture I submitted recently) -- although sometimes I've come to regret it later. I'll crop this one and see how it looks.
SeaFairy Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2003
No more comments??????? This is such a gorgeous (& difficult to catch) capture so everyone get your asses here and +fave it!
Beautiful focus and great detail on bird and plant! Great! ;Clap

stayorgo Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2003   Photographer
I think this shot has a great deal of potential but it suffers from the objects in the forground not being essential to the shot. The black and white option works here, and I think the image has room to crop it without limiting the composition to dead center. You might want to play around with the cropping a little and resubmit it.
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Submitted on
March 7, 2003
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