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Photo Information
Copyright: Niek Bouwen (SunToucher) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2385 W: 237 N: 3033] (11162)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-07-17
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Canon 400 5.6L
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/200 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Summer vacation 2007: Scotland
Date Submitted: 2007-08-27 9:45
Viewed: 4186
Points: 27
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I am stepping out of my comfort zone with this photo. I've stepped away from landscape photography before, but I have never ventured into bird photography. Its just that the wildlife safari and the 400mm lens gave me this opportunity to this new type of photography.

I am sure that many of the more experienced bird photographers have something useful to mention about this photo or feel that it would be better to get both birds in focus. I do agree on the latter, but on the other hand do like this, maybe, more artistic view. One thing I really would have liked to be better is the cut of tail of the bird in focus. It is just something I didn't notice when taking the photo. I was already really glad that I captured him looking at me. And, I was glad that I got a sharp image with the shutter speed I used. Well, that's my own critique, I hope you guys can teach me a bit more.

Some information on the Chaffinch (Fringilla Coelebs)
The Chaffinch, (Fringilla coelebs), is a small passerine bird in the finch family Fringillidae, also called a spink. Its large double white wing bars, white tail edges and greenish rump easily identify this 14-16 cm long species. The breeding male is unmistakable, with his reddish underparts and a blue-grey cap. The female is drabber and greener, but still obvious.

This bird is widespread and very familiar throughout Europe. It is the most common finch in western Europe. Its range extends into western Asia, northwestern Africa, the Canary Islands and Madeira. On Tenerife and Gran Canaria, it coexists with its sister species, the endemic Blue Chaffinch.

It uses a range of habitats, but open woodland is favoured, although it is common in gardens and on farmland. It builds its nest in a tree fork, and decorates the exterior with moss or lichen to make it less conspicuous. It lays about six eggs.

This bird is not migratory in the milder parts of its range, but vacates the colder regions in winter. The coelebs part of its name means "bachelor". This species was named by Linnaeus; in his home country of Sweden, where the females depart in winter, but the males often remain. This species forms loose flocks outside the breeding season, sometimes mixed with Bramblings. This bird occasionally strays to eastern North America, although some sightings may be escapees.

The food of the Chaffinch is seeds, but unlike most finches, the young are fed extensively on insects.

The powerful song is very well known, and its fink or vink sounding call gives the finch family its English name. Males typically sing two or three different song types, and there are regional dialects too.

The acquisition by the young Chaffinch of its song was the subject of an influential study by British ethologist William Thorpe. Thorpe determined that if the Chaffinch is not exposed to the adult male's song during a certain critical period after hatching, it will never properly learn the song. He also found that in adult Chaffinches, castration eliminates song, but injection of testosterone induces such birds to sing even in November, when they are normally silent (Thorpe 1958).

I took this photo just before breakfast on the deck of a little cafe near Loch Morlich. We were on our way for a view from Cairn Gorm Mountain. Its a handheld photo where I needed to back of to get the minimum focal distance.

I am off the antibiotics and I am feeling a lot better again. Do feel a bit tired of the medication, but that will be over very soon. I am, as far as I can tell, completely recovered.

earthtraveler, gracious, PaulH, gannu, Alex99, nainnain, mlines has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To earthtraveler: StrangeSunToucher 4 08-27 12:15
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Critiques [Translate]

YIPPEE! I'm so glad you are better! Now we just need to get Emma back on her feet!.

I think you about mentioned all the salient points about this image. That lens sure does have a shallow depth of focus. The sharpness and colors are excellent on the in focus parts. The background is really wonderful.

Evelynn : )

Hi Niek,
Welcome to the world of bird photography!
I like the focused bird. You captured fine clarity, POV, and color. Great blurred BG.
You've got fine equipment and technical knowledge so I can see you adding fine bird images in the days ahead if you continue to pursue them. I'm not a great fan of feeder images usually though I would like this much more if the bird in front was not there or if it was focused.

I've been pursuing birds here at home more the last two days and have been taking many shots to get a few good and somnetimes better images. I've erected a photo prop of old branches near my feeders and set seeds on it to attract the resident birds onto a more natural setting. Trees are nearby also so I go for them when I can but the prop is helpful. I'd love to have the quality of equipment you have. Some day. :-)

Hope you continue the bird photography. I'm sure you'll do very well if you have the patience and time. Good to hear you are feeling well.

Hello Niek
You have captured great detail in the head of the male chaffinch..This is a very hard area to capture as the colour changes on his head tend to play havoc with a long lense and slr.
As for the blur in the tail you will struggle to eliminate that unless you have a shed load of cash and get a fast L or sigma ex lense..but that to me adds to the challenge of the picture. It is a great shot niek. Im no bird photographer niek but have a look at some of mine with a similar f stop leanse.
Thanks for sharing and hoping you are well.
All the best

Hello Niek,
I do accept your concept of having one Chaffinch on focus!, this is in a more artistic point of view indeed!
your exposure and focus just great and the colour just beautiful.
thanks for sharing

  • Great 
  • hester Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1515 W: 18 N: 3165] (11638)
  • [2007-08-27 12:52]

Hi Niek

Wow this is a departure from the normal shots for you but I think you have made a cracking shot at it. My initial reaction was that the near bird needed to be in focus but on second look I too quite like this version. It seems to give a connection between you and the bird (their eyes meet over a crowded room!)

Wonderfully focused and great colours. Now try to get a Robin next time :)



Hello Niek,
I was very surprised when I saw your name under this picture :))) The bird which is in focus is just beautiful with great colors and catch-light. I guess that a smaller aperture could have make the one in foreground sharp but to be honest with you, I don't have often caught two birds at the same time and most of those pictures are not really good. In those circumstances; I play with the focus points manually. Thanks,

Hello Niek,
A pleasant couple!
An interesting experiment with focus on the bird in the back, but I think it works here as he also is the most colourful of the two!
Sharp fine details, a well composed presentation!
Pablo -

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2007-08-28 1:21]

Hi Niek,
well i'm no expert on bird photography at all, so i'll just say what i think! Initailly i did find the bird in front thats OOF a bit distracting and found the left hand side of the image a bit cluttered.
However, once i had read your note and understood your intentions for this shot, i realised what you were attempting and have to say that i think it works quite well! There's nothing wrong with the detail and focus on the bird that is in focus and the BG is really very good, a perfect backdrop. Well done for posting something so different.

  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2007-08-28 10:11]

Niek, Very nice shot and I really like the effect of a other bird in the OOF. Excellent lighting and lovely colors. Ganesh

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2007-08-28 15:11]

Hello Niek, well it's good to see that you're trying a new 'genre'. Pretty good one to begin with, you've done great on the focus of the Chaffinch. The light is very good and the background is perfect. On the composition side I would have prefer to see the off focus bird in the back instead of in the front. And if you could have framed a bit to the left you would have got the full birds in the picture. Anyway great first bird shot.


  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-08-28 20:59]

Hello Niek

Just marking the post for now


  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-08-30 10:48]

Hi Niek.
You have pictured a very attractive scene. It is a pity a bit only that nearest bird is out of focus but wished DOF was impossible at your light conditions. Colours, contrast and sharpness. blurriness of the shot are wonderful. I wish you many new so beautiful bird pictures. TFS and best regards.

parfaite présentation, bien vu la mise au point sur le second oiseau, belles couleurs nettes.
bravo et merci du partage

Hi Niek, I like to see birds feeding and your photo shows this well. Birds are not so easy to photograph i am finding, but as that French guy said,the first 10,000 photos are our worst, so we have got to get out and try our best. Good work. Murray.

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