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By Dawn's Early Light

By Dawn's Early Light
Photo Information
Copyright: Kathy Meader (writerscrawlz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 277 W: 2 N: 924] (2961)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-07-03
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS digital rebel XT, 28-300mm
Exposure: f/9.5, 1/180 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-07-05 11:27
Viewed: 2850
Points: 14
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This Cedar Waxwing(Bombycilla cedrorum) caught my attention just after dawn. I made a point to set my alarm at 4:30 in the morning so that I could get some stunning photos.

I did not count on clouds, a bit of rain, or lack of sleep. Also, this is the first time I've really made the attempt to take an early morning photo deliberately in a serious manner. I'm not that good at it, but with practice, I will get better.

I think my camera has a noise reducer on it (I need to check), but in order for this photo to turn out, I needed to set the ISO higher than I would've normally. My pictures were coming out so dark that it took several tries to get one (thankfully it was a digital camera!) to come out. I know I'm lucky this beautiful bird didn't fly away - I was afraid to use the flash.

I did convert this photo from RAW, and also, I used the NEAT program Rick was kind enough to tell me about. Even with that program, I can still see a lot of background noise, but it's not as severe as it was.

This capture was taken on the same day as my wonderful boating adventure. :)

From what little I know about the waxwing, they are often seen in flocks, but I only spotted this one. There were probably more, but I ruffled lots of feathers that morning with my constant moving in order to avoid the vicious mosquitoes that pegged me as their breakfast meal.

I lost a lot of good shots; even with my mosquito netting, long sleeves, pants, and spray, I was bitten several times. I finally ended up spraying (using vinegar) the area around me to make them go away, but other animals left as well.

This particular bird is one of my favorites. I don't see them very often and the coloring is in such soft hues that I'm stunned. This, in my opinion, is a sad representation of what I saw. The colors aren't as spectacular as what I saw, but with lighting conditions, mosquitoes, and the fact I was at least able to salvage two photos, I walked away with the knowledge at least I finally captured one of these wonderful birds.

In no way am I putting myself down. I am using this photo as a learning curve: I need to understand early morning light so I can do much better, use the noise reducer, and practice. In that sense, I'll say this photo is a decent start.

I'm always open to advice, so for others more advanced than me, what suggestions (even in general) do you have?

nglen, Dan, rcrick, Alex99 has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-07-05 11:30]

Hi kathy. This is by far your best shot so far IMHO. You had a beautiful bird and you have made the most of it. with a good POV and pose in the tree . i just love its colours and markings.well done TFS.

  • Great 
  • Dan Gold Star Critiquer [C: 113 W: 0 N: 2] (18)
  • [2008-07-05 11:45]

Hi Kathy,

A beautiful bird in an very good photo. You are very lucky to have this kind of subjects around. I understand your pain (mosquito, rain, not enough light), but finaly the satisfaction to have your favorite bird in a good photo is great.

TFS, Dan.

Best regards, Dan

Hello Kathy
Im generally up for work at 245am and make a point of watching the sun rise throughout my morning at work....This capture of the Waxwing is absoloutely splendid be there clouds or not..The sharpness is superb and the colours are just terrific...Well done for getting up for an early start...The birds have less fear in the early morning I think as they have a desperate need to feed and as such are less wary.
All the Best

  • Great 
  • Art_R Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 244 W: 20 N: 839] (3892)
  • [2008-07-05 15:40]

Hi Kathy , this is a fine shot of the cedar waxwing , the noise is not to bad for a high ISO and the focus, color, detail , and composition are all good . I do notice that your aperture is set to f/9.5 here , maybe a bit closed for low light ?

hope you find the whole flock of waxwings next time , they are a beautiful bird.


  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-07-05 22:32]

Hello Kathy

A lovely shot of this beautiful bird,they are so elegant looking.
The composition is very good.
Good plumage detail and colour.
The pov is well done.


Hi kathy.

Excellent shot of this Cedar Waxwing, beautiful colours, and even with the bright background you handled it really well, stunning colours and well framed. I might have tried bracketing some shots with the exposure compensation in the low light, or perhaps using a fill flash, but that could have the disadvantage of scaring the subject away, its all a big learning curve, looking forward to seeing more,

Cheers Rick :)

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-07-07 0:27]

Hi Kathy.
Many thanks for chance to see your nice photo gallery and kind comments to my shot.

You have produced a fine picture of so beautiful bird. Especially I like great exposure despite the light BG. Details of the image, natural colours and composition of the picture are excellent. My compliments and TFS.

Kathy, This is such a wonderful shot. Great job in capturing it. Thanks for commenting on my 'Daniel' photo. I hope you have a great week.
Bill Houghton

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