Steve Sampliner  

Greater Crested and Common Tern by Steve Sampliner

July 2021 - Greater Crested and Common Tern

July 2021 - Steve Sampliner


About the Image(s)

Pentax K1 with Pentax 150-450 lens. ISO 400, 380mm, f/7.1, 1/4000, handheld, mid-afternoon May 31, 2021, Khor Dahariz, Salalah, Oman. I think this image is pretty nice as it is a mix of terns, one species that can be found worldwide while the other is Old World. May is generally the hottest month of the year and you can see the Greater Crested terns are trying to regulate body temp. It was this behavior that interested me, so I took a few photographs. The environment was not ideal for great photography so I did the best I could. I intentionally underexposed it hoping I might be able to do something with it. I think the end result is a fair image. One thing that I do like about it is how the foreground blends seamlessly into the background. The color was a bit tricky with a few directions to take, but I liked the greyish-blue. Any comments, suggestions or other thoughts are welcome.

This round’s discussion is now closed!
14 comments posted

Jim Horn   Jim Horn
Steve, I like the final result with the same color in a uniform background surrounding the terns. The hue of the final version is fine. I notice that every tern has a wing or tail crossing over into another tern. If you had separation between the terns, it would have helped. For what you captured, you did very well with it. Jim

  Posted: 07/05/2021 14:18:32

Steve Sampliner   Steve Sampliner
Hi Jim. I agree with you about the positioning of the terns. It is not ideal, especially with the Common Terns as those overlaps make it a bit harder to distinguish the bird's markings. This image was taken during the time when I was working out how to photograph in fairly extreme conditions. I generally have mid afternoon available for photography and most of the time that time of day is far from ideal. So I would go out and just shoot and shoot while making small in-camera adjustments to compensate for the environment. For this set of images, I'm happy that all the whites aren't blown out and also happy with how the foreground and background blended together.   Posted: 07/06/2021 12:04:51

Laura Lee Bartholomew   Laura Lee Bartholomew
I know there are things that could be better, but I'm impressed with the clarity and depth of field that you managed to achieve.

I have been predominantly a landscape photographer, but I'm recently branching out into birds and moving subjects. Landscapes don't move. I have yet to take a shot that is not so blurry it is unusable!

You mentioned that you were concerned about the whites being blown out. Not being experienced with bird photography, is it possible to do a multiple exposure (most cameras now do that)taking 3 shots at different exposures? Probably not possible with moving subjects.

I agree with your color change of the background. I know with animal photography getting light in the eye is a pretty important factor. I'm wondering if maybe you could lighten the eyes of the prominent birds?

  Posted: 07/06/2021 18:56:56
Steve Sampliner   Steve Sampliner
Hi Laura. I too am fairly new to bird photography. Before, I predominantly did B&W non-moving subjects. Learning wildlife photography has been quite the challenge but a lot fun (also with a ton of straight to the trash images haha). I don't have external lens filters, so I try to compensate for that by adjusting ISO, f-stop and exposure. One I have learned is that a slight under-exposure will give me more to play with in post-processing most of the time. As for multiple exposures, I haven't thought about that. I'll give it a shot. But as you pointed out, may not be ideal for moving subjects. Birds tend to not be very cooperative when I ask them to not move :) A good point about the eyes. If my intention is to focus on one bird, I will do my best to get the eyes sharp. In this image, my focus was on depth of field to capture multiple subjects in focus. The goal is to be able to understand the lens camera interaction to a point where I can see a scene and intuitively know which settings will be ideal to get the intended image.   Posted: 07/07/2021 13:29:47

Sam Fernando   Sam Fernando
Steve, Where did you take this photo? Is it a lake? Good shadows and the background is pleasant without undue clutter.

I think it is bit bright and it is a good idea to reduce brightness, highlight and whites and increase shadows.

If this is mine, I will remove the three birds on the right corner as there are too many. The group on the left look at one direction and show some similarity.   Posted: 07/06/2021 23:06:09
Steve Sampliner   Steve Sampliner
Hi Sam. Great advice. I would agree that it might be a touch too bright. There is definitely the potential to get more detail in the whites. The shot was taken in an estuary. It is a body of water that is separated by the sea by about 20 meters of beach. I guess that is an estuary? This is the shallow end closest to the beach. Many types of birds come here to wash and cool off. When taking the image, I really didn't know what was going to happen in the background, but quite happy with the result.   Posted: 07/07/2021 13:38:39

Albert Zabin   Albert Zabin
I agree with Sam's suggestion to crop out the group of birds on the right. The birds on the left were kind enough to you to arrange themselves in a rough triangle, which makes the photo a bit more dynamic. I don't mind the beak of the small tern blending in to the bird behind it, but if you could do some local adjustments you might get some separation. The light is flat. You might be able to achieve a little more definition by using a hi-pass layer, or increasing vibrance, or even trying a single image HDR. All that said, this is beautifully rendered image hat captures a sense of mist at sea side.   Posted: 07/14/2021 10:13:38
Steve Sampliner   Steve Sampliner
Hi Albert. Sam's and your suggestion is something I had thought about but using photoshop to remove things is not what I do, so I decided to leave them in. But in the end, this image was never intended to be posted or shared. What I enjoy about these groups is it is a great place to experiment and test skills. There are times when I still struggle with capturing multiple subjects within the correct depth of field so that all are in focus and the background fades nicely. That is what I hoped to achieve when taking these photographs. The second part is then assessing the image, thinking about where I want to go with it and seeing whether or not I can produce that. I think I got what I was looking for. The suggestions that you and the others have made are exactly what I need as I continue to hone this skill set.   Posted: 07/14/2021 12:47:29

Ian Chantler   Ian Chantler
(Groups 4 & 31)
Hi Steve
This is perfection for me great colours and reflection birds pin sharp this would look so good as a print.   Posted: 07/14/2021 16:03:56
Steve Sampliner   Steve Sampliner
Hi Ian. Thanks for the encouraging comments. Unfortunately this is not pin sharp image. At the time of shooting my focus was on other aspects of image capture, but I am sure that I will be able to take what I learned from this image and be able to capture similar images in the future.   Posted: 07/15/2021 12:28:54
Ian Chantler   Ian Chantler
(Groups 4 & 31)
Hi Steve
Well it works for me get it printed.   Posted: 07/15/2021 15:52:59
Steve Sampliner   Steve Sampliner
Thanks mate.   Posted: 07/15/2021 17:06:20

Tam Phan   Tam Phan
I think your picture is amazing,good composition,and the reflection is so nice.   Posted: 07/14/2021 18:40:58
Steve Sampliner   Steve Sampliner
Hi Tam. I'm glad that you enjoy the image. Learning wildlife photography has been a lot of fun.   Posted: 07/15/2021 17:05:21