Photo Review - Landing Mode by Eric Pollock

A Starling preparing for landing.

F5, 6400s, ISO4000

Thoughts and Notes from the Reviewer

What this photo has going for it is the beautiful moment that it captures. Shooting birds in flight is much harder than it looks. The bird preparing to land, with its beak open is an amazing moment.

Having shot it in perfect focus with a quick enough shutter speed means the technical aspect of the photo has been nailed. However, there are a couple of problems with the photo in my opinion:

First, composition wise, when the subject in the photo is moving or looking in a direction, or in this case both, positioning the subject in the centre of the photo is not ideal.

Putting the subject in the corner from which it is moving/looking and leaving space for it to move/look usually makes for a better, more dynamic composition. Avoid cutting into the line of sight or movement of subjects in a photo.

The second problem is the post processing, or editing of the photo. It might not be very visible, especially on a smaller scale of the photo, but for a trained eye, looking at the full resolution photo, it is obvious that the content of the photo has been manipulated.

The photo seems to have been cropped, originally it was probably a much wider-framed photo. This is visible because of the lack of sharpness. A photo shot using the Canon 7D with 1/2000 sec shutter speed should be crisp. A Canon 7D has an 18 Megapixel crop sensor, which means that the photo is already cropped into, because of the nature of the sensor. Cropping even more into it, will inevitably lead to loss of sharpness and detail.

Additionally, it can be seen that the right part of the photo (seen on the right of the red line below) has been manipulated. The texture of the background and the colour are different than in the rest of the photo, and the line where the “transplanted” background starts is visible to anyone looking a little more closely into the photo. I would suggest working a little more on it, until it is less visible.

In conclusion, the photo captures a special moment and the lighting and focus are superb. Composition could be improved by framing the bird in the left part of the photo, leaving it space to move in the frame and the post processing needs improving. Otherwise, keep up the great work of capturing these birds!

Explore Eric's other photos featured on Excio that got more then 30,000 views - you will find them in collections of issue 5 and 7 of NZPhotographer Magazine. No matter your starting point or your skill level, you can learn much faster by receiving feedback and learning on your own mistakes. Find out more on here.

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