Cheerful Chickadee & repost

I love being greeted by the friendly Chickadees in the woods. They have such a cute little call. This was taken on a real winters day 2 years ago in NYS where you get the bright, crisp, blue skies and cold, dry air.

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Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Nikon D3400
ISO 100


Hi Vanessa, nice exposure on the bird - can be a tough one with the black and white head. The scene is a bit busy for me with all the branches intersecting the bird. I’m wondering about the lens you used. 180mm is quite short for bird photography.

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@Allen_Sparks Totally agree about length, when I look back on that day I really don’t know what I was thinking! Now I go around with it always at 300mm and can always zoom back shorter if needed! Thanks for noticing that, I did too when I was looking at what my settings were! I wanted to kick myself! :grimacing:

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While the Chickadee is small in the frame, there is such a maze of branches that to me it feels rather like a setting and suits the diminutive size of the Chickadee. I like the position of the bird in the frame, and you did a good job on that white cheek. The cheeks of Chickadees are very easy to overexpose. I do think zooming in to 300 mm would have given you a very good image, but I’m not altogether sure I’d prefer it. The lone bud coming into the bottom of the frame under the bird could be eliminated and I keep debating about cropping in from the left just past the new growth. It might help the general composition, but it taking away the juncture of the perch limb with the larger might not work.

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@Dennis_Plank @Allen_Sparks
Thanks Dennis for the input, yeah I kind of like the closer branches framing the Chickadee and I feel like the background is kind of there because Chickadees live in trees! But I see what you mean about the buds at the bottom, so what about this, I did a slightly tighter crop and repaired the buds that were still sticking out on the lower left…

This works a lot better, Vanessa. I’m curious about your posts. You seem to use what I would consider a long/narrow format a lot. Is that because you’re relatively young and think of the phone and wide screen monitors as the norm, whereas I’m an old fogey and think of 4x5 as the more normal format?

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@Dennis_Plank Thanks, Dennis! Ya know, that’s funny you ask about my format! About 2 months ago I was really into square format and then decided it looked kinda cheesy! Then I was doing just all original format which I really don’t know what dimension that is, but I know it says 6,000x4,000 pixels. Then I was finding for some of my photos that I really liked how the 16:9 looked, like it has more of a flow to it. I think it actually doesn’t work very well on a phone because it gets cut off! But even before I started that I was free style cropping because I didn’t realize that my app would actually crop to a specific dimension, so when I discovered that I have pretty much been trying different things! On that note though, does a 4:5 crop help to convert your image to a print easier? Even though I might be younger than you I don’t feel like I do very well with technology!

Hi Vanessa. I went through pretty much the same process when I was starting out and now I’m back to free form. I finally decided that it was more important to have it look the way I wanted than to meet a specific format. that said, there are times when you have to meet a particular format for printing or another specific use (greeting cards, etc). The print game is really strange. Some papers are in a 4x5 ratio or similar to most cameras (4x6 ratio), though sometimes with a bit of extra (like 13x19 instead of 12x18 leaving you a 1/2 inch margin). However, others are like letter paper 8 1/2x11 or 11x17. To make matters worse, most pre-made frames still use old fashioned film dimensions, so you’ll see a lot of them for 4x5 or 11x14. It is at the point where you can get relatively inexpensive 13x19 frames, but your choice is very limited.

As an example of odd ball ratios, our local camera club does an annual and it’s 8 1/2 x 11, but you have to leave extra margin on one side for the spiral binding which with a bit of margin all the way around gives you 7x10 but offset to the right. Nothing’s simple with printing!

@Dennis_Plank whoa! My head is spinning! :grinning: