Go to a  "printer friendly" view of this message which allow an easy print Printer-friendly copy Go to the page which allows you to send this topic link and a message to a friend Email this topic to a friend
Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR VISION - BY SPECIALTY Wildlife (Public) topic #156172
View in linear mode

Subject: "Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??" Previous topic | Next topic
walk43 Gold Member Nikonian since 07th Feb 2012Thu 09-May-13 11:03 AM
652 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
"Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??"
Thu 09-May-13 11:05 AM by walk43

Pennsylvania, US
          

My question for the pros is "on average, how many pics do you take before you have a keeper?"

I have been interested in photography for 40 years but did not have, or take, the time to really 'learn' the techniques... and master the equipment... until I retired 3 years ago. Digital has has been a technical blessing...allowing me to take thousands of pictures and see right away what works and what does not, and the Nikonians forums have been a wonderful way to help me be a better photographer.

I am now to the point with my D800 and V1 with several good lenses, that I can take 10-20 shots and get results that are acceptable to me (after post processing).


I used to hear that 1 out of 100 was the average and that seemed to be true for me. But now after practice and advice it is much lower...maybe 1 out of 10 or 20.

I am sure that I am not the only one who has gone through this learning curve and I think it would helpful to other hobbiests to know what to expect and provide some hope for better things to come.

This is a terrific hobby for retirees and the rewards can be very personally fulfilling.

PS: My macro work came around rather quickly ...but getting images of small birds with good feather detail at a distance were very difficult for me even with the D800 and my 300 f/4. I took advantage of the low price on the V1 kit around Christmas and picked one up matched with the FT-1 adapter and a 55-300VR. I can now get results similar to the below picture on a regular basis...maybe 1 out of 10 shots. Still not like the PRO's results but at least I am satisfied.

So what do you PROS expect/achieve when shooting small birds or BIF.


Dan

"My most rewarding photos are those that capture something I didn't 'see' in the frame....so just SHOOT."

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??
mkbee1
09th May 2013
1
Reply message RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??
kodiak photo Silver Member
09th May 2013
2
Reply message RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??
walk43 Gold Member
10th May 2013
6
     Reply message RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??
kodiak photo Silver Member
10th May 2013
7
          Reply message RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??
walk43 Gold Member
10th May 2013
9
Reply message RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??
walk43 Gold Member
09th May 2013
3
Reply message RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??
nrothschild Silver Member
09th May 2013
4
Reply message RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??
walk43 Gold Member
10th May 2013
8
     Reply message RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??
nrothschild Silver Member
10th May 2013
10
          Reply message RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??
walk43 Gold Member
10th May 2013
11
               Reply message RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??
nrothschild Silver Member
11th May 2013
14
Reply message RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??
JonK Moderator
09th May 2013
5
Reply message RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??
Dubes Silver Member
10th May 2013
12
Reply message RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??
nrothschild Silver Member
11th May 2013
15
     Reply message RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??
walk43 Gold Member
11th May 2013
18
Reply message RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??
ericbowles Moderator
11th May 2013
13
Reply message RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??
nrothschild Silver Member
11th May 2013
16
Reply message RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??
walk43 Gold Member
11th May 2013
17
     Reply message RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??
ericbowles Moderator
11th May 2013
19
     Reply message RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??
walk43 Gold Member
11th May 2013
20
     Reply message RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??
nrothschild Silver Member
11th May 2013
21

mkbee1 Registered since 26th Nov 2012Thu 09-May-13 04:28 PM
541 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#1. "RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

Dan:
That's a very good question. I'm not by any means a "pro", but, Photography and Gerry Gladwin were my first loves, and my wife and kids, grandkids, great grandkid, etc., are the best love.

Besides being a photo nut since early teen age, I have been a portrait photographer, reporter/photog for a large daily newspaper, taught photography while doing graduate work, have been published in a national magazine and have won several awards for my photography in recent years.

The old rule of thumb, which I think is overly pessimistic, seemed to be ~35% "keepers". Of course, this was from regularly published, or successful stock photographers, who have a whole different set of clients to satisfy.

For those of us who are enthusiastic hobbiests...everybody?..."acceptably sharp" can have many individual meanings.

A week ago I was shooting at a race track, and when I weeded out all the missed cars, really bad blurs, and other woopses, I had roughly 50-60% "keepers". I realize that racing cars aren't exactly little brown birds, but on occasion, when I go to the local wetlands to shoot dragonflies and birds...handheld and VR...at first, 35% seems to be a fair estimate. Those little suckers are fast! If I was younger and steadier, perhaps that would edge up a bit. It does seem to increase as the shooting season progresses, tho.

Good luck, and have fun!

Carl

It is a Fine and Pleasant Madness

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

kodiak photo Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Feb 2013Thu 09-May-13 04:56 PM
734 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#2. "RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??"
In response to Reply # 0
Fri 10-May-13 02:56 PM by kodiak photo

Montréal, (Qc), CA
          

Hello Dan,

Birdies, and alike small living things, are very hard to shoot because they move so swiftly.
A good take is, I think, defined by more then the sum of the technical prowess…

From that point on, a lot of subjectivity may come in the play!

Kodiak
Groovy Shootings
Image Média
www.kodiakmedia.at

Edit 1: The text presented here was changed by its author. Sorry for the confusion!
Edit 2: following is the original post:

In photography, light is free but catching it is not!


• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • ORIGINAL POST • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •


One?
Yes, one. Like in the case of that "Motorcycle advertising shoot".

http://www.nikonians.org/forums/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=175&topic_id=99584&mesg_id=99584&page=

There were 60 to 70 bikes in the store, I was looking for anything that could catch my attention.
The difficulties were many:
• The whole place is covered by double neon tubes that shined in the paint works and chromes
• Most bikes were too close to one another… no way to shoot in between
• Those that were approximately clear had no attributes that could support my shot
• Wrong position to the light
• The reflections in the chromes were too recognizable
• Shadows from the surroundings are not to be helped without flash (I didn't want to use any)
• etc.

I remember Ansel Adams saying: "Nothing is worse than a sharp picture of a fuzzy concept…"

An "old school pro" from Montréal told me:
" …and you can do everything, anything as long as you keep your finger off the trigger. Once you
have shot, you can't do anything anymore! Think, then shoot." You are not a soldier, but a hunter!
(those were the 4x5 sheet film times)

Twenty minutes were gone. Fifteen-hundred is coming and the countdown is still running.
BUT I SEE NOTHING! HELP!!!

Then, I remember Monsieur Turgeon telling me:
"The picture is there, go get it…! Look very carefully, move slowly, all around… If you don't find it,
then it has taken the personality of the squirrel. (!?!?!?!?!?!)!
Sit somewhere, sit very quietly, sit the time it will take and let it come to you…"

The longest 12 minutes since my ex-mother-in-law showed up in the front door frame. 12 minutes
passed when I noticed a twin block reflecting in the side window of the showroom. I came up closer,
slowly, bent down, backed up to come forward again, bent down once more, brought the D3X to my
eye, focused and shot.

A glance at the monitor, and, looking at the owner waving goodbye, I left.

Thank you so very much Monsieur Turgeon!

*********

OK! The question was I think for bird shooters… but hunting is hunting! The bike I was hunting had no key on, no gas in,
and not even a battery. I understand that birds are somewhat different… Really?

When I shoot people, it's a very much an other ballgame! Well you know, people are sometimes shy…


  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

    
walk43 Gold Member Nikonian since 07th Feb 2012Fri 10-May-13 12:16 PM
652 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#6. "RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??"
In response to Reply # 2


Pennsylvania, US
          

Actually Kodiak, I thought your first response was quite to the point. Folks with the talent and experience....like you... know what to look for when forming a composition and sometimes...many times... it only takes one shot and they have it!!

Regarding your second response (above) I think that you also hit the nail on the head about 'subjectivity'. Many time my non'keepers are only a matter of what I 'wanted' to get...everything could be exposed correctly, sharp as a tack and with great natural contrast but it just isn't what I wanted.

Thanks for "both" comments

Dan

"My most rewarding photos are those that capture something I didn't 'see' in the frame....so just SHOOT."

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

        
kodiak photo Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Feb 2013Fri 10-May-13 12:20 PM
734 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#7. "RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??"
In response to Reply # 6
Fri 10-May-13 01:08 PM by kodiak photo

Montréal, (Qc), CA
          


I have great respect for those you call "amateurs"!

I take the camera in my free time as well, because then I can take the pictures the "business"
did not take. Of course, it is because I make a good living that I go on being a "professional".
Nevertheless, it is because I stubbornly shoot to explore and for the fun of it that i like to
count myself in the ranks of the "amateurs"

My passion is photography, not money!

Vbrg

Kodiak
Groovy Shootings
Image Média
www.kodiakmedia.at


In photography, light is free but catching it is not!

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

            
walk43 Gold Member Nikonian since 07th Feb 2012Fri 10-May-13 01:18 PM
652 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#9. "RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??"
In response to Reply # 7


Pennsylvania, US
          

>
>
>
>Shall I restore the original post?
>

In my opinion YES.

It reminds us all that when someone has shot similar pictures, knows what they want and have the technical ability/knowledge, one shot is often all that is necessary.

I have had motorcycles myself over the years and my first inclination would be the gas tank or the engine with 'logo'. Lighting, DOF, composition etc. is frequestly all you need to think about once you know the composition you want. That's important I think for 'beginners' to understand. I am sure that folks that shoot 'food layouts', or 'cut flowers' will relate to that.

Now for others that shoot 'warblers in the wild' or 'eagles/hawks diving for fish' have a less high keeper rate as Jon and Neil point out. Sometimes not all things are under our control and it takes more clicks to get what we want....for many reasons.

Fishing is a good example....you have to like fishing as much as you like catching. In hobby photography, you have to like shooting as much as or more than you like the perfect picture. The whole point of my initial question is for beginners to understand that...and sometimes to remind mysel

Dan

"My most rewarding photos are those that capture something I didn't 'see' in the frame....so just SHOOT."

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

walk43 Gold Member Nikonian since 07th Feb 2012Thu 09-May-13 05:50 PM
652 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#3. "RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??"
In response to Reply # 0


Pennsylvania, US
          

Thanks Carl and Kodiak (REALLY NICE pics Kodiak...you do nice work).

My question was really related to small birds and animals like squirrels, chipmunks etc. They are always jumping, twitching, etc, and the feather/fur detail needs the right light and camera steadyness.

For my macro work, the butterflies etc. are also constantly moving but because I am close to them the detail is there... with the right hand-holding technique, DOF and shutter speed. But still there is the problem of subject movement. I find that for birds, butterflies, bees, etc., composition is not too much of a problem since it can't really be staged and often time they create their own composition, so long as I have the background and perspective in mind.

For stills, landscapes and portraits I have a very high keeper rate...probably 90%+ so long as I have accounted for blinking, bunches of kids, quick shadows in landscapes etc. It often is a matter of which composition I like best as I change it around.

Thanks for your responses! I still hope to hear from wildlife shooters that shoot moving targets

Dan

"My most rewarding photos are those that capture something I didn't 'see' in the frame....so just SHOOT."

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Thu 09-May-13 06:16 PM
10834 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#4. "RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

Hi Dan,

I think your question, as stated, is impossible to answer, for at least two reasons.

1. A "keeper", in the sense that the old 1 in 100 was discussed, was not just a sharp well exposed image, but an image with emotional impact. Or perhaps you really mean 1 in 100 specifically for wildlife?

I think you are focused on technical. So there may be confusion on all ends over context. Or maybe just me

2. I think wildlife is such that the keeper rate, strictly in terms of technical sharpness and exposure, and perhaps composition, is highly dependent on the species, specific behavior, and habitat.

I might get 80% in one situation and 5% in another. Especially with small birds.

The best I could come up with is some long term average that may be meaningless in terms of your subjects.

Or try this: a Warbler lands in a tree 20 feet in front of me and perches out in the open on a branch for 30 seconds, in good light.

I will almost certainly get "keepers" in the sense of technical sharpness and composition, assuming the background is good and whatnot. In terms of frames, typically up to 80% are acceptable, once I have exposure nailed down, and and 30% or so are more exceptional in terms of perfection.

Vary any of that and the number can be anywhere. And the above does not happen every day, for sure

I am not a pro but I don't think there are all that many strict "Pros" doing this and earning a real living at it.

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

    
walk43 Gold Member Nikonian since 07th Feb 2012Fri 10-May-13 12:34 PM
652 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#8. "RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??"
In response to Reply # 4


Pennsylvania, US
          

Actually Neil I have to differ with you. The question is answerable...and you did a perfect job! You made me think that a 'keeper' is a very subjective word as mentioned by Jon below. I wedding photographer or sports photographer can shoot in CH mode and get a pole vaulter in 20 different shots and they are running and jumping...but it is the one where their butt just clears the bar that may be the 'best' from a content/story perspective. All can be and probably are excellent technically...but there is always one that has an impactful message. Regarding macro...I might shoot 10 images until I get the focus point/dof where I think it looks best.

Now all that said......would you say that assuming what makes a 'keeper' is everything lumped into one specific shot, at the end of the month how many clicks have you made and how many of those are worthy of framing or display? I have about 12000 clicks on my D800 ....including testing, playing and seriously shooting after a year using it.... and I have maybe 250images that I think are worthy for showing to others. I think that is about 2% or 2 out of 100 clicks.

Not really a meaningful number but I think it is interesting none the less.

I take many shots just to play around and try to learn (and remember) what I like and what my 'minds eye'is actually visioning.

Part of the fun in this hobby is trying different things just to be 'me with my camera'.

Dan

"My most rewarding photos are those that capture something I didn't 'see' in the frame....so just SHOOT."

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

        
nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Fri 10-May-13 01:25 PM
10834 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#10. "RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??"
In response to Reply # 8
Fri 10-May-13 01:27 PM by nrothschild

US
          

If I go out and shoot songbirds and have a productive day in terms of something to shoot, I can come back with 400 images.

I typically pick 4 or 5 and post them. On a good productive day I could get a couple of dozen with luck in the variety of species and other things.

For a bird of interest, I will generally shoot as many frames as I can because in many cases it may be years before I have the opportunity of even thinking about stopping. If I get 30 good images or even 100 I will still only post a couple. That skews the definition of a keeper because I just "threw away" a bunch of images that, standing alone, would be keepers.

If a bird sits still for 20 seconds and I take 15 shots and 12 are perfect but identical, how many keepers is that? In the context of your question that would be 12 because I think you are mainly thinking about technical issues, not the final cull for whatever reason. So my 4 or 5 a day mentioned above may be low.

Much of what I shoot is not for "art". It is more documentary. I am actively pursuing lists... life list, one major state list (home state) and minoring in an adjacent state.

I have a nearby site (county park) at which I have shot 88 species. Next weekend I will present them a photo album of 200 5x7's. That includes all 89 species, with emphasis on certain species the general public is likely to see (and obviously easy ones for me). That will be their "Oriole Day" event.

It is interesting that very few people in Maryland have ever seen an Oriole outside of Camden Yards . I hear it all the time when I show a visitor an Oriole.

I have yet to get a satisfactory image of an Oriole there, although that is the best place I know to find one. They have a regular summer nesting population that just showed up the past week or so. The Oriole Day event coincides with probably the best week to view them, as they are establishing nests and laying eggs. Unfortunately, especially the Baltimore's rarely come down from the tops of trees. So that has been a frustrating challenge.

I am happy whenever I can upgrade a list image, no matter how bad it is. As long as it is better than the one it replaced I am making some progress .

Many, perhaps most (?) of those images I would not post here- they are not worthy. But they are keepers to me. Maybe that explains why I have trouble even discussing "a keeper", and what that is.

However, the viewers of that album will not care. They would be thrilled to see a Peregrine Falcon shot in the park, and anything reasonably recognizable would be great. That species never inhabits the park; we only get migrant flyovers a few weeks a year that might last 5 seconds when low enough to even shoot.

A keeper of a Great Egret would have to be a fairly amazing image because I already have (literally) 10,000. A keeper of a Bay Breasted Warbler would be anything that an experienced birder could positively ID . Or something like that. I'd hope it would be reasonably nice, of course, but I'm not greedy. And in between those extremes is a continuous spectrum, related to the relative frequency and behavior and environment related difficulty.

My favorite images are rare migrants that are only seen in this state once every 10 years or so, where luck and perhaps a little skill and daring coincided and I get a shot I'd actually post here.

I think nesting migrants, such as Prairie Warblers here, are far easier to shoot than transient migrants. Not just because they are more common but they tend to behave very differently.

At least that is my anecdotal observation but it makes sense in the context that nesting migrants need to devote more energy into defending a static territory. Transients just eat, and they tend to eat high in the highest trees.

My life list is currently at 212 species. I think it would be very tough to make art with many of them.

My life list is here. It needs a lot of work. For example, I have much better Yellowlegs shots. I just haven't gotten around to picking better shots of them and many others, just using place holders for now. And keeping it up to date is a never ending job as I slowly improve images.

It was a lot of work just compiling the list and I still have some ID problems that I have not gotten around to correcting. I just linked it so you could see the variety of birds I shoot.

There is another interesting problem with that list. I'm not sure if I have a decent image of a Turkey Vulture. They are so ubiquitous that most people around here ignore them. When I compiled my list I realized that there is a group of species that I've just ignored so now I go around hunting for Turkey Vultures in good light . And Robins .

Even stranger is that I rarely see.... House Sparrows. Can't explain it. If I birded my local McD I could shoot a lot of them but not where I go to shoot nature, and even at my house they are "rare". Strange how that works. Most birders consider them unwanted pests.

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

            
walk43 Gold Member Nikonian since 07th Feb 2012Fri 10-May-13 02:30 PM
652 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#11. "RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??"
In response to Reply # 10


Pennsylvania, US
          

Neil,

I know what you mean about Oriole's....we have one now that comes to our yard maybe 5 times a day. Mostly up high up in a tree. Also we have house sparrows in a bird house in our side yard and of course Robins all over. I do not have the 'perfect' image of each yet but am getting close and having fun trying. My wife has been telling me to put our "life list" together and perhaps you have inspired me. I have maybe 100 bird pics but nothing exotic...just back yard visitors that keep me busy. Also several turkey vultures and a few hawks. Good enough for my iPhone and Web but no 'art' yet....just a few that I really like.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and images!!

Dan

"My most rewarding photos are those that capture something I didn't 'see' in the frame....so just SHOOT."

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

                
nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sat 11-May-13 11:39 AM
10834 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#14. "RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??"
In response to Reply # 11


US
          

Hi Dan,

Right after reading this yesterday, I went out in my back yard and heard a Baltimore Oriole whistling. So I may, for the 2nd year in a row, have a summer resident Oriole nesting.

I have been putting more and more time into my yard list, which is up around 40 species or so (some seen but not yet shot, especially fly-overs that are obstructed by trees ringing my house).

You can then expand that into all sorts of variations, as you can with all lists. First of Spring observations, late birds (late to migrate out), year lists. First of Fall (returning migrants)... It is almost endless

I assume you have some bird feeders? You might try a standard suet cage with orange slices. I am told that Orioles like oranges or other fruit. Someone I know even uses jelly but that seems overly messy.

If you have enough trees nearby to attract Orioles you probably have cavity nesters like Titmice, Chickadees and Nuthatches. Those are all good feeder birds and if you have feeders with good nearby perches you have a great backyard nature park .

If that is the case you might want to do some research into House Sparrows. They are very successful and aggressive birds and will kill other cavity nesters right in their nests.

Personally I would not allow House Sparrows to nest in my bird boxes but that is a very personal choice and based on what they might be displacing. I would gain one species and risk losing three. Same is also true of House Wrens.

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

JonK Moderator Awarded for his high level skills and in-depth knowledge in various areas, such as Wildlife, Landscape and Stage Photography Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2004Thu 09-May-13 06:44 PM
4200 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#5. "RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??"
In response to Reply # 0


New York, US
          

It also depends on where you are shooting. For birds and small animals, in Central Park my keeper rate approaches zero. Not enough subjects and they don't hang around very long.

In the Everglades (the Anhinga Trail) my keeper rate was much higher on several shoots over several days — not surprising, as the bird density is higher and the tend to hang around when they land.

At a photo bird ranch in Southwest Texas, almost anyone's keeper rate should be sky high. As Jason Odell said to me the morning of our first shoot, "This is a target-rich environment!" The ranch had designed settings with blinds; half the time you could close your eyes and shoot!

And I'm stuck with Central Park as my front lawn…

Jon Kandel
A New York City Nikonian and Team Member
Please visit my website and critique the images!

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

Dubes Silver Member Awarded for his high level of achievement and willingness to help others – most notably in wildlife photography. Nikonian since 16th Jun 2007Fri 10-May-13 05:41 PM
5645 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#12. "RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??"
In response to Reply # 0
Fri 10-May-13 05:43 PM by Dubes

Mississauga, CA
          

Dan, first off, since this is the wildlife forum, I'm going to keep this response focused on wildlife, and in my case photographing birds. Both Jon & Neil have responded with valid points & observations. The term "keeper" has different meanings to different people, plus it changes as your experience and knowledge improve.

My first post on this wildlife forum goes back to April 7, 2009. When I look back at those images (even though at the time I thought they were wonderful), I wonder "what was I thinking" when I see them now!

Your opinions change as your technical abilities develop , both in shooting the images and post-processing these. Or at least they should. The most difficult part is the "aesthetic" quality imparted in the image - composition, action, behaviour, looking natural, cluttered background - these aspects all count to creating a "keeper". I have never taken art or photography classes, have never considered myself a "pro" or an artist, but have had a few images published and sold a few prints. You need to know what you like, you need to listen to others and take in their critiques (although you may not always agree) . Depending on the individual, it can take a short time or a long time to develop both the technical & aesthetic skills, but if you're passionate about it, enjoy it and are thrilled by those moments you think you "got it", keep it up and keep shooting.

Going back to the original question, what is the keeper rate, it changes on every outting and it changes as your skills develop. I've had days with 0%, up to as high as 50%, you just don't know - but there are those days driving back home, you just can't take the smile of your face knowing you've got that one perfect shot!

In closing, let me state one quote I read (can't remember where) that you should take to heart when reviewing and critiquing your own images:- "There is a sweet spot between bitter self doubt and dangerous over confidence".

Please Visit My Gallery and my website at www.richarddubiel.com
Richard

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

    
nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sat 11-May-13 11:42 AM
10834 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#15. "RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??"
In response to Reply # 12


US
          

Hi Richard,

Great summation, especially the part about how what defines a keeper evolves over time. It may even be that as we evolve our keeper rate actually declines

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

        
walk43 Gold Member Nikonian since 07th Feb 2012Sat 11-May-13 12:34 PM
652 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#18. "RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??"
In response to Reply # 15


Pennsylvania, US
          

Richard and Neil,

Funny you should say that what defines a keeper and what we think is 'good' evolves over time. That is so true. I was just telling a friend of mine that I am aboout to take down many of the pictures in my office (collages with 4x6 images and several 5x7's and 8x10's) that I framed a few years ago.... because now with D800 and more experience with editing these framed pictures no longer meet my requirements for 'select' shots....and I do have many that are now better than those that are framed. I suppose (or hope) that a year or 2 from now I will be shooting the same birds and bugs all over again using even more improved skills and advice from others.

It may be an odd way to think about it but sometimes when I don't get the images I want, I am actually happy that I have another 'shoot' to go to and try again! It's a bit like golfing...just give me one really good shot on a round and I am anxious to go back and try it again.

Dan

"My most rewarding photos are those that capture something I didn't 'see' in the frame....so just SHOOT."

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Sat 11-May-13 11:16 AM
8152 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#13. "RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??"
In response to Reply # 0


Atlanta, US
          

Dan

There are a range of definitions for keepers. For me, the real criteria for "selects" is something I would consider strong enough to share, print, exhibit, or post to my website.

I've been to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm a total of 10 days in the last year. This is a prime location for wading birds with a range of behaviors - nesting, mating, displaying, on nests, and with chicks. Of those trips, I have nearly 7000 frames or about 700 frames per day. I end up with 2-3 images per day that meet my criteria of "Select". Even within those 20-25 images, only a fraction are truly top images.

Given the opportunity to have lots of images of essentially the same subject, I am relatively picky. Everything has to be right for me to consider it a select. For example, the lighting has to be just right - which means early or late in the day, coming from the right angle, and light shadows in just the right places. Head position needs to be perpendicular or angled toward the camera. I need a good background - maybe even an exceptional background. I need a catchlight. And I need something of interest. I might add to the group for the purpose of a balanced portfolio of specific behaviors.

With this set of criteria for evaluation, I am selective about what I even shoot. If the background is not excellent, I don't take the shot. When the light is contrasty and harsh, I pack up my gear and leave.

I've used the same type criteria for sandhill cranes. In a typical day I end up with 300-800 images in 4-5 hours of shooting (over AM and PM sessions). I've had more than one day when every image failed to meet the criteria for a single Select - typically due to lighting or distance. I've also kept fuzzy images of rare subjects, or just to be able to report banded birds.

The key with common wildlife is I have to assume there are people shooting the same subject day after day, and I can do the same. So a Select needs to be truly outstanding. I'll keep a much wider set of images, and occasionally need one of those images for a particular client or project. But my reference point is the Selects.

Now when it comes to national contests, the bar is even higher. Common birds such as those at the Alligator Farm account for nearly 30% of submissions. So out of 2500 entries, there might be 400 images of wading birds like the ones I shoot at the Alligator Farm. The NANPA Showcase might pick one or two images out of those 400 submissions. (The same goes for large mammals, common African subjects, and common birds.) The criteria for competition images typically includes additional factors like artistic composition or context, or a moment of action that is very difficult to capture or replicate.

I've also been in situations where just getting an image was difficult. This is more like Neil's example. Last year I was the photographer on a research vessel documenting pelagic birds off the Carolina coast. We spent 6 consecutive days on the water with the job of recording every bird we saw and its GPS location. Pelagic birds are exceptionally difficult to identify - often with hard to see features. And I was shooting a rapidly moving subject from a moving ship at a distance of 100 yards or more, so the image was often a 50-100% crop of a long lens. I might only observe the bird for a few seconds - rarely more than 30 seconds. In this case, I ended up with a select list of about 30-40 images out of 2000 frame. The criteria for this job was identification, so I had a number of out of focus images that collectively were used to identify a particular shearwater or petrel. And none of these met my normal criteria for a select, yet a dozen were published as they supported the story or provided documentation of very uncommon birds.

Eric Bowles
Nikonians Team
My Gallery
Workshops

Nikonians membership — my most important photographic investment, after the camera

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

    
nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sat 11-May-13 11:58 AM
10834 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#16. "RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??"
In response to Reply # 13
Sat 11-May-13 12:01 PM by nrothschild

US
          

Hi Eric,

Just to add to your comments about your pelagic trip, every state has a Review Committee that vets sightings of rare birds. They only review the rarest of sightings. I've had at least a couple of my rare bird images used by my local records committee. And for each, I get a nice letter thanking me . So it is very helpful for ornithology in general to make the local committee representative(s) aware of any images.

Vetting visual sightings is a very difficult and imprecise art (not a science) so these committees badly need those images.

I mention this because it is something every birder can do, all the time, regardless of where they live or shoot. And I assume this is done all over the world, in every country.

Ebird.org is a worldwide bird reporting organization. It is not only invaluable for obtaining info on where to find rare birds but they go through the same vetting process. Any bird tagged as rare in ebird is reviewed by a local reviewer and they too rely on images as well as visual sightings.

You would set up an account and enter observations (perhaps just a list of species photographed). Anything rare should ideally have a link to an image in the comments. If not, the local reviewer will get in contact with you for images, if they exist. Otherwise you have to convince them you really saw what you reported .

Ebird casts a far wider net than the state committees in terms of rarity and also concentrates on seasonal rarity. Something very common in the winter like a Junco can be a star if found in mid summer, for example, where it does not belong. Juncos are reviewable on ebird right now where I live, where a month or two ago they were considered common.

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

    
walk43 Gold Member Nikonian since 07th Feb 2012Sat 11-May-13 12:20 PM
652 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#17. "RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??"
In response to Reply # 13


Pennsylvania, US
          

Thanks Eric,

These are exactly the type of responses I was hoping to see. For those of us coming up the 'ranks' of experience, the real life stories and experiences/failures are very valuable. Not failures on our part...but failures to get the special pics that we are looking for based on our individual criteria for a keeper/select shot.

I am sure that there are hobbiests like myself out that see great shots in the galleries and don't realize how many attempts the photographer had to go through. On Natl Geo documentaries of birds on
TV we can see that the photographers have to climb trees and sit there for days befor they get the shots that they want....or sit in a blind for days in the rain waiting for a Bird of Paridise to show up in the right light in the right setting.

Going out in the backyard to shoot sparrows, finches, robins, blue jays etc. is a great experience builder that is very convenient...but I have to remind myself through stories like these that it's a dedication that takes time (developing experience) and opportunity (right bird in the right place.

Someone once said that "luck is when 'opportunity' meets 'preparation'" and I think that is so true in photography. It's not all up to us.

Dan

"My most rewarding photos are those that capture something I didn't 'see' in the frame....so just SHOOT."

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

        
ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Sat 11-May-13 12:57 PM
8152 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#19. "RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??"
In response to Reply # 17


Atlanta, US
          

Dan

It's not just wildlife that has a low success rate. Here's a recent post on the topic from macro expert Mike Moats.

http://tinylanscapes.wordpress.com/2013/05/04/macro-success-rate-4/

Note that 50% of Moats published images are from his home and nearby property, so he has this rate even with an area that he knows and photographs regularly.

Eric Bowles
Nikonians Team
My Gallery
Workshops

Nikonians membership — my most important photographic investment, after the camera

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

            
walk43 Gold Member Nikonian since 07th Feb 2012Sat 11-May-13 01:12 PM
652 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#20. "RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??"
In response to Reply # 19


Pennsylvania, US
          

Eric,

Thanks Eric....I think Mike has higher expectation from his macro shots than I do. At the stage I am in, I am happy with the majority of my macro shots when I take it seriously....but am still getting better.... I hope.

One tip a fellow gave me a year or two ago was that when you see a potential shot (be it macro or other) close one eye and see if it still looks interesting considering your composition and that the camera does not see in 3D. You know that actually works for me(especially with landscape and architecture)... and I do it frequently. Somtimes just moving to sharper/higher/lower angles helps a lot.

Dan

"My most rewarding photos are those that capture something I didn't 'see' in the frame....so just SHOOT."

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

        
nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Sat 11-May-13 01:15 PM
10834 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#21. "RE: Advice for hobbists... from the PROS??"
In response to Reply # 17


US
          

>> Someone once said that "luck is when 'opportunity' meets 'preparation'" and I think that is so true in photography. It's not all up to us.

I would modify that...

"luck is when 'opportunity' meets 'preparation' AND enough time is spent that the slim odds of quantum physics intersect reality"

- -

I find that wildlife shooting is long hours of seemingly wasted time, occasionally interrupted by short periods of absolute magic. And sometimes those periods are short indeed! Fortunately I usually just enjoy being out and experiencing nature instead of a computer monitor .

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

Alert Printer-friendly copy | Reply | Reply with quote | Top

Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR VISION - BY SPECIALTY Wildlife (Public) topic #156172 Previous topic | Next topic


Take the Nikonians Tour and learn more about being a Nikonian Wiki /FAQ /Help Listen to our MP3 photography radio channels Find anything on Nikon and imaging technology - fast!

Copyright © Nikonians 2000, 2014
All Rights Reserved

Nikonians®, NikoScope® and NikoniansAcademy™ are trademarks owned by Nikonians.org.
Nikon®, Nikonos® and Nikkor® are registered trademarks of Nikon Corporation.