Can You Spot the Mistake…Answer Revealed!

In my previous blog post here I shared an image and asked you to try to identify what could be so wrong with the image that I would want to relegate it to the trash bin.  Thank you to those who participated, I hope it was a fun exercise!  A few different stabs at it were taken, all thoughtful.  Lets take a look at a few at what was guessed, but first, here is the image again for easier reference:

Common RedpollCommon Redpoll, male, Canon 7DII + 500mm f/4 II + 1.4TC, manual exposure, evaluative metering, 1/500s., f/5.6, ISO 1600.

Here are some of the guesses, and my take on them:

  • More depth of field needed, mentioned by a few.  I suppose a bit more could get the bill sharp to the tip, but I shoot birds with a wide open aperture most of the time and let the dof fall wherever it does.  No amount of stopping down would have got the tail sharp to the tip with this frontal pose.
  • The branch extending to beyond the frame.  With a shorter branch that would have been possible while keeping the composition balanced.  Here I carefully “cut” the branch squarely and strategically rather than have it, or parts of it, barely “clipped” just beyond.  Valid guess, but I can live with the cut branch 🙂
  • The little “knob” near the foot.  Yep, in a perfect world it would not be so prominent, or at least not partially covering the foot.  Again, great guess, but not enough to ruin the image.
  • Repositioning the perch for better dof on it.  This was the closest guess, very close to the mark…but not quite, and not a reason to delete the image.  It had to do with repositioning the perch indeed, but not for the same reason.

Then came a guess that sneaked in just before I started to write this blog post.  The guess reads: “Is it the unnatural looking perch,, because it is upside down? Do we see the underneath of the leaves showing upwards?“.  BINGO!  In my haste and in the excitement of the furious action I fastened the cedar branch upside down, with the bottom of the leaves pointing up.  I did not notice it at first, but when I opened the image on my monitor to work on, it immediately hit me like a ton of bricks, and I just could not look past it.   An unfortunate but preventable mistake like this makes the image unusable in my books.

It’s the little details like this, and the attention taken to them, that can elevate your (and my) photography to the next level.  Good thing that I got many images from that backyard session on a variety of other perches because this could easily have been a lost opportunity otherwise.

In the end the image did serve an educational purpose, but other than that it, and a couple of others, are now relegated to the trash bin…

In closing, here is a bonus Pine Siskin displaying its feathers in an act of aggression towards individuals coming too close to its preferred feeding post near a feeder.   Thanks for playing!!

Pine SiskinPine Siskin, Canon 7DII + 500mm f/4 II + 1.4TC, manual exposure, evaluative metering, 1/1000s., f/7.1, ISO 1600.



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  1. Ross Taylor April 18, 2016 at 10:07 pm #

    Well done Daniel! Lol … I will check my cedar hedge in the morning 😉

  2. Christian April 20, 2016 at 9:58 am #

    So obvious now! 🙂

    • Daniel Cadieux April 20, 2016 at 11:19 am #

      It sure is once you know, and now you know why it is going in the trash can 🙂

      • Christian April 22, 2016 at 5:18 am #

        I’m a beginner in bird photography. Not on par with that level, yet.

  3. P-A. Fortin April 20, 2016 at 6:36 pm #

    I would never have guessed this one in a thousand years! On the other hand, my cedar trees here are so wrecked because of the snow that I can’t tell anymore whether the branches are upside down…

    • Daniel Cadieux April 21, 2016 at 6:00 am #

      I had a hunch that it was a fun mistake to try and guess!

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