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I am looking for good ideas on how to take good, show type pictures of pigeons.
I have been putting the pigeons I have been taking pictures of in a 12" by 12"
box with one side open. A fair number of them immediately try to fly out and it is very hard to get them to pose well with their side towards the camera. Most went to turn head on and crowd the camera.
My digital camera has a delay and oftentimes I end up with a picture of an empty box, the tail end of a pigeon or a fresh deposit.
Does anyone have any suggestions?
I would like to take pictures of every pigeon I own, several hundred, and it seems like there has to be a better way.
Keith
[email protected]
http://freewebs.com/kjcii/
 

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1st, enlist the assistance of a friend. YOU need to be ready with your camera BEFORE the bird is set down. Your helper works the bird while YOU work the camera.

* I would suggest you NOT put the birds in a small enclosed area. Any animal's instinct is going to be to leave!
* Use a bigger space - maybe even an open table - with a solid color backdrop that compliments the color of your birds. Try to keep your bird CALM ... that means that both you and your helper need to speak quietly and move slowly (remember that each camera flash & shutter click will also have its impact!)
* Have your helper set the bird down in a specific place, facing in a specific direction, and YOU be ready to take the shot immediately (that means you need to have your focus, light meter, ISO, flash, etc. ready!) You will only have time to press the shutter, once the bird is released. Be prepared to repeat this step several times.
* Be sure your helper knows what you are striving for and have her/him PATIENTLY try to get the bird into that position while keeping it's attention.
* If there are special treats that your birds really like - now is the time to use them. Have your helper feed a few of the treats so the bird knows they're there...then have your helper hold a treat in such a way that the bird's head is at the angle you want it.
* USE your flash and a tripod to get razor sharp photos (Hint: pro photographers use auxiliary lights too, so, if you have them, use them. Try bouncing a light off the backdrop & at an angle - so the feathering is well lit and your flash doesn't throw such a shadow.) Check with your local camera shops - they may rent lights. If you're interested, you may also find a pro on staff who does freelance photography at a reasonable price.
* Become accustomed to the delay your camera has and plan for it. If your camera has a "burst mode", use it!
* Fill your frame with the bird. If you have a telephoto lens, USE it. Your bird will be less nervous if you aren't right on top of them. If you don't have a telephoto, fill as much of the frame as you can - then use a good photo post-processing computer program to crop (and do other stuff).
* Stay calm!!! There is nothing more fun and rewarding ... and nothing as frustrating ... as animal photography!! If you allow yourself to get frustrated it will show in your birds...and, therefore, in your photos.
* Know that a pro-photographer takes LOTS of photos (and I mean LOTS!!!) before we get THE photo we want ... that means we have LOTS of experience, too. You'd be amazed at how many photos are taken before the final shot is obtained (one of the reasons why digital photography is soooooooo wonderful!!)
* Know that, in this day and age, there is nothing more valuable (after the subject, and the ability to take a good photo in the first place) than a good post-processing program. With as many photos as you're talking about, I would recommend that you invest in, at least, PhotoShop Elements. Rarely was that beautiful magazine photo actually taken from camera to print. Nothing beats taking a good photo - and post-processing can't make a bad photo good - but you can turn a "good photo" into something that will make you - and your viewers - look twice!!
* PRACTICE ahead of time - - - and take your time when you're actually shooting the real thing. You simply can't 'force' animal photography. DON'T EVEN TRY!!!! Trying to do that will only scare the animal, frustrate you, waste your time, and convince YOU that "you can't do this".

YOU CAN DO THIS! And it CAN be fun! Take your time (just a few birds each time), plan on it being a long term project, and ENJOY!!

<if you have questions, feel free to PM me as you progress>
 

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Great reply, Wolfwood! Thank you so very, very much for all these tips! A few years ago there was a photography student here in So Cal that wanted to do a project about disabled pigeons .. yes .. very sad subject, but she DID love pigeons. Here is a link to a few of her photos that she took of my birds: Renee Martin Photos. I am sharing this because I was so fascinated by her use of a large roll of smooth, pale blue paper as a background .. one of Wolfwood's suggestions. Using a picture box is another technique that I have seen work well for those who are far more into and better at photography than I am.

Terry
 

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Picture boxes (or "Light Boxes") work very well for all kinds of things but I'd be hesitant to use it for a pigeon (unless the bird was very calm and willing). A photo-umbrella with lights is actually what I'd use .... in front of a backdrop that is draped forward over table

The backdrop serves to remove distracting backgrounds, highlight the subject, and reflect light....drawing the viewer's eye to the subject. Try taking a photo of a single item (as you usually would)- now put it on a towel or sheet of a complimentary color and take the photo again. You'll see the impact.
 

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Hey Keith,
You need a photo box where you can put the pigeons inside and inside that box seems to have a rotating table which you can turn from the outside. I wish I can find that box picture or the video from Youtube.

It is a pretty neat setup actually. Here is one of them:
http://www.tourdesmaritimes.com/Photography/tips.htm

Another one, but without the rotating table:
http://www.racingpigeonmall.com/loft/articles/photo-box.html

For photographing the eyes:
http://www.silvio-co.com/pigeons/photography.htm

Here is one with rotating table:
http://users.iafrica.com/a/al/allpigeons/sapmldec2000/sapmldec2000.htm

I haven't found the one with rotating table that you can turn from the outside. It looks similar to the one above, but with a handle that the photographer can rotate. Once I find that video in Youtube, then I will post it.

rod
 
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