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Old May 18th, 2009, 03:00 PM   #31
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Steve, very nice piece with lovely colors. Agree on Mat's comment that you could vary the sequences more.
Ambient sound was very well done!

I believe you was in some kind of hurry on this one, as the narrating was missing? I will strongly recommend that you do some kind of narrating or titling the species shown, as they was unfamilar for me!

Edit: Forgot to mention at 04:40 - birds inflight to the branch, was this just luck or did you observing and planning this entry? Very nice done!
- Per Johan
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Old May 19th, 2009, 01:41 PM   #32
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Thanks for the commments.

Per, yes this was put together hurriedly, in fact it was only to avoid being disqualified for not entering something. As Mat suggested, there will be a lot more variation and working to the story in the final program.

Mat, do you remember which shots looked choppy because of high shutter speeds? My eyes just don't see it. I often use high shutter speeds because the Canon 100-400 zoom image becomes very soft over f/11. I have a 3 stop neutral density filter, but the extra glass also hurts the image.
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Old May 21st, 2009, 12:38 AM   #33
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Steve...lovely footage of birds in song. Your audio capture was superb. It served to remind me... sort of along the line of Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" from the early 60's... that the rich sonic tapestry of nature we take for granted is in large part because of songbirds.

We all have thrown stuff togther to stay in, and I won't critique this piece beyond what others have said.

I look forward to seing your piece come together with this rich mix of beautiful birds.


Last edited by Chris Swanberg; May 21st, 2009 at 12:50 PM.
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Old May 23rd, 2009, 10:04 AM   #34
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Hi Steve,
Wow you have some really beautiful birds down there in Florida! I liked the story you told with the text, but can't wait to hear you narrate this as you did for your first piece. At about the 2 miin mark you have a beautiful black & orange bird that you have absolutely nailed the focus on with a magic DOF, but then for a few shots after that, you have soft focus that is quite noticable. As you have said, this was a "save me from the shark tank" entry, & i was in exactly the same position with my submission so i can completely understand if this was thrown in just to make up time. I loved the ambient bird sounds you have in this, along with the shots of the various birds singing. I especially liked the shot of the bird singing at the 4 min mark, that was awesome! You have a great story with some really beautiful footage, i can't wait to see more!
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Old May 29th, 2009, 07:16 AM   #35
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Hi Steve,
I enjoyed your first round so much that of all the second round entries I watched yours first. This is the first year in many that I wasnít able to bird on the upper Texas coast in spring. Watching your vid made me feel like I was in High Island on a good day. Thanks. I especially liked the Chestnut-sided Warbler. I canít wait to see your final video!

Iím sorry about your difficulties encoding. That is something I find difficult and I applaud Per Johanís suggestion that we all discuss it. Iíve never been able to make .mov files that I like. I also looked at Sorenson, but couldnít justify the expense for the small number of files I make. Lately I have been making .mp4 files with MPEG Streamclip Squared 5 - MPEG Streamclip video converter for Mac and Windows with much better results. You might give it a try. Itís free.

As I recall, you should be leaving for the Pribilofs in a few days. Is this a tour group or a trip you organized yourself? Best of good luck there. In June you should have a good chance at Asian vagrants. Touch wood!
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Old May 29th, 2009, 10:05 PM   #36
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Hi Steve:

Forgive me, but I will have little constructive and critical to say. I think I missed your video the first entry, and was mesmerized and fully taken in by this one. You gave me such informational and wonderfully helpful feedback on my thread, I wish I could do the same for you! You put this together in a pinch to avoid the shark tank? I'm impressed! I thought this was masterful! The capturing of the birds in flight was stunning!

Look to others for a critical review. I simply was taken in and loved it. I'm sorry and apologetic about this. I know with my own thread, I really soak up the critical feedback that will get me from point A to point B quickly and am so thankful for it. And if anything jumped out, I would certainly do this for you too! But I was taken. Perhaps this feedback is such that it lets you know that the masterful and critical eye will take you higher, but for the general viewer, this is captivating and beautiful.

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Old May 30th, 2009, 07:29 AM   #37
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Steve I too did not get a chance to comment on your first film so I will comment on both here.

The Return of the White Birds was nothing short of spectacular. Is was absolutely beautifully filmed, professional and fascinating to watch. The flocking behavior of so many birds really makes you think about group intelligence. I liked the various cuts you used in the editing the sound and your voice over were nice too. I really have no advice or criticism at all...just masterful

I watched both of your films back to back...and I noticed something...did you, on purpose, create contrasting pieces?

Because where the Return of the White Birds was filled with almost chaotic images the Spring Migration was simple and calm, where the Return of the White Birds was loud with many wings and babbling birds, the Spring Migration was quiet and filled only with the simple songs of individual birds. Where you narrated the first film you titled the second one. Where Return of the White Birds was dynamic and had you on the edge of your seat Spring Migration allowed you to slump back into your seat and enjoy the simple beauty in total relaxation.

I have to say my friend Bravo...brilliant pieces!
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Old May 30th, 2009, 08:55 AM   #38
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Hi Steve -

I always enjoy your work - mainly because birds are one of my favourite subjects too. You certainly have a beautiful selection here - the dazzling plumage and melodious songs are a real treat.

I missed the names - and the info as to where they had been and where they were when you filmed them but I guess that will be coming. The ambient sound is beautiful but there needs to be a little bit of this type of information too so the viewer has something to hold onto. (You will need longer clips for doing this in which case I donít think they are too long.)

The little Chestnut-sided Warbler (Thanks Mike) near the end was razor sharp while some of the others seemed comparatively soft. I thought your nest footage was excellent - needs quite a bit of planning to do that I bet.

You have a super subject and your work is coming together well - looking forward to the next sequence!

(BTW - I viewed your video on exposure room before I read your note about it not working.)
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Old June 2nd, 2009, 12:26 PM   #39
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Thanks for all the comments, everyone.

Marj, yes, I will be naming the birds in the final version. Everyone finds it annoying to see a species and not be told what it is. You might be interested in this. I am a pediatrician (day job), and one of my teenage patients yesterday told me that he was going to major in math in college. I asked him if he knew about Fibonacci sequences in flower heads...AND HE DID!!

Jeff, the change in mood between the two pieces was accidental, but sure looks like it needs to stay. The next section may be frenetic again.

Cat, I'm glad I was able to help. I really love your stuff, because there is always something new and experimental in it. Keep it up.

Mike, thanks for the link. I'm going to try it today. I wonder what it will be like when we all have hour-long videos to compress. My computer starts to protest at anything over 20 minutes. I take it you are also a birder. I hope to get a few lifers up there, but the Asian vagrants are supposed to be gone by mid-June. Maybe one will hang around. I sure will touch wood, but hope not to touch volcanic ash. Mt. Redoubt (near Anchorage) has developed a lava dome, just like Mt. St. Helens did.
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Old August 11th, 2009, 05:00 PM   #40
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I'm calling the third part of my Long Form entry "In the Land of the Barking Seals". This one has been the most fun of all because I got to go to Alaska. The whole section is 15 minutes long, but I am only putting in half of it here. It deals with breeding birds, lots of singing males, eggs and babies (notably absent is the fledgling sparrow that was run over by a truck while I was trying to shoo it off the road.) This section was the result of several days spent at St. Paul Island in the Pribilof chain, about 300 miles of the coast. As always, getting the audio right is the hardest part. After listening so many times, I don't hear the errors any more. Please point them out.

This is an Exposure Room version, which may be better quality.

In the Land of the Barking Seals By steven siegel On ExposureRoom
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Old August 12th, 2009, 01:16 AM   #41
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Marvellous, Steve. I mean I found it exciting and informative to observe. Once more I will be happy to steal some of your phrases and powers of description. I think I'll even try practising your method of delivery ... steady, measured, even-pitched, NEVER cool, NEVER know-all, ALWAYS sounding as if you're calmly delighted to be learning as you speak ...

.... and I was wondering what to do with my puffin, gannet, fulmar, razorbill & guillemot footage; to hear you explain WHY the fulmar's beak is so-shaped was exactly what I needed to learn; the word "precarious" would just not come to me when trying to describe where the cliffbirds hang on ... ... and what a good ad for Exposure Room!

Thank you, many times.
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Old August 14th, 2009, 08:12 AM   #42
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Hi Steve- It looks like you had a very productive trip. An oceanographer friend told me heís been to the Pribilofs twelve times and never seen the sun. Iím sure glad you did! Very nice shots and great editing. What a heroic job of follow focus with the fulmar! Great murre shots. Where did you find a place to stand, or were you hanging on the cliff like they were? I really liked the interaction shots with the auklets. Great close up of the jaeger too. Were you shooting with a fast shutter? Seems like there was some wing snap on some shots- like the dovekies. Itís not bad though and might just be the compression. I canít wait for the next round. Nice bobcat. Iíve been trying to shoot one all year for another project but you know how darned elusive they can be!
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Old August 14th, 2009, 04:23 PM   #43
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Hi Mike,
Thanks for the comments. For the most part there was room for a tripod at the cliff face, but for some shots, like the close-up of the cormorant, I had to lie on my stomach and dangle over the edge. I guess I'll never get rid of the wing snap. Everyone complains about it and several UWOLers have suggested cures. The problem is that it seems to originate from too fast a shutter speed. Unfortunately, as Per Johan explained in his thread, you cannot shoot a smaller aperture than f/11 with this camera, so a high shutter is necessary to avoid overexposure. I have put a good quality (Hoya) ND 4 or 8 filter on but I think it significantly degrades the image.

Than bobcat was really weird. After taking the shot you see in the clip, the cat began walking toward me on the road, stayed on the road, walked right past, no more than ten feet away, and kept on going. Could it have been rabid? Who knows.

Thanks for the compliments. You're going to make me need to buy a new hat.
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Old August 16th, 2009, 03:08 AM   #44
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You have many fine shots. I am impressed over how you manage to follow the flying birds.
Your narrating is very good, but I would prefer to hear your voice a bit louder and in the middle (from both channels).
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Old August 16th, 2009, 12:04 PM   #45
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Thank you Finn-Erik,

I thought I had solved that two channel problem.
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