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  #166 Balance: A Composition Tool
Entry 2 of 27
Southern Masked Weaver       ©2015 Jade O.
Panasonic DMC-FZ30       2nd place, 218 points
1/639s, f3.7, ISO 100, 420mm, Manual, Spot, no flash
Post-Processing: Curves, slight denoise and lighten background to make bird "pop" a bit, crop to square.       Extra Info: The Southern Masked Weaver is only 11-14 cm in length (4-5.5 inches). It weaves a nest starting with this ring and eventually weaves a globe with a hole in the bottom to enter.

My guess is this is best described as Symetrical Balance, with the "weight" dead center and evenly balanced in shape, colour, brightness. Despite the rounded loop, the composition is triangular centered which is a stabilized shape which steadies the image while the diagonal branch gives a sense of movement and the circular ring and out of focus background suggest a sense of depth. The eye is the focal point and is aligned in accordance with the rule of thirds, and centered for symmetry.

(I find birds tough to shoot, and small twitchy birds even tougher. I was pleased to catch the sunlight reflection in the eye, with a good shooting angle on level while keeping blown highlights to a minimum. Despite the challenge of shooting in direct sunlight, and with a dark black face, I was pleased to capture good feather detail and other features without the body looking out of focus.)

Location: Northwest Province, South Africa.
29 comments on this entry
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Dec 23, 2015
    Great shot, voted for you.

Dec 22, 2015
    Terrific bird shot. My #1 vote. Colorful, great context and nice bokeh. With birds it's always the eyes that count, IMHO. You nailed it here. Sorry about comments coming late. I still do not have complete internet functionality back.
Edited on Dec 22, 2015

Dec 22, 2015
    Congratulations. Bird shots are hard. This one is excellent.

Dec 21, 2015
    Jade - congrats - beautiful shot. I figured you'd respond to the challenge so now I'll start egging you towards getting a nice sunset, with silky water of course LOL

Dec 21, 2015
    I'm with you, JadeO - I find bird shots really difficult to capture. You've done a tremendous job. Congratulations

Dec 21, 2015
    Congrats! Beautiful shot.

Dec 21, 2015
    had this in top place as i think it showed more effort taken. (and i don't like bird shots, but this is excellent)

Dec 21, 2015
    Well deserved placing!

Jade O.
Dec 21, 2015
    Thanks mrsawyer and everyone for your votes and especially your comments. Each one is appreciated. I feel I finally got off a half decent bird shot (and Michael, maybe this changes your theory, haha!)

Dec 21, 2015
    Perched at #2! A fine entry! Congrats on your double top 5 finish!

    Comments After End of Challenge    
    Comments During Voting    

Jade O.
Dec 21, 2015
    KJW Thanks.

Dec 21, 2015
    To me this entry is very well balanced, the off setting directions of the bird & its nest, beautiful capture.

Jade O.
Dec 21, 2015
    babysitter Thanks. These birds do go through some wacky balancing gyrations. Fun to watch.

Dec 21, 2015
    A wonderful bird photograph. The eye is very pleased with the composition and even the birds itself is "balancing"!

Jade O.
Dec 20, 2015
    jomari Thanks. I'll sign you up as my greeting card agent!

Amberbug I like the ring. It makes it a little different from your standard bird shot.

Dec 20, 2015
    Beautiful! This would make a charming page in a calendar or a greeting card. The two diagonals balance each other well. I love the shallow dof with perfect focus on the subject. Top of my favourites.
Edited on Dec 20, 2015

Dec 20, 2015
    Great shot & composition etc, balanced to me with the ring & background.

Jade O.
Dec 20, 2015
    elliott I agree it seems odd to critique one's own photo or to have to explain it. But the challenge asked for an explanation.

Lo I took a couple of dozen tries to get this one.

aoc Yes, the Weaver makes the next starting with the ring. I'll post more in outtakes for you.

ysal The triangle works for me.

AC For me, tough to get this kind of clarity and sharpness, so I was pleased with the result.

Dec 19, 2015
    i think i would have preferred that the challenge not ask for explanation of what balance is used or exhibited. seems like too many entries are thinking they have to justify what they entered.

your entry is perfect. it doesn't need the lengthy commentary as it just works well. if i had to say anything, it strikes a perfect balance between subject matter and composition.

well done and cheers.

Dec 19, 2015
    I get an impression of this cute little guy swinging across the photo in his self-made nest. I think the diagonal line of greenery makes quite a difference in the balance of the overall composition. Great capture.

Dec 19, 2015
    Very nice capture - I assume the ring structure is actually something constructed by the bird? Though well-balanced, this sort of very central composition tends to be rather static; some offset to the right might make it more animated.

Dec 19, 2015
    Wonderful nature shot of a beautiful bird building a nest. I think that the branch and the bird forms a triangle which gives the sense of balance.

Anthony Comyn
Dec 19, 2015
    I agree with your description of the balance, and think you achieved this well. This combined with the good clarity makes for a successful image!

Jade O.
Dec 18, 2015
    Thanks fc. My first decent bird shot (and probably my last, lol).

Dec 18, 2015
    this meets the theme in spades. great shot

Jade O.
Dec 18, 2015
    Steve I'm intrigued about your composition comment. Something I didn't know and not sure I understand why an action shot, for example wouldn't work as well if squared. It seems to me it would be about framing not subject matter.

Mepo Of course, I didn't see the triangular composition until later. This entry was a test to see if you are right about bird shots, lol!

RL Radial balance...maybe you're right. I feel completely unbalanced by this challenge.
Edited on Dec 18, 2015

Dec 18, 2015
    Certainly very well captured. Wonderful color and detail. The background blur is excellent. I am more neutral about the composition as square centered compositions are better for symmetrical, static objects.

Dec 17, 2015
    I think the main attributes (beside the great photo of the bird itself) are the triangular composition with the bird on the hypotenuse and the excellent balance between the blurred background and the detail in the bird and its nest. Kudos! On second viewing I realise how important the circular hoop of the nest is to this whole composition. I like shots like this where you can find new points of interest the more you explore.
Edited on Dec 19, 2015

Dec 17, 2015
    Outstanding image. IMHO this is a perfect example of radial balance. High in my favs.
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By Jade O.


115 Challenge

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