All material Copyright © 1996-2014 by Silvio Mattacchione & Co. unless otherwise noted.
Jobs, jobs, jobs ...where have they all gone? Where do they continue
to go? Free Trade, NAFTA ..... It seems so long ago that one slick Canadian
talker, Mulroney, promised us paradise, and told us that unless we got
on board, the economic train, would leave us
all behind. So we got on board but it looks to me as if we were sold a
one way ticket to parts unknown! A "Brave New World" (well maybe not so
brave after all, maybe just a rehash of some old world ambitions)....a
Let me give you a very practical example, something as simple as photography. Everyone has a camera, lots of people have digital cameras, lots of people take pictures but how many great pictures are ever taken? Not many I suspect.
Being involved in the book publishing business
for almost 20 years I know that there are specialty photographers who
are specific to an area of pursuit, for example "food photography" is
very specialized, "aerial photography", there are studios who are renowned
for their photography of "models", specialty photographers of "horses"
or even "packaging" of all types. When you want a specific image, and
if it is really important to your project, then you go to the best. Seems
a very reasonable approach. Now if I need a great series of photos of
"racing pigeons" or "show homers" or "fancy pigeons" where and to whom
do I go? Yes I can hear your murmurings now. The European photographers
I am absolutely delighted to be able to advise
all of our good readers that from now on we Canadians (Americans are always
welcome) have our own "MADE IN CANADA SPECIALTY PIGEON PHOTOGRAPHER".
Who is this rare bird (pun intended) you will ask? Well he is first and
foremost a "pigeon fancier" he eats, breaths, observes, studies and yes
photographs pigeons. He is also an "Educator" who holds a BA, BEd, and
MEd, whose career in education spanned 31 years twenty of which were in
administration. A former teacher, vice principal, principal. During the
last five years of his career he held the position of vice principal at
Here is what he had to say to me during a recent visit, "My interest in technology led me to my passion of photography using a digital camera. Rendering these digital images was an expected consequence. This interest eventually led me to introducing a graphic arts program at the high school that I taught for 3 years. Being a pigeon fancier it was only natural that my favorite subject would become the racing pigeon." I guess it really would be safe to say that you were really ahead of the curve and saw the writing on the wall as regards the direction that standard photography was then going?
continued to say, "One of my
responsibilities as vice principal of
Now the key to great photography is complicated, it requires many elements and in our 21st century these elements no longer include the "cut and paste" method, though great at one time it is obsolete today. Great pictures of racing and fancy pigeons require hardware ( excellent digital camera, high end powerful graphics computer) excellent software (including Quark and Photoshop) but in addition to these and even more important it requires the love of, understanding of, the patience for pigeons and how they should ideally look. To this end here is what our Canadian specialty pigeon photographer has to say, "In conclusion I must say that I enjoy all facets of the sport. However, my greatest satisfaction comes from photographing racing pigeons and rendering the photographs to make the bird look the best it can be. My goal is to become the best at this."
the past I have paid for the best, have never quibbled about price and
I carted my birds to different basements, halls, combine events and waited
in line for my turn to have my pigeons photographed. Thankfully from now
on this will no longer be the case. Our own Canadian from
The preparation of images or photographs for book printing using the photolithographic method is quite different from the preparation of photos for printing on color printers. Essentially if you are going to be taking photos for eventual use in a book please note these observations that we advise all of our clients of. These observations will end up saving you time, effort, and ultimately a lot of money.
Now the above referenced details are applicable only if you are working on creating books, literature, packaging and all other like materials of high quality. When you are preparing photos for use on the internet, for pedigree programs and for output great photos to be framed and hung, a slightly different set of specifications apply because in fact it is a different process.
So what we need are in fact are hard earned trade secrets. Well Andrew can you in 50 words or less give me all of your secrets, all of your little hints (boy talk about asking for the moon)? Bingo, add generous and humanitarian to great photographer, Andrew was more than happy to share his hard learned know how!
Here is what he had to say: "
"I am trying to make the instructions as simple as possible. But these are some of the area where most people have difficulty with if they do not understand resolution."
ANDREW CAN I TAKE MY OWN PHOTO AND SEND IT TO YOU TO WORK YOUR MAGIC ON?
reader I knew you would ask this question so I posed it for you in advance.
Well how about an instant replay of this before and after miracle. This time a checker hen heavy in the molt, yet you have no time to waste waiting for it to molt out because you have a buyer in Japan who really wants to see a great photo now. There is a lot of money at stake so what do I do. Well do what I am doing just call Andrew and mail him your average photo! Then sit back and watch the magic of our new digital world happen.
Remember that all photos should be forwarded in jpeg format and around 1 Meg size.
look at these before and after photos and am blown away at what can now
be done by photographers like
"When photographing birds I always assume that I will use the photograph eventually for printing a hard copy so I set the camera at the highest resolution possible. This setting on most cameras is called "fine".
Digital cameras have other settings called normal and basic. These lower settings limit print size because there are not enough pixels for a high-resolution picture."
"For example using the fine setting the photograph size will be for a:
4 megapixel camera - 2200 x 1700 pixels (28" x 21") at 72 dpi
3 megapixel camera - 2048 x 1536 pixels (32 x 24") at 72 dpi
Both 3 & 4 megapixel camera will print an excellent 8 x 10 photo after resizing. A 2 megapixel camera will produce a good 5 x 7 photo for printing. All these cameras will take excellent pictures for the internet."
"When resized to an 8 x 10 the 4 megapixel photo will have a resolution of 225 dpi and a 3 megapixel photo will have a resolution of 205 dpi. Normally the higher the resolution the better the quality of the picture. Kodak recommends a resolution of 225. However, for the internet photos are always at a resolution of 72 dpi.
The lowest setting "basic" is used mainly for emailing photos that will only be viewed on the monitor.
Do not resize a digital photo larger. This will affect the quality of the picture. Some enlarging (10 to 20%) can be done, but I will do that if necessary."
"If scanning a photo follow these steps. Set the scanner at a minimum resolution of 225 and set the dimensions to the size required. Select the bird - remember you are scanning the bird not the picture."
ANDREWS TIPS FOR PHOTOGRAPHING BIRDS
Preparing the bird
1. Wash the feet of all debris. Washing the legs and feet will make them redder. Clean the toenails and beak. If any feathers are dirty clean them off with a wet rag and then put the bird in the basket for 30 minutes to settle it down. Some birds hate to get their feet washed and will struggle in your hand therefore ruffling the feathers. Photos taken in the winter (December & later in my area) when the birds are completely molted out produce the best pictures.
2. Before putting the bird in the photo box, hold the bird in your hand for a few minutes. While doing so stroke the bird towards the back gently. This will calm the bird and reposition the body feathers to lay firmly against the body. Make sure the cover feathers on the shoulder are arranged correctly. Nervous birds often struggle in the hand and their feathers will often be out of place or ruffled.
3. When placing the bird in the photo box consider which way you want the bird facing for the photo. Photos can be flipped horizontally but it will make the band appear on the opposite foot and the band numbers will be inverted like on the hood of an ambulance. However this is usually not noticed and of no major consequence to the picture.
Often times we have very old photos in our files of great old champions can we do anything with these old timers Andrew? I think you will agree that as they say a before and after photo is worth a thousand words! Take a good look at what was done to this old image.
Taking the photo
1) I use a photo box that measures 16" x 24" x 16". A nest box will do fine. A spotlight would be useful but not necessary. I use two 60 watt bulbs fastened to the top front of the photo box. A tripod is also recommended but not necessary.
2) Remember "patience is a virtue" - you will need it. Taking a good photo is all about "profile". The bird should face to the right or left and be perpendicular to the camera. Some birds are naturally photogenic and will give you the perfect profile. Most will have to be prodded into position. An 18" dowel is very useful for this purpose. Before shooting these are some things to look for.
a) Camera should be perpendicular to the upper shoulder of the bird. I shoot from a distance of about 18". Turn all lights off behind you. The darker behind you the better because the bird will tend not to want to leave the box.
b) Use the monitor on the camera and zoom in or move in to the point where the bird fills most of the monitor.
c) When placing the bird in the box make sure that the wing tips are sitting on the tail. The first thing the birds will do is leave a dropping. It is advisable to pick it up because most of the time they will eventually step in it.
d) Both feet should be side by side and the tail slightly down.
e) The bird should be facing to the right or left and standing in a fairly upright position. Using the dowel coax the bird in to position. By stroking the bird under the beak and gently lifting the head will help. Most birds hate this procedure and will shake their head when touched with the dowel.
f) Click away. Usually it will take several photos before you get the right one.
Once again, I remind you that "patience is a virtue". You will need it.
Quite often we would like to give our pigeon friend's
unique and often funny pictures that show how much we care for their friendship
so if this is ever the case
I have many, many more photos that I could use to further
describe the photographic talent of this exceptional pigeon photographer
but I think you get the picture. You can email
.It is also
very important to note that when
Yes I can hear you all now complaining that I have avoided the most necessary of all items and that is the "EYE SIGN PHOTOS"? Well here we go photographing the eye made easy now by Andrew Skrobot!
PHOTOGRAPHING THE EYE
How did you learn to photograph the eye?
I have learned how to photograph the eye by a lot of experimentation and a lot of trial and error. Some would call it guess and test. In my case it is a lot of guessing, testing and mostly error.
Did you experiment with many different cameras?
I have experimented with several digital cameras since 1998. First,
I began using a Kodak 290 with no macro mode and had to buy close-up lenses
for it. Shortly after I tried an
What are the ideal conditions for taking the great eye photos?
In the beginning, all photographs were taken in strong sunlight around . I found that under these conditions the pupil constricts the most and allows you to see the circle of correlation in its fullest detail. The photo at bottom of this page was taken on Feb 17 with the Nikon 995 when the sun is still low in the sky. These are not ideal conditions. Summer photos with a high sun seem to come out better.
Any real problems that you encountered?
There is a problem of taken photos in strong sunlight because the camera picks up the suns reflection in the pupil, circle of correlation and iris. This is especially true for birds with darker eyes. The yellow eyes seem to photograph best. I experimented with polarizing filter with no success.
Waiting for the ideal sunny conditions
can be one of the most frustrating aspects of photographing the eye.
Unfortunately I don't live in sunny
Andrew is there any other options for a light source?
There is another option for a light source. It is a circular lamp designed specifically for macro photography using most Nikon Coolpix cameras up to the 4500. From what I have heard and seen this lamp leaves many reflection spots on the eye therefore it is not suitable.
Necessity is the "Mother of Invention"!
This is the device that I use to assist me photographing pigeon eyes. It allows me to hold the bird's head still when the shot is taken. The original one was designed for the Nikon 880 and was not suited for the Nikon 995 because it has completely different case. I made some minor modification to it so that I could use it on the 995. It is quite a primitive prototype but satisfies a need. The frame was made from a piece of aluminum siding and I used duct tape to cover the sharp edges. The slots allow the fastening bolt on the tripod to screw into the camera. This device was used on 4 different cameras that is why the slot is in an "L" shape.
The following pictures show several views of the camera mounted on a tripod with this device.
Its easy once someone shows you how?
Do you use a graphics program?
Using a graphics program like Adobe Photoshop minor adjustments are made to the color, brightness and sharpness to make the photos as realistic as possible. For viewing on a computer monitor a size of 5" x 5" (12 cm x 12 cm) is preferable. I have used photos up to 9" x 9" with success. The resolution of these photos always must be a 72 pixel/in or 28 pixels/cm for the web. Also the file size for these photos should not exceed 50 kb in size for quickness in loading on the web or receiving by e-mail. The latest version of Adobe Photoshop versions 5, 6 & 7 optimize photographic files just for this purpose. Another program which is considerable less expensive and useful is PaintShop Pro. The last 2 versions, 6 & 7 also optimize photos for the web.
Racing Pigeons Section Contents
Background on Silvio Mattacchione, his pigeons, his loft, and inbreeding program.
A group of articles and editorials addressing various aspects of the sport of pigeon racing and the history of Silvio's line of Spanjaards/Janssens pigeons.
Buy fantastic pigeon books online! Selections include The Will to Prepare by Robert Kinney, Rotondo on Racing Pigeons by Joseph Rotondo, and The Pigeon Guide by Dr. Jon Esposito and Shannon Hiatt.
Some of Silvio Mattacchione's own winning stock is for sale.
Sivio Mattacchione offers a wide range of racing pigeon consulting services and consults with owners as far away as Australia, Mexico, Taiwan, The Philippines and the United States. Each consultation is tailored specifically to meet the client's needs, and is conducted in as thorough a manner as possible.
Good causes supported by Silvio and the racing pigeon and parrot communities.
Clever pigeon pictures constructed of keyboard strokes by artist Jerry Downs.
Links to other racing pigeon sites including those of clubs, products, and information resources. An easy way to navigate a series of pigeon web sites!
Silvio's e-mail, mail, phone, and fax contact information.