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Thread: A few of our local birds

  1. #1
    New Member Psycoco's Avatar
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    A few of our local birds

    Hi All,
    This is my first post. I've attached a few picies of our local birdlife. I'm not a birder as I don'thave the patience to sit and stalk. These guys were taken from our back yard and were a case of 'run inside and grab the camera, regardless of what lens was on it'.

    Pacific Baza (probably juvenile)
    copy-_mg_7284.jpg

    Kookaburra
    _mg_3867.jpg

    Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
    _mg_6866.jpg

    Pacific Baza
    copy-_mg_7292.jpg

    Thanks for looking
    Barb

    Oops. I should learn how to submit larger photos.
    Back to the drawing board methinks!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Donald; 27th September 2011 at 09:52 PM. Reason: Images posted inline

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: A few of our local birds

    Well done Barbara. The first post is always the hardest. And that's a very impressive first set.

    You'll see that I've put the images into your post, as opposed to having them sit as thumbnails attached to the post.

    If you haven't already done, you should have a look at the 'How do I post images ...' thread that you can access via the HELP/Rules tab on the Menu Bar above. You've almost got all the steps. If you have any problems, just call out. Someone will come running.

    The other thing to think about for future posts is - If you want comment and criticism, it's sometimes useful to just post one image per post. It can be a bit overwhelming for those who wish to give suggestions, to be faced with 4 or 5 images all at once.

    But, as I say above, this is very impressive first posting.

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    Re: A few of our local birds

    Hi Barbara! Welcome to CiC! That is a nice set of images. Based on the diversity of borders, can I assume that you are doing post processing? If so, may I ask what post processing software and camera/lens are you using?

    A few of our local birds

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    Re: A few of our local birds

    Great series here Barb. If in the future you have occasion to shoot more birds, may I suggest...if they have a busy background.....go with a more narrow depth of field. You will be surprised at the result. These are already nice and sharp, now get the bird to stand out from his background and you may become a birder by proxy.
    Well done.

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    Peter Ryan's Avatar
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    Re: A few of our local birds

    Welcome to CiC Barb and I hope you enjoy the experience. I have been here a little while and have learnt an lot and continue ot do so. I too like the birds and have not yet seen the Pacific Baza other than in bird books. Nicely captured.

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    New Member Psycoco's Avatar
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    Re: A few of our local birds

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Hi Barbara! Welcome to CiC! That is a nice set of images. Based on the diversity of borders, can I assume that you are doing post processing? If so, may I ask what post processing software and camera/lens are you using?

    A few of our local birds
    Hi Frank.
    Thanks for your kind words. I am using a mixture of PS4 and FastStone for PP and I use a Canon 7D along with 24-105L, 70-200 f4 L, 15-85USM, 100mm f2.8L macro and nifty fifty.

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    New Member Psycoco's Avatar
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    Re: A few of our local birds

    Quote Originally Posted by jeeperman View Post
    Great series here Barb. If in the future you have occasion to shoot more birds, may I suggest...if they have a busy background.....go with a more narrow depth of field. You will be surprised at the result. These are already nice and sharp, now get the bird to stand out from his background and you may become a birder by proxy.
    Well done.
    Thanks for the 'busy background' tip,I will certainly keep that in mind. I can guarantee that I don'y have any plans on becoming a Birder.

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    New Member Psycoco's Avatar
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    Re: A few of our local birds

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Ryan View Post
    Welcome to CiC Barb and I hope you enjoy the experience. I have been here a little while and have learnt an lot and continue ot do so. I too like the birds and have not yet seen the Pacific Baza other than in bird books. Nicely captured.
    Hello Peter. I've already learnt so much just by browsing through this site. I'm sure I will learn so much more inthe future.

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    New Member Psycoco's Avatar
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    Re: A few of our local birds

    Thanks for your help Donald. I will definitely plough my way through the 'How to' posts.

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    Re: A few of our local birds

    Great stuff Barbara, welcome from a relative newbie

    Wonderful to have such a range of exotic (to me) birds in your back yard, I particularly like the Kookaburra and Cockatoo shots, probably because by DOF or contrast they stand out more. The others as Paul said, would benefit enormously by blurring the backgrounds, giving more prominence to the main subject .

    With your eye and your first rate equipment I'm sure we'll be seeing some more great pictures from you in the future.

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    Re: A few of our local birds

    Quote Originally Posted by Psycoco View Post
    Hi Frank.
    Thanks for your kind words. I am using a mixture of PS4 and FastStone for PP and I use a Canon 7D along with 24-105L, 70-200 f4 L, 15-85USM, 100mm f2.8L macro and nifty fifty.
    Hi Barbara. Great, and thanks! I use PS as well. It is so much easier to post an appropriate response when we know what tools you are using and what area you want feedback on.

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    Re: A few of our local birds

    Hi Barbara, I am a newbie to, but I think the pics are good. The Cockatoo stands out nicely with the green leaf behind it.

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    New Member Psycoco's Avatar
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    Re: A few of our local birds

    Mike, thanks for your comments. One thing I am curious about is how do I get to blur the background of these birds as they are always up on top of their respective trees and I am on the ground.
    I don't know trribly much about bokeh, and can only effect blurry backgrounds if I am close to my subject.

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    Re: A few of our local birds

    Thanks for posting Barbara, I really like all of em but 4 most. Look forward to seeing more. I agree with Paul about the dof.

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    Re: A few of our local birds

    Hello Barbara and Welcome.

    There's a great tutorial on depth of field and how to use it to your advantage (under photography tutorials, at the top of the page).

    So much information available here.

    Those birds don't look like any of my local birds! So cool to see them. Thanks for posting.

  16. #16
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: A few of our local birds

    Quote Originally Posted by Psycoco View Post
    Hi Frank.
    Thanks for your kind words. I am using a mixture of PS4 and FastStone for PP and I use a Canon 7D along with 24-105L, 70-200 f4 L, 15-85USM, 100mm f2.8L macro and nifty fifty.
    Hi Barbara, you have a couple of options. If a reshoot is possible, then using a narrower DoF will help, but may not completely eliminate the problem, particularly for the Pacific Baza as the background contrast is high and the coloring is similar to the bird.

    In a case like that I woul be tempted to select the bird and branch and fine tune the brightness and contrast to make it stand out a bit more. Then, for the background, decrease the contrast and brightness, apply some blur, and finish with a soft vignette, the goal being to increase the separation between the subject and the background.

    If you would like, I could give it a go to show you what it might look like with those kinds of changes applied.

  17. #17
    New Member Psycoco's Avatar
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    Re: A few of our local birds

    Hi Frank.
    Reshoot not possible with this bird (Baza). The lens I had on the camera that day was 24-105 and the photo was very heavily cropped.
    If you can make it look better, please feel free to change it.
    I look forward to seeing it and thanks for the tips.
    At the moment I'm attending TAFE classes on photo manipulation (PS CS5) and am learning a whole new way of PP'ing. Only problem is that between work, house chores, and life in general I never seem to have the time to 'play'.

  18. #18
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: A few of our local birds

    Quote Originally Posted by Psycoco View Post
    If you can make it look better, please feel free to change it.
    Hi Barbara,

    Here are the steps I took with this image.

    In ACR I noticed that there were blown highlights in the breast, beak, and elsewhere. There were also blown shadows in the tail and elsewhere. I increased the Recovery for the highlights to about 30. I also increased the Fill Light to about 15 but no matter how high I went it didn’t improve past that point. The original image file may be in better shape and if the original is a RAW file, the blown areas are likely to be fully recoverable in ACR.

    Opening the file in Photoshop CS5, I cropped out the border so that it didn’t interfere with any of the values and settings we might want to change. I usually do my capture sharpening at this point then make several layer copies of the image.

    As the primary issue is separation between the bird/branch and the background, we want to do a selection on these items. To make the selection process easier, I took one of the layer copies and using menu Layer/New Adjustment Layer, add a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layer to get as clear a definition of what I want to select as possible. We can trash this Adjustment Layer once we have our selection so it doesn’t matter how far we change the settings to make it easier to do the selection. I use a small Wacom Bamboo tablet to make the brush changes as it is far easier and faster than using a mouse.

    I used the Quick Selection tool on these two items then fine-tuned it using the Quick Mask Mode and a 5 pixel brush at 500% zoom. It takes a little more time this way but I am fussy and have the time to play.

    A few of our local birds

    In this screen shot, Quick Mask Mode is ON and shows in Red. The Q key can turn it on and off as needed. With if off you can see the ‘marching ants’ selection and paint the mask white, then do a menu Select/Inverse and paint the background in the mask black as shown on the right. Only the white selection of mask for the image layer will be used and the black selection will block the image. Once this has been done, we can turn off the selection and change the Brightness/Contrast settings to something that is reasonable for the bird and branch.

    This is probably a good point to select the Adjustment Layer and use menu Layer/Create Clipping Mask to force the Adjustment Layer to affect ONLY the image layer below and no others. We’ll create Clipping Masks for the remaining layers in a moment, but for now we want to apply the black and white mask we created with our selection to the Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layer above so that our Brightness/Contrast setting only affect the bird and branch and NOT the background. We do this by holding the ALT key and dragging a copy of our selection mask to the Adjustment Layer above as in the image below.

    A few of our local birds

    Now we want to change the Brightness/Contrast of the background. To make this easy, we’ll copy our selection mask to the Background Copy layer, select the mask we just copied, and use the menu Edit/Invert and our mask will be white with a black selection so only the white parts of the background copy will be used from this layer.

    As before, use ALT and copy the inverted Mask to the Background Copy Brightness/Contrast layer and create a Clipping Mask. The Layer Panel should now look like this. You will notice that I have reduced both the Brightness and the Contrast of the background.

    A few of our local birds

    We’re almost there!

    Now all that is left to do is to add just a touch of sharpening to the foreground layer and perhaps a Lens Blur of 5 pixels to the background layer.

    I added a vignette but you may like it better without it. To make the comparison easier, I blended the border back into the modified image.

    Here is the Before and After (after playing some more with the Adjustment Layer's settings).

    A few of our local birds

    A few of our local birds

    One neat thing about this approach is that you can add any number of different Adjustment Layers and adjust the foreground and background completely separately from each other. If you save the file as a PSD and do not Merge the layers, you can go back and add, change, or remove any of the Adjustment Layers at any time!

    I hope these steps are clear enough to follow to make these kinds of changes. The results should be better when you use your original image. Please let me know if you have any questions.
    Last edited by FrankMi; 1st October 2011 at 10:13 PM.

  19. #19
    New Member Psycoco's Avatar
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    Re: A few of our local birds

    Hello again Frank,

    Thanks ever so much for taking the time to show me the steps you took.
    Your completed version certainly makes the bird stand out.

    Cheers for now
    Barb

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