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Thread: Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

  1. #1
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

    Thanks to everyone who has advised me on photographing these ducks... This is my best shot, and probably is the best I can do with my camera...

    A 4, Shutter speed 4000, iso 1250... You can still see some chromatic aberration but not much... The DXO program did not recognize my ancient tamron long lens, so I could not fix it. However, I used light-room to increase the exposure a wee bit (I think) and then Adobe colour curves default... and then in the 3rd edited photo I played with levels just a wee bit... I edited the raw version of the photo. I hit default in elements and then colour curves in the Photoshop program when I opened the raw photo.

    Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

    here is the original photo which for some reason does not fit on the screen (jpeg original)


    here it is adjusted for colour curves and dust spots with an orange filter to hide the chromatic aberrations
    Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

    here it is after I moved the levels button on the far left side, a wee bit to the right
    Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

    Is my editing improving the photo or not? Which edit is better the first or the second edit?

    Thank you... Still learning and appreciative.

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    Re: Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

    Hi Christina! You post processing is certainly improving. I prefer the second over the first image due to the cropping. In the third on the lead bird looks like he's about to smack his beak of the left edge of the image.

    I played with the idea of moving the third bird closer to the other two then use the Clone Tool to complete the back half of the bird. Then I thought that this might not help you at this point so I just sat back and enjoyed your images instead.

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    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

    Hi Frank,
    Thank you. So if I took the 3rd photo (2nd edit) and cropped it like the 2nd photo (1st edit) that would be and improvement?

    Yes, indeed he looks like he would smack his head! I would not dare attempt trying to clone the back half of the bird, and I did not even know it was possible.

    Thank you. The ducks are adorable! And that is why I have wasted every morning for almost three weeks now, trying to capture them in a photo that was not blurry or purple

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    Re: Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina Stobbs View Post
    So if I took the 3rd photo (2nd edit) and cropped it like the 2nd photo (1st edit) that would be and improvement?
    I think it would be for me - the sky has a more natural color in the third image. I might also be tempted to see what it would look like with just the front two ducks as the third one is cut off by the frame and separated from the first two.

    One of the great things about post processing is that you can try all kinds of combinations to see which one works best for you!

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    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

    Thank you to all.


    here are my edits... unfortunately they are still not sharp enough, and I can see the noise in the photos, and I think the ducks have left town. until next year!

    Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

    Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

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    Re: Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

    Hi Christina, your shutter speed and aperture is great and once you nail the focus and exposure you'll see less noise (as long as you don't crop the images too much).

    In post processing you can minimize, but not eliminate the noise. I hope you don't mind - I used Topaz DeJpeg to reduce some of the noise and Topaz InFocus to increase the sharpness, but hopefully not to the point where over-sharpening halos and grittiness appears.

    See if this is any closer to what you are looking for?...

    Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations
    Last edited by FrankMi; 13th June 2012 at 09:04 PM.

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    Re: Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

    Hello Christina, I think Frank improved your image, less noise and sharpeness and detail are improved. I would suggest cropping differently. I cropped your image at a 2:1 ratio. The narrow crop extends the distance in front of the lead duck while shortening the distance behind the trailing duck. I hope you do not mind me editing your image, I wanted to see what a 2:1 crop would look like.

    Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

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    Re: Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

    Wow, they look terrific! Thank you!

    Very much appreciated because I wish to learn if it is possible to improve so/so photos, especially the whistling ducks because they are so difficult to photograph and not around very often.

    Any recommendations on how I can nail the focus? My usual approach is to have my camera set to go (including continuous focus) and when I hear or see a glimpse of them, I run outside and focus and pan, and try to click the shutter button just a little forward of where I see them in the view finder (to account for how fast they fly)... It is really difficult because they fly super fast.

    I find that I am using the limits of iso (the noise is too much) and that if I increase the exposure by as little as .7 the purple fringing is truly poor, and I am using the lowest aperture possible on my camera.

    Truly appreciated. Thank you.

    Christina

    PS I may just print and frame your edit
    Last edited by Brownbear; 13th June 2012 at 09:17 PM.

  9. #9
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    Re: Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

    Hello Joe,

    I am absolutely thrilled that both you and Frank took the time to work on my image as it helps me learn and shows me what is possible with editing. I agree, I like the crop at the 2:1 ratio. Thank you.
    Sincerely
    Christina

  10. #10
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    Re: Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

    Hi Christina, there are folks here on the forum that are far better qualified than I when it comes to shooting flying ducks but my best guess is that I would want to drop the ISO to around 800 to minimize noise, decrease the shutter speed from 1/4000 to 1/2000 or maybe a little less so that I could set the aperture number higher from F6 to somewhere around F8-F11 if possible to increase the Depth of Field. That may increase the DoF enough so that the focusing range isn't as critical.

    It would take me some experimentation to really nail it. If you can predict how far from the camera they typically are, you can set your focus to just short of that point and let the DoF handle the focus range.

    My experience with continuous focus has been that I can't keep flying objects continuously in the frame and as soon as I lose them, the camera can no longer 'lock in' and starts to hunt for a high contrast object to focus on. If I then get the object back in the frame, it still takes the focusing mechanism 'some' amount of time to reacquire sharp focus so if I press the shutter before that point, the image is out of focus.

    Hopefully, some of the birders on the forum can chime in with better suggestions based on experience.

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    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

    Thank you so much. I hope I am lucky enough to see the ducks again and I will try your recommendations, and post if they turn out any better than these shots.

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    Re: Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

    Hi Christina, to follow up on Frank's last post. I shoot a lot of birds. I believe we photograph what is available, Florida has a lot of birds and wetlands areas to photograph them. Here is my camera setup for the Nikon D7000, I think it will work for your D80. For birds that are not flying I have the camera set to aperature priority with f8 set, sometimes I change to f11 or f16 depending on the depth of field needed. For flying birds I have shutter priority set to 1/2000 letting the camera choose the aperature. For both of the above settings I use Nikon's auto iso with it set to a minimum shutter speed of 1/400 (used for the aperature priority) and a range of ISO set to the camera minimum (100 in my case) and a maximum of 1600. This allows the camera to choose between ISO 100 through 1600. Most times my camera is set on aperature priority, when I anticpate a bird is going to fly or when I see one flying I switch to shutter priority. Just one click on the control knob. For autofocus I use AF-A letting the camera decide whether the subject in focus is stationary or moving. Along with AF-A I use Dynamic Area with all of the focus points available for the camera to use. I normally have the center focus point active letting the camera switch to another focus point if the subject moves.

    As to shooting birds in flight and keeping them in the viewfinder, it takes practice. The more you do it the better you will get.

    Good luck on your bird photography...

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    Re: Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

    Hi Joe,
    Thank you. I have tried all the Aperture Priorities, and shutter speed priorities, (and endless manual settings) with both my Sony DSLR (75-300 mm) and Nikon 80 for which I have a long lens (200-400 mm). However neither camera lets me set auto ISO in manual, aperture or shutter speed priority.

    I have not yet tried automatic focus (but will do). If I try a shutter speed priority of 2000 can you recommend an iso for me to set my camera at?

    Thank you.

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    Re: Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

    Hi Christina, regarding Auto ISO...if you set it it will used by your D80 when shooting aperature priority or shutter priority. I personally would only use manual it rare circumstances. I follow KISS... keep it simple stupid, the less I have to worry about the better it is. The computers, software and autofocusing systems in mordern cameras do a wonderful job. If I am not sure about the depth of field I just bracket f stops.

    Regarding recommending a ISO, there is no one ISO that works. The light is different from day to day, sometimes from image to image. That is why I let the camera choose the ISO. When I need to expose for highlights or shadows I use the EV compensation. I always have the blinkies set (screen showing blown highlights) in the LCD screen to check for blown highlights. Most times I shoot with a -1 EV if the birds are white or light colored and flying, when there is only one chance to get the shot right. I hope this helps...

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    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

    Thank you. The option for auto iso is not available under aperture or shutter priority with my camera. The ducks typically fly at dusk (and sometimes a little later in the day) and dawn. Typically when I try to shoot at a higher aperture (the photos are blurry and too dark) and using shutter speed priority the photos are just too dark. Nevertheless I will try shutter speed priority tomorrow, at a high iso and using automatic focus. Hopefully a few ducks will still be around.

    - 1 EV - very useful - thank you. My camera is set to show overexposure and I have noted that with white birds this is common so I will give it a shot!

    PS Your photos are amazing and I see that you even have a photo of the ducks I covet!

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    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

    your photos are amazing, too! Love the float duck shot Perfect clarity.

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    Re: Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

    The Image is a fast edit of mine(5-8min). My ajustments in order are curves, crop, and unsharp mask. Edited in GIMP though these ajustments are available in most software.

    -Sonic


    Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

  18. #18
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

    Thank you Chris.. It looks like you used curves to increase the contrast? Both curves and the unsharp mask are available to me on Photoshop elements... My challenges come when I try to select the birds, ie; no matter how hard I try with the quick selection or magnetic lasso tool, I just can't manage to select anything perfectly... ie; the selection lines go all over the place especially with birds.
    It is wonderful to see how photos can be improved and I will just have to find the time to practice and learn.

    Thank you.

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    Re: Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

    Hi Christina. I am enjoying your Black-bellied whistling ducks and the helpful comments; we have a lot of these lovely ducks here in the winter. One thing I would add to the advice you have been given, is that your D80 can not handle ISO above 800 as it gets very noisy, particularly in blue skies Gillie

  20. #20
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Black Bellied Whistling Ducks - Editing Recommendations

    Hi Gillie,
    Thank you... I just love these colourful birds! Thank you for the tip. Truly appreciated.
    I just purchased lightroom 4.1 which is supposed to have the fix for chromatic aberrations so if I can fix any of my purple ducks I will post a few of these later.

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