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Thread: Finally...

  1. #1

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    Finally...

    After months of trying and waiting and trying and waiting, finally got what I was after.

    But for some insane reason had the 1.4 TC on, throwing to the wind the reason why it had not been used for over a year - general softening when used on 1.6 crop cameras and zooms. On full-frames and primes, there are usually no issues.

    Looked good on the LCD but euphoria turned to sickened when viewed back home. So while I did get them, they were a disappointment IQ-wise and had to tread very very softly on the post-processing. Was'nt even going to post but wife convinced me to so that the experts here can teach me about doing up soft shots.

    Not sure if this proximity or angles will ever happen again but will certainly be hoping they get friendly just one more time.....

    Please C/C away - I can take it!

    1.
    Finally...

    2.
    Finally...
    Last edited by Bobobird; 1st September 2012 at 08:08 AM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Finally...

    Well done.
    I cannot critique for I have never done the same.

  3. #3

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    Re: Finally...

    Nice shots bobo. I think you have an issue with shutter speed, more than the use of the TC giving soft photos.

    You are increasing the FL, so you need more shutter speed to hand hold and get sharp photos. You are increasing the aperture, decreasing the shutter speed.

    Some lenses want to be stopped down an extra stop with the TC, and some can shoot wide open. Try stopping down an extra stop and bump your iso some more, to get better shutter speeds.

    What was the exif on these shots?

  4. #4
    kdoc856's Avatar
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    Re: Finally...

    Bobo,

    I feel your pain. Yor focus appears spot on, though in the 2nd image the blurring of the wings compared to the head (with roughly the same DoF) make me wonder if the Tc forced you into a slower shutter speed than you usually use. I think I have the same TC as you, and I've about given up using it except on a tripod with a still subject- I've not been able to develop any real consistency with it. Beautiful bird, great angles. Maybe Frank Miller can come up with a genius salvage, but this one is beyond me.

    Kevin

  5. #5
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Finally...

    Hi Bobo and Kevin, other than getting the sharpness the way you want it 'in camera', there are only marginal ways to improve the sharpness in post processing. A lot depends on the contrast of the image and the degree of sharpness improvement you are aiming for.

    In this case you may be able to improve the 'apparent' sharpness.

    I would start by making a copy of the image, masking the areas that I really care about, gingerly apply noise reduction only enough to minimize the noise artifacts (you don’t want to sharpen those), and apply just enough sharpening while pixel-peeping to ensure that I don't create any halos or speckles.

    Once I am satisfied that if I push it any further the change would be noticeable, I play with blending the original and the sharpened image layers to get the best combined image.

    Lastly, I look for details that can enhance the apparent sharpness. For example, with subjects that have eyes, I see if I can apply any portrait retouching techniques. Sometimes that best you can do is to simply lighten the highlights and/or darken the pupils ever so slightly. If the eyes are natural and appear sharp they will draw the viewer's attention away from the less sharp parts of the subject.

    Sometimes it helps to slightly blur the less important parts of the image, such as the background, to increase the apparent sharpness of the subject. You can also use the blur to imply motion so I wouldn't even try to sharpen the wing tips.

    In these images I would concentrate on sharpening just the bird's head, tail feathers and the fish as that is where the viewer's attention is likely to go first.

    Hope this helps!

  6. #6
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Finally...

    Hi Bobo,

    I have been here so many times!

    Having seen this earlier and given it some thought, I refreshed the page before replying only to see Frank has covered everything I was going to suggest

    To re-iterate his point about not sharpening the bits your not so interested in, you need to watch the spray since its large contrast ratio and small size can make it zing, distracting attention from the eyes.

    If you use a sharpen brush on the eyes before downsize, you can be a bit more aggressive with it, since the halos should disappear when the down size occurs, then the final sharpen can do its business, but still be wary of those water drops. But before all that, enhance the unlit eye sockets.

    There is a process called "octet sharpening" which I don't follow rigourously, but sorta follow on shots like this.
    Only on the importants bits only, I'd try say; 30% at 4px, followed by 40% at 2px and 50% at 1px, each time you're building an edge to further enhance with the next stage. I would do it before the final downsize, so it minimises artefacts in the final image. If you do get artefacts, undo those steps and try again knocking back the amout 10% at each stage.

    The image, after cropping should still be at least twice the size you intend to show it at here, so the downsize is 2:1, or even 3:1, if you can. Then the final sharpen can be quite aggressive (100%, 0.3px, 1 threshold), but again, probably only on the important bits.

    Cheers,

  7. #7

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    Re: Finally...

    Thanks Andre.

    Thanks Steve, Kevin. Both shots were 1/1000, f8, ISO800.

    I have looked again at the RAW files and find that they are acceptably sharp though lacking in the fine feather details that would be normal for the lens @300mm even at f5.6. The higher ISO should have contributed to some of this softening.

    Thanks Frank. Yes, the important bits, that is what I did here. The right eye mainly and the head, a bit of the fish and the feet. NR was however applied to the whole image.

    Thanks Dave. Just learned something new - octet sharpening. Will try that this evening. Sounds like a interesting technique.

    I do appreciate all the help CiC gives me and am grateful for that.

  8. #8
    Wavelength's Avatar
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    Re: Finally...

    No euphemism required in reply, because they are really outstanding!!!

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    Re: Finally...

    #2 redo incorporating some of the suggestions.

    Enhanced the eyes a bit, the head and fish slightly, very light NR, light sharpening, light vignette.

    Better? Worse?

    Finally...

  10. #10

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    Re: Finally...

    Thanks Nandakumar.

  11. #11
    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Re: Finally...

    Nice capture Bobo, I can understand your excitement catching the Osprey snatching a fish. I cannot offer any suggestions on post processing because what I do is just basic. I agree with Steve that a faster shutter speed and higher iso would have frozen all of the action. Anyways...congratulations on seeing and capturing the Osprey fishing.

  12. #12
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Finally...

    HI Bobo,

    Yes, better, MUCH better.

    Although you might have slightly over brightened the bird's left eye - that's the only minor crit left now for PP.

    Well done,

  13. #13

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    Re: Finally...

    Thanks Joe. Osprey are pretty large and previously have shot them at 1/800, 1/1250 and 1/1600 and there was no blur. This was the first time @1/1000 that this has happened. Still wondering why? The slight wing tip blur here does not look out of place so not unhappy about it.

    Thanks Dave - I have redone that bit 3 times. Looks equal on the monitor, on Picasa, even tried other forums. Only seems to show up like that here. Strange....

  14. #14
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Finally...

    Nice! Now my eye goes straight to the Osprey's head, then to the fish, then circles around to take in more detail. By the time I get to the wing tips all I can think is that this raptor is moving very fast. Fantastic image!

    If I were to try anything else it might be to see if I could sharpen the reflection just a bit as that is where my eye comes to rest when I complete the first visual pass.

  15. #15
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Finally...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobobird View Post
    Finally...
    I didn't jump in here before now because people with better knowledge and skill than I, were providing sound comments and advice.

    But now I can come in a just mention that I think that is one helluva picture. To have got that 'head-on' as you did is just remarkable. A superb bit of work.

  16. #16
    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Re: Finally...

    Hi Bobo, I think the reason the wingtips blurred a bit is because to gain speed and height the wings are beating faster than when soaring overhead. It works in the image because the rest of the bird is sharp, so the blurred wings shows motion.

  17. #17

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    Re: Finally...

    Great Photos. I like the eyes sharpened morel.

  18. #18

    Re: Finally...

    Well done - you got it perfect this time!

  19. #19

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    Re: Finally...

    Thanks again Frank, first tips were outstanding as usual. Have to rework the eyes a bit to equalise both sides so will do the reflection bit as well. Thanks.

    Thanks Donald - appreciated. You are a hard one to please.

    Thanks Joe, I had forgotten that bit about wing action. Thanks for the reminder.

    Thanks Muriel, Jaime - glad you like them. Was a thrill no matter how they came out. Not often they come that close.

  20. #20
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Finally...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobobird View Post
    Thanks Dave - I have redone that bit 3 times. Looks equal on the monitor, on Picasa, even tried other forums. Only seems to show up like that here. Strange....
    I think it looks equal here too, my point was perhaps it shouldn't look quite so equal

    While we're agonising over 1% over the image content, things to consider for another picture would be;
    avoiding making the eye you're working on sharper and most contrasty than the other one
    I was going to mention the bigger pupil, but thinking about it, that may be natural/as shot because that eye has less light falling on it

    I haven't had my "Finally" moment yet ...

    Well done,

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