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Thread: Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

  1. #1
    kentruth's Avatar
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    Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

    I was fortunate the other day to spend about a half hour with this male Grt Egret while he preened he's just beginning to get his breeding plummage plus colouration to his beak. I have a few shots that I'm considering printing for my own enjoyment but I know they need more than they currently have, like a background it was a very dull overcast day so there wasn't even a blue sky to set off the bird...add colour, textured background?

    Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

    Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

    Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

    I've included a picture of a Grt Egret in full breeding plummage & colouration that I worked with back in March that allowed me to get very close to him, his lady-friend & their nest plus all the ensuing activities I'm hoping the above bird will allow me to continue to get as close in as the season progresses since I'm only using a 300mm lens.
    Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

    As I said earlier any suggestions to help in the editing process will be greatly appreciated.

    kentruth/Lesley

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    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Re: Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

    Hello Lesley, beautiful bird. I so see some changes I would make. In all four images I would not crop as tight as you have. In all of the images there are creamy colored areas different from the feathers, my inclination is that these areas have been blown out (overexposed to loose detail). I tried to look at the exif data but couldn't see it. The colors white, red, and yellow in bright light blow out very easily. I shoot a lot of white birds in Florida, always when I see a white bird I will set the +/_ EV control to at least -1EV. I also have the LCD screen to show blown hightlights and use that to correct the exposure until there are not any blinkies. In the first three images you could work towards High Key style images, almost white on white. Hoping this helps.

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    kentruth's Avatar
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    Re: Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

    Thank you Joe. Here is one of the pictures(copy of the file) uncropped just "resized" for posting, I'm so torn about cropping, up until quite recently I was told I was much to generous with how I was cropping and needed to "tighten" things up...

    Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

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    Re: Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

    I suppose it would be possible to place a selection around those birds then change the background. But rather difficult to accurately mask that fine feather detail.

    As a simpler alternative, I wonder about creating a suitable narrow border around the image to 'constrain' the actual image a little better.

    After printing, using a suitably coloured mat between the photo and edge of the photo frame might also work as an alternative.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

    Hi Lesley,

    I agree with Joe that #2 in first post is significantly blown, but if the latest image, in post #3, is what that came from, then it must be getting blown in PP. Is that the source for #2 and if so; was it shot RAW and what did you do to it?

    Welcome to the CiC forums from ...

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    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Re: Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

    Hi Lesley, here is how I would crop that image. I think it begs for a 1:1 or 4:3 crop. What I have posted is a 1:1. I like some negative space around the subject. Others I am sure think differently. I think negative space draws the eyes to the subject, how much is where there is a difference of opinion.

    Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

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    kentruth's Avatar
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    Re: Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

    Hi Dave I'm embarrassed to say I'm shooting in jpeg I've just returned to photography after a 35yr absence (boy have things changed) I have no clue what is right or wrong so am very much just feeling my way. As far as "what" I did to the images in the original post I'm using a (I can hear the groans now ) editing tutorial in PElements that employs the Unsharpmask for contrast

    Lesley

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    Re: Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

    If you are using Unsharp Mask as Local Contrast Enhancement, that is quite common for many photographers.

    Say, something around 20 or 30 percent and 30 or 40 pixels radius.

    Needs using with care but can be effective.
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 24th December 2012 at 01:57 PM. Reason: minor correction to clarify what you meant

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    Re: Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

    Quote Originally Posted by jprzybyla View Post
    Hello Lesley, beautiful bird. I so see some changes I would make. In all four images I would not crop as tight as you have. In all of the images there are creamy colored areas different from the feathers, my inclination is that these areas have been blown out (overexposed to loose detail). I tried to look at the exif data but couldn't see it. The colors white, red, and yellow in bright light blow out very easily. I shoot a lot of white birds in Florida, always when I see a white bird I will set the +/_ EV control to at least -1EV. I also have the LCD screen to show blown hightlights and use that to correct the exposure until there are not any blinkies. In the first three images you could work towards High Key style images, almost white on white. Hoping this helps.

    Why would you expose white at -1ev???? That is extremely underexposed.

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    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Re: Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve S View Post
    Why would you expose white at -1ev???? That is extremely underexposed.
    Hi Steve,

    Regarding your question... if in bright light shooting white birds or birds with a lot of white in not underexposed the white will blow out with all the feather detail lost. In post processing the exposure is raised carefully to maintain the feather detail stopping just short of blown highlights. Sometimes I have had to underexpose more than -1EV to control the white highlights on sunny bright days. A light overcast is best for being able to shoot white birds without underexposing.

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    kentruth's Avatar
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    Re: Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

    Quote Originally Posted by jprzybyla View Post
    Hi Lesley, here is how I would crop that image. I think it begs for a 1:1 or 4:3 crop. What I have posted is a 1:1. I like some negative space around the subject. Others I am sure think differently. I think negative space draws the eyes to the subject, how much is where there is a difference of opinion.
    My personal preference is your crop Joe, perhaps slightly tighter on the leftside but not so much different as to make much of a discussion. Anything more to the picture would be too much space for the eye to wander about in taking away from the subject (JMPO)

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    Re: Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

    Quote Originally Posted by jprzybyla View Post
    Hi Steve,

    Regarding your question... if in bright light shooting white birds or birds with a lot of white in not underexposed the white will blow out with all the feather detail lost. In post processing the exposure is raised carefully to maintain the feather detail stopping just short of blown highlights. Sometimes I have had to underexpose more than -1EV to control the white highlights on sunny bright days. A light overcast is best for being able to shoot white birds without underexposing.
    I would think a good starting point for shooting a white bird in bright light would be......................

    Stopping your lens down to f/16

    Spot meter off the highlights and set the exposure to +1 1/3 ev, then check histogram for clipping. Still can't see underexposing by that much?

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    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Re: Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve S View Post
    I would think a good starting point for shooting a white bird in bright light would be......................

    Stopping your lens down to f/16

    Spot meter off the highlights and set the exposure to +1 1/3 ev, then check histogram for clipping. Still can't see underexposing by that much?
    Hi Steve, what you describe is how I would shoot snow or a white sand beach overexposing to keep the sand or snow looking grey. In my experience with white birds the highlighted areas most times are too small to spot meter unless the bird is large and very close. If the spot meter reads the bird the highlighted areas will blow out and become white areas without detail. What I have found works best is to turn on the blinkies in the camera. Choose the LCD screen that will show blown highlights blinking in black. Then using the EV control underexpose until it stops blinking. Most times in Florida in bright light it is close to -1EV. That preserves the detail in those areas. In post processing raise the exposure while watching the histogram. If the histogram indicates blown highlights the Highlight slider can the be used to correct that. In Adobe Lightroom there is about a 2 stop exposure + or - that can be corrected. Maybe your light is different in West Virginia but in Florida white birds easily blow out unless underexposed.

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    Re: Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

    Quote Originally Posted by jprzybyla View Post
    Hi Steve, what you describe is how I would shoot snow or a white sand beach overexposing to keep the sand or snow looking grey. In my experience with white birds the highlighted areas most times are too small to spot meter unless the bird is large and very close. If the spot meter reads the bird the highlighted areas will blow out and become white areas without detail. What I have found works best is to turn on the blinkies in the camera. Choose the LCD screen that will show blown highlights blinking in black. Then using the EV control underexpose until it stops blinking. Most times in Florida in bright light it is close to -1EV. That preserves the detail in those areas. In post processing raise the exposure while watching the histogram. If the histogram indicates blown highlights the Highlight slider can the be used to correct that. In Adobe Lightroom there is about a 2 stop exposure + or - that can be corrected. Maybe your light is different in West Virginia but in Florida white birds easily blow out unless underexposed.



    What you are discribing is the equivalent of a landscape shooter, exposing for the sky. The sky will come out nice, but the land will be WAY underexposed and noisy when recovered. When this happens, you camera is telling you something, conditions for a good shot arn't right . (that was the main point i was trying to get across, but it went over your head)

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

    Quote Originally Posted by kentruth View Post
    Hi Dave I'm embarrassed to say I'm shooting in jpeg I've just returned to photography after a 35yr absence (boy have things changed) I have no clue what is right or wrong so am very much just feeling my way. As far as "what" I did to the images in the original post I'm using a (I can hear the groans now ) editing tutorial in PElements that employs the Unsharpmask for contrast
    Hi Lesley,

    There's no shame in using Photoshop Elements, but shooting jpg really!!! (I am just kidding)

    I often use USM (Unsharp Mask) for LCE (Local Contrast Enhancement) on my birds, the knack is to ensure things like this don't happen and that'll come with a bit more experience. Look at the histogram before, during and after and ensure no clipping occurs, if it does and you cannot get the desired contrast enhancement without some clipping, stop (or undo it), open the Levels dialog, pull down the White output control from 255 to say 240, OK that, then try again with USM.

    Similarly for blacks, if the range already extends down to 0 and you apply USM, you will lose shadow detail, so first open the levels dialog, apply 1.1 or 1.2 on the input grey slider and if necessary, raise the blacks output slider to 5 or so.

    Cheers,

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    kentruth's Avatar
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    Re: Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

    Is there an advantage to shooting in RAW vs jpeg as far as quality of the "original" ? (I'm assuming there is) any and all links welcome...I understand what Dave is describing I suppose I should head back to the drawingboard/PE with this egret and practice then repost perhaps.

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    jprzybyla's Avatar
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    Re: Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

    Quote Originally Posted by kentruth View Post
    Is there an advantage to shooting in RAW vs jpeg as far as quality of the "original" ? (I'm assuming there is) any and all links welcome...I understand what Dave is describing I suppose I should head back to the drawingboard/PE with this egret and practice then repost perhaps.
    Hello Lesley, shooting in RAW enables more post processing. Nothing has been done to a RAW file, it is simply data the camera and sensor has captured. A JPEG has been processed by the software in the camera with what has been set in the picture control. A RAW file is uncompressed and larger than a JPEG which is a compressed format.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

    Quote Originally Posted by kentruth View Post
    Is there an advantage to shooting in RAW vs jpeg as far as quality of the "original" ? (I'm assuming there is) any and all links welcome...I understand what Dave is describing I suppose I should head back to the drawingboard/PE with this egret and practice then repost perhaps.
    Hi Lesley,

    Please don't take this personally, but I will 'super'-clarify a few points regarding your question

    If I were a pedant, I might say the advantage comes when you need to PP (post process), rather than when shooting - in fact there are a couple of minor disadvantages when shooting; the larger files take longer to write to the memory card and fill it quicker - sometimes this is important.

    Equally, the main advantage comes when you need to do a lot of PP, rather than just display the image on a website or just print, for both these tasks, jpg is perfectly adequate.

    However, you can fix a lot more issues in PP AND end up with a higher quality result if you shoot RAW.

    I don't know how old you are, but back in the film days, if you had a good 6" x 4" snap and the negative, a 24" x 16" enlargement made from the negative should always have been better quality than one made from the print.

    So the simple answer to your question is YES


    By all means have another go at PP - I assume you didn't save over the original file - and repost so we can see the improvement.

    Cheers,

  19. #19

    Re: Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

    nice photo's

  20. #20
    kentruth's Avatar
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    Re: Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Hi Lesley,

    Please don't take this personally, but I will 'super'-clarify a few points regarding your question

    If I were a pedant, I might say the advantage comes when you need to PP (post process), rather than when shooting - in fact there are a couple of minor disadvantages when shooting; the larger files take longer to write to the memory card and fill it quicker - sometimes this is important.

    Equally, the main advantage comes when you need to do a lot of PP, rather than just display the image on a website or just print, for both these tasks, jpg is perfectly adequate.

    However, you can fix a lot more issues in PP AND end up with a higher quality result if you shoot RAW.

    I don't know how old you are, but back in the film days, if you had a good 6" x 4" snap and the negative, a 24" x 16" enlargement made from the negative should always have been better quality than one made from the print.

    So the simple answer to your question is YES


    By all means have another go at PP - I assume you didn't save over the original file - and repost so we can see the improvement.

    Cheers,
    Thank you for the explanation Dave, yes my knowledge was more film (B&W) related, age-wise well let's just say I wish I could remember more about the late '60's & early '70's I've been assured I had a good time even have pictures from a concert or 2

    Preening Grt Egret (suggestions)

    I haven't touched the "original" picture files in anyway for editting or posting on online I use a copy of the original to work on. I hadn't touched a camera in 35yrs until about 9 months ago other than to document a few things with my show dogs. This is all new to me yet some of it is familiar from Art School just very rusty/foggy plus photography was NOT my major. I have signed myself up for a study course, I'm fortunate to have a major international accreditted art school nearby, better to pester them with my questions than to wearout my welcome here...

    As to shooting RAW I would presume it would be best to format new memory cards instead of using the current cards that I have been using for shooting JPEG. I should have time in the AM to work on the pictures (been a bit wrapped up with cooking) while my husband is off playing golf & I've got the place to myself may even crank-up the music

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