Results 1 to 20 of 20

Thread: Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

  1. #1
    terrib's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Colorado & Texas, USA
    Posts
    2,022
    Real Name
    Terri

    Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

    Days have been cold and dreary so I've tried to get some shots of the songbirds visiting our feeder. I'm happy with the composition on the female Cardinal and the Bluebird but the male Cardinal never would land out from behind the limbs. I'm wondering if you think the exposure on these is good and how I did on the PP. I actually brought down the saturation on the male cardinal.

    The Kestrel pics are just for fun. He was too far even with the 400mm lens. He'd just snagged a mouse and was landing back on the wire. No really, but since you can't see it you'll just have to trust me!


    #1 Female Cardinal
    Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun


    #2 Male Cardinal
    Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

    #3 Bluebird
    Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

    #4 American Kestrel
    Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

    #5 American Kestrel
    Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Portland Oregon
    Posts
    161
    Real Name
    Connie Keyes

    Re: Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

    Don't have enough experience to comment on the exposure but I would say that the female cardinal is not at all happy with that picture and the male is looking pretty smug because he knows he just is prettier. I have never seen a bluebird "in person" so it always amazes me that there are people who see them all the time. I like all of the pictures, but do think the Kestrel is out of focus can that be fixed in PP?

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    2,342
    Real Name
    Steve

    Re: Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

    Getting a clean background is a challenge, terri. Have you tried setting up some limbs near the feeder. If they are close to the feeder, the birds will land on them before and after they feed. May get you some great shots.

  4. #4
    terrib's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Colorado & Texas, USA
    Posts
    2,022
    Real Name
    Terri

    Re: Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

    Quote Originally Posted by CLK View Post
    ... I like all of the pictures, but do think the Kestrel is out of focus can that be fixed in PP?
    Hi Connie, thanks for taking time to comment. Yes, the Kestrel is definitely out of focus. As I said, I posted those just for fun. The wind was blowing, he was moving and was about 300 ft away and I was set up and shooting birds that were 20 ft from me. I'm not good enough to switch scenarios that quickly. The shot is too bad to be fixed in PP.

  5. #5
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Windsor, Berks, UK
    Posts
    16,326
    Real Name
    Dave Humphries :)

    Re: Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

    Hi Terri,

    Looking at the first three only;

    Apart from a bit of noise on #2, which I would have zapped with Neat Image, they look very good to me.

    I might additionally cloned out the odd extra twig or two in all three, since most look to be relatively 'easy meat'.

    Most of my feeder shots are not this good!

    Cheers,

  6. #6
    kdoc856's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,960
    Real Name
    Kevin

    Re: Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

    Hi, Terri

    The first 3 are truly excellent, and I appreciate your inclusion of the kestrel for our education. I'll look it up to find more about it. My only suggestion is to clone soome of the mildly distracting branches that pull us off these outstanding shots

  7. #7
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Washington, USA
    Posts
    1,126
    Real Name
    Matthew

    Re: Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

    Terri, these are really great images. Wow, that cardinal is stunning!!! Wish we had those around here. My favorite image is #3 though, because IMO it has the most balanced, flowing and natural composition. While I like it how it is, I may or may not clone out that one twig at upper right. Well done .

    p.s. Steve, thanks for the feeder branch tip... it will come in handy when I get further into my wildlife phase ...still saving for the 400mm lens

  8. #8
    terrib's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Colorado & Texas, USA
    Posts
    2,022
    Real Name
    Terri

    Re: Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

    Thanks everyone for your time and comments.

    Steve, I followed that advice when doing hummingbird shots but really didn't think about it with these bigger birds. I kept thinking if I stood there long enough they'd land in the clear! Thanks.

    Dave, thanks for pointing out the noise in #2. I was so focused on the color of the bird, I totally missed it. I have now downloaded NeatImage software trial. Before I can spend the money on the real thing I'll have to get off the fence on which software I want to buy the plugin for.

    Kevin, thank you for the compliments. I do struggle with the branches, trying to balance a natural environment with distractions... I should have told more about the kestrel since I included it. This is one of those bad shots that I'll keep until I can get a good one only because I didn't realize that we had them around here. I'm sure they've always been here but I had never looked at them through a long lens. When flying they look like hawks far away and on the power line I thought it was a dove. Anyway, it is North America's smallest falcon also known as a Sparrow Hawk.

    Matt, thank you. I also like #3 the best with #1 a close 2nd. It's the first decent shot I've ever gotten of a Bluebird. Oh, and I'm so happy with my 100-400mm lens but it still wasn't enough to get to the Kestrel. One thing I've learned now is that there is no multiplier that will still allow autofocus with that lens in combo with my 7D.
    Last edited by terrib; 2nd January 2013 at 12:53 AM.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    6,945
    Real Name
    Dan

    Re: Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

    Hi, Terri. I'm relatively new around here but do a bit of bird photography so I'll comment as requested.

    #1. The detail on this shot is awesome and the colors look pretty good. The BG is clean and smooth apart from the branches that have already been mentioned. As someone else pointed out you can easily cut some natural branches and place them fairly close to the feeder with a clean BG and convenient distance for your lens. For my taste the composition is a bit tight. Early on I had a tendency to crop really tight to show the detail but you may try leaving a bit more breathing room and see if you like it better. Also unlike mammals, birds rarely look best when they are looking straight at the camera. If this one whould have turned its head slightly towards the left side of the frame it would have been awesome.

    #2. The position on the bird is great. He turned his head just right to show off that crest. Of course the branches have been mentioned, NR would help, perhaps selectively on the BG. There is something odd about this shot. The eye is super sharp and there a few places on the feathers that are sharp but there is no detail on the breast. Don't know if you did selective sharpening, high threshold setting on unsharp mask or what but the lack of detail on the breast is odd considering how sharp the eye looks. Same comment on leaving a little more breathing room.

    #3. Agree with others that this is the best shot. Great position on the bird, BG could really be cleaned up with some cloning, great colors. The same issue with patchy detail on the breast feathers. If you are using USM you might try lowering the threshold setting to see if it would bring out a bit more detail. A bit more room on left side of frame would help IMO. It's common to leave room in the frame in the direction that the animal is facing.

    Regarding the kestrel, good for you. That's one bird that I still haven't captured

    Looks like someone has already recommended NeatImage so I'll second that. I've also tried Topaz and the NR tools in PSE, LR, and NX2. None of them are as good as NeatImage.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,732
    Real Name
    james

    Re: Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

    Love those birds Terri !

  11. #11
    jeeperman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Seattle Washington
    Posts
    3,550
    Real Name
    Paul

    Re: Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

    Nice going Terri! I really don't have anything new to add as the guys took care of that well. I do like #3 the best. Oh, and good on you for the Kestral. There are very few on this side of the mountains but if I go east they are all over the place. I rarely go east. lol When I do, they avoid me.

  12. #12
    terrib's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Colorado & Texas, USA
    Posts
    2,022
    Real Name
    Terri

    Re: Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

    Dan, thank you so much for you detailed response. Below is another attempt at the Bluebird, cloning out the twigs as everyone mentioned and giving more space in the frame. I do tend to crop tightly on these birds. Haven't had this long lens that long so I'm still enamored with the fact that I get detail.

    As to the breast feathers, I wonder if it could actually be a DOF issue? At 7.1 with 400mm at about 20ft focus distance, the DOF is only about 1.8" so maybe the breast feathers are just out of DOF? Anyway, I tried a little more sharpening and some local contrast but it didn't help much. I'm using Aperture for this so I don't have an unsharp mask - the local sharpening is just brushed in.

    Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

  13. #13
    terrib's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Colorado & Texas, USA
    Posts
    2,022
    Real Name
    Terri

    Re: Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

    Thanks James and Paul for your comments as well. I will continue to try to get a shot of the Kestrel. My husband and I are discussion setting up his temporary hunting blind...

  14. #14
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Windsor, Berks, UK
    Posts
    16,326
    Real Name
    Dave Humphries :)

    Re: Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

    Quote Originally Posted by terrib View Post
    As to the breast feathers, I wonder if it could actually be a DOF issue? At 7.1 with 400mm at about 20ft focus distance, the DOF is only about 1.8" so maybe the breast feathers are just out of DOF? Anyway, I tried a little more sharpening and some local contrast but it didn't help much. I'm using Aperture for this so I don't have an unsharp mask - the local sharpening is just brushed in.
    It might be over exposed in the red channel on the breast, but since there's an area of bright snow (I assume) behind, that makes the histogram look over exposed on all three channels anyway, so I can't say for sure.

    I did wonder about LCE, but you've tried that already

    I guess it might be DoF/minor focus error.

    I like the twig free version.

    Cheers,

  15. #15
    JPS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Essex, UK
    Posts
    1,475
    Real Name
    John

    Re: Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

    Hi Terri,
    I think the twig free version is much better; very nice set well done.
    John

  16. #16

    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    6,945
    Real Name
    Dan

    Re: Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

    The second version is more appealing IMO, Terri. I don't think the detail is a DOF issue. It's too patchy. Looks more like there is less detail in the low contrast areas where the feathers were real smooth. That's pretty nit picking anyway and doesn't detract from a really nice image. Looking forward to seeing more work from you.

  17. #17

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Ontario (mostly)
    Posts
    6,625
    Real Name
    Bobo

    Re: Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

    Lovely set Terri. Love them all even the blurry kestrel.

    For those with backyards they should check out Alan Murphy.
    http://www.alanmurphyphotography.com/gallery.htm

    Lots of useful tips on his blog.

    He also has 2 ebooks which others have rated as very good.
    http://www.alanmurphyphotography.com/ebook.htm

  18. #18
    terrib's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Colorado & Texas, USA
    Posts
    2,022
    Real Name
    Terri

    Re: Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobobird View Post
    Lovely set Terri. Love them all even the blurry kestrel.

    For those with backyards they should check out Alan Murphy.
    http://www.alanmurphyphotography.com/gallery.htm

    Lots of useful tips on his blog.

    He also has 2 ebooks which others have rated as very good.
    http://www.alanmurphyphotography.com/ebook.htm
    I scanned through some of his blog and you are right. There are some great tips there. Thanks for posting that. I will definitely add it to my Reader list.

  19. #19
    terrib's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Colorado & Texas, USA
    Posts
    2,022
    Real Name
    Terri

    Re: Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

    Thanks everyone for your further comments!

  20. #20
    jprzybyla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Lakeland, Florida
    Posts
    3,073
    Real Name
    Joe

    Re: Songbirds for C&C plus a Kestrel for fun

    Hi Terri, I am a little late in commenting on these. I have been a little busy at home. Nice images. I agree with others about removing branches. Nice work on the Bluebird. Nice color and detail on all.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •