Very striking colors and patterns Joe! I like the pose of the third one best. For some reason the background seems to be a bit noisy and might benefit from a touch of noise reduction PP or perhaps just a bit of softening?
Hi Joe,The battle was to supress the noise and preserve feather detail. What you see may be some grain I applied to overcome the plasticy look of noise reduction.
I have two words for you; Neat Image
You can compare feather detail with this edit and your #1 as photos 4 and 5 in Lytebox and I don't think it looks plasticky (I know exactly what you mean though, you can get that even with Neat Image if NR applied is 'over cooked').
Hope that's helpful,
Hi Dave, thanks for taking the time to edit. You show me what is possible. I do have Neat Image, just did not use it as effectively as you did. When I make a stupid mistake I get disgusted and most times trash the images. This time the bird was so colorful I worked on them. If I had shot at the proper exposure there would have been noise because of the shady area the bird feeder was in but not to the extent the underexposure caused. I think that getting them to look like yours will be my goal. I will be going back to the national wildlife refuge on the 1st of February so I hope to re-shoot this time with the correct exposure.
What pretty little birds, Joe. We have nothing so bright and colorful. Thanks for sharing.
One thing I do in a situation like this (and I'm not sure if Dave incorporated this in his edit) is to mask the subject so that any noise enhancements only affect the background. I use the Topaz Labs suite's ReMask to quickly paint an outline of the subject and let ReMask work out the fine details of the mask. There are many selection and masking tools in most post processing packages but I find this method faster and more accurate than I can do in Photoshop.
Once the mask is created you can change the background without affecting the masked portion of the image.
Here is a shot of the mask and layers I used. The layers from bottom to top are: Posted Original, Copy, Mask created by ReMask, the resultant Layer Mask, and the merged (or flattened) layers. I don't have Neat Image so I applied Topaz Lab's DeJpeg to the second layer to reduce the noise in just the background.
And here is the result using the 800x800 pixel image from the post.
You should be able to get better results using the original. Hope this helps!
Nice shots Joe thanks.Thanks to Dave and frank also.
Neat Image is not a conventional high frequency filtering - it samples the background in a place with no detail, then subtracts that ('noise signature') from the whole picture, thus it usually preserves all detail, but subtracts noise from all over.
If there is nowhere with 'no detail' in the picture, a profile for your camera model, matched to the iso selected and whether RAW/jpg, can be used instead, but I've only had to resort to that very rarely, if you do it before any PP cropping, there's usually somewhere suitable in the frame.
They certainly are lovely little birds.
Lovely birds there Joe, lovely.
Thanks Frank for the noise tut, will come in handy.