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Thread: Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

  1. #1
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    This time I tried to follow Joe's advice and find front lighting but it ended up being side lighting more often than not because of the location of the birds, and then it started to rain. I also tried to choose uncluttered backgrounds.

    I'm learning to sharpen properly so I sharpened these .5 radius 25% in raw in Elements 9 and then after downsizing .3 radius, threshold 1 85% in elements unsharp mask in Elements 9. Do they look sharp enough?


    Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    Fiddled with the WB

    Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    I was happy to get this duck in action, but hated (and still do the colour and look of the bokeh) so I decreased the contrast to soften it... I guess this is what they mean by looking for better light?

    Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    And another duck in action (I put a orange filter on it to warm the water up because the colour of the water looked blah)



    Working on My Birds Shots - Continued


    A swan (centered on purpose)... I like the composition because it looks airy... I thought the water was too contrasty so I tried blurring it but I can see my selection lines so will work on it.. Does the blur work?

    Working on My Birds Shots - Continued


    Working on My Birds Shots - Continued


    Working on My Birds Shots - Continued


    All comments and feedback most appreciated. Thank you.
    Last edited by Brownbear; 27th April 2013 at 02:18 PM. Reason: fix link

  2. #2
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    Re: Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    Christina,

    I think the sharpness and focus on the first 2 photos is really great. I love that the water droplets are so clear. Have you tried out the "Iris Enhance" feature found in the brush section of LR? I'm not sure if it would work in this case but I've found it to improve the brightness and contrast in the eyes. I'm thinking it might improve the first one but I'm not sure as I haven't used it a lot.

    I like the mallard photo and really don't think there's anything wrong with the light. But it looks like the focus was not on the eye. If you don't like the color of the background, maybe it can be changed using the Hue slider in the HSL section in LR. (I hope I'm remembering correctly that you have LR (Lightroom)???)

    I like the orange filter you put on the 2nd duck pic. It's a creative choice that I wouldn't have thought of.

    I like the composition of the first swan pic and also the natural looking background. If you don't like the color or it's too dark, maybe it can also be changed using the HSL hue or luminance sliders in Lightroom. Wish I had swans to photograph!

  3. #3

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    Re: Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    Hi Christina,

    RE: your two objectives. Definitely, your images here are sharp and clear. Even the tiny water droplets are clearly visible. Secondly, your backgrounds' bokeh are terrific.

    Just some thoughts from a student of your images.

  4. #4

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    Re: Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    Agreed with Terri and Victor. You keep improving.
    Great to see how dedicated you are Christina.

  5. #5
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    Very nice, especially like the gesture of the swan.

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    Re: Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    Clearly, these are the best photos that I have seen coming from your camera.

    In the third one, I especially like the motion of the wings. It displays the perfect amount of blur. Terri mentions that the focus may not be on the eye but I'm not sure that's correct. I wonder instead if the problem is that your shutter speed didn't quite stop the action in the bird's head. It's difficult to know when viewing an image small enough to be displayed on the Internet.

    The background of the first swan photo works reasonably well, though the blue tones are a bit too saturated to my taste. Of the other two backgrounds, I prefer the lighter version. (I prefer the lightness on the bird as well.) However, it makes it appear as if the sky is in the background, which does not seem possible considering the angle of the photo. In all three of those photos, consider cropping at the top to eliminate most of the background in that area.

    Instead of using an orange filter, also experiment with changing the white balance as another viable alternative.

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    Re: Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    Quote Originally Posted by AB26 View Post
    Agreed with Terri and Victor. You keep improving.
    Great to see how dedicated you are Christina.
    Inspirational, I would say

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    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    Thank you everyone for your helpful comments and kind words... They inspire me to keep working on my bird photos..

    Terri, very helpful... I use LR and elements 9, but I'm still learning both, and less familiar with LR... I will try adjusting the hue and luminance and look for the iris enhance.

    Thank you so much Mike. I will also try your suggestions including setting the correct WB which is driving me loco. Good point about the swan being in the sky...

    Thank you

  9. #9

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    Re: Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    I will also try your suggestions including setting the correct WB which is driving me loco.
    I was suggesting changing the white balance only to achieve the desired effect, not to be "correct." Exactly as your idea of applying a filter does not necessarily accurately document the scene, changing the white balance may be more desirable though less accurate. You have progressed wonderfully into the realm of making pictures rather than taking them, so enjoy both the process and your results!

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    Re: Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    Well done Christina - I really like 3 and 4 but all great images

  11. #11
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    Thank you Harry... Very helpful to know that you like 3 and 4 because the goose and the swan are my favourites, ie; I'm not so sure about 3 & 4.

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    Re: Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    Hi Christina , great images..swans look awesome..may mask what settings you used on 3 and 4 ,? Ěso and shutter speed and which focus settings? Again.. great images.

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    Re: Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    Hi Claudio,

    Thank you so much.

    3rd Image (big duck)
    Manual, F6 SS 1000, iso 720, spot metering (rainy and dark), +.7 exposure compensation

    4th image (small duck)

    Manual, F6.3, SS 1250, iso 320, Center weighted metering, 0 exposure compensation

    Both continuous autofocus, burst mode, center weighted.


    Quote Originally Posted by ClaudioG View Post
    Hi Christina , great images..swans look awesome..may mask what settings you used on 3 and 4 ,? Ěso and shutter speed and which focus settings? Again.. great images.

  14. #14
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    Hi Claudio,

    Thank you so much.

    3rd Image (big duck)
    Manual, F6 SS 1000, iso 720, spot metering (rainy and dark), +.7 exposure compensation

    4th image (small duck)

    Manual, F6.3, SS 1250, iso 320, Center weighted metering, 0 exposure compensation

    Both continuous autofocus, burst mode, center weighted.


    Quote Originally Posted by ClaudioG View Post
    Hi Christina , great images..swans look awesome..may mask what settings you used on 3 and 4 ,? Ěso and shutter speed and which focus settings? Again.. great images.

  15. #15
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    The goose edited to brighten the eye... I could not find a specific eye tool (one day I will find it) instead I selected the eye, brightened and increased the contrast. Thank you Terri..

    Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    For the background of the duck using the hue tools did not work well for me in that it did not produce a colour that I liked so instead I went to Elements and added a soft light layer and brushed it in, which I think improved the background but not enough for me to like it...Nevertheless it was a good editing lesson with layers for me. We have lots of ducks here so I will keep trying for one with a nicer background.

    Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    Back to Lightroom...

    Mike, I played with the WB and I think it is a good editing strategy in that it made the water look nicer.

    Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    For the swan I tried Terri's editing suggestions with the colour of the background which made the water less contrasty. I also decreased the contrast of the water... I like the background better, however I think I made the swan kinda pinky, somehow, someway. So I will practice with this photo.

    Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    Mike I tried to crop out the background but my crop looks strange to me? Is this what you meant?

    Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    I will keep working on my bird shots for this year, and post whenever I manage a decent one but not as often because I have a lot of tutorials to do for photography and for both LR and Elements so I can learn how to edit properly.

    Thank you to all.

  16. #16
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    Re: Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    Christina, you are showing us the meaning of "evolving". Certainly one of your best series! Regarding your question, yes, they look sharp "enough". Maybe I would go a little further, though (but taking care to avoid oversharpening )

    Very well done!

  17. #17

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    Re: Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    The background water in the last two shots now look fine to me. The crop I had in mind was not quite so severe, perhaps about halfway between the original and what you did.

  18. #18
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    Thank you Otavio and Mike...

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    Re: Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    Hi Christina,

    Yes, these look much better for sharpness.


    Canada goose: I prefer the lighter backgrounds (and eyes) in the first two shots in post #1 to that in post #15.


    My diagnosis of the (minor) problem in the first Mallard shot was also shutter speed (they flap pretty darn quick when doing this), I much prefer the second processed version in post #15 though - nice.


    On the swan, I agree with those that prefer ripples behind it (not plain) and the reduced bg contrast version in post #15 is better in my opinion, however, I do think it might be possible to extract some more texture from the plumage by applying LCE (to the swan only), but this would have to be done carefully on a separate layer in which you'd also messed with the levels (or curves) in order not to lose highlight detail when the LCE was applied. In fact those with the skills to use layer masks and blend modes other than normal could probably do it via that route instead.

    However, to my eyes, there's something odd going on in the left background (bg) though - have a look at the first post picture, where it is more apparent than in the reduced contrast version in post 15. There seems to be an overlaid swirl pattern which is sharper than the surface upon which it was formed - if you know what I mean(?). I think this might have been caused by that initial sharpening pass of 25% @ 0.5px in RAW/LR (which I am still not convinced you need), as I fear it has 'grabbed' some parts of the dark green swirls, if you can find a way to selectively not apply that to the bg, it may help.

    I'd go with Mike's suggested half way closer crop from top idea.


    As others have said, it is nice to see you making real progress, so much so, that having looked at my swan shots again tonight, I am going to have to 'raise my game' to keep up, these are getting better than many of mine. (well done)

    Hope that helps,

  20. #20
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Working on My Birds Shots - Continued

    Hi Dave,

    Thank you, great to hear that about my sharpening technique. It is also very helpful to read your analysis of my photos.

    Later today, I will revisit the swan and try your recommendations and Mike's crop.

    Back to sharpening... In the tutorial on sharpening it says..

    Capture sharpening aims to address any blurring caused by your image's source, while also taking image noise and detail into consideration. With digital cameras, such blurring is caused by the camera sensor's anti-aliasing filter and demosaicing process, in addition to your camera's lens. Capture sharpening is required for virtually all digital images, and may be applied automatically by the camera for photos which are saved as JPEG files. It also ensures the image will respond well to subsequent rounds of sharpening.

    I think the 25% I applied in raw on the swan is capture sharpening... So I presume this photo is a rare exception to the rule because of the ripples in the water?

    Thank you so much.. That is a huge compliment... However the compliment should be directed to Cambridge, its moderators and its members. I've learned so much from this forum. Thank you for that.

    I'll be working on my bird photos throughout this year and hope to continue progressing... I miss the pelicans that were so abundant in Mexico... The swans here are beautiful but so far they don't seem to do much other than float and look pretty. The geese are more active, and not as cute as pelicans but they may turn out to be my new pelicans. The ducks are still too fast for me... And so far the herons remain stubbornly out of reach... So we will see what I come up with.

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