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Thread: Two bird shots from my photo vacation

  1. #1
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    Two bird shots from my photo vacation

    After (accidentally) causing a bit of trouble over in the general discussion forum, I thought it appropriate to get back on track with sharing some photos. C&C is welcome, but I have nothing to ask in particular.

    I thought I'd be processing my vacation shots a lot faster and then sharing them in larger groups, but that is not happening. Thus, I'll just share two that I have ready at this point. Both shots were with a Canon 7D and 400mm 5.6L prime. Full size viewing is thoughtfully recommended

    This little one was rather close to me and seemed to pay me no attention, unless, perhaps, this is a territorial display... Was at a crowded wildlife refuge, so the birds are accustomed to people.

    #1
    Two bird shots from my photo vacation


    At a different location, which is less traveled by humans, this bird was sitting around with buddy nearby. I encountered them, while stalking some deer, in camouflage (I can hear some of you snickering now ). I was not perceived as a threat, so I was able to get within a good proximity.

    #2
    Two bird shots from my photo vacation

    Thank you for viewing

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    Re: Two bird shots from my photo vacation

    You're such a troublemaker, Matt.

    I generally don't comment on bird photography, but these two photos seem to have unusual nuance in the colors. That's true not just pertaining to the birds but also that the colors of the birds are also displayed in the background. Very nice!

    The background on the right side of the second photo displays three large circles that are apparent enough to be distracting. It would be well worth the trouble to eliminate them.

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    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Two bird shots from my photo vacation

    Beautiful photos...

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    Re: Two bird shots from my photo vacation

    Matt - these are fantastic. Tack sharp and perfectly composed. The shallow depth of field really works for me.

    I have nothing to add.

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    Re: Two bird shots from my photo vacation

    Hey there Matt: I love the pose in Number 1. I wonder what he's thinking... This shot does look great in full size viewing as the feathers have a lot of texture. Great job!

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    Re: Two bird shots from my photo vacation

    Very nice job all around... Not to take anything away from your skills as a bird photographer but, the 7D + 400mm f/5.6L makes a very nice combination. I love mine! Did you hand-hold or use a support for the camera/lens...

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    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    Re: Two bird shots from my photo vacation

    Thank you Christina, Cliff, and Suzan!

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Very nice job all around... Not to take anything away from your skills as a bird photographer but, the 7D + 400mm f/5.6L makes a very nice combination. I love mine! Did you hand-hold or use a support for the camera/lens...
    Thank you, Richard. I totally agree, the camera/lens combo we have is fantastic for wildlife and other things needing the extra reach. In these shots, I was using a tripod and gimbal head. I am not able to get tack sharp shots if I hand hold this lens. Maybe if the light was super bright and I cranked the ISO way up, but I prefer keeping the ISO at a manageable level, and I like the tripod/gimbal system for wildlife photography (especially if I'm just waiting..and waiting..and waiting )

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    You're such a troublemaker, Matt.

    I generally don't comment on bird photography, but these two photos seem to have unusual nuance in the colors. That's true not just pertaining to the birds but also that the colors of the birds are also displayed in the background. Very nice!

    The background on the right side of the second photo displays three large circles that are apparent enough to be distracting. It would be well worth the trouble to eliminate them.
    Mike, thank you for your comments. I have to say, I really like your analysis of the colors of the photos; I didn't notice the backgrounds echoing the birds' plumage until you mentioned it.

    I reworked the photo background based on your suggestion. In addition, I made a few minor tweaks to the photo overall to change some things that I decided I didn't like in the first version.

    Please let me know what you think of the new version

    Two bird shots from my photo vacation

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    Re: Two bird shots from my photo vacation

    Absolutely terrific improvement, Matt! It's very illuminating to toggle back and forth between the last two images using the Lytebox to review the blatant and subtle changes. Well done!

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    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Two bird shots from my photo vacation

    Matt, your edit is absolute perfection. May I ask how you eliminated/hid/blended those circles so perfectly?

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    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    Re: Two bird shots from my photo vacation

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    Absolutely terrific improvement, Matt! It's very illuminating to toggle back and forth between the last two images using the Lytebox to review the blatant and subtle changes. Well done!
    Thanks, Mike. I would have never improved the background, were it not for your suggestion, and I'm glad you mentioned it because I prefer the newer version.

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    Matt, your edit is absolute perfection. May I ask how you eliminated/hid/blended those circles so perfectly?
    Thanks Christina, that's very nice of you. My brain tends to go on "auto pilot" when editing, so I just try things and do stuff as my gut tells me to, experimenting until I get what I want. Thus, I can't recall every single step I took, but from what I remember, the key actions were:

    (I already had the bird & stick separated from the background, so I am able to edit the subject and the background individually)

    - I made a copy of the background layer, and then I used gaussian blur on it, adjusted to the amount that looked right to me
    - Then I made another copy of the background and used "blur > average" to get a solid layer that is an average tone/color of the background
    - Next, I hid the averaged layer with a layer mask, then with a very large, soft brush, I painted the averaged color back in, laying it over the brighter distracting circles (which are now blurred on the layer beneath).
    - Then, I adjusted the opacity of the averaged layer which i selectively painted in, until it looked natural to me.
    - Then, with the blurred layer and averaged layer in a folder together, I created a layer mask on the folder.
    - Then with a big soft brush (varying the size and opacity as desired) I painted OUT the new background layers around the stick and bird, revealing the original background in that area and at the same time thereby hiding the fringe of the blurred stick and bird (I don't remember if it was you that I mentioned this to, but when you separate a subject such as a bird from a background and then blur the background, you get a fringe where the bird is still in the background layer, because it is being blurred beyond the edges of the foreground layer of the bird. Thus you have to utilize various techniques to avoid or remove the fringe)
    I was lucky that the original background was already so distant and out of focus, because it allowed me to blend the new background seamlessly with the old.

    Hope that helps

  11. #11
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Two bird shots from my photo vacation

    Very helpful indeed. Thank you so much for taking the time to share what you did in such great detail.

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    Re: Two bird shots from my photo vacation

    Nice shots. Love the bird's position in the first one. The repost of the second one is an improvement. The circular patterns in the BG on right side of frame were a bit distracting. Nice job on the rework.

  13. #13
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    Re: Two bird shots from my photo vacation

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    Very helpful indeed. Thank you so much for taking the time to share what you did in such great detail.
    No problem. Happy I could help!

  14. #14
    FlyingSquirrel's Avatar
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    Re: Two bird shots from my photo vacation

    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernFocus View Post
    Nice shots. Love the bird's position in the first one. The repost of the second one is an improvement. The circular patterns in the BG on right side of frame were a bit distracting. Nice job on the rework.
    Thanks, Dan. I appreciate your comments.

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