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Thread: Moorhens

  1. #1
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Moorhens

    Not sure why they're called that as they don't seem to live on moors nor look much like hens, but perhaps times have changed

    From last weekend's brief trip out with a camera, shot on a mucky branch of the Thames at Maidenhead.

    Moorhen Mum: "I'm sure we need another twig for the nest, plenty to choose from here"
    Moorhens
    Nikon D5000 + Nikkor 70-300mm VR: 1/350s f/8 at 300mm iso800

    Moorhen adolescent, probably from the first brood of the season
    Moorhens
    Nikon D5000 + Nikkor 70-300mm VR: 1/750s f/8 at 300mm iso800

    Moorhen (new) chick: "I'm just not comfortable"
    Moorhens
    Nikon D5000 + Nikkor 70-300mm VR: 1/750s f/5.6 at 300mm iso800

    Moorhen chick: "Good grief, what BIG feet I have" (and little wings)
    Moorhens
    Nikon D5000 + Nikkor 70-300mm VR: 1/1000s f/5.6 at 300mm iso800

    As you can see, the lighting was a bit contrasty! I exposed for the subject and tended to let the background go over (but not blown), with a view to bringing it back down in PP - not sure I like it - what say you?

    I'm not entirely happy with the PP, still getting to grips with new monitor and ACR + Elements with all my normal default settings missing.

    Regarding shooting fopars: getting there earlier in the day would have given better sun angle and having more time would have allowed better 'poses'.

    C&C welcome, thanks
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 15th August 2010 at 12:32 AM.

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    Re: Moorhens

    Hi Dave: Those chicks are wiry little things aren't they? I didn't believe the feet on the last one so I had to go and do a search on moorhens and it looks like they are for real. I will say that this guys look bigger than any of the others that I saw. I'd love to see a video of him walking.

    I like all of these shots, you always manage to get the focus on the eyes. The lighting is difficult, and I'm wondering if the greens could be suppressed a bit. Might be just my monitor or my preference, but the greens look overpowering.

    I think in the first one I would try to bring up the shadows a bit and tone down the luminance/saturation of the greens

    Really nice eye on the adolescent. Him and bigfoot are my favourites

    I'm always drawn to this contrasty lighting when I see it, but it never looks the same in photos. I usually end up bringing up the shadows in the Elements Shadows and Highlights function and darkening the highlights. I end up liking the photo better, but I loose the lighting that drew my attention in the first place.

    Oh BTW Bigfoot and the caption are priceless. Great series, I've never seen Moorhens or even heard of them but apparently there should be some around here.

    Wendy

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Moorhens

    Hi Wendy,

    Thank you for the kind words.

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post
    I didn't believe the feet on the last one so I had to go and do a search on moorhens and it looks like they are for real.
    Don't tell me you thought I had "photoshopped" them that big?

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post
    I will say that this guys look bigger than any of the others that I saw. I'd love to see a video of him walking.
    I have a picture of a/some much younger ones from last year, I'll see if I can find it/them.

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post
    I like all of these shots, you always manage to get the focus on the eyes.
    I have a lot of rejects too

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post
    The lighting is difficult, and I'm wondering if the greens could be suppressed a bit. Might be just my monitor or my preference, but the greens look overpowering.

    I think in the first one I would try to bring up the shadows a bit and tone down the luminance/saturation of the greens.
    I'm having a go at this and struggling, you're certainly right about bringing up the shadows on a couple, I now have all four open on my monitor tiled side-by-side in Elements - what a revelation (and why didn't I do that yesterday?)

    The scenes were very green: green leaves on trees, green plants in river and green algae too - basically I don't stand a chance - of course, a white balance reference shot I could have applied to all four might have helped, but the adolescent and parent were under a tree canopy mainly (although the sun does get under there).

    Do you know of a good way to 'take down the greens' in Elements? I tried Color Variations, but it only gives a tiny preview, so I find it tricky to judge whether you've done enough.

    Need to go now, catch you later, thanks for the feedback - it's a work in progress.

  4. #4

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    Re: Moorhens

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Hi Wendy,

    Thank you for the kind words.

    Don't tell me you thought I had "photoshopped" them that big?
    LOL, yes I did.


    I have a picture of a/some much younger ones from last year, I'll see if I can find it/them.
    Cool, apparently we have them in this area, but I have never seen them. Probably farther north than me. All I see around here are Canada Geese and Mallards.

    I'm having a go at this and struggling, you're certainly right about bringing up the shadows on a couple, I now have all four open on my monitor tiled side-by-side in Elements - what a revelation (and why didn't I do that yesterday?)
    I don't know, but it's a good idea, I never do that either. I always only have one at a time open.

    Do you know of a good way to 'take down the greens' in Elements? I tried Color Variations, but it only gives a tiny preview, so I find it tricky to judge whether you've done enough.
    Well, I don't know if it's a good way or not. I've only recently starting making colour adjustments. This is one area where LR is really nice. There is a separate slider for Hue Saturation and Luminance for The main colours. The sliders are very touchy, but on a shot like this I would more than likely hit the Luminance slider for Green and Yellow to tone it down a bit. It seems to work quite nice to take the edge off without changing anything else too much.

    In Elements on contrasty shots like these, I find Shadows and Highlights works quite well sometimes. Go to the Enhance Menu at the top of the window, select - Adjust Lighting - Shadows & Highlights. Once there you can lighten shadows, darken highlights and adjust midtone contrast. The default for lighten shadows is 25%

    To tone down individual colours in Elements I have recently been trying the Adjust Hue and Saturation function. Click on the Enhance Menu - Adjust Colou r-Adjust Hue and Saturation. You can adjust Hue and Sat for the whole shot or select individual colours and then adjust Hue Saturation and Lightness for each one. The changes show up in the original shot as you are making them and there is also a preview check box that you can turn on and off.

    I'm sure there are other ways. You know where I'm at with this PP business, so consider the source. I've tried the methods I mentioned above on the shot below. I won't say it is better or worse, it's just different, but I'm only posting it to illustrate the changes that can be made with the above method in Elements. I did not touch the original in LR. I think the black clipping point needs to be increased now - the little guy got a bit washed out...

    Moorhens

    Elements Adjustments:
    Shadows & Highlights:
    Lighten Shadows 20%
    Darken Highlights 10%

    Hue & Saturation:
    Yellows:
    Saturation -16
    Lightness -21

    Greens:
    Saturation -22
    Lightness -8

    As usual, I think my rework is not as good as the original, but I'll keep it here for illustration purposes. Hope it helps.

    Wendy
    Last edited by ScoutR; 15th August 2010 at 04:22 PM. Reason: typo

  5. #5

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    Re: Moorhens

    Hello again Dave: I have tried something else on the first shot, and I think this is getting more in line with correcting what is bothering me about these shots. Instead of just adjusting the lightness and saturations of the greens and yellows I got brave and adjusted the Hue. I have not used that slider in Elements because the graphics didn't make sense to me. However, I got brave and I think if the hue in the greens and yellows are adjusted a bit more to the yellow side, it looks more natural. I did this in same place where Lightness and Saturarion was done on the shot above but used the hue slider. I think the colour looks a little better. What do you think

    Moorhens

    Wendy

  6. #6
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Moorhens

    Hi Wendy,

    Thanks for these two posts.

    I've been out most of day shooting since my earlier reply and haven't hadn't a chance to complete the work I started this morning.

    but I'll keep it here for illustration purposes. Hope it helps.
    It did! That and the figures above got me started - you have introduced me to a bit of Elements I didn't know existed, thanks!

    I have just had another go amd although the results are better in respect of the over powering green-ness, I'm not happy with them, mainly because fixing the green shows up my heavy handed dodging/burning* and, TBH, I can't face starting from RAW again.
    * That's probably why you couldn't arrrive at a pleasant result either

    I did also use the hues adjustments too, so both posts were very helpful.

    Something for next time I think - I am grateful as I now have a way to deal with the problem.

    I have a heap of shots from today, many with exposure problems as you've had recently, but I shot so many, I can afford to bin them, nevertheless I'm with myself

    Many thanks,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 15th August 2010 at 09:22 PM. Reason: Updated completely

  7. #7
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Moorhens

    Hi Wendy,

    I wasn't going to bother posting the tweaked images, as they still have problems, but having saved them, I might as well.

    As you said, they're not necessarily 'better', but 'different'

    Moorhens

    Moorhens

    Moorhens

    Moorhens

    I've got to the point where the more I look, the less I like (even these ones)

    The birds are ok, but the backgrounds; yuk!

    but I am still very grateful for the new tips received

    Thanks,

  8. #8

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    Re: Moorhens

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Hi Wendy,

    I've got to the point where the more I look, the less I like (even these ones)
    A very wise man once told me that this is normal and indicates that it is time to set them aside for awhile.

    The birds are OK, but the backgrounds; yuk!
    Well, I wouldn't say yuk, and I agree the birds are great. I think the adolescent is fine as is background and all. The others are not the nicest background, but you really can't choose where these birds want to hang out. It is what it is and it is their natural habitat after all. Like you said a different time of day would have given different results. You might not want to hang these on the wall, but they are still good shots.

    but I am still very grateful for the new tips received
    NP, I figured I was pointing out things you already knew, but I'm not sure how much difference there is between Elements 6 & 8 and I know I have not touched on half the features that are in it, for instance I've never used the "Colour Variations" feature that you mentioned.

    I have a heap of shots from today, many with exposure problems as you've had recently, but I shot so many, I can afford to bin them, nevertheless I'm with myself
    LOL, I've had exposure problems since day 1. I hope you manage to get them fixed up. Believe me I know there is nothing worse than coming home and finding the same issues with almost every shot. It doesn't sound like something you would do though. I'm sure they will be fine.

    Wendy

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    Re: Moorhens

    I love the young ones, Dave. Tough background colors, definitely, but there's nothing you can do about that. I'm sure Rob would suggest bringing some spray paint, but that might cause them to fly away.

    I like the kind of spacey expression in #3, with the bad hair day, which you've captured beautifully. And #4, it's as if he's looking at his feet after Ron Weasley accidentally hit his feet with an enlarging spell: "What happened?" Priceless.

    Cheers,
    Rick

  10. #10
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Moorhens

    Thanks Wendy and Rick,

    That's cheered me up before going to work, see ya later.

    Cheers,

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