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Thread: Harris Hawk

  1. #1
    Snarkbyte's Avatar
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    Harris Hawk

    A local museum keeps several Harris Hawks, and the bird's handlers fly the birds every afternoon, open to the public. I got a few shots I'm willing to share, and as always, C&C is appreciated.

    This first shot is my favorite.

    Canon 7D 105mm@f/5.6 1/800sec ISO100
    Harris Hawk

    I like this one because the people in the background seem to add a sense of participation; the viewer of the photo looks at the bird along with the people in the shot.

    Canon 7D 105mm@f/5.6 1/400sec ISO100
    Harris Hawk

    The last one is the weakest, imo. Today was my first attempt to capture a bird on the wing, so the think the biggest key to improvement here is practice, practice, practice.

    Canon 7D 105mm@f/5.6 1/1250sec ISO100
    Harris Hawk

  2. #2

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    Re: Harris Hawk

    Nice ones

    The first is my favourite (pose, the statue under the bird) although it might be a tad lighter (especially the shadows). The third is a good capture (I don't suppose it waited for you to take the picture), and yes birds in flight is practice and luck (to get a nice attitude).
    The second doesn't really work for me though: too little contrast between the bird and the spectators, and the faces a bit too much in shadow.

    I'd still be quite happy with all 3 in a similar situation though.

    Regards

    Remco

  3. #3
    Skitalez's Avatar
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    Yegor

    Re: Harris Hawk

    It is a pity, but on the second it is too much objects! It is difficult to notice subject matter of shooting at once! The first - very well, but maybe a little crop?something,like this one-
    Harris Hawk
    IMHO
    The third it is not bad, but by the way as it is possible to clean off the Chromatic aberration??? any programm???

  4. #4

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    Re: Harris Hawk

    WOW! Our birds of prey are TOTALLY wild. One might see a lost hawk or an occasional owl in cities. You need to be a birder here in South Africa to get even close, so I was shocked to see these birds interacting with (people and statues). How did you get your sky so blue yet get the bird's details. Please share your settings.

  5. #5
    Snarkbyte's Avatar
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    Re: Harris Hawk

    Thanks for the commnents, everyone. To address your comments separately:

    Remco: The background in #2 was too bright, especially the little girls hat and paper the woman is using as an eyeshade, so I used local adjustment in ACR and burning to darken almost everything but the bird. You're right, though... I should brighten the faces a bit, especially the shaded parts. I also darkened everything except the bird in #1, so perhaps I should lighten the statue just a bit, but the darkest shadows in that shot are un-recoverable (I tried, but there's nothing there to recover).

    Yegor: I agree that #2 is too busy, and the bird's head isn't even visible in the shot. I tried to bring more attention to the bird by darkening everything else, but the hawk is pretty dark, so it doesn't help enough. I like your crop for #2. I don't see any aberration in #3, although some closer attention to the local adjustment for exposure is needed. Can you tell me where you see the aberration? I'm looking at the bright band on the hawk's tail, which is a bit soft, and it looks like aberration. The entire image is rather soft, which is why it's last on my list.

    Diane: This museum does offer a rare opportunity for photographing hawks on the wing up close; the only other option, I suppose, would be to make friends with a falconer (Harris hawks are very popular with falconers because they live and hunt in family groups, like a pack of wolves, so it's possible to fly several birds at the same time without problems. There were actually 4 hawks flying when I took these shots). I used spot exposure on the bird, and didn't worry about exposure of anything else during shooting. This did overexpose the sky, but it wasn't completely blown out, so I reduced the exposure of everything but the bird using local adjustment in ACR during PP. EXIF data for each shot is just above the image in the original post. I was shooting in Aperture mode, but I think I would have gotten better results if I had just spot-metered the bird on perch, and then shot in Manual mode using the aperture and exposure settings obtained while metering. Hawks are fast, and these in particular have no fear of humans, so it's possible to get close shots, but the speed makes a sharp image more difficult... they zoom past so quickly it's difficult to keep them in frame (for me, anyway). As I said above: practice, practice, practice. The museum does have a beautiful barn owl, rescued with a broken wing and it can no longer fly. I did get some shots of the owl I may post later.

    Thank you all for the comments!

  6. #6

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    Re: Harris Hawk

    Nice images al, i like the first one best. Not shure what editing program you're using, but an adjustment in small scale contrast will help alot. To adjust small scale contrast (and sometimes you will want to mask certain areas out and only apply it to what is in need): add a small amount of unsharp mask(or smart sharpen) and a larger radius. For most subjects, something in the 4-12 range and amount in the .20 -.50 range.

    What i do is set the amount (temporarily) to 100 and start increasing the USM untill you see the detail start to degrade.(also watch for haylos) When you find the point where it starts to degrade, back it down a touch and then adjust the amount to were it looks good. Then click OK and you can further adjust with the opacity slider and masking. If you have a haylo, set a mask to hide all and brush in where you want it . Stay away from the edges so you don't see a haylo.

    Hope this helps.

    Steve

  7. #7
    Snarkbyte's Avatar
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    Re: Harris Hawk

    Thanks, Steve, I need all the helpful advice I can get, LOL. I have PS CS5, but it's a big learning curve. I still have much to learn about masking and sharpening... and I need a lot of practice. Your comments are very helpful, thanks for the tips.

  8. #8
    Skitalez's Avatar
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    Re: Harris Hawk

    If closely to read all comments (in all threads), it is possible to notice, that different monitors differently pass the image. I obviously see the artefacts (a green arrow), and aberration (red arrows). Really it is transfer of colors on monitors???

    Harris Hawk

    But, t I accept, that an artefact - result of the masks of sharpness

  9. #9
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    Re: Harris Hawk

    Thanks, Yegor. Wow, you have good eyes to see that at this size. I went back to the RAW image, and red arrows are pointing to artifacts from local adjustment for sky brightness. Proper sharpening would probably get rid of the problem where the red arrows are pointing, but the area along the trailing edge of the wing really needs more attention during the adjustment. Obviously, my PS skills need improvement, but that's why I post here... to learn my mistakes (and how to fix them). Thanks again for your comments.
    Last edited by Snarkbyte; 23rd January 2011 at 05:53 PM.

  10. #10
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    Re: Harris Hawk

    Birds of prey are fun to photograph and see. Nice job.

  11. #11
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    Re: Harris Hawk

    U're wellcome!!!!!!!!!!

  12. #12
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    Re: Harris Hawk

    Thanks, Paul. I really missed the shot of the day when one of the hawks flew under an awning, literally just inches above the spectators' heads. The startled people all ducked and dove for cover. It would have been an incredible capture, but I stopped tracking the bird as it approached the awning. Like the people under the awning, I had expected the bird to fly over it, and I wasn't interested in a shot with the awning in the frame. Lesson learned: unexpected moments are always the most interesting, so keep tracking the subject until it stops.

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