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Thread: Just Out of the Shower

  1. #1
    ktuli's Avatar
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    Just Out of the Shower

    Ok - to make up for the creepy crawlies everyone has from my last post, here's a more universally appealing image.

    Just Out of the Shower

    It is a female cardinal (one of my more favorite "common" birds). Our feeders were getting tons of traffic yesterday (including a first ever visit from a Red-headed Woodpecker), so I decided to setup shop with my Sigma 150-500mm lens and see what I could get. Unfortunately, two minutes after I got all situated, it started raining. The birds still came, but at a much lower frequency. I sat on the cold ground for 1.5 hours before finally giving up and going in and having some warm soup for lunch.

    But it did give me a chance to get a shot like this with that wet look to the feathers.

    C&C welcome. I know the focus is just a tad off with her eye being a touch soft.

    - Bill

  2. #2
    Jim B.'s Avatar
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    Re: Just Out of the Shower

    Very nice.Great feather details.

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    Re: Just Out of the Shower

    Have you tried a little selective sharpening on the head and back, Bill. I think that may overcome the very slight softness. Even with that, this is a good well balanced photo.

    I find that lens can produce some good results but I consider it to be a 'good light lens' which works best around F8 to F11. And auto focusing can be a bit slow, although the OS is surprisingly effective for hand held shots.

  4. #4
    ktuli's Avatar
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    Re: Just Out of the Shower

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    Have you tried a little selective sharpening on the head and back, Bill. I think that may overcome the very slight softness. Even with that, this is a good well balanced photo.

    I find that lens can produce some good results but I consider it to be a 'good light lens' which works best around F8 to F11. And auto focusing can be a bit slow, although the OS is surprisingly effective for hand held shots.
    I have not done any selective sharpening... mainly because I need to learn how. I'm an infant with the PP stuff. Right now I'm just managing to get through the RAW conversion, and even then I am just guessing at a lot of stuff.

    I agree with that lens being a 'good light lens' and I did not have good light yesterday. It was raining and generally blah! If it would have stopped raining, I was debating putting the flash out closer to the feeders to help a little, but I wasn't putting the 580 out in the rain. The ISO is cranked up to 3200 on that shot, and it surprisingly isn't all that noisy. It is the first I've used the higher ISO range on the 7D, and if these results are typical, I'll be very pleased.

    I definitely like the OS on that lens - I've even managed some decent work hand-held at 500mm. This lens is actually one of the big reasons why I want a new tripod - it is just too heavy and my current tripod bounces a lot with it. Though I used a wider leg spread yesterday and it helped a little.

    I'll have to go home and see if I can figure out this 'selective sharpening' thing everyone keeps talking about...

    - Bill

  5. #5

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    Re: Just Out of the Shower

    OK Bill, I have just done a quick sharpen on the bird. Not a lot, just a subtle adjustment.

    Just Out of the Shower

    There are various ways but I've tried to keep everything simple.

    After Raw conversion and normal basic editing. Create a Duplicate Layer and sharpen to suit the bird; I just used Unsharp Mask at 100 - 0.8 - 2. Add a 'Hide All' Mask to the layer and the sharpening should now 'disappear'.

    Select a soft edged low opacity 'white brush' of a suitable size and 'paint' over the required areas to gradually reveal the sharpened area. 'Paint' gradually with several passes of the brush until it looks correct. You can vary different sharpness amounts over the bird by simply varying the amount of opacity which is revealed.

    If you temporarily turn off the background layer you will be able to see exactly what you have done to the duplicate layer.

    Probably the most complicated part is recognising what is the 'white' or 'black' brushes. When working on a mask and when you select a paint brush option you should be offered a choice of a white or black brush. But exactly how this happens will vary with different software.

    Basically, when using a Hide All Mask you use a white brush to reveal the 'hidden' layer or a black brush with a Reveal All Mask.

    Things can get a little more complicated but that is the basics. If anybody else can explain things better than me, please have a go.

    You can produce a better result when working on the original image; and I appear to have encountered a slight colour variation. I have also removed a couple of slight 'scratch' looking marks on the background.

    Surprisingly for a high ISO photo there is very little noise even in the background.
    Last edited by Geoff F; 2nd May 2011 at 08:31 PM. Reason: line added

  6. #6
    ktuli's Avatar
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    Re: Just Out of the Shower

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    You can produce a better result when working on the original image; and I appear to have encountered a slight colour variation. I have also removed a couple of slight 'scratch' looking marks on the background.
    Thanks for the pointers... I'll give it a try tonight.

    As for those 'scratch' marks... those are rain drops.

    - Bill

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