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Archive 2013 · Egret
  
 
sbeme
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p.1 #1 · Egret


Here is an older image re-processed with LR with improved recovery of highlights.
appreciate feedback about the comp and processing.
In the future I plan to add a Better Beamer to my birding rig, projecting some fill flash. Here one of the questions is how much to lighten the bird, how well does it work as is. I have selectively bumped exposure on the bird. But maybe more?


Thanks.
Scott



GoetzPhotoz 2013

  Canon EOS 20D    100.0-400.0 mm lens    320mm    f/5.6    1/400s    100 ISO    0.0 EV  




Feb 01, 2013 at 01:59 AM
cgardner
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p.1 #2 · Egret


Lovely shot. Color balance is as I would expect a camera set to Daylight WB to capture it, with neutral to slight warm tone in the sunlit parts, and cooler sky lit shadows, but in person because my brain knew it was a white bird it would perceive the shaded side the same way. Because of that the shaded side seems a too cool for me and out of context perceptually with the background.

I don't want to mess with your fine work but if curious you might selectively warm just the shadows on the bird and compare the difference. Here's a similar shot of mine. There he was close enough (fish cleaning area at a dock) that I could use flash with a my DIY scoop which warms it to match daylight to eliminate the blue shadow cast:












Feb 01, 2013 at 02:09 AM
Eyeball
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p.1 #3 · Egret


I like the capture of the egret, Scott. I do think, however, that the high-contrast, high-saturation, and warm white balance of the background brings it forward to compete pretty strongly with the egret. The sort of jittery nature of the bokeh in some spots I think also draws attention from the bird.


Feb 01, 2013 at 02:25 AM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #4 · Egret


Maybe select the shadow and lighten and bump the gamma?







Feb 01, 2013 at 03:32 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #5 · Egret


The backlighting is prominently revealing the texture of the feathers. I think your balance of of opening the front side is a balance that lets the backlighting still shine through. I played with opening it up more, but didn't come up with anything more meritable.

+1 @ Dennis & Chuck re: blue shadows, nervous bokeh/saturation drawing attention. Threw some desat/contrast/blur at the bg, some desat in the cyan/blue, some sharpening @ subject. I like the backlighting ... tried to play to it as a strength. Not sure about cloning / not cloning bright spot under the beak, passed on giving it a go.







Feb 01, 2013 at 03:43 AM
Eyeball
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p.1 #6 · Egret


I like your edit, Kent. Subtle but effective.
Scott could retain more of the golden glow in the highlights of the egret if he wanted a little more "golden hour" feel to it.



Feb 01, 2013 at 06:22 PM
 

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RustyBug
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p.1 #7 · Egret


Thank Dennis ... I appreciate the subtle/effective comment. It's been a while since I first learned where the saturation slider is. I'd like to think I've learned a couple other things (courtesy of so many here) since then as well.

+1 @ Golden Hour potential.

Of course, Scott got the shot ... everything else plays second fiddle to first chair.



Feb 01, 2013 at 09:27 PM
wayne_eddy
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p.1 #8 · Egret


It's not a bad image, sometimes it's all about the original capture

As an experienced (bird) photographer, I'm going to point out that the subject to sensor position is not that attractively placed. It would have been better for you to have been lower about 10 degrees and to the front of the bird about 20 more.

The back light exposure looks good but it is over expose in that regard.




Feb 02, 2013 at 01:56 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #9 · Egret


wayne_eddy wrote:
As an experienced (bird) photographer, I'm going to point out that the subject to sensor position is not that attractively placed. It would have been better for you to have been lower about 10 degrees and to the front of the bird about 20 more.


Not disagreeing but for the sake of clarity could you complete the thought here and explain why?

Changing POV as you suggest changes two variables: The appearance of the bird in any light relative to the camera, and how the light models the shape from the adjusted POV vs, the one captured.

This confusion on my part comes from my frame of reference of shooting humans where you would first pose subject to into the most flattering light (highlighted front of face and eyes) THEN move the camera to find the most flattering angle.

In the case of candids the goals are the same (most flattering light and angle) but the target is moving around like a bird. In those situations I observe how a person moves in the light and where they are looking where it most flattering on them (front of face and eyes). For humans that's when the "key" modeling vector is at 45 to the side and 45 degrees above the eyes). Note the position for birds differs because they don't have recessed eyes you need to get light into.

Next knowing where they need to look for the good light I move camera around until I see their face at a flattering angle when they are looking that way. For a full face view that will be 45 degrees to the "key" light.








For an oblique view looking into the shadows I'll wind up 45 from where their nose is pointing and 90 from the "key" light which is "short" lighting the face.







If I move around further the face is still 45 to the light, but the camera is 90 to the face and 135 to the "key" light.






Then it becomes a waiting game for them to turn again into the flattering light from that flattering angle I selected with my feet. In the case of those snow head shots I created the head based on where I knew the sun would be in mid afternoon, 45 above the horizon in the SW sky. The nose on the head is pointing West.

I think that's what you are suggesting above but it's not clear because you didn't explain the reason for the suggested change in POV. For 3D objects other than human faces I find the most realistic illusion of 3D holistically is when the sun or flash is used behind about 135 degrees from the lens axis, with frontal modeling outdoors coming from above with a low ratio because skylight is brighter above than on the side (unless sun is reflecting off ground or water as fill).

So in natural back light it's really a "3 light" scenario in terms of vectors:

Sun at 135 as "rim" light to define overall shape
Sky key vector at about 70 degrees vertical
Sky fill vectors hitting subject from all directions with an overall downward direction

The only difference in lighting a human face in a studio with the same 3 light scenario is the need to lower the key light to 45 degrees relative to the face to get it past the brow.

Outdoors in backlight or open shade you can't lower the "key" vector of the skylight which is being shaded by the brow so you must first have the subject look up, then raise the camera higher to avoid looking up the nose at them. I use a 3 step stool or ladder for posed outdoor people shots. When shooting candids I first find something higher to stand on facing towards the sun them catch them looking up at me making a fool out of myself.




Feb 02, 2013 at 02:42 PM
wayne_eddy
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p.1 #10 · Egret


cgardner wrote:
Not disagreeing but for the sake of clarity could you complete the thought here and explain why?

Changing POV as you suggest changes two variables: The appearance of the bird in any light relative to the camera, and how the light models the shape from the adjusted POV vs, the one captured.

This confusion on my part comes from my frame of reference of shooting humans where you would first pose subject to into the most flattering light (highlighted front of face and eyes) THEN move the camera to find the most flattering angle.

In the case of candid I observe how
...Show more

Below is an similar example to that which is posted in the original post of what I was attempting to deliver in words. The image I have posted has its PP short comings (I wasn't aware of colour management then and the feather mids have been trimmed down to grubby to mistakenly restore detail)

For me, to truly depict the subjects engagement in it's own environment one really needs to engage with it, to be one on one in a striking but subtle way. In the OP's image, the Egret is doing something that is not IMHO demonstrating a connection with the photographer/viewer. In the image I have posted, we are looking at eye level with the bird, the camera senor is at the same plane as the neck and bill and we can see light and purpose in the eye. These are all good image components in my opinion. There are of course many distractions too.

I'm starting to think my comment was more about how to improve the OP's photographic technique rather than the posted image.

Hope this helps.



http://members.iinet.net.au/~damask/Wayne/Photo/forum/canon/_MG_8398.jpg



Feb 02, 2013 at 03:25 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #11 · Egret


OK... Seeing your example and explanation you meant....

The "facial" angle of camera <> bird head wasn't "flattering" for a bird lover because the head is see turned too far past profile. The POV of the camera is also unnaturally low compared to the baseline POV a standing human would see normally down on the bird walking.

The human equivalent would be a profile where the near side is starting to disappear shot from waist level.

For most those minor differences wouldn't matter because in person birds are constantly moving and seen from many POV. You as a bird shooter have a more idealized "perfect" view as your baseline.

I'm the same way with human angles. Seeing an imprecise profile with the nose not parallel with the focal plane (a perfect "penny" profile bugs me because I know moving the camera 1/2" one way or the other could have made it perfect.

It's similar in any craft or sport at a high level of competence. With golf i'm finally at a level where I can feel the difference in clubs, balls and know where I strike the ball on the clubface that a beginner wouldn't. I occasionally will switch between sets of clubs or just take one out of the range barrel to try. I can feel the difference and know how to adjust for it to get similar results. I'm actually now playing with my first set of blade irons I bought in 1983. I didn't have the "feel" to play well with them back then. Now I do.

I find the biggest learning curve in any sport involving coordinated movement is understanding what "good" (efficient / accurate) execution "feels" like. I have a bunch of golf "feel" drills I do. When I show them to new golfers they immediately understand from the different "feel" of a good swing I simulate with a gimmick how it should feel in a regular swing.

For portraits, birds or human, it's training the eye to be consciously aware of facial angles and how light models 3D shape compared to the baseline normally seen or considered ideal / flattering.



Feb 02, 2013 at 05:13 PM
sbeme
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p.1 #12 · Egret


Nicely evolving, helpful thread.
Thanks folks!

Responding to feedback in no obvious order:

Wayne, I agree that the camera position is off. To my way of thinking, ideally the plane of the sensor would have been parallel to the head, giving a greater sense of eye contact. While the forum input has frequently provided post-processing suggestions and I asked for them, your input on position, composition is desired.
Your image is a beautiful capture, BTW.

Several of you have commented on color temperature issues, especially in the shaded feathers. To me a purer white would not look right. I never know how much to correct for bluish tones in the shadows and altered color temperature based on global considerations. But I agree that the feathers could use some warming.

Kent: Nice rework. I love the 100-400 lens but I can see the busy-ness in some of the bokeh. Softening that helps, IMO. I am more torn about desaturating the background. While it heightens the primary subject and perhaps should be the key consideration, I tend to approach these images as having two subjects, the bird and the environment, with the hope that the color play inter-relates and adds to another element as focus shifts from subject to context, even if softly focused. Maybe that does not work ideally.

Karen: thanks. You were the only one that seemed to feel the bird should be brighter, one of my questions. Looks good.

Background: Image taken on my first serious bird photography outing years ago, in the Everglades. I was lucky enough to have maybe 20-30 very strong images, lots to trash of course, and this middling pick that I held onto despite its shortcomings. Interesting and informative to see what everyone else finds as worth improving.

Scott



Feb 02, 2013 at 05:31 PM





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