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Old Mar 26, 2004, 7:50 PM   #1
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Default Great Blue Heron flight


Second shot of same bird
I really wanted the second one to come out, but it's a little soft (I didn't have AI Focus set & it was 1/250th.) Still I nice picture, but not up to my standards.

I went to a national wildlife refuge near me, and found this guy. My first great blue of the season. I do love these birds.

I can't decide if I sharpened too much or not. I look at it and think "yes"... and then I look more and think "no".... Maybe I should have left more head room on the right side, but then I would have had to reduce more. I've started to to 640 & 125k as max size to help out the people on modems.

Camera 10D 100-400 @ 400, 1/750, f5.6, ISO 400
Software: neatimage
photoshop: crop, levels, sharpen, contrast, reduce

Eric
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Old Mar 26, 2004, 8:12 PM   #2
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First off, I think you did a fine job capturing this beauty. Perhaps the composition could have put the head a bit closer towards center, but I can really find no real fault in the composition. Regarding the sharpening, the only area where it looks a bit oversharpened to me is the breast of the bird. Of course, it is generally accepted that increased sharpening is needed for web display. I'm sure the original photo before compression looks much nicer and printed well. Did you blur the background in PS or is that the result of your depth of field? My only regret is that it appears that your skies were a bit overcast that day. A hint of blue might improve the overall effect...maybe, something you'd have to play with to know for sure. There also seems to be significant noise the lower portion of the photo (I see you did use NeatImage to remove some noise), again probably more a factor in the prepared for web view than your working copy. Nose seems to be more signficant in lower contrast pictures from what I've seen. Do you find the same?

Again, nice catch...he's a beaut! (and I'm envious of your capture!)
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Old Mar 26, 2004, 9:33 PM   #3
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I'm actually very surprised it came out as well as it did, as I didn't have focus tracking set. So I just 1/2 pressed and fired the instant I thought it had focus. Not the best strategy, but you take what you can get. Oh, actually... does the 10D have focus priority? Then I could have just pressed the trigger and it wouldn't have fired until it was in focus. I don't recall, but that would certainly have made my life easier.

What exactly bothers you about the breast sharpenss? I thought the neck looked like sharpening artifacts, but I checked the original and it was in fact like that.

Ya, there does seem to be a bit of noise in the lower portion of the picture. Let me open up the pds file... some of the noise is jpg induced, but some isn't. Interesting. I'm no neatimage expert, so maybe I didn't use it as well as I could have. I've gotta find a better tutorial on using it. I'm not sure I'd call the noise below "significant" but it is there.

What did you think of the second shot I linked too? I though it was soft, but had a better bird position/angle. I didn't bump the contrast, and every time I look at it I wish I had. Maybe I'll reedit it some time.

The background is completely natural. It was rather far away.

Itís funny because rain was predicted, but it was mostly blue skies all day. Then when I finally played hooky from work, the clouds come out. I guess I could try to edit a blue sky in and see what it doesÖ Iím not sure Iím that good with PhotoShop, though.

A much more experience photographer friend once chastised me for saying one of my pictures was "luck". I said "I was lucky to get that shot." His answer was "no you weren't. You chose to be there, and your skill made the shot." I really couldn't argue with his statement. I certainly wasn't expecting to find a Heron today (so that was luck) but I'm happy I went and knew enough to get the shot.

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Old Mar 26, 2004, 11:23 PM   #4
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I'm not really bothered by the sharpness in the breast. Merely commenting on your question about sharpness. In the web image (at least as I see it), the breast seems to be outlined a bit sharp, but it could just be the way I'm seeing it. Not really a significant issue at all.

Significant noise may have been a bit overstated...visible noise might have been more appropriate. I use NeatImage, too and haven't really gotten the complete hang of it beyond doing it. I think in this case it's just because of the low contrast in the darker background.

I didn't even notice the second pic until you just pointed it out again. The focus isn't quite as sharp as you probably wished, which is a pity because I really like that angle better -- it's different from most in-flight shots.

Regarding not being "that good" with Photoshop: experiment! First thing to do is to make a duplicate copy layer (just hit control J) and make your edits there. Using layers, you can make some changes on different layers then turn them on and off to get a good feel for what the edit is doing. If you don't do layers, you can't go back and look at what it looked like at different stages. The beauty of PS (and not using your original, of course) is that if you don't like it, you just dump it
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