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Old Jul 28, 2004, 9:13 AM   #1
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Later in the evening at my hill walking spot, driving back there is a freshly mowed alphalpha (sp?) field. This 10 acre field had at least 20 hawks in and around it.

There were 5 hawks on this irrigation sprinkler near the road. I got within 30 yards or so of this guy. This first shot is at 12x with my 1.9x teleconverter. Light was marginal as it was just starting to sunset.

All these shots are straight from the camera with onlyminor sharpening. On the quail shot also did some minor noise reduction.



This one is from about 20 yards. This is at full 36x digital with my 1.9x teleconverter.



This quail was in a group of 2 females and about 30 babies.

I was able to get within about 5' of them by sneaking up behind a telephone pole, I could see the babies in the bush but no clear shots. This male flew up above out of the bush to keep a look out. A hawk flew screeching by not 20 feet over this males head and he just stayed right there, I though I was going to get the big pluck off the wire at high speed but didn't happen.




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Old Jul 28, 2004, 11:05 AM   #2
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You got some nice hawk shots there. Sounds like you had a great collection of them, I wish I had been there.

I had a few comments about the shots, though.

First is that there is an odd quality to them. I can't really find the right word... a combination of flat and showing the effects of the noise (and noise reduction.) It also could be the digital zoom. I don't think there is much you can do about this, but I mention it.

The pictures are showing signs of over sharpening. You said you did only a little, but the halo's around the birds came from somewhere (maybe in camera sharpening?) There are a few good ways to solve this problem. First is that some times doing a lower level of sharpening multiple times will prevent it.

Another trick I've been using recenly will only work in fancier editors like photoshop.

Set the magic wand at a very low setting (10?).
Zoom in very far, well beyond 100%... 400% isn't bad.
Use the magic wand to select the halo along the edge of the bird. You want to make sure NOT to select the bird. When I do, I use undo, to undo the selection and try again.

Once you have the halo selected, switch to the clone stamp tool. Select a good sized brush (15 or so pixels.) Select an area of the sky just a little bit aways from the bird and just swipe over the selected areas. You have no fear of erasing the bird because you'll only effect the selected areas.

This method can take awhile to do (so its better to not have halos in the first place) but if you follow through it can work VERY WELL to remove halos.

Eric
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Old Jul 28, 2004, 11:27 AM   #3
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I think the halos could be coz. of the smugmug.com resizing. I have seen it happen to my shots when I didn't see any halos in my originals.

Zoomn, maybe you should try posting links to larger files. Or if you want to post small files (dimension wise) you can resize yourself before uploading to smugmug.
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Old Jul 28, 2004, 11:30 AM   #4
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eric s.

Thanks for responding and I know what you mean about the odd quality.

Thehawks look browner that they did in real life. I chalked it up to the low light. But I have had this problem before with brown birds and black birds in better light. They tend to come off flat and dull. I am still learning my camera and maybe it has something to do with my settings. I will have to experiment with them some more.

As to the sharpening effect. I have my camera set on vivid which I believe does some in camera sharpening. Then I ran them through Picture it 7 and sharpened them 15 degrees which is pretty minor.

I have some more pictures of the hawks I took at home and I will fool around with them some more at home tonight. I just got a copy of Photoshop Elements 2, maybe there is something in there that will help and I will try what you suggested.

But I do realize the limitations of my equipment and so I post the best shots I can get. Until I get better equipment I am more about the shots than about the technical perfection of the shots. I am always a little disappointed when I get a chance for some really good shots like these hawks and they don't bling bling off the page like the shots you guys post with the great color and detail.

I greatly appreciate you taking the time to give info on how I can make the shots better. I will take the info you provided and see if I can make some of it work in my Photoshop program. Thanks much for the info!!


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Old Jul 28, 2004, 4:46 PM   #5
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I know what you mean about getting what you can get. I might have a monster lens now, but I didn't for a year and just had to deal. Once you understand your limitations, you are a happier person (and can honestly decide to work on them as opposed to fight them.)

PS Elements is a good program, I used that for over a year before upgrading to the full photoshop (once I felt I learned enough from it that I needed to move up.) I believe it can do the halo removal trick I talked about, but I don't recall.

I didn't say this, but I should have. Often photography is about light... it can make or break a photo. The light in that second shot is really good.

Something to try would be to take the picture without any digital zoom, and then take it with the teleconverter, and then with the amount of digital zoom you want & the TC. Compare the shots, looking for what the digital zoom did to the shot. Not all digital zooms are created equal. Some times, you can do as good or better a job in photoshop than incamera (not always, I could go into why if you care.) PhotoShop Elements 2 doesn't have as fancy interpolation algorithms as the full program (or some other programs) but it's worth trying... and 'cause there is no film, it costs you almost nothing!

Eric
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Old Jul 28, 2004, 5:28 PM   #6
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eric s,

When I first got my camera I did the test you recommend. Very good idea.

I found that the digital zoom seemed to actually look a little better than the enlarged optical zoom pictures. I do think I will take you advice and try it again with some shots from the teleconverter included.

I used a large printed sign at about 500 yards for the test.

So I checked my settings when I got home at lunch and turned out I had the iso set on 400. I was fooling around with sunsets and left it there by accident. That may be one of the reasons why these shots are a little flat looking. One think I really liked about these shots is how sharp the eyes came out.

Anyway I really like these shots and am a little surprised by the lack of responses (usually a good indicator that nobody else liked them). It is pretty exciting to get a chance to photograph wild hawks at this distance as I'm sure you have experienced.

It is nice to have a forum like this one where you can get an objective opinion on your pictures. That is how we learn and get better at taking pictures.

I will fool around with some of the other ones I have at home and if I can get them to look any better I will post some more.

Thanks much Eric for all the info you have shared in this post.


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Old Jul 28, 2004, 8:05 PM   #7
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We don't have hawks bunch up like that around my neck o the woods. They
seem to be pretty solitary birds. Someday I hope for a chance to snap a few shots of them while their stationary.
They are very majestic looking birds.
Thanks

Ray
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Old Jul 28, 2004, 10:43 PM   #8
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Zoomn, I think that these photos are very good considering the fact that you are using digital zoom and your white balance seems to be off on the hawks...not on the quail, though.
Quote:
Anyway I really like these shots and am a little surprised by the lack of responses (usually a good indicator that nobody else liked them). It is pretty exciting to get a chance to photograph wild hawks at this distance as I'm sure you have experienced.
Respectfully, you are wrong about this. Sometimes people are not online for awhile and don't even see your string until it is submerged.

I understand your frustration but don't give up on your camera yet. You have broken one major rule of mine with the FZ10, which is use of digital zoom, which is fake zoom, and good results will never be gleaned with it. My "digital zoom" mode is turned off and as far as I'm concerned it doesn't exist. With the 12x zoom and teleconverter you have loads of millimeters to play with. Get closer rather than go to fake zoom.

Your hawks are great, except for 2 major things: you used digital zoom which will soften and distort, and you have something set on your camera that is enhancing the yellows. My FZ10, outside, works perfectly well on auto white balance and that's were it remains. I'd suggest that you try that with your camera as well.

As for oversharpening, listen to eric...
Quote:
First is that some times doing a lower level of sharpening multiple times will prevent it.
If you have a really large file, and wish to post it, do the following: sharpen it normally, not in a sharpen more mode. Then, if you think it needs it again, sharpen it one more time, but do not use sharpen more mode. Then reduce it in size to about 100 pixels from where you want it to be when posting. Sharpen it again once and see what it looks like. If the noise level is too much, discard the photo and use ISO 50 next time. If it appears to be okay (look at the background and see if you see too much graininess), then reduce to the size you want to post at. Resize one more time and see how it looks. If the background is too noisy then don't sharpen any more, you've reached the peak of what you can do with your work, unless you want to do all of that work that eric chatted with you about clearing up edges. I personally wouldn't even think about that much work unless my life depended on posting that photo. I'm sure eric would agree with me on that as well.

Resize in computer, then post online, as bobby has suggested

Quote:
Zoomn, maybe you should try posting links to larger files. Or if you want to post small files (dimension wise) you can resize yourself before uploading to smugmug.
As for the over-yellow in your hawks. I'd say go back to auto and leave that vivid stuff alone. I would be very surprised if your camera cannot do an excellent job in the default color mode. Don't get deceived by the word, vivid. Vivid can be terrible. Use the normal default settings on your camera is my suggestion because that is where I've heard that the FZ1 shines. Point, shoot, and turn that ridiculous digital zoom OFF.


Respectfully, if you do the above I think you will be more pleased with the results.


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Old Jul 28, 2004, 11:27 PM   #9
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Zoomn, I've been busy all day and didn't get a chance to check out the posts here until this evening. I like the fact that you posted these shots and all the others you've posted here too, so please keep doing so.

Norm and Eric already gave you great tips and I can't improve on those tips. I can say that I've made the same mistake as you with having set my camera to some outlandishly high ISO setting, forgetting about it, and then taking pictures some other day like that, and wondering why my pictures were grainy! Also, I have disabled digital zoom in my camera. My experiments have shown me that digital zoom in the camera is about the same (or worse) as cropping and resizing in post-processing with PSE2, PS, or QImage.

As to the hawk pictures, what time of day were those taken at? Could it be that what appears to be incorrect white balance for those shots really was just the color cast of a late day sun?
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Old Jul 28, 2004, 11:33 PM   #10
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Thanks Geoffs.

Yes it was late day sun it was just starting to go down actually which reduced the light somewhat. There was a combination of things which caused these shots to not be the best.

I appreciate the folks here being honest and telling me so. I thought they were pretty good.

It inspired me to do better and I just posted a couple shots on a new topic I took tonight which I think are better.

I am signing off for the night. Have a good one!
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