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Old Feb 16, 2009, 1:20 AM   #1
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I finally got around to going back and looking at the egret pictures I took last month. This one started out significantly underexposed, then I adjusted the exposure twice - once for the bird and once just for the reflection. I'm not sure I can do any better than this since the reflection was so underexposed. What do you all think about it?

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Old Feb 16, 2009, 2:37 AM   #2
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I like it a lot! It's got an air of mystery added to the elegance.

Kjell
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Old Feb 16, 2009, 4:42 AM   #3
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Hi Harriet,

I'd call this a "wish I'd taken that" shot!!

I think the underexposure did you well. It would be so easy to have blown out the front of the bird, and I like the light rings reflected up off the water, with ripples small enough to not distort the reflection. The water is clear enough to see the foot, so that, with the very white bird, gives a very "clean" and elegant impression.

The pose is just about perfect with the head plumes fluffed out a bit and the long back plumes drifting off to the side. Generally Egrets in the water look a little ratty because these plumes, when wet, usually just hang like strings. You caught it in water deep enough so they're fluffed out under the surface. The egrets around here usually stand on logs or wade in much shallower water, so unless I can find one who's dried off in a tree, they're not quite so perfect-looking.

A lot of things had to come together at the same time to get this shot -- nicely done! I'm assuming that you used the 55-300?

Scott
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Old Feb 16, 2009, 7:07 AM   #4
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I like the way Kjell phrased it, "I wish I'd taken that." Really beautiful photo. Exposure on these birds is so difficult, and you're usually far better off to be a little underexposed than blowing out the highlights.

Well done.

Paul
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Old Feb 16, 2009, 8:57 AM   #5
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Very nicely done. I like the reflection subdued a bit. That will give it a touch of separation from the bird.

Dawg
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Old Feb 16, 2009, 11:46 AM   #6
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Yes, it was taken with the 55-300. After a number of shots with the 55-300, I switched to the A*300, but the bird moved off and the only shot wasn't very good.

Thank you, Scott, for identifying the foot - when I was looking at the picture I couldn't figure out what the lighter lines were and thought about cloning them out. Goes to show how I can be too caught up with certain parts of a picture and miss the obvious!
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Old Feb 16, 2009, 12:58 PM   #7
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Nice dramatic effect of the black background vs. the white bird. Was the water that murky/brackish or was that mostly the result of the post processing?
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Old Feb 16, 2009, 2:53 PM   #8
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The water wasn't particularly brackish (it is a river outlet at Oceanside, so the Pacific Ocean was behind me), but the lighting was difficult. It was afternoon and the sun was shining very brightly on the very white bird. I under-exposed so I wouldn't blow out the white on the bird. Here's the other one I thought came out reasonably well. There's a third one, but the DOF was too small (the bird was walking off).



This one I tried to expose as much "to the right" as I could, without blowing out the details in the bird. I then used the recovery slider in LR2 to tone down the white so that some of the detail would show through. I may have over-done it a bit.
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Old Feb 16, 2009, 9:06 PM   #9
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You did good girl, specially under those circumstances!
GW:bye:
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Old Feb 16, 2009, 10:12 PM   #10
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Mtngal, both those shots are excellent! As several others have already said, I wish I could say I'd taken it. If you don't mind sharing one of your secrets, how did you process the pic twice and combine? Whenever I do that I make each version of the pic a different layer, then erase the faulty portions of the top layer, which allows the properly exposed portion of the bottom layer to show. But I have always suspected there must be an easier way to do it than the technique I developed through trial and error (mostly error).
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