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Old May 3, 2005, 9:59 AM   #1
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This is my first posting for Comments/Criticism.

This guy (or gal) apparently had a rough night if they were sleeping right in my neighbors backyard in broad daylight! I took this with an Olympus D490 (point and shoot essentially) and did so rapidly so as not to miss the moment. I was actually able to eventually stand under the tree where he was perched 15 feet or so high.

This one has been cropped seriously from the original as I could only zoom so far in... my film camera unfortunately had a dead battery (bad bad me) or I could have taken a picture of his eyeball.

Is there any treatment I could give to this? The only thing I've done post is crop and sharpen. I realize it lacks color, but it WAS winter and a grey owl against a grey tree doesn't help much! :G

I probably should have purposely taken a picture of the owl with the tree trunk directly behind to see just how well he blended!
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Old May 3, 2005, 10:30 PM   #2
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Sharpen the owl a bit,clone out the 2 branches and the snow to our right.I also did a little bit with color,mainly a cool filter..Hope this was ok.



Charlie




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Old May 4, 2005, 4:25 AM   #3
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Considering the time of day, equipment you had available and the location of the owl, I doubt you could have done any better on the shooting end. If you could have overpowered the sun with flash as a main light and use the sun for fill you may have gotten better isolation, but I'm not sure. Chris is the wildlife shooter on here so he may have a winning solution.

For this image, you can get a little more out of it through some post work. Play around with it for a while and see what you come up with. The easiest solution will be to crop out as much of the background elements as possible, then make other necessary adjustments.

Rodney
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Old May 4, 2005, 1:47 PM   #4
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It looks like your exposure for this shot was good for the available light, and as you say, a gray owl against a gray tree trunk doesn't give you a lot to work with, but there are some possibilities here.

My take on this is to use the tree to frame the owl on the left. To separate the owl visually, I increased saturation, and use burn tool on the tree to decrease its brightness somewhat.

As Rodney said, play around with it a bit. Our edits are mostly to give you some more ideas.

brian
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Old May 4, 2005, 2:06 PM   #5
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Hey Steven,

Not much you could done differently with a point and shoot, but if you had your SLR and a good flash you could have done much better. As is, it's overexposed and not really correctable to look naturally darker in photoshop. Does the Olympus D490 shoot RAW by any chance? That would be more correctable to an extent, by lowering the exposure and bringing up shadow detail in PS. Anyways.. if you come across another situation like this and do have your camera and a flash, underexposing the ambient lighting (sun), and then filling in the shadows with fill flash would decrease the contrast a lot, and provide a more even exposure without blowing the highlights. Of course.. you could have shot this a bit darker anyways in the first place, but then the darks would be a lot darker, which is where the flash would have helped.
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Old May 4, 2005, 3:11 PM   #6
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Under the circumstances, this is more than just an ok shot. If you were pointin' and shootin' and had time and a pretty good zoom, I'd have zoomed right in to the owl, caught a focus on just him then panned back. It looks to my eye like your focus caught the tree more than the bird. I know on my camera, in MF mode, I can magnify just for focus, a huge amount....and once you have the MF to your liking, and press the shutter half way, it snaps back to previous zoom and takes the pic. Very handy for catching focus in sits. like this. Thanks, Best regards,

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Old May 4, 2005, 7:02 PM   #7
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Thanks all for your comments and suggestions. I think a combination of all your edits would be the winning solution: I like how Charlie cloned out distractions, how Rodney de-emphasized the tree by taking it out focus and how Brian punched up the saturation to make the owl's colors (what color is has!) stand out.

The 490 doesn't shoot in RAW so, that's no help there. I've replaced this "point and shoot" with a Canon A85, which essentially is also a point and shoot, but with 4MP instead of 2. My plans are to purchase a KM 7D to replace my Minolta film SLR, so that's when the fun will REALLY start!

Thanks again all!
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